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Frontend redesign

Date: Wed, 20 Sep 89 13:43:54 PDT
   From: ravi (Ravi Pandya)


   I must admit that I have always hated the idea of having four kinds of
   symbols between the left margin and the outline text. The left edge is
   extremely valuable real estate for people who read left-to-right, and it
   shouldn't be cluttered.

Lacking comparative pictures, let me disagree in principle.  The left
edge is a good place to put buttons and such because they remain in
the same relationship with the text, no matter what the text is.
Going to the right margin is much more expensive.

   Circles to the left of every header follow the
   indentation of the document, and are used to control the hierarchical
   structure. Triangles at the far right edge symbolize the document it
   is linked to. You can click on one or several of these to select them,
   and double-click on one to follow it.

This is identical to the proposal of last night with the following
swaps: swap triangles and circles.  MAke the triangles icons for the
document behind the header, and make the bubble the icon for outline
families.  This is easy to change and play with later on (Scott Kim?).
The other is to put the hidden document icons at the right edge as
opposed to the left edge.  I suspect that both have there uses, and we
might just make this an option.  Failing that, can we integrate the
document icons with the link and sensor icons and so only have one
column dedicated to icons on the left edge?  Note that it may make
more sense to move the link and sensor icons to right edge...  Hey. We
could just have the link pane and then some graphical association
between particular link descriptions and their place in the text.
Hmmm...  I'll have to draw some pictures for comment later on.


   Advantages: The sensor and link indicators have the far left edge all to
I'm not sure links and sensors need this.

   themselves. Bullets are a standard way of indicating outline lists. The
There are several standards, and triangles are one of them.  The main
resaon for the choice is that it's easier to see the lines of
inentation with the triangles.

   arrow pointing off the right edge of the document is visually indicative
   of a link to somewhere else.
Yes.  The triangles are great for this.  Since document and outline
icons are different positions that are associated with their
semantics, they could just as well be the same icon.  If the document
icons were at the right edge, then all icons could be triangles (or
circles, for that matter).

   I think the best use of double-clicking on the selection handle (the button
   that is used to concretely manipulate a selection) is to open a new
   document that is linked to that selection with a default link type, like
   "marginal note". This makes it very fast and easy to annotate a document,
   and is conceptually close to the other uses of double clicking.
This almost works.  The problem is that it is too hard to make
different types of links.  Consider having a bunch of buttons that
appear to the side of the selection, one for each of the few frequent
link-types.  Actually, I prefer having a floating palette from which
to create the link.  One of the options could be to create a floating

   If the selection handles are visible in inactive windows (and I think
   they should be), then you can make a link by a modified drag operation
   from one to the other. Hmmm, let's try laying this all out...

I don't quite get it.  Doe this assume a large screen?

   Click -- locks handle in place so that you can make selections elsewhere
   in the same document. This serves the function of a hanging link end as
   well. The text should now have a different appearance from a regular
   selection, as you could then make another selection in the same document.
   If you scroll so that the text it's attached to isn't visible, it should
   hang off the top (or bottom) edge of the window. (There might be several
   there. There should be some way of distinguishing them if there are.)
   Clicking on a locked handle locks the current selection (if there is one),
   then makes the clicked on the current selection and scrolls it into view
   and unlocks it.

I think I prefer making hanging links with names.  That will make it
easier to connect the other.  This is still an interesting
representation of mutliple selections.  How do you get rid of a
selection?  I like the icon-dock better: move the selection icon to
the right margin and it sticks.  You can then refer to it
independently of the text.  You delete it just by moving it off the

   Double-click -- open a new document linked to this selection with some
   kind of link, "marginal note" or whatever the user has specified. Perhaps
   have a menu to change the link type.

   Drag onto some text -- move it there.

   Drag onto another selection handle -- move it to replace the contents
   of the other selection handle.

This is probably too cumbersome to use often.

   Option-drag onto text/handle -- copy it into/on top of destination

All these work well.

   Shift-drag onto text/handle -- link it to the other end.

Shift drag is already taken for selection extension.  Also remember
that once you've started dragging it, it's 'deleted' from the orignal
place.  I wouldn't want to modify the behavior at the beginning of the
drag based on the destination.