Notes Window Patch

Thus spake “bsmith”:

Good. I didn’t the first time to ensure that you’d see my reply.

Decoration position is window-manager specific. I’ve certainly seen ones
where the X is above left. It wouldn’t be impossible to have it on the
bottom or along one of the verticals.

I don’t understand the claim you’re making about mouse usage. Is the claim
that the user’s mouse starts far from the upper right? If so, from the
upper right of what? Since the Chart window is going to be used in
conjunction with a Map window, it’s not clear to me how to apply information
like this—the upper right of a chart window could be near the center of
the map, if the user has arranged the windows that way.

This depends on your window manager. For some users, closing via the window
manager is far easier to “navigate” to, because they can close the window
via a key binding, which will be standard across all windows of all apps.

Second, users are well-trained to hit the X in the title bars of their
windows, because (almost) every window has one, and it’s in the same
place for every window. Not every window has a dedicated close button,
so I claim that it’s the close button which will be harder to navigate to.

Non-standard in what respect? I can think of two ways to take this:

(a) It’s non-standard because the X closes the window.
(b) It’s non-standard because you expect the X to close the app.

Regarding (a), I can’t find a single application where the close button
provided by the window manager doesn’t close a window.

Regarding (b), see my reply to 4.

Most programs, VASSAL included, don’t just close without prompting you to
save your work. If the user isn’t sure what using the X will do, the worst
thing which could happen is being prompted to save, and then he could just

Second, multi-window applications generally only exit when you close the
main window (or, in a few cases, the last open window). A Chart window
will never be the last open window. (There is zero chance of confusing
Mac users on this point, since even closing the last open window won’t
close Mac apps.)

Both of these are conventional behavior for multi-window apps.

We agree on this point. Where we disagree is, I think, what counts as

I’ll throw in two counterclaims, too:

  1. The Close button wastes screen space.

  2. The Chart window is not a dialog. (Or, at least, I’m sitting on
    changes you made to make it stop being a dialog. I think I agree with
    those changes.) Windows which are not dialogs do not generally have
    dedicated Close buttons.

BTW, I know that discussions of this sort can rise to the level of
near-religious intensity. Should this become heated, keep in mind that
hashing out UI issues can be this way, and that we’re all approaching
this in good faith. :slight_smile:


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My challenge to you Joel, should you choose to accept it. :slight_smile: Is to show me a professional application which offers only the top right X option to close a Window or dialog or anything for that matter. Normal Windows always have an alternate method such as File|Exit or at least a button.

Given we don’t have time to take a course in UI design, it’s probably easiest to base our decisions on how it is done elsewhere.

The worst thing that can happen is the entire app. closes and you lose your work. Users have experienced other badly written applications behaving this way, so it can be a scary proposition hitting that X.
I know this because it’s the way I felt when I first started using VASL!

Thus spake “bsmith”:

  • Firefox’s Downloads window
  • toolbox windows in GIMP
  • xterm
  • gnome-terminal, if you turn off the menu bar

These are the ones I use regularly which I’ve noticed have this. I don’t
think anyone would expect that Firefox would close if they closed the
Downloads window, and the majority of our users will have some exposure
to Firefox.

I keep thinking I should get a book, but I don’t know what book to get.


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Damn, I was hoping to get in before you replied. lol I just noticed Firefox does it in a number of places

OK, I’m now satisfied we don’t need a button. :slight_smile:

What about the other changes?

Thus spake “bsmith”:

I haven’t returned to them yet, due to arguing with you over this one. :slight_smile:

It’s midnight for me now; I’ll have a look at them in the evening on Tuesday.


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On Jan 18, 2010, at 2:43 PM, Joel Uckelman wrote:

Well, at least with Firefox on the Mac, there is a “File | Close”
menu item that provides an alternative method of closing the
window. The same is true of the native Mac Unix Terminal Window.

I think we need to go more with standard behavior on Windows and Mac
rather than Linux, given both the relative sizes of the user base and
also the generally higher technical savvy of the Linux users.

Well, some ideas might be to look at the Swing style guide that Sun
put out a while before. Or maybe one of the Mac Human Interface
Guidelines. Not all of the Mac idioms transfer, but they have
thought a lot about the interface design. (2001)

Anyway, some of the other examples from Apple do not have a regular
close button, but they are all expected to respond to the following

Closing Windows

Users can close windows by:

o Choosing Close from the File menu
o Pressing Command-W
o Clicking the close button … xperience/

Now one big difference between Macs and other platforms is the menu.
On the mac, there will always be a menu that is accessible (except
for modal dialogs), so the File menu method (and the Command-W which
is a menu accelerator key) will always be available. That would not
normally be the case for Windows or Linux…

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There probably aren’t any hard and fast answers in this case. Our chart window isn’t a dialog, it’s closer to being a secondary window.

The closest thing in Firefox seems to be “File|Print Preview”. Interestingly, they put a Close button on the top; Check it out.

Question is… if users are opening and closing charts all the time, is it too much to expect them to have to click in a sometimes tiny 20x20 pixel square? The issue I have is with the sheer number of times I’m finding myself blowing the chart window away and bringing it up again. You always think “nah, I wont need that chart again”, but you always do!

Thus spake “bsmith”:

It is a secondary window.

Hmm. File > Print Preview strikes me as more of a dialog. And, in fact, it’s
implemented as one—it doesn’t get it’s own entry in the taksbar, unlike
the Downloads window, which does.

I think this issue will disappear once we have tabs.


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Yeah I’m happy to leave it as is (without button). The only thing I really wanted to fix was the Notes Window.