RE: lists stuff

Subject: RE: lists stuff
From: Martin Sevior (
Date: Wed Nov 29 2000 - 17:38:10 CST

On Wed, 29 Nov 2000, Joaquin Cuenca Abela wrote:

> Martin wrote:
> > Ok Joaquin,
> > I stand corrected. Now the main thing our dialog has going for
> > it is that it is simpler, Modeless and will be able to gracefully handle
> > many open documents and views. I think we can learn from MS though. Our
> below I discuss a bit why I think that 1) our dialog is not simpler, 2) it
> doesn't has to be modeless.
> Please, keep reading:


> but Martin, that's not a feature, that's an (IMHO wrong) UI decision.
> If I want to type, I type. If I want to change/create a list, I open the
> list dialog, and when I've choosed the list that I want to make, I close the
> dialog.
> Sometimes the modeless character of a dialog is useful (for instance, the
> statistique (word count) dialog box), sometimes is a bug (for instance, the
> spell checker dialog, or the list dialog).

I guess this is true for most people right now but I believe that on
general principles it is almost always better not to block user input at
any stage.


> just to clarify, in Word you have *EXACTLY* the same feature. You don't
> have to click any button in order to see a realtime preview. There is a
> preview when you select "Customize" *AND* when you don't select "Customize".

That's just like us then.

> ok, all that can be done in word, too. Just choose the "Hierarchical" (or
> something like that) tab, and you will see a world of options (btw, it
> offers more options that the abiword list dialog).

<sigh> I thought we'd come up with something new here. Oh well, at least
this means we can eventually import the most esoteric Word Lists.

> > > TRIANGLE_LIST Don't know what this should look like.
> > > DIAMOND_LIST A8 ("Symbol" font)
> > > STAR_LIST Don't know which of the stars to use.
> > > IMPLIES_LIST Don't know what this should look like.
> > > TICK_LIST Don't know what this should look like.
> > > HAND_LIST If this is to be a hand with a finger pointing
> > right, I've got
> > > it at 0x46 in Wingdings.
> > > HEART_LIST A9 ("Symbol" font)
> > > </quote>
> >
> > Fair enough. Our approach makes a smaller dialog that is easier for power

We can easily put icons of all of these on the drop down menus.

> our dialog is not smaller. I've opened the unix shot of the dialog of some
> days ago (the latest changes in the UI have not changed the size of the
> dialog significatively) and I've taken a screenshot of the word dialog with
> the gimp:
> word list dialog: 428x354
> abi list dialog: 438x351
> the size is pretty much the same (the abi one is a bit bigger, specially if
> we take in account that the unix shot that I've used was a dialog without
> title).

I seem to remember it taking up the whole screen... With our one drawing
area preview though we can better show the indentation of the list label
and text area.
> I don't think that our dialog is easier nor for power users nor for
> "less"-power users, for several reasons:
> 1) the word dialog give you more clues about the list that you're going to
> create (my last argument was that it's hard to figure what is TICK_LIST, but
> everybody could understand it if you see an image of it).

An icon would show you.

> 2) The easier things are far far easy to do in the word dialog box than in
> our dialog. For instance, the first time that I took a look at our dialog
> (I wanted to test it before the 0.7.12 release) I had some problems with it,
> I switched to irc and I meet Sam there. We spoke a bit about the dialog,
> Sam opened abiword and said me:
> "Look, it seems that I've found a way to reproduce that bug. Open the
> dialog, select a type for your list, click in AbiWord so the dialog lost the
> focus, and... voila! the type selected in the dialog disappeares"
> Both, Sam and me, were thinking that actually that was a bug. Only after I
> realized that it was a supposed feature (heavilly related with the modeless
> character of the dialog). I know for sure that, to me, the dialog look&feel
> seemed very confusing.
> (disclaimer: that's an approximate quote, Sam, please, if you don't said
> that, or you didn't think that it was a bug, just nuke me in public)

Yes that was a terrible mis-feature and one reason I debugged the List
dialog for 0.7.12. Mike, Thomas and I are working hard to get that right.
I think we will succeed. You will not lose your selected lists accidently
with the new design.

> 3) The hard things are, too, far easier to do in word than in abiword. For
> instance, I don't know (yet) what's the supposed meaning of the "%L" that
> you can see when you click in customize. Nor the meaning of "Resume list"
> (or something like that). In contrast, I figured out very quickly how work
> all the features of the word list's dialog (and it was the first time that I
> opened the word list's dialog).

Another mis-feature. We should copy the Word approach and put a text entry
area before and after the list label.

> > A smaller dialog is more
> > appropriate for a Modeless dialog.
> but 1) the dialog is not smaller and 2) I don't think (by the reasons that
> I've stated) that it has to be modeless.

Clearly it doesn't have to be modeless but I think we can make a modeless
dialog without the bugs you've described. I think it will be a new and
cool thing that would not be hard to implement on our current code base.


> P.S.: Maybe it would be useful if I commit some screenshots of the word
> dialog to cvs. What do you think?

Hmm I'd like other opinions on this. They'd take up at least 100 Kbytes...

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