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Christiaan

Interface: the single unified window

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I'd really like VectorWorks to move to a single unified tabbed window interface, along similar lines of Apple's Pro Apps series such as Aperture and Logic (screenshots attached below)

Here's a review of Logic, which only recently gained the unified interface (the reviewer agrees with me):

http://www.macworld.com/weblogs/creative/2007/09/logic-studio-8/

One of the things I really dislike about many applications is their reliance on floating palettes, toolbars and panes. Maybe these were useful at some time in some situation but I've never found them useful; just a pain in the ass to manage.

But that's just me and I'm quite organised about the way I use VectorWorks. When I see how other less experienced or less organised people manage their palettes it just blows me away how inefficient the whole paradigm is.

Maybe it isn't as much of an issue on Windows because Windows has "dockable" toolbars, but I think a unified window would be advantageous to Windows users too. Can anyone explain why a non-unified interface is a good thing, for instance, in light of such interface ideas as tabbed windows and tear-able palettes?

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I did carefully read the other posts, but I'm unable to see any substantial advantage in the unified window. Could be my lack of vision.

This discussion began with a comparison between Aperture, Logic and Vectorworks interfaces. I think it's important to realize that the type of work being done in these programs is so fundamentally different that it's a little like comparing TextEdit to Quake. A photographer is working on a collection of hundreds of discrete files, comparing and applying edits,sometimes globally. Lightroom (Adobe's Aperture) developed from Photoshop's file-browser and RAW plug-in. Logic's graphical interface is little more than a time line, granted a fairly complicated one.

In neither of these apps is any actual drawing or modelling being done. They are mostly used to modify recorded data.

Maybe they can make the unified window an option thru the workspace feature for those that like it. If I like it I'll use it, but I would like the option to keep things as they are in this regard.

So you have a wish, and I have a wish-not. Since they do actually pay attention to this area it's important to have discussion, and for dissention to be heard.

Now I've got some emails to answer....man I wish Mail had a rocket launcher instead of a delete key!

Respectfully

Charles

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I did carefully read the other posts, but I'm unable to see any substantial advantage in the unified window.

Maybe you don't watch many inexperienced users operating VectorWorks?

Of course the same question can be posed in the other direction, and was posed by me in my first post. What's the big advantage in having a *non-unified* interface, especially when you have the likes of tabs and tears?

Flexibility they tell me, but a unified window need not be inflexible, so does slightly more flexibility really justify the window management problem inherent in floating windows?

The only major advantage I can see is that it's the status quo and I really doubt anyone, including yourself, would be arguing for floating windows if the status quo was a unified interface.

In neither of these apps is any actual drawing or modelling being done. They are mostly used to modify recorded data.

I think, yes, with out a doubt vision is lacking if you can't see how easily transferable this interface is to nearly any productivity application. The TextEdit/Quake comparison is a little, shall we say, hyperbolic.

I didn't post them as examples of unified window CAD apps, I posted them as examples of very nice unified windowed apps that could just as easily be floating palette apps. There are modelling apps out there with unified windows; Modo being one of them.

Maybe they can make the unified window an option thru the workspace feature for those that like it. If I like it I'll use it, but I would like the option to keep things as they are in this regard.

Maybe, but I'd be willing to guess that if NNA coded it they'd know immediately if they had a winner on their hands or not.

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Maybe you don't watch many inexperienced users operating VectorWorks?
I try not to, but I don't believe changing software to accommodate the inept (even if it is transitory) is a sound reason for change. It seems other efforts should be employed to address such a problem. What's wrong with training?

The only major advantage I can see is that it's the status quo and I really doubt anyone, including yourself, would be arguing for floating windows if the status quo was a unified interface.
It isn't, so we'll never know.

For whatever reason, I happen to like what exists. It works exceptionally well for me and in my opinion has distinct advantages over a unified window interface, which I consider to be clunky at the very least. I often use multiple applications simultaneously, and desire to have multiple windows open and visible, selectable with just a click. This may be old fashioned, but very powerful for the way I work. So cast my wish to negate your wish. Still, nothing personal.

