Template talk:Application


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How to use this template

This is a template for adding a quick application summary to a page. To use it, enter

|image=<image address>
|caption=<image caption>
|name=<application name>
|maintainer=<current maintainer, author or company name>
|os=<Known OS *in*-compatibilities or requirements>
|desc=<brief description, 50–100 words>
|languages=<languages supported>
|url=<application homepage>
|alt=<any well-known equivalents>

The code sample shows a one-parameter-per-line layout. This is not mandatory, and you may choose to put multiple parameters on one line, as in

{{Application | image=banana.png | caption=banana …

Also, the parameters can be given in any order.

Please ensure you include all fields. If you need to leave a field empty, type it in anyway but supply 'None', 'None known' or 'Unknown' as the value, for example:


For an example of this template in use, see Confix or Grapevine.


The whole thing is positionable with CSS. It expects to find a class: "infobox bordered", which the current stylesheet doesn't have, but I'm planning on bringing up stylesheets in a separate comment at some point.

Almost all software that is likely to appear on this wiki will be largely OS-neutral, so in that case you only need to enter anything on the OS line if it doesn't work with all the current OS versions

Also it's easy enough to have this with more information in the normal text after the template.

How do you get the images the right size. E.g. WinSnap, MultiError?

Also, has there been any progress on the CSS front? I think the template would benefit a lot from being a bit wider.
Adamr 17:07, 9 October 2007 (BST)

Image size modifications within the template now removed entirely. Template made 10em wider (was 25em). However, I'm not sure about putting the application icon to the left or right (or both) of the name. Doing so does look OK for 34x34 icons, but I feel the better-quality 68x68 ones fit better underneath the application name. I've tried adding a Sample icon: field. Comments on this change appreciated.

See here for further details on image formatting.

Simon Smith 01:02, 13 October 2007 (BST)

Image Sizes

Hmm, although the images would be small, I don't think we should scale them because most aren't going to zoom very well. They're just simple little bitmap icons. How about altering the template so the image is to the left of the title? Then the size should fit OK. From a quick glance at the Wikipedia page, presumably leaving {{{size}}} out of the template would then show the images at 100%?

Also, if the size is specified, it makes more sense to specify the height rather than width since almost all icons will be 34 high, but many are wider.

Adamr 21:56, 9 October 2007 (BST)

I'm afraid I don't really agree. I did try the icons at 100% to see how they looked, and they were so small they looked 'lost'. My reasons for recommending a 2x magnification were:

  • The application icon at the top of a program is a distinctive picture of (and, in a way, an advertisement for) that app. Hence it needs to be large enough to be easily recognised. In my judgement, a 32x32 pixel icon wasn't really sufficient. This is partly an aesthetic consideration, I readily admit.
  • Trying at 640x480 and 1360x1024, a x2 magnification seemed to be a reasonable compromise image size that worked well across a wide range of display resolutions.
  • Some modern apps have Sprites11 files which are approx. 68 pixels square; obviously we would want to use the highest-quality application icons, and using a x2 magnification for the smaller 34x34 icons more or less standardises the sizes of 'application banner images' across all applications, whether we use the Sprites22 or Sprites11 image as the baseline.
  • At x2 magnification, while 34x34 application icons are chunkier than normal, they are not excessively so.
  • The smaller 34x34 icons can still be used at 100% size elsewhere on the site.
  • As far as I can tell from the Wiki docs, if you specify an image's size you'd specify the horizontal size first, then both horizontal and vertical. Specifying vertical only may make slightly more sense for RO application icons, but it's an unusual/unexpected usage, which may trip some people up. Hence I recommend sticking with horizontal size only unless or until that actually causes problems.

Simon Smith 15:36, 10 October 2007 (BST)

I've been thinking more about this and I'm still unconvinced. Taking your points in turn (& paraphrasing - sorry!)

the picture needs to be a banner/advert

Fair enough, but this isn't an appropriate use for an icon. These tiny little images are just not suitable for that job. For this case I don't think there should be an image in the template as most apps simply won't have a suitable picture available.

