Features/Enhanced color selector

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This is an enhancement to the color selector used in the About Me control panel and the initialization screen (same behavior but a different code base). It enables the user to cycle through color choices as well as jump randomly, which is the current default behavior.


Current status

  • Targeted release: (0.88)
  • Last updated: (17 November 2009)
  • Percentage of completion: 95% (need to get tool tips and accelerators working)

This feature is being tracked in Ticket 1592.

Summary of the discussion with the Design Team

We have gotten a lot of feedback on this feature from the Design Team. There is consensus regarding its merits, but a few outstanding issues remain to be resolved:

  1. Should the order of the icons be such that the next/prev buttons are on the outside (Eben) or between (Walter) the small and large XO icons (the latter is the order in the current implementation)? It is trivial to change. Gary proposed putting them under the icons due to considerations of centering.
  2. Should the behavior be such that the next/prev buttons get you the next/previous random color or the next/previous color in the region of the color space you are currently in (the latter being the behavior of the current implementation)? The motivation for the latter implementation is that it lets a user explore a region in the color space once they have randomly stumbled across a combination to their liking. The motivation for the former is that next/prev would give you a more standard behavior. A compromise could be to eliminate the random selection all together (except upon initialization); this would be trivial to implement--simply eliminate the callback from the center XO icon.
  3. Should there be be keyboard shortcuts? Yes, but I don't know how to implement them using Hippo Canvas. (There is a failed attempt in the current patch to do this by adding a hidden undo button. There was another purpose to the undo button, but it should be removed from the patch.)

Detailed Description

Buttons are added to either side of the XO icon currently used to randomly cycle through the valid-XO-color list. On the left is a button that cycles through the list in one direction. On the right is a button that cycles through the list in the other direction. Smaller XO icons to the left and right of the new buttons show a preview of the colors that will be selected if the button (or icon) is pressed. There is also a keyboard shortcut (Ctrl-Z) to undo the last change.

A video showing (a slightly out of date) new color selector is available here: [1]

Benefit to Sugar

There have been many requests for an undo button as people often go past the color they were interested in. This enhancement also lets you cycle more systemically as similar colors are cluster within the valid-color list.


To implement this feature, I needed to make changes in four places:

  • In sugar-toolkit/src/sugar-toolkit/src/sugar/graphics/xocolor.py I added new methods for getting the next and previous colors in the list patch-xocolor
  • In sugar/src/jarabe/intro/(colorpicker.py, window.py) I added the new buttons and callbacks patch-colorpicker patch-window
  • In sugar/extensions/cpsection/aboutme/view.py I added the new buttons and callbacks patch-view
  • In sugar-artwork/icons/scalable/actions/edit-undo.svg I added ENTITY support patch-edit-undo

How To Test

1. open the control panel
2. open the About Me panel
3. click on the XOs to see if the colors change and the alert message appears
The icons to the left of the central XO are used to modify the fill color; the icons to the right are used to modify the stroke color.
4. exit and see if the selected colors appear on reboot

User Experience

Anyone who has used Sugar in the past who sees this feature immediately smiles. One can debate the details of the implementation (See [2]) but not the need for this feature.


No additional dependencies are required to implement this feature.

Contingency Plan

None necessary, revert to previous release behavior.


See [3]

Release Notes


The Sugar Release Notes inform end-users about what is new in the release. An Example is 0.84/Notes. The release notes also help users know how to deal with platform changes such as ABIs/APIs, configuration or data file formats, or upgrade concerns. If there are any such changes involved in this feature, indicate them here. You can also link to upstream documentation if it satisfies this need. This information forms the basis of the release notes edited by the release team and shipped with the release.

Comments and Discussion