Why do people still use Proteus?

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The_Tick
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Postby The_Tick » Thu Feb 23, 2006 1:29 am

Hey guys,

What Bouba did is more about what we're looking for. What you want in your perfect im client, what bothers you about Adium/Proteus/Fire, and what you like about Adium/Proteus/Fire.

Keep it coming, this is great :)

Oh, and those rounded contact images are a good idea, we're looking into them for 1.0 Bouba :)

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Postby The_Tick » Thu Feb 23, 2006 2:05 am

Can you flesh these following points out further? Some of us never used anything before 10.2, other stuff just needs more stuff fleshed out in general.

Bouba wrote:Why doesn't Adium cut it for me??! like it was said before, the UI logic behind adium is was keeps me away from it. Many Windows applications offer the option to theme their app... a good application doesn't need to be themed. Take a look at deliciouslibrary, transmit, acquisition, itunes!! When apple bought back cassady & Green's soundjam, they actually limited the feature set and removed the theming capability... only to find out that the little application they created is now on almost any pc and on every Mac: iTunes.

• Keyboard shortcuts to control contact list appearance and behaviour (all in the command-control-x style) We can easily turn off images, turn off groups, show offline contacts, etc... Without having to dig in the preferences, play with themes..

• The way it handles status changes. Our status becomes the nickname under msn. Create new status from the contact list, modify current status without going in the prefs.

• One place to change the profile, change the picture etc... one place to control them all!! And it uses apple's interface for photo selection IF need. You can also just drop an image into the well and it won't affect your cache for apple's system (which is limited to about 10 pictures..) There could be such a menu in the toolbar to have direct access to picture change.

•Message center: I prefer the drawer over the tabs. ALthough the idea could be pushed a little more, with rollover effects, buddy pictures in the drawer (eg: the drawer in omniweb)

• Events: Nothing to say, adiums implementation over proteus is far more efficient. However, I have to say that the list that displays those events should not be the way it is right now... It should only display the events that are enabled. I like the ichat way of doing things.

• Emoticons. The emoticons in proteus are so so nice, they are well designed, beautiful!! I just love those. I don't see why I should have an interface for deactivating some of the built-in emoticons or change the shortcut to those... It's the kind of customization that I just don't need and that confuses most of the users.

• Proteus internal notification system displays more information than growl (no offense the_tick!!) And has better interaction with the user (when you click on it etc..)

• SMS forwarding: useful, although not part of the free feature set.

• Organisation of the menus (everything is well ordered and at its place)

• Status change in the toolbar and service activation/desactivation from the toolbar.
_____



-flying contacts ala ichat or like in acquisition/newsfire. Very elegant, efficient and productive. It must seems like eye candy to most of you but this features allows to instantaneously see who has changed of status and from what status they changed it.

-A set of themes should be available, but modifiable in an interface of its own. The lambda user shouldn't have to see that... (remember the system 8.5 appearance control panel)

-User folder should be in a package format. The app will then remember the position of this package and always open this one as the default user. If another package is open, the app should load with the settings in that package. It is a multiple user system easily done.

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Postby The_Tick » Thu Feb 23, 2006 2:17 am

Simba Cub wrote:
Paul wrote:So what exactly is it about the Adium GUI that you dislike?


There is no easy answer to this question without inadvertenly causing the developers some upset - so I won't. ;)



We're the ones asking, so go ahead.

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Postby The_Tick » Thu Feb 23, 2006 2:26 am

medicine wrote:I think that the main reason that people have stuck with proteus is the ui design and ui logic.


If you can, please flesh this point out.

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Postby Adam Iser » Thu Feb 23, 2006 3:06 am

*eats popcorn*

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Postby digital.chill » Thu Feb 23, 2006 4:54 am

Wow, I'm happy this thread is going down well so far (and particularly that an adium dev started it - good to see). So keeping with the tone of peace and constructive feedback..

I used to use proteus (>1yr), and before the fire. The last 6 months I've been using adium continually, as the functional set has won me over vs the aesthetic appeal of proteus. I am a paid user of proteus, and see no problem in paying for what works for me. Unfortunately development seems totally stagnant on taht side of the pond, a really unfortunate thing, as we can all agree a bit of competition got both programs quite a long way, yeah?