I felt that an application icon, while not ideal, is the most distinctive graphical representation for any given application. Hence I do feel it is helpful to have it present. However, see the caveat below. Simon Smith


Fair enough - if a high resolution image exists, it can be used at 100% (or less) as the page author decides

zoomed sprites don't look too bad

That's very subjective and going against the design considerations of the icon designer. I know I'm not happy about the way my MultiError icon looks when zoomed :(

Given we're not agreeing, perhaps the template should not specify a recommended size and should just leave it to the discretion of the individual page authors? Perhaps there's even a case for removing the image from the template entirely, since it looks quite messy on the pages with no image (which are the vast majority).

I'm about to address this by doing a bulk upload of icons. Let's see if you are still against the idea then. And if anyone else has any views, pro or anti. Simon Smith

Adamr 18:04, 12 October 2007 (BST)

Caveat: Even with a reasonable sample of icons uploaded – I'm doing most of those from the recommended software page, there are icon variations between RO 2,3,4,5 and 6. This raises the question of whether to supply multiple icons, and if not, whether to standardise, and upon which icon set. IMV the only ones big enough to use without scaling are the RO5 Sprites11 files, and only about 2% of common apps have such a set defined. So users of RO4 and RO6 will occasionally encounter unfamiliar icon versions for familiar applications. Is that a big problem? As an RO5 user, I'm not really in any position to say. Maybe it's just too early, and more Sprites11 files will be created in time, and eventually become the standard. Or maybe we'll be stuck with a horrible mix of 34x34 and 68x68 icons in perpetuity. Never mind, I'm uploading a batch of icons now as an experiment. If the consensus is that it sucks, the template is trivial to modify and I hope and think that doing so will make the unwanted icons disappear globally without further editing being needed. Simon Smith 23:12, 12 October 2007 (BST)

Having tried the x2 magnification in situ for a variety of applications, I see that it looks poor more often than it looks tolerable. Ideally we'd want 68x68 icons for as many apps as possible, but for now I'm just removing the size parameter from the template. That means all icons will display at 100% size. Simon Smith 01:02, 13 October 2007 (BST)

I think the new template design looks good and the icons fit in well like that. Also, good work uploading all those icons! :D
Adamr 22:14, 14 October 2007 (BST)

Template Style

I came up with the following as a possible style for the Application box.

 infobox bordered {

However, there's question of where it wants to end up.

Is it supposed to be an actual box with a snippet of information, and the rest of the page can contain a more detailed description? If so, then floating it right makes sense.

If it's only to provide compatibility between pages, and in general most apps aren't going to have much in the way of additional data, I think it wants to stay at its current position, ie: top left, not floated at all.

A snapshot of the cretin page with the above style implemented is at Media:Appbox.png

Oh, and I recommend using the Firebug extension for Firefox to play with stuff like this dynamically.

Jymbob 14:34, 19 October 2007 (BST)

The style looks great :) As for where it should go, I dunno really - what happens if it floats right but there's no other content on the page?
Adamr 12:37, 22 October 2007 (BST)

I like the new infobox style a lot, but I don't like it floated right at all. That may be OK for e.g. the Cretin page, but where the text in the info box is a bit longer – X-files for instance – I think it looks very ungainly right-floated. Left or centre would be better, I'd say. I slightly prefer left. Simon Smith 12:42, 22 October 2007 (BST)

Can you show a piccy of what the XFiles page looks like? Also, I think possibly the problem isn't the floating, so much as the fact that the description text is too long. The template should be designed to work with a short sentence describing what the program does. (A discussion of how it works seems more suited to being outside the template.)
Adamr 13:21, 22 October 2007 (BST)

XFiles floated left can be found at Media:xfiles.png. I did remove some text from the description to get this, as URLs don't wrap. Obviously, things still need tweaking, but I think it works. Jymbob 13:37, 24 October 2007 (BST)

... and floated right at Media:xfiles-right.png. Jymbob 13:41, 24 October 2007 (BST)

Meh, they both look good to me, with a slight preference for the floated-right version. Why not go ahead and make it live? :)
Adamr 10:33, 25 October 2007 (BST)

Both versions still look rather crowded to me. Could you give it a one em (or one en) border all around, so that the text doesn't crowd so much against the surrounding box? I'd have added the CSS myself, if I had the rights and knew for sure where it should best be entered. Common.css at a guess … ? While the long description for X-Files was one of the reasons I raised it as potentially problematic, that long URL was the other reason.

