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Thread TFrame vs MDI
Mon, Oct 15 2007 10:05 PMPermanent Link

"Herbert Sitz"
"Roy Lambert" <roy.lambert@skynet.co.uk> wrote in message
news:CBF38979-4CFB-47B7-A251-2E9510E5CFF7@news.elevatesoft.com...
> Chris
>
>
> You're the second person that's brought up a problem with inheritance.
>
> On the other hand no-one has yet been able to tell me what's so evil about
MDI Smiley
>
> Roy Lambert
>

The evil/bad thing about MDI is that it has an inherent inconsistency with
the Windows UI.

Users are used to minimizing of windows placing them down in the taskbar at
the bottom of the Windows desktop.  When you minimize a window in an MDI
application it minimizes to the bottom left corner of the host app's window.
Essentially each MDI app you've got going has its own little "subdesktop"
that you've got to keep track of.  Although I was an experienced power user
i frequently lost track of what was getting minimized where before MSFT came
to their senses and got rid of MDI in Office 2000.

Another confusion:  Users are used to maximizing of windows making them take
up the entire desktop.  In an MDI app the maximizing action enlarges the
window only to take up the main space in the host app window.  Yet another
source of confusion.  Then user wonders what happened to the other open
windows in the application.

Another problem:  MDI child windows in the host application can get "lost"
if you resize the host app's window so that the MDI child window is outside
the currently showing area of host app.

I'm sure there's other stuff.  It all works okay if you're computer savvy
and you get used to the paradigm.  Even then I recall having to figure out
what I'd done in the MDI applciation that didnt' act like I expected.
Non-computer-savvy users could get frustrated no end.

I guess MDI could still be a way to go if advantages from that structure
outweighed the disadvantages.  I guess I'm not even sure what the advantages
are.  I much prefer to work with each document window having a separate
application window of its own, as it's been in all the MS Office
applications since Office 2k.

-- Herb

Tue, Oct 16 2007 2:34 AMPermanent Link

Chris Erdal
"Herbert Sitz" <hsitz@nwlink.com> wrote in
news:5FC8710B-A68B-4865-B08B-7D10E98887A2@news.elevatesoft.com:

> I guess MDI could still be a way to go if advantages from that
> structure outweighed the disadvantages.  I guess I'm not even sure
> what the advantages are.  I much prefer to work with each document
> window having a separate application window of its own, as it's been
> in all the MS Office applications since Office 2k.

Herb,

 I think we're agreed that it's not ideal for everything, but for a
business application, e.g. running a shop, it can be very effective:
- Main window maximised, since you need nothing else on the screen
- child windows tweaked so they reposition themselves if they become "TOO"
off-screen (allowing the user to push them almost completely off the edge
if they want)
- one-of-each-type-of-child when required, which is sometimes necessary
- Ctrl-Tab to switch from current to last-used and then the others
- cascade when the user gets lost makes them very easy to find again
- giving them the possibility to set up different "desktops" inside the
main window for different tasks

 I have clients who get lost with non-MDI applications! (losing one or two
windows behind other applications, etc.)
--
Chris
(XP-Pro + Delphi 7 Architect + DBISAM 4.25 build 4 + EDB 1.04 build 3)

Tue, Oct 16 2007 3:04 AMPermanent Link

Roy Lambert

NLH Associates

Team Elevate Team Elevate

Herbert


>The evil/bad thing about MDI is that it has an inherent inconsistency with
>the Windows UI.

Or at least the way MS do it ....

>Users are used to minimizing of windows placing them down in the taskbar at
>the bottom of the Windows desktop.

Er no - there must have been a lot of users who became very familiar with MDI since that was all they had to work with. It was MS who decided it was wrong. If all you used was Word it made a lot of sense to promote documents to the taskbar since that's what you were dealing with, but if you have 3-4 apps open and 3-4 documents as well it awful.

>When you minimize a window in an MDI
>application it minimizes to the bottom left corner of the host app's window.
>Essentially each MDI app you've got going has its own little "subdesktop"
>that you've got to keep track of. Although I was an experienced power user
>i frequently lost track of what was getting minimized where before MSFT came
>to their senses and got rid of MDI in Office 2000.

Word was always crap in that way - look at how WordPerfect did it - much better.

>Another problem: MDI child windows in the host application can get "lost"
>if you resize the host app's window so that the MDI child window is outside
>the currently showing area of host app.

Never seen that, don't even understand it.

>I guess MDI could still be a way to go if advantages from that structure
>outweighed the disadvantages. I guess I'm not even sure what the advantages
>are. I much prefer to work with each document window having a separate
>application window of its own, as it's been in all the MS Office
>applications since Office 2k.

Done the way MS do it in Word you're right, but I think the way WordPerfect did it was good. Essentially all MS have done is promote a document to the same status as an application - I prefer to ALT-TAB between apps not bits of them.

Roy Lambert
Mon, Oct 29 2007 1:57 AMPermanent Link

"Herbert Sitz"
"Roy Lambert" <roy.lambert@skynet.co.uk> wrote in message
news:6D3C1043-75BA-4FEB-BC54-ADE85A3B63EB@news.elevatesoft.com...

> Done the way MS do it in Word you're right, but I think the way
WordPerfect did it was good. Essentially all MS have done is promote a
document to the same status as an application - I prefer to ALT-TAB between
apps not bits of them.
>
> Roy Lambert

Sure, there may be criticisms of Microsoft's decision to abandon MDI.

But there's lots of stuff in the software world where it doesn't really
matter whether one option is better than another, what matters is whether
there's a standard.  And for better or worse, Microsoft has established
non-MDI as standard.  Choosing MDI for your app is non-standard.

Yes, there may be some users who understand and are more comfortable with
MDI.  But the fact is the last MS Office version that supported MDI was
Office 97.  Millions of users are accustomed to the non-MDI world of Office
2k and later.  If you choose MDI for your app you should have good reasons
for it and understand that most users are gong to be unfamiliar with the MDI
paradigm.

-- Herb

Mon, Oct 29 2007 5:08 AMPermanent Link

Roy Lambert

NLH Associates

Team Elevate Team Elevate

Herbert


Out of interest did you ever see WordPerfect's implementation  of MDI?

Roy Lambert
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