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Zugg
MASTER


Joined: 25 Sep 2000
Posts: 23377
Location: Colorado, USA

PostPosted: Sat Mar 18, 2006 6:34 pm   

CMUD User Interface changes
 
I want to start a thread to discuss the docking interface and some related user interface issues.

I don't yet know if the new docking interface will make it into the first beta or not...the new docking code is a bit finicky and as I learned with zApp it has some issues with the theming code.

So I wanted to take a step back and discuss this entire interface.

My main issue is with all of the "tabs". First there is the tab-bar within the docked windows themselves (like if you dock one MUD window on top of another). These tabs come from the docking system itself and I have little control over them. In general, these tabs are good and allow any window no matter where it is docked to have tabbed windows.

Second, there is the main zMUD tabs up near the toolbar. This is a tab list of *all* windows, no matter how they are docked. For example, if you have MUD-A docked vertically side by side with MUD-B then both MUD-A and MUD-B are added to the global tab bar.

Third, there is yet another tab bar when you have two different layouts loaded at the same time. This is a technical side effect since there is no way to "merge" two docked layouts (and probably never will be). So the solution to allow multiple layouts to be loaded was to put each layout in it's own "tab" along the top.

So, depending on how your windows are docked, you could end up with THREE sets of tabs! That seems annoying and unneccesary (not to mention ugly and a waste of screen space).

So, here are some things I'm considering:

1) The tabs within the docked windows themselves (the first set) are an integral part of the docking system, so I won't touch them. Leave them alone (with minor improvements to useability, like adding a right-click context menu).

2) The "global" tab list added by zMUD (the second set of tabs described above) need to go. I don't think these tabs add much to the interface. As long as you can define your own shortcuts to open a window (a macro with the #WINDOW command) and as long as Ctrl-Tab works correctly, I think these tabs are redundant.

Instead, I'm considering adding the list of open windows to the Windows menu (which currently has a bunch of stuff in it that it shouldn't). This would make the Windows menu more like other applications (Office) and would let you access *any* window that might be hidden behind (such as the settings editor, preferences, etc).

3) Finally, the third tab list for multiple-layouts. I'm considering doing away with allowing multiple layouts to be loaded at the same time in the same window. What I'm considering is essentially loading a second copy of CMUD with the second layout rather then trying to cram it all into a single application instance.

This is probably the change that won't make it into the first beta. I'll handle loading multiple layouts later during the beta period.

Also, there won't be any way to load existing layout files (from zMUD) since the docking system it totally difference, so everyone will have to re-create their layouts again and save them again.

So, with CMUD there would only be one set of tabs instead of three sets. What do people think about this?
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Taz
GURU


Joined: 28 Sep 2000
Posts: 1395
Location: United Kingdom

PostPosted: Sat Mar 18, 2006 8:49 pm   
 
It sounds reasonable to me. I totally agree with you that 3 sets of tabs would be horrendous. Anyone who uses Firefox will be used to having one strip of tabs at the top as will eventually everyone who uses IE when they upgrage to 7.
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MattLofton
GURU


Joined: 23 Dec 2000
Posts: 4834
Location: USA

PostPosted: Sat Mar 18, 2006 10:38 pm   
 
The only thing I didn't like about the docking system was that child windows don't have the option to remain undockable. This makes floating windows fairly impossible to move because you invariably will want to move it to a place that is hotspotted.

Quote:

Instead, I'm considering adding the list of open windows to the Windows menu (which currently has a bunch of stuff in it that it shouldn't). This would make the Windows menu more like other applications (Office) and would let you access *any* window that might be hidden behind (such as the settings editor, preferences, etc).


eh? Did that not port over to CMud? In ZMud, the Windows menu has options to get to all the "system" windows such as the Settings Editor as well as the standard list of open child windows...
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Zugg
MASTER


Joined: 25 Sep 2000
Posts: 23377
Location: Colorado, USA

PostPosted: Sun Mar 19, 2006 1:24 am   
 
Hmm, I had forgotten that zMUD already had that list in the Windows menu. That menu has so much other stuff in it that shouldn't be there that I had forgotten.

And no, it didn't really "port over" because I had to recreate the menu system from scratch. zMUD used an old 3rd party menu control that I can't use anymore (and don't want to use anyway). CMUD uses the DevExpress menu bar system, which is totally different and required all of the menus to be recreated. Yeah, lots of work.

Regarding moving floating windows: Remember that if you hold down the Ctrl key that prevents any docking from happening on any window. So hold down the Ctrl key as you drag the floating window and it won't accidentally dock. So the option was already there I think.

Also, I think you could click on the child window to select it and then go to that little down-arrow menu to the right of the Windows menu and unselect the Dockable option. Not sure if that worked on child windows though.
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Seb
Wizard


Joined: 14 Aug 2004
Posts: 1241

PostPosted: Sun Mar 19, 2006 4:20 am   Controlling MUD and CMUD Status Icons
 
This may be a bit of red herring, but I'd like a modifiable property of child windows and capture windows to have a status icon or not. Currently I have a capture window for tells, but I still display them in the main window. I don't need to be alerted there is new text in tells, since I already saw it in the main window. It's purpose is more of a "tell history". Also, I'd like to be able to control the icon for windows between various stats, and the main CMUD icon in the taskbar between various states - much like the zMUD plug-in TrayWindows attempted to do (but that doesn't work on my computer: XP SP2). So if I have CMUD in the background, I can get it to only show e.g. the green icon if I receive some kind of communication or some person enters my room. That way I know when I need to look at CMUD and other less important MUD output does not attract my attention away from what I'm doing.
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Guinn
Wizard


Joined: 03 Mar 2001
Posts: 1127
Location: London

PostPosted: Sun Mar 19, 2006 4:27 am   
 
I'll second that. I mentioned it in a zmud post somewhere, but it'd be really nice to be able to have cmud either ignore certain text for the purposes of changing the taskbar icon colour, or have it ignore everything except certain triggered text.
Maybe have 3 taskbar icon settings - a standard colour when you have no new text (or text specifically flagged as unimportant), another colour for new text that's not been given a priority, and a third colour to indicate something that's been specifically flagged as important.
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MattLofton
GURU


Joined: 23 Dec 2000
Posts: 4834
Location: USA

PostPosted: Sun Mar 19, 2006 9:00 am   
 
Quote:

Also, I think you could click on the child window to select it and then go to that little down-arrow menu to the right of the Windows menu and unselect the Dockable option. Not sure if that worked on child windows though.


I know what you're referring to, but it doesn't currently exist for child windows (which includes the main game window where all the text is going to). Currently you have the maximize/minimize/restore menu over in the upper left corner, then the window name, then the rollup button, stayontop button (the pushpin), and the standard maximize/minimize/restore/close buttons.
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