During summer, I started to work on porting Vagalume UI to Moblin platform during my beloved hackfest hours. Vagalume is a Last.fm client for GNOME and Maemo, created by Alberto García (aka Berto). Moblin is an open source project impulsed by Intel, to create a GNU/Linux-based platform optimized for mobile devices (mainly, those powered by Intel’s Atom processor and graphics accelerator).
Vagalume’s UI is currently based on GTK+ for GNOME and Hildon for Maemo. However, Moblin user-experience is based on Nbtk and Clutter, yet it can run pure GTK+ applications. Taking a look at Nbtk toolkit was in my wishlist since it’s presentation at GCDS 2009, where some cool features of the project attracted my interest, like using CSS for styling widgets. About Clutter… well, it’s a project I personally like a lot and have been following since early versions. Motivation was ready and served.
The porting main goal is to get Vagalume running in Moblin2, sharing the platform’s look n’ feel. Revamping the UI was not just replacing widgets, but initially make Vagalume use the technologies present in a Moblin ecosystem, and “by-the-port”, perform a complete redesign of the UI, getting help from those talented designers at Moblin team.
After some weeks of hacking and festing, we have partially completed the toolkit migration, and developed a concept-proof UI redesign for the main window using Nbtk and custom Clutter widgets, except for the shell-menu which was not migrated yet . A screen-cast demo of the new UI is available. Notice that the target at this stage was not to align with Moblin’s look n’ feel, but just mixing differnt toolkits and get them to run together.
One of the new features we thought it would be interesting to include is to provide information of next and prevoius tracks, right in the main UI. The Last.fm API provides means to fetch playlist items in advance, so was not really difficult to implement that (with some core patches from Berto.. thanks).
The port’s source code is temporarily in a public repository at Gitorious.org in the moblin branch, but it will eventually get merged upstream when it gets mature enough. To build the branch, you will need a Moblin library-featured environment, like the SDK provided, or the Moblin platform itself installing the development tools and libraries. Alternatively, you can use my jhbuild moduleset.
There are some issues when building the project:
- Running Nbtk in 64 bits platform drops a segfault due to a problem in libccss-0.3.1, so use 32 bits for hacking by now.
- Moblin platform is not properly detected during autogen.sh stage, so you have to pass ‘–with-platform=moblin2’. This shall be fixed soon.
Right now, we are trying to get support and feedback from Moblin UI designers, in order to plan a complete layout and style redesign. Making Vagalume UI consistent with Moblin environment is the current milestone. In the mean, we are doing several stability tests and improving toolkit integration.
Contributions are very appreciated, specially with design ideas, testing and project build integration. I can even review patches in my limited time.