Unity 6.4 landed in Ubuntu 12.10 with Previews (by default) and numerous fixes
Weeks ago, the developers published (as official launchpad branches) Previews, a new Unity addition that allows the user, by right-clicking on an item, to summon a preview directly inside the Dash, preview featuring big-sized thumbnails, titles, size, format, etc, basically an accurate filled-with-details preview.
Starting with Previews’s first public “appearance”, the users have manifested a solid amount of positive feedback, thus transforming the Previews into a definitely awaited feature.
Unity 6.4 landed in Ubuntu 12.10, introducing, along with numerous optimizations and fixes, thePreviews (enabled by default).
Using the Previews is as simple as opening the Dash and right-clicking on items, action supported both “fully” (featuring clear big-sized image previews) by video clips, images, applications, PDF files, Ubuntu One music albums, and regularly (presenting a generic icon for the displayed thumbnails) for archives, folders, music tracks, text files, etc.
Previews are not mere previews, but present the user a fancy preview functionality paired with details and handy actions, actions related to the previewed item; consequently, previewing an image, exposes three buttons,
Show in Folder (opens its of-origin folder) and
Open (opens the image with its default file handler), previewing an installed app, exposes
Uninstall (1-click away uninstall process) and
Launch, previewing an available-for-installation app, exposes
Developer Site and
Install, previewing an Ubuntu One music album, presents the
Download button, clicking on it, opens the album via Rhythmbox, etc, basically, a properly selected bundle of useful actions, definitely a plus for usability, immediate installation, accurate file localization, etc.
Along with the mentioned functionalities, the music previews (accessible under Unity Music lens) add a fancy interesting way of dealing with online files, meaning, searching an album by typing an album name in the search area, exposes matched albums, right-clicking on an album, previews it, displaying an image preview and contained songs; hovering the mouse pointer over a number of a track (like for instance, hovering the pointer over
3 being represented as the number of track, in cases like 1.Mycustomtrack, 2.Anothercustomtrack, 3.Customxtrack), “transforms” the number into playing controls (such as play and pause), clicking on play, plays the track, furthermore, visually enhancing the track playing progress via a fancy gradient-enabled “line”.
Unity 6.4 introduces
Backlight Toggles as the default launcher backlight mode (as opposed to the “old”
Backlight Always ON), meaning, installing Ubuntu, “faces” the user with Unity launcher’s tile “light” ON when active/opened, closing an application (yet being locked to the launcher), displays the app without light.
In various situations, in order to reach an icon, the user must scroll the Unity launcher, process (according to various users) featuring a slow scrolling action, issues resolved in the new 6.4 release by adding an increased scroll speed on the Unity launcher.
Months ago, the developers published (as experimental) Coverflow, a Dash addition that positions Dash icons via a coverflow, fancy effect suitable to horizontally scroll through numerous icons.
The coverflow effect has been integrated in Unity by default, yet being implemented (at the moment) with a limited set of functionalities (like for instance, without the ability to toggle Dash’s icon view between the coverflow and the regular icon view).
The coverflow view can be observed and used in the Music lens (for Ubuntu One music albums) and Unity Applications lens (for
Apps Available for Download); its usage is as simple as clicking&holding&moving items, action that adds a pleasant-to-eye effect.
Visually switching between opened applications is usually performed via the Alt+Tab Switcher, polished switcher that, when “scrolling” through apps, automatically updates the Unity panel’s displayed app title with its current “focused” app title; the new behavior freezes the Unity panel’s app title to its current state, meaning, opening Gedit (thus
Text Editor is displayed on the Unity panel), keeps the
Text Editor on the Unity panel while switching between opened apps with the Alt+Tab Switcher (the panel is not updated anymore).
Unity Previews’ default implementation is definitely a key point for Unity, responding to widely expressed demands of “something” to be accessed via right-click, “something” to offer additional informations/details as related to items exposed in the Dash, as well as transforming the Dash into a even more familiar and friendly interface, properly handling installed and about-to-be-installed apps, instant opening of Rhythmbox directly into a specific page, etc.