Re: Close and Exit

Subject: Re: Close and Exit
From: John H. Raines, Jr. (
Date: Thu Aug 23 2001 - 11:18:51 CDT

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Here we go again,

As mentioned earlier I have had quite a lot of experience teaching word
processing to beginners and there was always a question about Close v

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Having followed this discussion because I also find this behavior annoying & illogical, I think we need to think about the developer concepts underlying this behavior. This, of course, is Single Document Interface (SDI), which is discussed extensively in the AbiWord documentation. Since the developers seem committed to that direction, perhaps there are design changes that would meet everyone's needs. And considering that the general experience seems to be that all new users are confused by Close VS Exit, it sure seems that there is some room for a better design no matter what the interface model.

I suggest the following:

1. Change the Exit command name to Close All. This more accurately describes the function under SDI & should remove the confusion as to the difference in functions between the 2 commands.

2. Group the File commands in the following Manner:
        Close All
        Save As
        Page Setup
        File List (if any)

This seems the most logical order to me since it groups the Commands as to their basic functionality. The relationship of Open/Close is self evident. Save is more of a file update command and therefore separate. Printing is an obviously separate.

The Import/Export commands are a little different. Generally, Import/Export commands have been used to bring non-native file types into a program. Native being any file format which AbiWord can use in a functional manner (open/save, etc.) Therefore, it seems to me that the file types between the Open/Save command should match & would constitute the AbiWord native formats. Any other file format that AbiWord can open (or translate) should be shown on the import menu only. For example the .doc (MSWord) format should show only as an Import file type only since AbiWord cannot save in this format. On the other hand, I don't see any harm, or real confusion, with having all save files types also listed in the Export function, thus having the added functionality of saving to a different file type without changing your document type. Also, this might make things simpler for the developers in that, for instance, what is most important is an import/export capability for the .doc format, but not necessarily an ability to work in the .doc format.

3. When closing the last document, there could be a short dialogue informing the user that the program is about to be exited. The user could then be offered two choices: Either 1) continue with Close and exit the program or 2) Open another document (new or existing). If the user chose the second option, the current document would then be closed and the user would be offered the "Open File" dialogue.

It seems to me that these changes would be in keeping with the SDI model & would eliminate the confusion with the Close VS Exit command (which apparently is universal). It would also improve the functionality by adding the ability to more easily open a new file when closing the last document.

Another 2cents worth (I'm up to 6 cents now).
J. Raines

--- You shouldn't have a closed mind because you never learn anything new. On the other hand, your mind shouldn't be so open everything falls out!! ---

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