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Advogato: Window managers with workspaces vs. Windows MDI

Jun 09, 2001, 19:30 (18 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Raphael)

Interface design for open source applications can be a bit of a trick, with developers having to make the call between several, occasionally- conflicting factors: best practice, common practice, and ease. This article takes a look at the conflict between the "Unix way" (and the traditional X approach) vs. the "Windows way," something we see in applications like Opera.

"Several applications that are ported from X to Windows get the same kind of comments from Windows users: "It would be nice if the application could put all its windows into a single big window, like most other Win32 applications do." The reply is usually: "You need a better window manager." But is this the right reply? Maybe something could be done when porting the applications...

...Frequently, some Windows users complain (or make polite suggestions) about the fact that an application ported from UNIX to Win32 opens several top-level windows instead of using the MDI model that is used by most Windows applications. An application using the MDI model (Multiple Document Interface) can open many sub-windows inside a main window and these sub-windows are managed like all other windows, but they remain inside their container. The container window can provide a menu, a status bar, and also prevents the user from clicking accidentally on a window from another application."

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