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This page is about the development of the touch feature for the Sugar interface. Each item has a detailed implementation plan. The design decisions are based on these related pages:

Sugar Shell Touch Input
Sugar Shell Touch Input Talk
On Screen Keyboard
Activity Touch Input

Todo (essential)

On screen keybord (OSK)

Canvas auto panning based on input focus

Show Frame or OSK, never both

When the OSK is up and the frame is revealed the OSK should go away, same when the Frame is up and the OSK is revealed (manually or automatically) the Frame should hide.

Hide OSK key on OSK

There should be a key on the OSK to manually hide the keyboard. Currently you can already hide the Maliit keyboard by a vertical stroke but that is not as discoverable and does not work as reliable (as of today).

Show OSK button on device Frame edge

There should be a key on the Frame in the device section to manually reveal the OSK.

Sugar theme

The OSK should have a Sugar theme.


  • e.g. layout covers our accent needs


  • e.g. ability to switching between at least two languages


Currently not working anymore, upstream Maliit bug.

Reveal on text input focus, auto **dismiss** on loss of focus

Reveal the OSK when clicking e.g. on a GTK entry. Dismissing gets harder, e.g. in the Neighborhood View when the search field is focused.

Don't auto reveal in laptop mode, only ebook mode

For devices which have a hardware keyboard and a touchscreen the OSK should not be auto revealed in the "laptop mode". You will be able to manually reveal it with the button in the Frame.

Text selection

  • Selection handles
  • Cut(?)/Copy/Paste/Speak selection palette

Drag scrolling support

Hide/show mouse cursor based on input method

Palette behaviours

  • Tapping icons with no primary action should instantly open full palette
    • e.g. right frame edge buddy icons; central home buddy icon; access Point device icon


  • Expose/hide gesture!!!
    • Button for top left (fallback)

Home view

  • Disable Activity icon dragging in fixed layouts
    • e.g. allows easier access to long hold of Activity icon to access palette

Neighbourhood view

  • Remove primary action from AP icons
  • Remove primary action from ad-hoc icons
  • Remove primary action from shared activity icons


  • Touch & hold on an entry should invoke full palette
  • Dragging an entry needs to work but not prevent the touch and hold palette (if finger moves a little)
    • e.g. to copy it to another volume


  • Single touch of a combo should lock open it's palette and allow drag scrolling
  • Should not show blank space when previous selection was near the bottom of the list
  • Up/down menu/combo overflow widgets need to be larger

Touch & hold '==' right click equivalent

Visual feedback for button presses

  • Generic solution - use a mouse HW cursor with alpha white 'glow' marking all primary touch events?
  • Existing GTK button down highlights work well in toolbars
  • Shell canvas area views
    • Use grey round rect outline for presses
      • AP icons
      • Activity icons
      • Buddy icons
      • Ad-hoc icons
    • Only really needed where there is no palette and/or primary action is too slow

Visual feedback for touch and hold

  • Animated circle timer?
  • Blinking grey round rect outline

Todo (ideal)

  • Palette behaviours
    • Single touch should never trigger hover content
    • Touch and hold should raise hover content
    • Touching the icon of an open palette should close the palette
      • e.g. Journal list sort palette
  • Toolbar overflow widget should be same size as Sugar toolbar button icons
  • Zoom to content behaviour
    • e.g. Browse
  • Frame
    • Activity Zoom icon (and physical key) should act like Alt-Tab
  • Home view
    • Improve layouts
      • e.g. larger Activity icon usage where possible
      • e.g. Increase separation between icons where possible
  • Details view
    • Alert dialogue needed for Erase toolbar button
    • Alert dialogue needed for Duplicate toolbar button
  • Accelerometer auto rotate based on rotation when laptop is in ebook mode
  • Drag scrolling
    • Smooth!!
  • Priorities UI redraw over other processes
    • e.g. don't stall the UI thread

Todo (polish)

  • Smooth transitions/animations
  • Text selection
    • Feature extensible selection palette
      • e.g. Activity specific formatting
  • Home view
    • New grid layout option
  • Make sure Activities and shell works well in portrait
    • e.g. toolbar button overflow in some Activities
  • Pre-light hover effects (remove for touch screen input)
  • hspan/vspan separators, make sure they are large enough for finger interaction
  • OSK
    • Subtle key click feedback
    • Custom context
    • Custom key strips/extras based on Activity
    • Predictive text
      • Context sensitive
      • Locale sensitive
  • Activity start/resume screen
    • Remove start/resume palette
    • Palette options presented in fullscreen UI, before activity pulse loader