Blank slate helps you get started
When you run a program to create a new piece of data (document, image, audio), you often get presented with a blank slate that has some default configuration, as in the page size for print-oriented media. You must then figure out the program's conventions for making that default blank slate into something actually useful.
Also, programs have different ways of offering you templates that you can start with instead of using a blank page. Sometimes these go into a "File / New from template" command, sometimes in more obscure places, but this is far from standardized.
A program may even offer other ways of creating a new document: from the contents of the clipboard, from a scan or a screenshot, etc.
The purpose of the "blank slate" scheme is to gather all the ways to "get started", into a good UI pattern.
I've described this in this pattern page.
This is in an early state; right now that wiki page has a description of the problem, some examples of current practice, and some preliminary discussion.
The question is whether we should provide a standard, GtkBlankSlate megawidget that applications then use as a basis for their "startup window". This would have two sections:
Create | Recently-used [mode1] [mode2] [mode3] | +--------------------+ | | foo.doc | | | | | | | | | | | | | | +--------------------+
On the left, the "Create" side has options to create a new document in the various ways that the program may allow it. The GIMP may want "empty image", "from clipboard", "from scanner", etc. LibreOffice may want "text document", "spreadsheet", etc., plus some templates.
On the right, the "Recently-used" list lets the user get started with a file he already used, without having to go through the extra step of the File/Open command.
This megawidget is not the right thing for all applications. For example, in the wiki page listed above, people wrote about starting new games or loading saved games. Games may want to have different screens but with a similar spirit. For these cases, we can publish well-known style class names so that apps can say, "this label has the same look as the big 'Create' label in the standard GtkBlankSlate".
How to help
See the Blank slate helps you get started page and read it. Discuss it there, please!
If you have a document-type application with particular needs, please put them down in that page to get a bigger picture of the whole problem.