[Qgis-developer] Vienna hackfest: QGIS Legend discussion

Bernhard Ströbl bernhard.stroebl at jena.de
Wed Mar 26 00:06:20 PDT 2014

Hi Olivier,

I like your ideas, currently the layer settings dialog is a bit crowded 
and easy access is certainly a plus. More comments below.

Am 26.03.2014 01:07, schrieb Olivier Dalang:
> Hi !
> Great news !
> (by the way, I'm crossposting to qgis-ux as well)
> I've been thinking about this a little and have some more long term
> ideas I want to share (see the mockup below, it may be more clear):
> 1. Trivalent checkboxes (neutral, visible, hidden) (#5787)
> When neutral, a layer/group is shown if it's parent is shown (top level
> neutral elements are shown).
> When hidden, a layer/group is hidden regardless of its parents.
> When visible, a layer/group is shown regardless of its parents.
> This would make big groups much more usable. Cinema4D's object manager
> features this, and its very efficient. Also Qt's checkboxes can be
> tristate out of the box, so it may not be that hard to implement.
> 2. Display the data source as an icon in a column on the left (not
> indented, separated by a thin vertical line)
> The icon would help to know whether it's a WMS, Shapefile, postgis, etc.
> layer.
> The icon would be grayed out when the source is unavailable.
> Right clicking on the source would only source related actions (subset,
> relink source, save data as, open in db manager, ...).
> It would make the distinction between layer and source much clearer.
> This distinction is obvious for experienced GIS users, but I've seen a
> lot of beginners being very confused because of that (software working
> with external links/files are quite rare for common usage). We could
> also display the "edit pencil" on the source, giving one more hint to
> the user that he's not modifying the QGIS file, but the datasource behind.

What you write about beginners is also my experience in several courses. 
So a big +1! I would like the distinction between layer and source 
related settings.

> 3. Display labels/diagrams/actions/etc. as icons just after the layer's name
> Allow for quick toggling of those frequently useful features.
> Right clicking allow for related actions (edit, set label expression, etc.)
> Imagine what plugins could add there !! Any per-layer setting could be
> shown as a tag. Think of Anita's TimeManager or Minoru's qgis2ThreeJs...
> We could put the snap settings there too, or new features like
> alternative styles, saved feature selections, snap settings, .... !!!

Hm, some thoughts (all IMHO):
- wouldn't it be more intuitive to left click on an icon (which would 
then open the layer settings with the appropriate section). Right 
clicking in the way you describe could be implemented additionally.
- Although this would be nice to have it makes the legend a lot broader 
which might be a problem on smaller screens.
- I would not put diagrams there as they are much more seldomly used 
than labels. I think most common usage is the style but I cannot see an 
icon for this in your mockup.
- +1 for having the snap options there (in addition to the dialog we 
have now).
- The current behavior (opening settings by double clicking/context menu 
on the layer name) should stay. I understand your proposal as an 
additional way to get there.


> Again, this is how Cinema4D's manager works (they call those icons
> "tags", and C4D makes extensive use of them). In their version, they
> align all the tags after another vertical bar, which may be the most
> elegant way to solve the layout with long layer's names.
> Conclusion.
> I think it's worth making the Legend GUI a bit more rich than it is now.
> This is the part of the GUI where the users spend most of their clicks,
> and IMO the potential efficiency bonus is by far worth the small
> complexification. And it's not only complexification, it's also
> clarification.
> The segregation of source/layer/addendi in the legend GUI will be very
> powerful in combination with contextual menus. By having three different
> contextual menus, we'll be able to have much more actions at finger
> tips, without over-crowding the menus.
> About Nyall's idea :
> +1 !
> It could be implemented as it is in Photoshop, i.e. group's blending
> mode is "transfer" by default, which simply draws the children as if
> there was no group. But setting the group's blending mode to anything
> else ("normal","multiply",...) composites the group as one layer, and
> blends that composition.
> Having this in the legend UI rather than in the layer style would also
> make the UI much clearer. Right now, the UI is a bit confusing because
> the transparency at layer level, feature level, and at color alpha level
> are almost at the same place.
> In general, using Photoshop as a reference for the UI in regard of
> layers/blending modes makes much sense since PS is the leader in that
> matter (as a remainder, they just have a drop-down menu at the top of
> the layer panel which applies to the selected layer).
> What do you think ?
> If the community likes the principles, I'd be happy to work on the
> mockup a bit more (by integrating Nydall's suggestion), so we can have a
> common reference for further development.
> Anyways, I'm very happy to know some improvements are in preparation !
> Kind regards,
> Olivier
> Images intégrées 1

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