So, its pretty easy to understand why I use adium (more features, feels lighter on its feet, works quite well - even if I wish msn felt like an 'equal' client I understand aol is the main network the adium devs use - one day we'll get support for the new msn features). Getting off topic. So, why do I prefer the UI of proteus

1. It feels like a well made OSX interface. There are those few programs you can point to that just *feel* great on OSX. Virtually anything omni put out, clean interfaces, a totally apple look to it. In some cases even cleaner than apple make their own UIs. The good, solid aqua feel. Adium by comparison - and dont flame me here - feels far more 'build to order' with less continual consideration for the UI through its development. The menu structure isn't as flowing as it could be. The contact list (while flexible - we'll get to that later) doesn't feel like a first class osx citizen (to use apple talk). If proteus feels polished and professional, adium feels plasticy and cheap.

2. Customisation. Indeed - adiums customisation is great, and has a good following to it. But like other posters have said, its glass ceiling is lower. There is only so much you can customise in its look until you hit a wall, where you'd have to reprogram elements of the GUI to get it to feel more OSX like. Adiums customisation is good, but it would be better if it began from a starting base of a more elegant refined OSX interface

3. Out of the box experience. This is something I have to flag upon virtually every installation of adium I've had people do - out of the box, it feels way behind proteus. The default look is really cheap and does require some time (or clicks on the xtras site) to get feeling good. The default sound set is quite frankly lacking, and the default icon looks a bit cheap. While it has 'home grown' feel to it, it doesn't feel like well thought out quality interface design.

4. While we're on it, the emoticons. They could look more refined and polished, but this is probably more of a personal thing. I use the proteus emoticons in adium as a result.

5. Tabs vs drawer. uh oh, age old problem. Frankly I like both. Tabs are more compact and functional. A drawer can look a lot prettier and OSX like. Other than in safari, you don't see 'cheap' looking tabs in default OSX programs. If tabs could look like a really quality piece of ui design in adium, that would go a way to helping that.


How can things be improved.

1. Please, a better default sound set.
2. A less cheap/quirky default icon. A duck being your guy is cool and all but adium has really evolved into being the premiere OSX IM program, it would be nice if that reflected some quality in the icon
3. (personal taste) New emoticons
4. Set up a really OSX looking theme as the default theme. Ship it out of the box looking about as good as adium gets - put your best foot forward.
5. Quicker access to changing your name? I dont want to dig into my msn account through the preferences, just to change my name.
6. This is sounding like a retype of the previous list, so I'll stop repeating my own words haha

Maybe adium could recruit someone whose heavily into UI design, to really look at what makes many of the 'osx greats' so good to see and use, and help apply that logic to adium


Anyhow, I'm thrilled to see this topic here. All the best!

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Postby Catfish_Man » Thu Feb 23, 2006 5:08 am

digital.chill wrote:5. Tabs vs drawer. uh oh, age old problem. Frankly I like both. Tabs are more compact and functional. A drawer can look a lot prettier and OSX like. Other than in safari, you don't see 'cheap' looking tabs in default OSX programs. If tabs could look like a really quality piece of ui design in adium, that would go a way to helping that.

I'm curious about this one. What would you change about the tabs? I ask because Adium's tab implementation is widely regarded as being the "most OSX-like" on OSX; even more so than Safari's (although they're very very similar in appearance). The main change I hope to make is better handling of having lots of tabs in a small space, but that's more of a functionality thing not a design thing...

<edit> hm, I misread this. You actually *like* the default OSX tabs? Apple specifically made them that way to discourage their use in programs like Adium, Camino, Omniweb, and Safari, which is why all four use custom tabs.
</edit>

How can things be improved.

1. Please, a better default sound set.

done :)
2. A less cheap/quirky default icon. A duck being your guy is cool and all but adium has really evolved into being the premiere OSX IM program, it would be nice if that reflected some quality in the icon

I support keeping the current icon for three reasons:
1) even above "professional", "slick", "polished", etc... I think "friendly" is the #1 impression that we want to give
2) nostalgia/personal liking
3) brand recognition
3. (personal taste) New emoticons

We have a lack of artists, especially now that psiona and lysistrata (and possibly wunderwood? not sure about him) are off doing other things. If you know an artist that would like to contribute, please ask them to visit us on IRC or submit a ticket with a new improved whatever it is. Personally I think the default emoticons are nice, but I'd love to see what could be improved.
4. Set up a really OSX looking theme as the default theme. Ship it out of the box looking about as good as adium gets - put your best foot forward.

This is a matter of opinion, of course (just look at how wildly different the ways people have set things up in the screenshots thread are), but I agree that taking a very close look at the default settings should be done before 1.0 is released.
5. Quicker access to changing your name? I dont want to dig into my msn account through the preferences, just to change my name.

