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Re: Multiple Document Interfaces

From: Java script Dude
Subject: Re: Multiple Document Interfaces
Date: 28 May 2004 08:43:33 -0700

It's nice to see such passionate responses. I think some clarification
is warranted.

Firstly, maybe MDI is not the correct name for what I am asking. I am
- possibly incorrectly - using the term MDI as a broad description for
how to allow for several windows of information - list boxes,
outlines, text widgets, FS explorers - and not just applications
instances, within one application window. If there were a better name
for this I would gladly drop the TLA MDI.

In my view, the ability to group several instances of documents under
one application instance - having a window menu pick - is a feature of
MDI that I do not particularly need or even like. I find that the
window menu is a UI black hole and hides instances information from
the user. Without graphically displaying the instances of the
applications on the window at all times, the benefits of the feature

Instead, if a tab control is used to display the instances of files or
frames of data, the number of windows open in the WM can be reduced
without any loss of usability. Even though I do use a virtual desktop
to manage the groupings of application instances, without tabs in
applications the number of windows I have opened would triple.

There are some of the applications that I use daily that use this
multiple tab feature that could easily utilize a low level framework:

  Programmers editor: 
    I often have at least 5 files open at any given time. 5 windows
Apps used: KDE Kate and Ultra-Edit (win32)
    Apps avoided: BBEdit (too many address@hidden windows)

  Text Outliner:
    Again I have at least 5 tabs in any given text outline document.
    Apps used: NoteTaker, Ecco (win32)
    Apps avoided: OmniOutliner (great app, but too many @address@hidden windows
and files)

    We all take this one for granted but we all use those sheet tabs
    Apps used: OO Calc, Excel :|
  Programmers IDE:
    Nearly all production quality IDE's use this tab feature
    Apps used: Netbeans, Eclipse, KDevelop, Boa Constructor

  Web Browser:
    Any real browser allows for tabbed browsing. This is basically the
same feature. I simply can not live without it.
    Apps used: Mozilla, Safari  
    Apps avoided: NS 4.7, IE of course :]

I will never go back to the days of using apps that have multiple
windows to manage information with the above application types if I
have a application that allows for grouping of information available.
I'm 100% sure that I'm not alone with this one. I have worked with
multiple windows (such as BBEdit) and have just gotten pissed off with
having to constantly resize, move, hide... windows.

I would love to see somebody in the GNUStep world or Apple take this
one on. Maybe it will have to be me.

Unfortunately, my current job does not warrant any C/C++/Obj-C apps.
Instead, I   only need to develop Web based apps using Java, TCL,
Python, DHTML and Object Relational Data frameworks (PDM's). I'd love
to move to Obj-C but don't have any projects (yet).

Keep up the great work :)


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