Re: GUI names: forms vs. windows

Subject: Re: GUI names: forms vs. windows
From: Steve Hussey <shush -at- harborside -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Tue, 24 Oct 2000 13:37:09 -0700

> I like the principles Paul Hanson passed along. Does anyone know of their
> "official" origin?
> - If it can be maximized, minimized, resized, or closed, it's a window
> - If it can be closed, it's a dialog box
> - If you can't do anything with the button in the top right corner, it's a
> message

Hmmm. Windows can also be closed. No window can be minimized (in the true
sense of the word) on Mac OS.

Consider instead an example of a fictitious DTP program.

You launch the program.

You create a new document. This opens a new document window. It could have
scroll bars, close box, maximize buttons etc (also depending on OS).

Various tools are organized into floating palettes that are not part of the
main document window. They too are windows, but since they appear to float
above everything else (and are not modal) they are called floating palettes.
They are just one window type.

You select print: a dialog appears. It's contained in a window. It's usually
a fixed size, but everything can be resized. It offers you options: and asks
you for values such as the number of copies to print. That's why it's called
a *dialog*. Another example of a dialog is a window that appears and says
something like 'Enter your name and password'.

While it's printing a small window appears: it says 'Printing 1 of n'. This
is a message. One way communication of progress.

All of these items are windows: each window has many optional properties
that determine its appearance. These windows contain objects of various
types that present data to the user, or accept it back from the user.

The *context* determines whether they are considered dialogs etc.

A good book to read is 'JAVA Look and feel design guidelines' (Sun) - it
shows various window types, objects and behaviors.


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