Sounds like Evan is working on this for 1.0 :)

Maybe adium could recruit someone whose heavily into UI design, to really look at what makes many of the 'osx greats' so good to see and use, and help apply that logic to adium

Hehe, quite a few of us are into UI design; at least one Adium dev has done it professionally, iirc, and I've done quite a bit of study into it (I was a CS major, and planned to minor in art/psych, so UI is my interest :) ). We're always looking for more people though!

A good place to look at UI work in progress are the tickets on the preferences redesign. We've got a ton of mockups posted, and I think some of them are definite improvements over 0.8x's preference layout. It'll be a good deal of work to implement them though.

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Postby Bouba » Thu Feb 23, 2006 5:52 am

The_Tick wrote:Can you flesh these following points out further? Some of us never used anything before 10.2, other stuff just needs more stuff fleshed out in general.


yeah of course... :)

•So you've got the application, The biggest part of it being the contact list. It needs to be easily modifiable (not the style, but the way it's being sorted, the presence of the status text, the avatar, offline buddies, groups) it needs to be easily turned on/off. Personally, I have a small screen. Sometimes, when people are not connected, I don't have lots of people on my contact list, so I choose to display their avatar. But during other situations, my contact list becomes so crowded that a vertical scroll bar appears. That is why a quick keyboard shortcut can help to resolve the situation. (Progressively reducing the size of the avatar as it fits in the screen could also be cool - like the size of the icons of the dock when it is full). Also, proteus has a very neat status button in the toolbar, it becomes darker on roll-over, showing the edges of that button (which is otherwise only showing the status name and the corresponding icon). You have all the different saved status in there, option-select to modify that entry. Also, in the toolbar, there is a really useful button to enable/disable services. Since proteus is very unified by design, the same status is used for every service, therefore the option is limited to activate/desactivate (there is also a link to the service preference pane). An avatar toolbar item would also be great. A menu similar to the one in ichat would appear (part of a standard framework of 10.3).
I would also love to see a very dynamic way to see changes of status where contacts drift to their new position in the table, pushing the other entries aside. This has been demonstrated in ichat and reused by Dave Watanabe in Acquisition and newsfire. This feature allows to instantaneously see who has changed of status and from what status they changed it. Some code was provided by Apple during last WWDC.
Of course, metadata for every user would be a god send.. being able to filter our buddies and have special contact list or groups that answer to some criterias. This idea could be used as a dashboard widget to only show particular friends with whom I chat on a regular basis (automatically selected according to the amount of active chatting time with that person, and the amount of chat initiation with that person, and the period of time since the last conversation - to avoid ghosts!)

•Under proteus, There is a preference pane that describes who you are; your profile: in there, you can setup your name, profile, avatar (that can be selected using apple's provided capture window) or any other user-related information. We should not have to go and play in the different services to change those basic informations. These fields should be used as constants that could be applied to every services. (however, under each service, these could be modifiable to anything different since they are only refering to that variable). But by default, it should stick to the main username (it should actually borrow those from the user card in addressbook IF specified).
So, the status name under the MSN service would look like: %nickname %status_start %status_message %status_end
that way, the status message could be shown in the nickname field. (with msn7, microsoft allows a description but GAIM doesn't support that yet; other protocols have a status field of its own) or simply show: %nickname under different protocols.

•Message center: I prefer the drawer over the tabs for mainly one reason: everybody has the same importance and I have more feedback about the state of the different conversations. I just said that everybody has the same importance.. it is because of the vertical orientation of the list, it gives the same screen surface to everyone. Although the concept used by proteus is interesting, it could be pushed a little more, with rollover effects to show closure buttons, having the buddy pictures displayed in the drawer (toggeable like in the drawer from omniweb)

• Events: Nothing to say here about the functionality, adiums implementation over proteus is far more efficient and complete. You can have user-centric events!! However, I really don't understand why the interface was done that way, the preference window should only display the enabled events, not everything in the same field!!

• Emoticons. The emoticons in proteus are so sooo nice, they are well designed, beautiful!! I just love those. I'd like to use them all the time!! and only see the avatars from the other collections when none is provided for that character-combination in the chat... I don't like having a different set of avatars for different protocols. evryone has a :) or a :( the others are particular to those protocols. What could be done is have an adaptative emoticon menu that would only show avatars that the person at the other end might see... however, if the person is using the same chat application as you are and that you have a common set of avatars not supported by the protocol, then you won't be able to exchange them... That is why proteus went for the easy way, its own set of lick-able emoticons and emoticons from the other protocol to fill in the gaps.

• The notification system of proteus is fast and gives more information the growl notification. Appart from being delivered with the application out of the box, it has the advantage of showing the avatar of the person, the services he/she is on and the particular message. Double clicking on that window will open a chat window with that person.

