increasing the usability of search dialogs

Josef Weidendorfer Josef.Weidendorfer at
Tue May 16 23:04:53 BST 2006

On Tuesday 16 May 2006 15:19, John Tapsell wrote:
> > Yes it has nothing to do with search (or other application) dialogs.
> I agree, but this is about reducing the number of popup dialogs.  I
> think most of the arguments for/against embedding the search dialog
> are the same for the loading a file etc.
> I'm not really after a technical solution, but more a sort of
> guideline.  Is it in general a good idea to reduce the number of
> dialog boxes?  Are popup dialog boxes the new 'bad' thing?

Actually, I hate (especially modal) dialog boxes ;-)
That's the reason why KCachegrind mostly has docks, and only the
standard "Open..." and "Configure..." dialog.

But as somewhere in this thread the new eye candy of the linux
desktop was mentioned (Composite, Xgl, compiz et al): Something
like blending/sliding in a search dock from below the window (or
even 3D effects) are not possible with application-implemented
docks; the window manager has to be aware of it, which means a
separate toplevel window for the search dock. Giving some hints to the
window manager ("this is a search dialog for that window"),
you suddendly can implement all this nice eye candy without changing
the app itself. You would have a config in the window manager eg. that
every search dialog should overlay the bottom edge of the document window
(and the window manager would have the freedom to resize the doc window for

I think that tabbed/splitted/docked UIs should be a configuration for
the window manager, and for the application the documents should simply be
toplevel windows. This would allow nifty Expose effects eg. inside
of kate for all open documents. For this to work well, the window manager
also has to be aware of menu, toolbar, and statusbar as separate window
(somewhat like GIMP 1.x or the toplevel mode of KDevelop).

Unfortunately, I am not a window manager guru, and I have no idea if
there already is existing something like "this window is the search dialog
for that document window" (what's portland?).
But for KDE4 & kwin, I think this would be the way to go: Just one global
WM option, and the existing search dialog is a dockable for all (KDE) apps.


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