As far as the actual usage of the infobox is concerned, I foresee two common uses;

  1. e.g. DigitalCD – In this case the info box is all the information given for that application, and the info box probably looks best centred on the page. In other words the new box should more or less follow the current template layout, but with an attractive box and border. With no other text, floating is irrelevant.
  2. e.g. Firefox – In this case the info box is a summary of the main details on the application, but there is other information too. Potentially a lot. In this case a floated box might look OK.

However, the majority of apps are only likely only ever to get the minimalist treatment (a la DigitalCD), and never need more information, so I think it's important the infobox looks at least as good as the current layout. That suggests left or centre-aligned to me.

On the whole I think I'd prefer to control float and alignment at the template level rather than within the CSS.

Simon Smith 21:45, 26 October 2007 (BST)

Right. I also don't have rights to update the CSS documents (AFAIK), so I've been using Firebug[1] for Firefox, which allows me to edit it on the fly for just my local view of the site. I really don't have the time or the inclination to start creating snapshots of every possible variation of a style. I know it's a bit rough, but once a consensus has been reached, it can easily be polished. Of course, one of the easiest thing to change is where it's floated to, assuming we set all borders and margins to be the same on all sides.

I've been assuming monobook/main.css would be where it went, or possibly new_theme/main.css. However, as there's really not much styling going into it, I've put it in the table tag for now.

I'm generally averse to having long strings of URL all over the screen. after it hits a certain point, people aren't going to read it and type it in anymore, hence my shortening of the viewable section of the URL on the X-Files page.

I take your point regarding apps with only a minimal amount of text looking a little lost - especially when floated right - but I'm of the view that the infobox should be just that: a quick overview, an image and a link. I can see no reason why every app shouldn't have more in-depth information such as history, usage tips, common problems etc.

Of course, it wouldn't be too hard to set up a second template to enable both possibilities. Thoughts? Jymbob 10:12, 30 October 2007 (UTC)

Significant Template Change Proposal

Adding a few apps, it belatedly struck me that having Translations=None is a very English-centric way of looking at things. It would be more considerate to have Languages=English as the baseline default. Also, perhaps the Author= field should be updated to say Maintainer=, as that is the thing we are most interested in recording in the template. (c.f. Thump)

Comments? I do feel that if done, these changes should be done sooner rather than later to avoid wasting time re-jigging an ever-growing number of application templates. I'd also suggest setting the floated template width to 40% or so, and the non-floated template to 75% of screen width. (And personally I definitely prefer the non-floating one. The floater looked very odd on the StrongEd and Zap pages.) I haven't made these changes yet as they're rather wide-reaching already, but I'd certainly like to do so within a few days, provided there are no major objections.

Simon Smith 23:54, 7 November 2007 (UTC)

I'd agree with the Languages and Maintainer points. Is there a simple way to crawl the pages and change them all automatically, Peter? If not, may I suggest in the interim merely changing the text in bold to Author/Maintainer (or just Maintainer) but not the field name?

I'm fervently against using percentages for the template widths. Floated, it can get too small. Not floated the distance between the field titles and the information can get ridiculously large. I tend to view websites in browser widths from 700px to 1900px, and I doubt either extreme is going to look good.

I'm not against changing the widths per se, just using em values seems to make the most sense. Jymbob 14:01, 14 November 2007 (UTC)

Width% - OK.

Lang/Trans and Author/Maint. I've added these as additional items, hopefully in a way that will preserve what is already there. Will start applying changes piecemeal. Let's see how well the interim template works ... Simon Smith 14:53, 19 November 2007 (UTC)

OS compatibility in tabular format? e.g. like RISC OS Filebase. Mistakenly put this suggestion on Category_talk:Applications ... Trevj 07:48, 18 May 2010 (GMT)

Any reason to not make this point at an Applications category?

It's another way of sorting things, and I don't think it would cause any problems... --Bhtooefr 04:55, 1 October 2009 (UTC)

  • Done now. --Bhtooefr 00:12, 5 October 2009 (UTC)
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