Thursday, June 27, 2013

Testing all the things: Terminal App

I couldn't help but start with one of the core apps I consider essential (to me anyway!) on my phone, a terminal. The terminal app being developed for ubuntu has some wonderful features built with a touch interface in mind. One of the biggest issues with touch is having a terminal ready keyboard with things like page up and down, arrow keys, and not to mention being able to use keyboard shortcuts like ctrl+d, ctrl+z, ctrl+c, etc. This has been handled rather elegantly with a long tap menu as you can see below, in addition to a panel that optionally appears at the top of the application.

Dmitry Zagnoyko has already landed a few tests for some of the features present, as you can see below. Execellent work Dmitry! A basic testcase exists now for each of the panels and the circle menu.

Help Dmitry and the terminal app team make sure all the features work properly for you upon release. Get involved and add a test. The initial setup work has already been done, and there are existing testcases already written. Grab the terminal branch, add a testcase from the list of needs, follow the tutorial for help if needed, and propose a merge.


  1. The terminal app is a good example of showing that the default bash prompt is broken. It would be better to have user name, host name and path in one line, and the prompt in another. This way you would have a chance to write something without it being line wrapped.

    1. That's an interesting idea. You can have the prompt be whatever you wish, so adding a newline at the end (or just having a # or $) is all easily doable enough. As far as default I'd guess most people would want it to be similar to there desktop. I'll have to try adding a newline to my PS1 variable and see how I like it :-)

    2. Having the prompt always start at the same position seems more logical to me and I have changed it years ago. The whole bashrc needs an update IMHO (could have better defaults).

      user@hostname [path] [cvs info]

  2. A feature that I find indispensable on the desktop is transparency. If I can have a webpage up behind the terminal app on the phone and a transparent terminal above it (not sure if that is even possible on a phone) I can easily read and write simultaneously. This would be handy for developers and testers, if it is possible to have semi transparent overlaid apps. A semi transparent text editor/IDE would be nice on a phone, mainly for comparing things. Anyhow a POSIX compliant phone is mind-blowingly cool. A Turing complete phone terminal is also awesome. A DBA can simply look at their phone grab a shell script from U1 and use a terminal, while sitting on a park bench or in line at the store. It might be nice to have a customizable shortcut menu for people using their phone for work.
    uPhone is such an incredible idea!