Re: notes on combo boxes

On Sun, Aug 06, 2000 at 04:38:33PM -0500, Nils Barth wrote:
> You prolly remember this one:

I'm not certain that was it, but it might've been.

I've bookmarked

along with my other pile of UI discussion bookmarks (AskTog,,
Interface Hall of {Shame,Fame}, etc.) - thanks.

> First, there are 3 widgets I'd like to distinguish:
> 1) pop-up menus: the Mac's way of doing selectable lists in one
>    line. When clicked on, pops up to fill whole screen, with
>    arrows on the end that if you mouse over, the menus scrolls.
>    This scrolling happens at 2 speeds (faster if you go waaaay
>    onto the arrow, slow if you just edge over).
>    When you release the button, the item is picked.
> This is basically an improved Motif menu, with scrolling

...and with a better indicator than Motif's raised bar.

> (though it came out before Motif).

I'm curious whether Motif lifted option menus from MacOS pop-up
whatevers (the "whatever" in the name changed a couple of times, as per
earlier mail of mine, from "menus" to "menu buttons" or "button menus"
(I forget which) to "buttons").

> I think that if GTK pop-up menus allow jump scrolling by initial
> letter, the main objection to their poor keyboard navigation is
> answered.

Well, as long as, in one of those widgets, I can type letters and
navigate the list without having to touch the rodent, that would, I
think, answer *all* my objections to the poor (for which read, as far as
I can tell, "non-existent") keyboard navigation of option menus/pop-up
menus/pop-up buttons/....

E.g., if I'm filling out a Web form with my address, I'd like to be able
to select "USA" from a list of countries by typing "u" a sufficient
number of times, without having to take my hand off the keyboard.

Whether the menu actually pops up or not probably wouldn't matter to me.

> We need some kind of combo box, if only for interface designers
> who like it.

By "combo box" are you referring here to an editable text widget in
which you can type anything you want, but that offers a list of
commonly-used options (or values you've typed there before, or...) from
which you can select?

I think such a device can, in some situations, be useful.

> However, I would suggest:
> We carefully consider the behaviour. I like the idea of an
> edit box with a pop-up menu indicator right next to it.
> This has basically the behaviour of a combo box while being
> clearer (this is suggested on MacKiDo).

Is that the example they gave as (translated to hideous ASCII art):

	Edit        Popup |  9 |
	+--+  +-+   +--+  |v 10|
	|10|  |^|   |10|  |  12|
	+--+  |v|   +--+  |  14|
	      +-+         |  18|
			  |  24|

I.e., it's an editable pop-up menu button (to use the MacOS 8 name for
the pop-up <whatever> widget), so that you can type numbers other than
9, 10, 12, 14, 18, and 24 in it, or can select from a list?

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