Three different tab implementations

Waldo Bastian bastian at
Fri Jan 31 11:53:19 GMT 2003

On Friday 31 January 2003 12:33, Neil Stevens wrote:
> On Friday January 31, 2003 03:15, Waldo Bastian wrote:
> > On Friday 31 January 2003 13:56, Jan Van Dijk wrote:
> > > If tabs are considered Bad Practice, a note in the style guide may be
> > > appropriate.
> >
> > The style guide mostly takes offense with MDI implementation such as Qt
> > Designer where the application unnecassery restricts the placement of
> > windows and imposes his own idea of a desktop on the user. Star Office
> > is another example of such restricting interface.
> >
> > Tabs are a whole different class of MDI, they also restrict the user in
> > the sense that only one document at the time is visible, but in this
> > case that can be considered a feature assuming that the user has
> > deliberately choosen to use this in order to better manage a substantial
> > set of similar documents.
> Tabs may be a whole different class of MDI, but every word you said in the
> first paragraph applies to them equally well.

If I look at konqueror then tabs _can_ be used by the user if (s)he so pleases 
but are in no way forced upon him/her. I don't think that such an 
implementation has any of the draw backs that e.g. Qt Designer has, where I 
basically can't put e.g. a screenshot among my tool windows because when I 
focus the mainwindow it pops on top of the screenshot.

> And unfortuantely some MDI apps in KDE do not give the user a choice
> choice.  KDevelop and Quanta come to mind.  There it is MDI or nothing.

Then you know how I think about those applications :)

> > One could also argue that the desire to use the above mentioned forms of
> > MDI comes from the lack of grouping facilities in the current generation
> > window managers. But I don't think that's a very strong argument unless
> > you can come up with a window manager that indeed manages to take away
> > that desire.
> But it's not a question of just accepting MDI or not, is it?  There's more
> being asked for here, and there are more options available:
> a. Let developers do MDI on their own (ignoring it and wishing it would go
> away)

We did that so far, has it gone away?

> b. Develop a standard MDI system and port all MDI apps to it (what Rob
> seems to be asking for here)

Sounds like a reasonable plan.

> c. Develop a window manager spec for tabbing systems, and implement it in
> KWin (likely involving, and benefiting from, GNOME and other window
> manager developer input).

Sounds also reasonable, but more of a risk since nobody sofar has done that, 
so it might work, or it might not. Which doesn't mean that it is a bad idea, 
or shouldn't be done. Note that this might actually be complementary to b) 
because if you define standards as part of b) it will be much easier to adopt 
it to c) when it comes along.

Maybe Rob can work on b) and you on c)

bastian at -=|[ SuSE, The Linux Desktop Experts ]|=- bastian at

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