XSF Discussion - 2022-06-01

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  257. MattJ There night be room for a simpler ad-hoc protocol perhaps
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  259. MattJ It wouldn't be too hard to implement on the server with the same underlying commands
  260. MattJ But I think it's mainly forms that are the issue
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  262. MattJ Building good UIs is hard, and just chaining together a bunch of controls of different types doesn't suffice for anything but the most basic prompts
  263. MattJ I spent a whole day implementing a user-friendly time zone selector recently, and there's just no way it could be reasonably done with data forms, and yet I don't expect every client to implement a timezone selector control just for the 1 or 2 services that might use it
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  267. MattJ The logical step up would be allowing a HTML/CSS form, but the problems with that are hopefully obvious
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  269. mathieui Should I summarize with "we can never have nice things"
  270. MattJ HTML 5 has a lot of form-related improvements that XEP-0004 doesn't, and if we don't adopt HTML itself and still want to pursue dataform UIs, we'd probably want to at least adopt some things that HTML has gained
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  272. MattJ But then client complexity increases, and will ultimately warrant a HTML renderer (i.e. web view) and then in 10 years people will be complaining that we didn't just allow HTML forms
  273. MattJ And all of this falls into the products vs protocols dichotomy, since it's only needed when the clients are supposed to interoperate with arbitrary unknown services
  274. MattJ A client could instead support a nice native UI for biboumi configuration
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  303. goffi MattJ: what was needed for your form? Would something like XEP-0141 helps? Regarding the particular time-zone selection, this seems generic enough to me to worth a dedicated field-type.
  304. goffi But yeah HTML/CSS forms would be interesting, I've had similar thoughs when I've been working on the ad-hoc based remoted control.
  305. goffi despite obvious security implications, there would be issues also for TUI/CLI clients, or any UI libraries not supporting direct HTML rendering/webview (like Kivy). But still, it would be nice to have.
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  314. MattJ goffi: to be fair most of the complexity ended up on the server side for that (gathering, formatting and sorting the available options). Things that wouldn't be possible in XMPP currently would be automatically detecting the user's current time zone (available from the browser) and preselecting it for them.
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  319. lovetox Html/CSS form? So the sender decides how the UI looks? Meh ...
  320. MattJ https://matthewwild.co.uk/share.php/6f7928f5-264f-4b99-9448-c4242e63d353/Screenshot_20220601-105723.png
  321. MattJ https://matthewwild.co.uk/share.php/48a62fb3-e918-40d6-970f-e82878cd46fd/Screenshot_20220601-105639.png
  322. MattJ Example of a responsive UI that just can't be done in XMPP today
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  324. lovetox I don't know what you mean, what has xmpp to do with UI
  325. MattJ Data forms have everything to do with UI
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  327. MattJ When clients display them to users
  328. lovetox Responsive is a web dev term to me
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  330. MattJ It's not a web dev term, have you used Gajim on a Linux mobile?
  331. lovetox I'm sure converse can build a responsive form
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  334. MattJ Converse doesn't have the necessary information to make a responsive form
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  338. lovetox What information is missing
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  340. MattJ If we agree that a good user interface is one that is structured logically for the data it is presenting/requesting, and that a simple flat list of controls often does not suffice, then layout is an important part of the form designer's job
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  344. MattJ And given that people access the forms on a range of screen sizes and orientations, it is also the form designer's job to ensure it functions well across all of them
  345. MattJ HTML/CSS has a bunch of problems, but they do give you the tools to do this. XEP-0004+XEP-0141 do not.
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  350. goffi In the special case of the experiment I've made with XMPP powered remote control, I've add to make dedicated UI. It would be nice to be able to specify from the sender, and also to add stuff like volume control, timer, etc. Cf. https://www.goffi.org/b/74BwHSApD7w7Tr9L9fvR82/news-control-your-media-player-from-omemo and notably the first video.
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  353. goffi I've had*
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  359. MattJ Yeah, good example
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  368. Dele Olajide >MattJ : Converse doesn't have the necessary information to make a responsive form It doesn't, but it has a plugin that does. https://github.com/conversejs/community-plugins/tree/master/packages/adaptive-cards https://adaptivecards.io/
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  371. MattJ Right, but XEP-0004 doesn't carry the necessary information, is my point
  372. MattJ Am I reading rightly that the converse.js plugin is interpreting Adaptive Card JSON in <body/>? 😬
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  380. Dele Olajide https://xmpp.org/extensions/xep-0335.html
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  388. Zash 👉️ XEP-0141: Data Forms Layout https://xmpp.org/extensions/xep-0141.html
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  413. goffi regarding the remote control, I was thinging that SVG could actually be a neat way to do elaborated UI
  414. goffi and it's XML, making it straightforward to link in XMPP
  415. goffi it can be responsive too.
