Re: terms: window/dialog

Subject: Re: terms: window/dialog
From: "Lisa Wright" <liwright -at- rmi -dot- net>
To: "Barclay Blanchard" <BarclayB -at- txlink -dot- com>, "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Sat, 11 Mar 2000 11:02:31 -0700

Whether you can resize it is not the criteria I'd use. The window is, as you
describe it, the main interface, with menus, buttons, etc. A dialog box is
something that displays to communicate directly with the user or let the
user perform some function, such as saving, defining preferences, or
acknowledging an error message. Check your Microsoft or Mac style guide for

Programmers can get into all sorts of detail about the different kind of
dialog boxes (modal, modeless, etc.). (Aside--I once got into a heated email
argument with a systems guy over what, exactly, constituted an
"application." His position was that every separate piece of code that
triggered an action was its own application.)

For the purposes of writing to end users I follow the KISS principle. There
are windows for the main interface (and the individual document windows, as
in WP programs), and there are dialog boxes for everything else. (BTW, I do
think all dialog boxes should have titles/labels as well.)

Lisa Wright
Technical Writer
LiWright -at- rmi -dot- net
----- Original Message -----
From: Barclay Blanchard <BarclayB -at- txlink -dot- com>
To: TECHWR-L <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Sent: Friday, March 10, 2000 4:45 PM
Subject: terms: window/dialog

> I've been happily writing along for a few years using
> "window" as a description of everything in the
> Windows interface with a title bar, fields, and buttons,
> and today a programmer was telling me that when
> you can't resize the "window," it's a dialog.
> Have I been ignoring a standard naming convention?
> What do you call these objects: windows or dialogs?
> How much does it matter? (Have I erred egregiously?)
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