Moving QExtMDI to kdelibs

Datschge datschge at
Thu May 15 12:00:35 BST 2003

I have to say I fully agree with Neil on this topic.

Neil Stevens wrote:
> "MDI should not appear in KDE without explicit user intervention to
> turn it on."

* First step: Every KDE App should first start in SDI mode in every case.

Users in general are easily overwhelmed of complexities they don't experienced 
and understand yet. SDI allows users to easily organize the amount of stuff 
since everything they started is represented by exactly one window, connected 
with exactly one taskbar and exactly one Alt+Tab switcher entry. Closing the 
window gets them away with it again, and there is no hidden stuff which could 
be missed or even lead to loss of data.

* Second step: "Primitive MDI", organizing multiple windows at once with Kwin.

As soon as a user is familiar with the interface and behavior of the programs 
he uses he won't be afraid of using more and more of them at once. This 
raises the issue of available screen space as well as the missing possibility 
to combine several windows together based on specific tasks (let's ignore the 
rather obscure possibility to use several virtual desktops). This ability 
should be offered globally by Kwin, while retaining independence of every 
(former) SDI regarding taskbar and Alt+Tab switcher entries.

* Third step: "Advanced MDI", the MDI we all hate unless we actually want it.

Using the consistent MDI capabilities of Kwin the user will be able to quickly 
familiarize with it and most likely ask for additional goodies. Want to save 
and close all SDI's in one MDI at once? So be it. Want to hide all SDI's and 
instead show the one MDI containing them as taskbar and Alt+Tab switcher 
entry instead? So be it. Want to have additional features through 
communication by combining eg. a file list and an editor in one MDI? So be 
it. Let the user dig in and stick together what he wants to be together and 
offer logically resulting features.

The end result is the full force and heavily blown MDI users use to hate, hate 
because they didn't get to decide themselves what they get there and how it 
works. Instead they were confronted with a ready made confusingly complex 
block called MDI to which they need to get used first while constantly 
complaining about missing features available at the fingertip but in the 
wrong program.

So what we should do now in my opinion is doing the second step before doing 
the third one. First let Lubos implement a Kwin based MDI, using QExtMDI if 
it helps, not using it if it doesn't. After that everyone can work on 
communication between SDI applications through the MDI framework offered by 
Kwin. After that the whole SDI vs. MDI discussion in only up to the user's 
personal experience and preference.

Thank you for your attention.
Cheers, Datschge =)

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