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  418. goffi and there are plenty of tools that could be used, in particular inkscape.
  419. goffi No exactly sure about the security implications though.
  420. Zash "Complete this game of Tetris to enable the thing"
  421. Zash So, is XEP-0141 something we should obsolete? Or is it just unknown?
  422. goffi it has been mentioned twice today, so it's not unknown. But I don't think that there are many implementation in the wild, or are there?
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  462. lovetox XEP-0141 seems to add light layout caps
  463. lovetox like adding a section or have different pages
  464. lovetox but thats about it
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  471. lovetox MattJ, probably searches for much more detailed layout
  472. lovetox i think, sure it would be cool, but i discovered no form in the wild where i thought i need to add a custom layout because the simple field list doesnt cut it
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  474. lovetox so lots of complexity for probably very few and niche use cases
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  477. Zash > Right, but XEP-0004 doesn't carry the necessary information, is my point So what's missing and what is actually needed?
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  480. Zash Does chat clients really _need_ full HTML forms (with CSS layouts)?
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  482. Zash I like to think that a lot of nice things could be done by inventing datatypes with xep-0122 and then having clients do nice things where it knows those data types. E.g. a timezone type could be smart about its default, even show a map selector.
  483. lovetox its either css or nothing, like what do you want to do otherwise, invent a whole new layout language that works with all the different ui frameworks out there ..
  484. lovetox im all for more hints about what the data is that we should display, and i think this can be easy done
  485. lovetox but starting with stuff like "display this filed on the right side from that field"
  486. lovetox i probably not going to implement something like that, sounds like a lot of work with very little gain
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  495. moparisthebest MattJ: yea XMPP can't be taken seriously if you can't implement a proper date picker like https://i01000101.github.io/RedditBadUIBattles/ScientificDatePicker/index.html
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  574. MattJ To be clear, I'm personally not advocating adding this complexity into XMPP at all. I just see it as a necessity if we really started using ad-hoc for important things. We don't support this complexity today, which means ad-hoc commands will never be used for more than very simple things (if clients implement them at all).
  575. Zash Egg, meet chicken?
  576. MattJ I don't think today's ad-hoc + dataforms leads to good UIs, and that's why I don't push for them in modern XMPP clients
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  579. MattJ Ad-hoc commands with a native UI is fine, and clients already do this (e.g. for creating invitations)
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  581. lovetox i thin adhoc has also value in simply providing a flow for whatever
  582. lovetox like if some XEP wants to provide some options to configure something on the server etc, they can simply reuse adhoc
  583. lovetox without inventing there own iq flow
  584. MattJ Yeah, I agree. And as I said earlier, it might be nice to simplify it somewhat (many of the awkward edge cases are caused by features that aren't used)
  585. lovetox as a client developer im not against adding a custom UI for some adhoc workflow, (not my standard rendering of a dataform)
  586. lovetox if its a good feature and it benefits from a custom UI why not
  587. lovetox but of course the fields should be fixed than
  588. MattJ Yep
  589. lovetox MattJ, about what are you thinking that you would like to do with adhoc?
  590. Zash Yeah, well-known ad-hoc commands with client-side custom UI can be nice.
  591. lovetox like until now only server and muc configs are done with adhoc
  592. lovetox i think the standard dataform rendering is fine enough for that use case
  593. lovetox as its very expert use case
  594. Zash MUC config is dataforms, but not ad-hoc
  595. lovetox yeah sorry
  596. lovetox actually it does not matter if its adhoc
  597. MattJ Well that's kind of what started this discussion: why do only the "advanced" clients implement ad-hoc commands + dataforms
  598. lovetox the problem for MattJ is the dataform rendering
  599. lovetox it does not matter in which context
  600. lovetox but its really dataform rendering ...
  601. lovetox not adhoc
  602. lovetox adhoc of course is a expert use case, because its only used for muc config and server config
  603. lovetox and server config is not really neccessary at all
  604. lovetox not even sure admins use this
  605. MattJ FWIW one thing on my to-do list is a XEP for user account config
  606. moparisthebest that would be excellent, could probably get rid of those terrible servers that blanket block all messages from strangers for all accounts
  607. Zash Step 0: define scope of that 🙂
  608. lovetox MattJ, but what needs to be specified in that XEP?
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  610. lovetox adhoc on account is already available
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  612. Zash Something like XEP-0133 but for users?