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I don't believe changing software to accommodate the inept (even if it is transitory) is a sound reason for change. It seems other efforts should be employed to address such a problem. What's wrong with training?

But who is anyone to suggest others are inept simply because they themselves have got used to a certain way of doing something, and why should others have to follow in your footsteps? You've taken the humane concept of the designed tool (one that Apple software engineer's clearly understand) and completely turned it on its head into the inhumane; instead of designing the tool to fit the human you want to change the human to fit the tool.

I often use multiple applications simultaneously, and desire to have multiple windows open and visible, selectable with just a click.

Again, nothing in the concept precludes this.

I try not to ... [watch many inexperienced users operating VectorWorks]

It's worth doing. It can be quite an eye-opener, especially with new users. You soon realise that things you've become used to over time can represent considerable barriers to others.

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Recalling the good old dayz of a static BBS terminal window stuck to the upper left until quit...this forum reply is being written within a Safari "floating window" container which can be moved across multiple displays, closed, hidden , layered & even shrunk, as required. So what's the problem here ?

One of the major selling points of Vista is its Mac-like moveable containers on a Mac-like desktop !

Are we willing to forego the intrinsic convenience of the dynamic User-configurable fluid workspace for a predetermined neatly arranged ...yet "tearable" Menu docking model ?

Most of my shirts are hung properly in the closet ... but some are left lying around the house for convenience. Thankfully, they do not magically snap-back into the closet or drawers while I'm away at grade school... like when I was a wee lad in knickers, and my dear Mumsie designed & maintained the Application Interface.

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It's worth doing. It can be quite an eye-opener, especially with new users. You soon realise that things you've become used to over time can represent considerable barriers to others.

I agree. While I've never watched another new user, I've been a new user. I purchased VW 10 upgraded to 11, then to 12. Wasn't until ten months ago or so that I really made a focused effort to learn the system. Prior to that I was fumbling along and found many things very frustrating and unintuitive. I had the same feeling while I was trying to learn the program. I still do, but I now know how it works and can manage. It doesn't mean that things shouldn't be easier.

As to the unified window, I think the introduction of the toolsets was a big help. If the unified window allowed the user to arrange the toolsets, menus, etc to their liking, and allowed for the creation of multiple workspaces so one could have a different arrangement depending on the monitor or computer one was using, and if it also allowed for using the current pallet arrangement as an option when creating the workspaces (and I don't mean all of one or all of the other, but rather, being able to use the individual pallets in one workspace but the unified window in another) then it might be an improvement.

However, I'd prefer to see NNA focus on improving many existing features that are frustrating or don't work correctly before taking time on this.

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How exactly will it set VW apart from the competition? I have seen most of the ideas mentioned here implemented by other packages in one way or another. Just interested!

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I have to say too though, that as a new user, I would much prefer a unified window. As has been stated many times, such a window does not preclude flexibility. I work with two screens, and have configured my VW workspace so that I have palettes floating on the second screen. It would be so much easier on the eyes if I didn't have other stuff behind the palettes to confuse me. I am used to using Microstation XM which has unified windows, but still lets me float/dock toolbars, palettes and other dialogs to my heart's content - or not!

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Sure. Here's a representative sample of my Microstation XM workspace, one image is my left hand screen, one my right screen.

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When I made the move from PC to Mac - I found the floating pallets was the single most frustrating aspect of Mac experience. No matter how much I try, windows end up shifting around, because my working window slips behind the pallets, obscuring needed Exit Group or tool specific buttons. Not having tools in the same place every time slows me down - even a moment of having to find the tool I need drags down the process. I see other people in the office with palets everywhere all over their working surface - I have no idea how they do it.

Come on VWs! Most other programs have figured this out.

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I think this thread well and truly deserves to be moved to Wishes Granted. In 2021 we're moving above and beyond with tear-able tabs that can be arranged in any way you want. Fantastic.

Edited by Christiaan
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I just wanted to say thanks again to the team that implemented this. I was just editing my Workspace today (across three screens) and it really is superb. It's really great when things are implemented better than you imagined.

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