On 24 Nov 2003 20:17:52 +0100, Sven Neumann <[EMAIL PROTECTED]> wrote:
> RaphaŽl Quinet <[EMAIL PROTECTED]> writes:
> > I am questioning this because I think that the fact that the toolbox
> > is "special" is an artificial limitation that should go away in a
> > future release in order to make the user interface more consistent and
> > easier to use.
> 
> This discussion is about proper defaults for GIMP-2.0, not some future
> plans.

I started this discussion without mentioning 2.0 and thinking more
about where we want to go in the future.  This may of course have some
influence on 2.0 (i.e., it may be better to set a normal WM hint on
all docks as mentioned in bug #115092) but I was more interested in
"what are our goals for the user interface?" than in "what is the next
step towards that goal?" because the former influences the latter.

[...]
> > Wouldn't this be easier to understand and work with?  The user simply
> > has a number of control windows in which several dockable items can be
> > organized in any way they want.  And none of them is more "special"
> > than the others.
> 
> I seriously doubt that this would make it easier for the user. In my
> opinion it only adds an completely unneeded level of configurability
> and thus complexity.

This is something that we can probably not decide ourselves.
Everybody on this list is a developer or at least an experienced GIMP
user, influenced by the history of the GIMP.  The best way to check
what is best for the user interface would be to ask some new users,
especially those who have never used a previous version of the GIMP
such as 1.2.x.  Or maybe we could involve the GNOME usability people?

> The GIMP should have a common window that
> everyone (and the docs) can refer to as "the toolbox". I don't see any
> good reason of changing this.

In most cases, a new user will have two GIMP windows that have more or
less the same size: in the current docs, one of them is refered to as
"the toolbox" and the other one is just a "dock".  Both of them have
roughly the same importance: they control what happens to the image,
and it is possible to move (almost) all dockable items freely between
these windows.  Both of them are managed in (almost) the same way.

For what reason do we want to call one of them "the toolbox" and treat
it in a special way in the code and in the docs?  Why couldn't we call
any of the top-level control GIMP windows "a toolbox" or "a dock",
without having to care about how this window was created?  If the list
or grid of tools can be moved to any dock, wouldn't it be more
appropriate to use the term "toolbox" for whatever window happens to
contain the tool icons?  I think that the documentation would be
simpler and the user interface would be easier to use if we could just
say "drop this URL on any GIMP dock to open the image" or if we could
refer to the toolbox as the area that contains the tools and is hosted
in any of the GIMP docks without having to associate it automatically
with the presence of the main menu and the (obsolete) indicators.

So call me thick if you want (or just persistent), but I still do not
see a good reason to have this artificial difference between the
toolbox and the other docks.  The argument from Simon about the
"minimal GIMP GUI" seemed interesting at first, but on second thought
it is not very good either: as the current toolbox window is also a
dock containing several tabs, it is usually far from "minimal".  A
better "minimal GIMP GUI" would only show the toolbox (i.e., just the
list or grid of tool icons) and maybe the menu, but not any of the
other dockable items.  So we would be back to the same argument: all
docks could be treated in the same way.  The user would simply have
one or several top-level GIMP windows (docks) in which she can
organize various controls acting on the image windows.

-RaphaŽl
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