but this didn't mesh with my own experience in kde. i didn't get the impression of 1500 different actions, applications and mimetypes. certainly i could picture 1500 items in the ui, but are they all unique? hmmmmm...
so i wrote a quick script that scoured my hard disk for all the icons used in kde and the various kde applications out there that i have installed (a rather large number) and put them all in one place without overwriting icons with the same names. i then looked at them in konqueror and it quickly became obvious that we had a huge amount of duplication:
- visual homonyms: icons that looked the same, even if they had different intended meanings (actions) behind them
- semantic homonyms: icons that have the same or similar meaning, even though they may look different
- plain old duplication
that last group is an interesting one: it's the result of application developers copying icons from other apps or even kdelibs itself and renaming them. why? various reasons: because the icon isn't in kdelibs, the icon is named after a different action, the application developer was using it as a placeholder until a "real" icon for their app was made (which often doesn't happen). the correct course of action is to either move the icon into kdelibs or not rename it if it is. in any case, with kde4 approaching we can consolidate a lot of this duplication. the homonyms are also cause for a huge amount of duplication.
so how to get a handle on it? i fired up digikam and started tagging. i did most of the tagging on slow evenings in paris and on the airplane flights.
doing this tagging is quite enlightening. over 70 tags so far (though more could be employed, and by the end of it likely will) and it requires at times a knowledge of the names used in the code for actions, usability principles and even a bit of icon art appreciation ... the results will get passed on to the artists who, i think, will be relieved to know that they have far, far fewer than 1500 icons to make.
as application developers, we should really try not to recreate this mess over the next 5 years as we did over the past 5 years.