"Replace your changes in ... configuration file" prompt is unattractive

Bug #1197727 reported by Matthew Paul Thomas on 2013-07-04
12
This bug affects 2 people
Affects Status Importance Assigned to Milestone
aptdaemon (Ubuntu)
Medium
Unassigned

Bug Description

When a package update suggests changing a configuration file, a dialog appears that could use a lot of improvement. <https://launchpadlibrarian.net/144145563/Screenshot%20from%202013-07-04%2010%3A26%3A58.png>

In particular:
a. it's closable and maximizable and should be neither
b. the title is "update-manager"
c. the question-mark icon is a bit mysterious
d. the filename is in the primary text, with Ascii quotes, though it may be very long
e. a programmer-style diff is likely incomprehensible to non-programmers
f. the recommendation is to replace the file, but the default is "Keep".

<https://wiki.ubuntu.com/SoftwarePackageOperations#updating>: "If the update suggests changing a configuration file, an alert should appear..."

affects: apport (Ubuntu) → aptdaemon (Ubuntu)
Changed in aptdaemon (Ubuntu):
assignee: nobody → Matthew Paul Thomas (mpt)

Am Donnerstag, den 04.07.2013, 09:47 +0000 schrieb Matthew Paul Thomas:

> a. it's closable and maximizable and should be neither

It is maximazable if the changes are expanded. This allows you to see
more changes. If the dialog is resizable it should also support
maximize.

> b. the title is "update-manager"

Should we use the header from the message? It seems that compiz wants to
have a title.

> c. the question-mark icon is uninformative

It seems to be common for GTK apps to have a question icon on dialogs
that ask a question. Why should it behave differently?

> d. the filename is in the primary text, with Ascii quotes, though it may be very long

What about the following text:

"Replace your configuration changes by a later version of the default
configuration?

The default configuration in "/etc/your/config" has been changed either
by yourself or by a program. A later version of the configuration file
that would replace your changes is available.

If you don't know why the file is there already, it is usually safe to
replace it.

A copy of the old configuration will be stored at
"/etc/your/config.dpkg-old"

The last paragraph is too technical?

> e. a programmer-style diff is likely incomprehensible to non-programmers

Alternatives? Should we add some information that the user should not be
scared by the diff?

"This is a so called two-way-diff view of the old and new configuration
that is often used by programmers. Red lines have been removed and green
lines have been added." as a tooltip?

> f. the recommendation is to replace the file, but the default is "Keep".

Done.

Changed in aptdaemon (Ubuntu):
importance: Undecided → Medium
status: New → Triaged
Changed in aptdaemon (Ubuntu):
status: Triaged → In Progress
Matthew Paul Thomas (mpt) wrote :

Hey Sebastian.

a. You're right, if the alert is resizable it makes sense for it to be maximizable.

b. What do you mean by "the header from the message"? Do you mean the "Replace your changes in..." string? Or is there a separate header that currently isn't being shown?

c. A question mark icon is the least specific icon that an alert could use. Can we be more specific by using the icon of the app that requested the task, in this case Software Updater?

d. I think it's safer just to pull the filename out and put it on its own line, rather than including it in a sentence.

e. We could show the diff using labelled colors, without using "-" or "+" characters.

This sketch combines these suggestions (except that it's missing the resizability). What do you think?

Am Freitag, den 19.07.2013, 15:32 +0000 schrieb Matthew Paul Thomas:

> b. What do you mean by "the header from the message"? Do you mean the
> "Replace your changes in..." string? Or is there a separate header that
> currently isn't being shown?
>
> c. A question mark icon is the least specific icon that an alert could
> use. Can we be more specific by using the icon of the app that requested
> the task, in this case Software Updater?

The question mark informs the user that the dialog doesn't represent a
warning or even an error. That is a valuable information.

Why should we show the icon of the application? Since e.g.
update-manager is the parent window the user should be aware that this
is an update-manager related dialog.

> d. I think it's safer just to pull the filename out and put it on its
> own line, rather than including it in a sentence.
>
> e. We could show the diff using labelled colors, without using "-" or
> "+" characters.
>
> This sketch combines these suggestions (except that it's missing the
> resizability). What do you think?
>
> ** Attachment added: "draft design for the alert"
> https://bugs.launchpad.net/ubuntu/+source/aptdaemon/+bug/1197727/+attachment/3742770/+files/config-change.png

I don't understand how it works exactly. Do you want to have a toggle
button between keep and replace? What is the purpose of the continue
button? There isn't an ignore option at that point for the user.

The suggested diff viewer isn't very easy to implement. I will make a
small research if there is code that we could reuse. In the end it would
be nice to have a kind of editor which would allow a more detailed merge
of the configuration files instead of the all or nothing approach which
is currently taken.

Cheers,

Sebastian

Matthew Paul Thomas (mpt) wrote :

You choose which version you want by clicking anywhere on the pane showing that version. Which version is selected is shown by the border around it. It's simpler and more direct than having controls separate from the panes, though I guess it would require a bit of cleverness to make the panes selectable that way.

I wonder if you could use "wdiff --no-inserted" for the left pane, and "wdiff --no-deleted" for the right pane, using "--start-delete" etc to insert the Pango formatting commands for coloring the background of the changes.

Matthew Paul Thomas (mpt) wrote :

Sebastian, I've adjusted the design based on your comments:
- the question is more explicit because it's in the primary text
- the options use radio buttons rather than just clickable text fields
- the alert is now resizable.

It's true that "Continue" looks weird on its own, but that's an inevitable side-effect of dpkg operations not being cancellable. If that was fixed, this dialog could get a Cancel button.

Matthew Paul Thomas (mpt) wrote :
Changed in aptdaemon (Ubuntu):
assignee: Matthew Paul Thomas (mpt) → nobody
status: In Progress → Triaged
description: updated
To post a comment you must log in.
This report contains Public information  Edit
Everyone can see this information.

Other bug subscribers