• SMS forwarding: useful, although not part of the free feature set. Received messages can be forwarded to a cell phone in the form of a SMS.

• Organisation of the menus of proteus is very good (everything is well ordered and at its place) status change is under the application's name, control over the appearance under the view menu, "contact" lists the different possibilities one can interact with a user (view user history, information, start a chat, etc)

• An interface to display contact list themes. like in 0s 8.5 when themes were introduced (then nixed!!) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:Platinum_theme.png

• Make the user settings portable. Put everything under the same folder and make a package out of it. When the app is launched, it will refer to the position of that package and save this position in the general prefs. If another package is open, the app should load with the settings in that package instead of the default one. That way, it is easy to back-up, to move around and to use on someone else's computer.

So, in the end, the logic behind the UI is to put user first, not care about the different services, and to make things as easy as possible to reach!![/quote]

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Postby Payback » Thu Feb 23, 2006 6:02 am

I don't really know how critical I can be, honestly, because it has been two years since I've regularly used Proteus, but here goes.

I'm going to go way back, 4 years now, when I was just starting on OS X from the dark days of System 9. I began with Proteus, and I had a friend on my floor in college who used Adium. Adium actually intimidated me somewhat as a brand new user, with the insane customizability. Proteus was simple and clean, and worked well for me. It was unobtrusive and blended well with the look and feel of my new iBook, whereas Adium would add a type of crazy, whizbang effect to my normal screen.

About two years ago, I was almost forced to switch because I didn't feel it was worth my money to upgrade to X.3 when I had just plunked down 80-90 bucks for X.2 about a year before. A Proteus beta was released that didn't support X.2 and so, to keep going with an actively developed client I could use, I swapped to Adium.

The ability to muck around in Adium had evolved so much it had amazed me. While I was crazy enough and bored enough, those first few months, I was able to absorb into the Adium community a bit and watch it evolve before my eyes (I was one of the users doing deep dives into Adium to mess around with the first Webkit implementation, before it was moved to an OS X.3-only feature). I do have to say that to this day, I still use the Proteus soundset and the Nomicons from that program as emoticons as well.

Now, when I go back to Proteus, some of the feature operations seem clunky to me compared to Adium. I don't enjoy the experience like I used to. The contact list in Proteus to me now seems to be too UNcustomizable. I'm fairly indifferent when it comes to comparing tabs and drawers, though I do like the functionality one can take advantage of with the drawers (where you have more real estate to mess around with). On the flip side, having minimalist tabs is great too.

I guess what it comes down to for me is that I have, in typical wishy-washy fashion, managed to blend a good deal of the Proteus "experience" into Adium and that's helped a great in keeping me with it. That, and inertia. Them ol' physicists can tell you inertia's a tough one to break.

Having been a figure(head) in the Proteus commuity and having read durn near every post on every incarnation of every forum that's been labeled a Proteus board, I can say that it's largely a matter of personal preference. I would say it is akin to cars. Talk to someone who's grown up with Fords, and they're a Ford person. Someone else, Hondas. Someone else, it's Chevy or death. I know that's not the best example because Proteus is in a phase where they haven't released a "new car" in the equivalent of about 10 years, but it's all I've got. I will say that what I always used to love about Proteus was the simplicity and elegance, but for me, that's not enough when the feature set isn't improving and bug repair is nonexistant.

If anyone was bored enough to read this whole post, you get a cookie, and thanks for reading my ramblings. I also apologize for the dozens of grammatical errors I no doubt have littered this post with.

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Postby m2e » Thu Feb 23, 2006 6:08 am

Bouba wrote:• The notification system of proteus is fast and gives more information the growl notification. Appart from being delivered with the application out of the box, it has the advantage of showing the avatar of the person, the services he/she is on and the particular message. Double clicking on that window will open a chat window with that person.

Doesn't growl/adium already do this? Apart from what service.

i get a cookie:D

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Postby Catfish_Man » Thu Feb 23, 2006 6:20 am

OK: Tick, Mac-arena, and I went over the thread so far point by point, and here's what we've gleaned from it (in grammarless note form):

Examine "create metacontact" dialog and improve wording (reference how to undo it, for example)

Revisit appearance default settings

examine group spacing; ping crypt for more info

examine Konfabulator's first-run stuff

look for places to remove customizability where a sane default would be good enough

look for places we refer to individual services; make them refer to people instead whenever possible

look into using wootest's keyboard shortcut framework and providing more shortcuts

drawer/sidebar?

consider shipping IPB emoticons as default

growl 0.8 + make growl support more intuitive (default to visual notifications if growl is installed?)

menu organization?

rounded corners on avatars

more popcorn

make a forum thread asking whether the contact list or the message view is the main window

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Postby Bouba » Thu Feb 23, 2006 6:27 am

m2e wrote:Doesn't growl/adium already do this? Apart from what service.