  613. lovetox Adhoc is only necessary for transport config and server admin config
  614. lovetox thats the reason its last on the list for every client
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  616. lovetox these are not important things users need
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  618. lovetox thats the reason in my opinion, and certainly not because its "to hard to implement"
  619. MattJ moparisthebest, yes, that's definitely one of the first things I would like to expose and standardize
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  621. MattJ lovetox, on my list of things the XEP should support: a registry of options, types, an ad-hoc command to fetch and set them, and a mechanism to get, set and subscribe to changes in individual options
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  626. lovetox so basically you specify a set of options which should be available via adhoc@account
  627. lovetox and then add a notification thingy on top
  628. lovetox i think this is great, please stay with adhoc for fetching and setting the options
  629. lovetox because many servers offer already on adhoc account options
  630. lovetox it would be less ideal if i have to merge this with some other mechanism
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  645. MattJ Ad-hoc will be one way of doing it, but I expect most clients won't use it
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  707. lovetox Why?
  708. lovetox Again, nothing about Adhoc is complicated or hard to implement, every other IQ flow is exactly the same
  709. lovetox the reason clients dont implement adhoc is because its not needed
  710. lovetox its basically only used by nerdy xmpp people that want to admin there server
  711. lovetox there is zero reason for any client to implement adhoc
  712. mathieui lovetox: except for configuring stuff
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  714. mathieui Even non-nerdy people want to be able to configure their bridged accounts
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  723. lovetox no, nobody even knows what a bridge is
  724. Zash no, nobody uses XMPP!
  725. mathieui I beg to differ
  726. moparisthebest what do non-nerdy people bridge with? certainly not IRC
  727. mathieui We see plenty of non-technical people actively wanting bridges
  728. lovetox i dont see your argument, i said there is zero reason to implement this, and you argue "but bridge configuration" which is about the most expert thing there is on xmpp
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  730. lovetox they want bridges, they dont want to configure them
  731. lovetox they simply want them to work
  732. lovetox and most work fine without any configuration
  733. lovetox im not arguing that adhoc is not useful, im saying its not a good reason to not use adhoc, because "no client implements it"
  734. lovetox when the xmpp specs simply have no widley used usecase which uses adhoc
  735. lovetox then saying, clients dont implement it because its to complicated
  736. lovetox hence lets not use adhoc
  737. lovetox no event another iq flow, with 2 attributes less
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  739. lovetox but im looking forward to see the iq flow that is so much simpler than adhoc, but offers exactly the same functionality
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  741. Zash https://cerdale.zash.se/s/liKMWWH34XlTeqJG_jRqm2VB/823603e4-9b69-4287-ad79-26d6584fd749.png
  742. moparisthebest accurate
  743. MattJ lovetox, I want to support setting one option at a time, and that's a bit weird to do via ad-hoc. It would at least turn it into multiple round-trips when only a single one was necessary.
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  747. MattJ I want to present an ad-hoc interface to the configuration for clients that want to present the configuration all at once to a user (in a native or dataforms-driven UI).
  748. Zash {get,set,enable,disable}-${option} ?
  749. lovetox MattJ, if there are valid protocol reason to not do adhoc for something, because it does not fit, im all for it
  750. lovetox but please dont base any decision on the count of clients that implement adhoc
  751. Zash Hm, maybe one could make a thingy that exposes ad-hoc commands via a chat interface, probably on the bare host JID....
  752. lovetox clients implement jingle, adhoc is laughable
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  754. lovetox adhoc is 200 lines of code in nbxmpp, and thats is with boilerplate
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  756. lovetox i think what people confuse this with is, displaying dataforms in a UI
  757. lovetox this is certainly not trivial
  758. lovetox but is not inherent to Adhoc
  759. lovetox a muc configuration form is also a dataform
  760. lovetox a IBR flow has also a dataform
  761. Zash + not enough existing commands or other dataforms using things exposed that warrant implementing the UI translation routines, which I hear can be pretty complicated on some platforms
  762. lovetox correct, for IBR everybody uses the same dataform basically
  763. lovetox Conversations never had a dataform UI, and IBR worked fine
  764. Zash It's also got a reduced MUC config interface, which is probably fine for the majority
  765. lovetox For MUC config you dont need dataform UI, because most servers offer the standard configs, and only very few addtional
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  849. Maranda > <lovetox> Conversations never had a dataform UI, and IBR worked fine I dissent slightly on that
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  851. lovetox Yeah you are one of the very few that adds custom additions to IBR
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  853. Maranda I had to specifically add exceptions for C not supporting extended fields in IBR or even just the supplemental ones
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  856. Maranda In Metronome that is
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  880. Holger > Yeah you are one of the very few that adds custom additions to IBR Chicken egg, I'd love to do that as well, but client side support is close to nonexistent.
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  882. Holger (Not just Conversations.)
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  925. wgreenhouse > they want bridges, they dont want to configure them a bridge needs some way to enter authentication/account details for $other_network if applicable
  926. wgreenhouse sure, maybe that can be a bot
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