Re: FAQ -- why the MSDI interface? (aka, no pagers please)

Subject: Re: FAQ -- why the MSDI interface? (aka, no pagers please)
From: Scott (
Date: Wed Aug 15 2001 - 13:49:27 CDT

First, thank you to Paul for his eloquent elucidation of the UI
structure of Abiword.
As the person responsible for beginning the discussion on this topic, it
has helped me understand the structure of Abiword greatly, and for that
I thank you. Your foresight should be commended, for AbiWord is a unique
and simple, yet elegant interface. Bravo!!!

Second, thank you to Tim for his focusing on the specific problem, which
is indeed the File->Close behavior of Abiword.

After a review of all the discussion, I will withdraw my proposal of a
pager, and in any good business meeting, that would squash further
discussion on the topic. In my last commentary (after I had gotten off
of the soapbox) the last line was meant to discourage the pager idea. It
was rather backhanded and obscure I admit, hence, I will make it
official. Junk the pager!

This still leaves the original question of the unexpected effects of
File->Close from the last document. I think it is more than just an
anomaly of the interface, and it should be addressed. It produces a
rather frustrating result, and it is easily forgotten that a new
document *must *be opened before closing the last document. I think
there is a simple solution for it, maybe it hasn't been proposed yet,
maybe it has. In that vein, here are the other proposals:

   1. Close/ New document and Close/Open document File menu items
   2. "Close" close current document and then open a new one "Untitled1"
   3. "Do you wish to open a new document" Yes/No dialog box on
      File->Close, if it is the last document.
Regarding the first two, Paul wrote:

    bottom line
    I encourage people to tread very, very lightly when considering
    changes to the MSDI portions of the window-management UI -- namely,
    the File and Window menus. What we have now is a carefully-balanced
    whole, and off the cuff, each of the proposed changes (so far) seems
    to have bigger costs than benefits.
I agree, fiddling with the standard File menu is not a good idea as it
would add a couple of new, relatively unknown items that people would
probably ignore. As the interface is compared to browsers You wouldn't
really understand why these items were there until you accidentally
closed your last doc (and the program) for the first time, which is what
we are trying to prevent. It also assumes the user is only going to use
it when the last document is open. Is it supposed to close the document
it is invoked in, or is it supposed to close all open documents and open
a single new one. Confusing in it's application.

The second idea, presents the user a new document every time they close
out all other docs. It would solve the problem of accidentally closing
out the program, but would it be necessary to label it as Untitled1? Why
not Untiltled47 if the user has dealt with 46 previous documents. I
think this is where the reference to fiddling with the Window menu comes
from. Anyway, it would also provide separate actions for Close and Exit.
I started out not liking this one so much, but it is worth 2 (which is,
coincidentally the exact value of all opinions except God)

As for the third, I have not heard any comment on it and I think it is a
simple solution. Ask the user if he wants to open a new document, give a
final warning that this is his last document before Abi closes . That
way it is not unexpected, like (and after) asking if he wants to save.
If he does, then use the dialog action to open a new document. If not,
he was warned.

The second idea may be the best, but the last one is mine, so I like it
best, naturally.

Thanks for the input, FWIW, here's the output
Scott Bingman

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