Not out of the box

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Postby Bouba » Thu Feb 23, 2006 6:30 am

Catfish_Man wrote:make a forum thread asking whether the contact list or the message view is the main window


Lol!! it seems like I've raised something here! oups!

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Postby Catfish_Man » Thu Feb 23, 2006 6:32 am

Bouba wrote:
Catfish_Man wrote:make a forum thread asking whether the contact list or the message view is the main window


Lol!! it seems like I've raised something here! oups!


Well, all the developers have been treating the message view as the main window, since it's where the actual functionality of the app (communication) takes place; Tick doesn't even use the contact list anymore. As a result, we were a little startled by your comment on it :)

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Postby The_Tick » Thu Feb 23, 2006 6:43 am

Catfish_Man wrote:
Bouba wrote:
Catfish_Man wrote:make a forum thread asking whether the contact list or the message view is the main window


Lol!! it seems like I've raised something here! oups!


Well, all the developers have been treating the message view as the main window, since it's where the actual functionality of the app (communication) takes place; Tick doesn't even use the contact list anymore. As a result, we were a little startled by your comment on it :)


http://forums.cocoaforge.com/viewtopic.php?t=6874

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Postby Bouba » Thu Feb 23, 2006 6:45 am

well... the message window is the active window and the contact list is the passive window. You interact with both but in a different way. You consult one, you act in the other!! 8)
But the contact list gives you a faire amount of info, that's why I was putting more emphasis on it (and because the message window looks good!)

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Postby Ethion » Thu Feb 23, 2006 8:12 am

I've tried all three clients, back in the day when I was on my old BW G3 300 mhz for about five years.
And I was on a hunt for a great IM client that wasn't slow and still looked nice. I first looked at Fire, I thought it was featureless and clunky. It didn't have the OS X appearence, it looked more like something you can see in OS9.

For the most part, Fire's UI is terrible in my point of view.
Then I started using Proteus, and I kind of liked it. It had a nice UI, worked well. But it was slowing my computer down a little. It felt more OSX like than Fire. And of course, you were able to customize it to some extent.

I stopped using Proteus, because first, the orginial developer left to work at Apple. Second, just because it is shareware. And I have no real option of paying them.

I then started using Adium on and off, until I started liking it really. You were giving out regular updates. It was organised, very nice UI. A little bigger dev team than the other apps(in my point of view).

--

What I think could be better?

Currently I like how it's all going, I think you've come long enough to clean up and adding real features. It just feels like libgaim makes you fall behind for some reason.

But have you guys assigned different protocols to eachother? Like durin is from what I know mostly working on joscar.

I hope I made this clear. But to sum it up, I use Adium because it's free, low CPU load, customizable and has a great load of features for all of the services it supports..

Thank you Adium Devs !!

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Postby andru_911 » Thu Feb 23, 2006 8:15 am

wow some old school peeps 8)
this is very interesting...

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iChat

Postby Travis » Thu Feb 23, 2006 9:33 am

I like Apple applications.

I use Safari instead of Firefox, Finder instead of PathFinder, Pages instead of Word, iPhoto instead of iView, Mail instead of Thunderbird, etc.

I do this because, in my experience, Apple applications are extremely stable, well made, and easy to use.

The problem is, most of them don't have that many features.

That's why the one exception to my Apple application policy is that I use Adium instead of iChat.

The two things, and the only two things, that Adium has and that iChat doesn't, are tabbed messaging, and support for multiple protocols.


I, in general, value GUI design over application features, and that is why I would say a lot of people use Proteus over Adium.

However, in a messaging client, I need lots of features, and that's why I use Adium.
--Julian
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my name is Julian

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Postby Damienoneill » Thu Feb 23, 2006 9:46 am

Can I just say, while the Adium GUI could be improved the following features would be a massive draw back to me:

Sliding draw thingy, the tabs are a much better way to display this information!!!

No rounded avatars! They are meant to be sqaure not round.

That said I like the screens from Adium 1.x. Having the name and image at the top like msn and Proteus.

Most of all I think while GUI is important. Features are more important. Not having group chat is a big drawback.

I think all Adium needs to do is have a good out of the box theme. maybe edgeless? Like that the group bubbles where there is no 'edge' but keep the new header.

Btw, Always allow customisation. If the user preferes a theme they have installed then that would want to use that, not be told it makes for a worse GUI. They clearly do not think so


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