File transfers and Empathy/2

With the old dialog you had a window for each file transfer but this could be a problem if you are transferring more than a couple of files at the same time. So this week I rewrote the file transfer dialogs and submitted the patch to add file transfer to Empathy (see bug #462172).

The new file transfer dialog

The new dialog is copied from Epiphany but I had to make some changes because we cannot open automatically each received file, so I added a Firefox-like clear button. The thing I don’t like in the window is that it communicates the current progress in three different ways: the percentage (“30 %”), the number of transferred bytes (“8.4 MB of 27.6 MB”) and the remaining time (“00.05”).

Sending a file

Receiving a file

15 thoughts on “File transfers and Empathy/2

  1. Ugh, HTML broken, form is linking to the second movie.

    Square progressbars == ugliness. I’d rather move the progress bar where the “X of Y” is and place that info on the bar (and drop the useless 30% info).


  2. Nice, but I’d rather have the file transfer inside a conversation window, like the -otherwise inferior- windows messenger does.
    A file transfer through instant messaging is almost always part of a conversation (e.g. picture/movie files) and should also stay visually part of it. So I think you should be able to accept the file transfer, watch its progress and open the file all from within the conversation window. That way the file transfer would be really integrated in the conversation. Maybe both approaches could exist at the same time…

    Anyway, very nice to see file transfers arriving in empathy. Thanks!


  3. Those three things communicate three diferent things: Proportion completed, total size and time remaining. More succinctly, how much, of what, and when.

    They do all represent progress, though.


  4. @Patrys:
    HTML fixed.
    I don’t want to modify the dialog unless I can modify the dialog in epiphany in the same way, so we can maintain some consistencies.

    @Peter Van den Bosch:
    Empathy is composed by two libraries (libempathy and libempathy-gtk) and two small programs (empathy and empathy-accounts). This means that you can use the libraries from other programs, so you could have a program using Empathy for file transfers but without chat functionalities. Therefore I don’t want to have file transfer that depends on the chat.
    However, I’m planning to add at least some notifications to the chat when you start/stop/etc. a file transfer, something similar to what pidgin already has.

    Do we really need all of them?


  5. I agree with Patrys, I think the percentage is the least useful since the progress bar itself gives exactly the same information. That said, I would move “X of Y” as well as estimated time onto the bar, because that’s were I would look for any progress information. Plus the bar would get longer and, as Patrys said, nicer.

    The HIG might be interesting too:


  6. Does the download dialog use a download notification icon like the epiphany one? If epiphany and empathy are downloading at the same time, are two download windows/notification icons visible (I hope not)?

    By the way, Epiphany would like to switch to Mathusalem if/when it’s finished: see and

    P.S. For a moment there, I thought Empathy was ported to OS/2…


  7. I agree that the dialog should appear as the same in epiphany. Ideally there should be some kind of dbus application that sites in the notification area which handles all transfers, whether from a torrent client, empathy or epiphany.

    I think this was being developed at one time for a SOC project but I think it got abandoned.


  8. I agree with the square progress bar being ugly. I propose the removal of the text percentage and replace the progress bar with a pie chart. Nonetheless, very nice improvements.


  9. Could you put the progress window in a seperate application, that uses d-bus to find out the status of the downloads.
    Then it would be easy to let multiple applications show download status in the same window.
    People do not care if you are downloading with epiphany, transfering a file with nautilus, gaim or using empathy.
    A step in the right direction would be if your (or any other) application did this, then other could join the party. Good luck.


  10. Why not make the progress bar take up most of the width of the Transfers window, like it does in most Web browsers? That way, it’s easier to see whether the download has finished if you’re looking at it from a distance, doing something away from the computer while you wait. Put the details below (or above) the progress bar, e.g. “2.1 MB of 8.2 MB, about 2 minutes”.


  11. @mpt:
    Because the dialog was written by Epiphany developers and I want to keep them as close as possible.
    Probably I will propose some changes in the Epiphany dialog in the next weeks.


  12. I appreciate your desire for consistency, but I don’t think the current Epiphany layout is good enough for consistency to be worthwhile yet. And it would be easier to propose changes to the Epiphany developers if you’ve already shown that they can work. 😉

    (By the way, your “Sending a file” screencast would be simpler if it showed you just dragging the file from the desktop onto the recipient — instead of going into a context menu to select a menu item that opened a filepicker for you to select a file that was sitting there in plain sight the whole time.)


  13. IMHO Gnome really should have a unified download manager that lives in the tray that epiphany, torrents, nautilus, empathy etc can all use. Like Jon mentioned, I remember a project that did this but then it just sadly disappeared…


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