Re: [Usability]Question on Multiple Document Interfaces

On Fri, 2002-08-23 at 10:20, Calum Benson wrote:
> On Fri, 2002-08-23 at 14:06, Michele Campeotto wrote:
> >    I think this is a problem at least with some kind of applications. 
> > How would you handle this, for example
> >
> Funnily enough, I was speaking to some HCI guys here at Sun yesterday
> about all this too, and we concluded that development tools were one of
> the places that the MDI model with a bunch of dockable tools and
> palettes does kind of work.  As with any project, it's a case of knowing
> your audience before you start.

On the other hand, its by no means necessary, and developers win too
when screen clutter is reduced (even if they don't find it as confusing
as other users). I'm pretty slow using Eclipes toolbars even after using
them for quite a while because there are so many items.

WRT to MDI... well Developers end up with lots of Windows open but if
you look at actual work practices I think you find that most people only
write in maybe 1 to 5 files in a given 15 minute period (and of course
certain development activities result in exceptions). Now we *consult*
with a lot more files than that, which is why we often end up with 50
files open. But I think you can take advantage of the consult vs. edit
distinction to create a much cleaner interface. 

Additionally, I think part of the reason we want the files to be "open"
is that existing IDEs don't make it convenient enough to open files. If
it only took me 3 seconds to open a file, I wouldn't want to keep so
many open. Its not so much that people want to have dozens of files
open, its more that they want quick access to dozens of files.

Take a look at Apple's Project Builder (an IDE) for an example of a
clean/simple IDE. Its not as powerful or featureful as Visual Studio or
Eclipse, but its at least as complete as, say, Anjuta or KDevelop and a
lot cleaner interface wise.


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