Ubuntu Software Updater

  • Personal project

Ubuntu’s software updater originally presented updates as a long list of Debian package names, which was a source of confusion for some users. After a conversation at the Ubuntu Developer Summit, I participated in a rewrite of its UI code following a set of wireframes designed by Matthew Paul Thomas.

Michael Terry worked on a major refactor to support Python 3, while I focused on updating dialogs with new layouts, and improving the flow between those dialogs. I changed the list of packages to use a tree structure, grouped by applications. The list of applications is drawn from application metadata and package metadata, while the grouping itself is based on a set of rules involving package dependencies.

I enjoyed working on a real GTK+ application that is seen by millions of users. I certainly needed to pay extra attention to performance, as well as being careful that the changes I made were simple and understandable so the application would be easy to maintain in the future.