Date: Tue, 30 Oct 2007 21:44:56 +0000
From: David Marrs <[EMAIL PROTECTED]>
All Mac software ported to Windows uses the parent window model
because - I suspect - it's the simplest solution to the "where goes
the omni-present menu bar?" problem. You put it at the top of an
omni-present window that has to be maximised and you've got a
makeshift Mac desktop. It's not elegant and it usually doesn't work
very well (see Photoshop pre CS2 for details). Most (if not all)
Unix WMs already share MS Windows's behaviour of every window
containing its own menu bar, so why try and solve a problem that's
Windows users hate the Gimp's current layout because it forces them
to work using scaled windows. Windows users like to maximise
*everything*, in case you hadn't noticed. I wouldn't be surprised
if a large fraction of Windows/Gimp users maximise their canvases
and then use alt-tab to access their tool dialogues. It also
doesn't help that the default layout is very hungry of space. The
first thing I do after installing Gimp is to reduce the size of the
toolbox to something that leaves some room on my screen.
I think your own mock-up is a far superior solution to an MDI
layout, especially if slave windows could be rolled up or otherwise
made invisible. It allows one to work full screen, removes the
confusing CDI structure and also reduces the problem of task bar
clutter. I also think that extending the tool dialogue's tabbing
feature to the canvas windows would be very natural and help the
clutter problem as well. You could have several canvas windows each
containing many images in tabs. You could even go as far as
allowing tabs to be moved between the tool dialogues and canvas
windows so that an overview could be nested directly beneath the
layers tab, for example.
As long as we're talking about all this, I'd rather see things go the
other way -- each image has its own toolbox, set of dialogs (perhaps
in a sidebar, or as slide-outs or slide-ins), etc.
Let's take layers as an example (because this is one of the more
annoying ones to me). Having only one layers dialog has two
1) I can only see the layer stack of one image at a time.
2) If I move the mouse from one image to another (even if the mouse is
in transit), GIMP switches which image's layers are displayed.
One way of looking at this is that this is a problem with focus
follows mouse (actually focus strictly follows mouse in my case,
but I don't think that that matters here). The other way of
looking at it is that this is a problem with dialogs that are
related to a document being shared between multiple documents, so
there's only one "active" document at a time.
My preferred way of working is to have lots of open windows at a time.
Sometimes a window that I'm working in at the moment (emphasis on "at
the moment" -- I don't really have a notion of "this is what I'm
working on now", I jump around between things) may be partially
obscured by another window, but that's how I like it. I do use
multiple virtual desktops, but not in a very organized way. I rely on
screen real estate (currently 1600x1200 on my laptop, and 1920x1200 on
my desktop except when I bring the LCD upstairs and stick it on my
laptop to get 1920x1200). I'll be a good candidate for QXGA or even
HXGA when it becomes affordable -- it will just give me that much more
space to expand my clutter onto.
I personally do not like the Macintosh interface one bit -- it gets
all the key interfaces wrong for the way I work. At least to me, it
emphasizes that there's one thing that it expects you to be working on
at a time (click to focus and raise rather does that, especially
combined with the single menu bar that's tied to whichever application
is "active" at the time), and that one thing is front and center no
Be all that as it may, I suspect that having separate layers,
channels, etc. dialogs for each image might be very attractive in a
lot of cases, but it's not going to be to everyone's taste.
Robert Krawitz <[EMAIL PROTECTED]>
Tall Clubs International -- http://www.tall.org/ or 1-888-IM-TALL-2
Member of the League for Programming Freedom -- mail [EMAIL PROTECTED]
Project lead for Gutenprint -- http://gimp-print.sourceforge.net
"Linux doesn't dictate how I work, I dictate how Linux works."
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