MARC Report: Quirks in the new interface

The new interface introduced in version 238, as well as containing many new features, also works quite a bit differently, from a 'Windows' point of view, than the old one.

To begin with, the new interface uses one window to launch the program (the 'picture' window), and a second window to run the Edit session. In all other versions, the Edit session ran in the same window as the main program.

We are now using two windows instead of one for several reasons:

  • It allows us to separate the code for the edit session from the main program1)
  • … which makes it possible for the user to completely customize the Edit Session form
  • And last, but not least, many people use the program for things other than editing records (eg. batch mode, or the many programs under the utilities menu).

So the 'picture' window now acts as a control panel for all of the various tasks the program can perform.

A few problems have been reported by users with regards to this. One user did not like having the main window showing on their desktop, so they would start the program, start an Edit Session, and then drag the main window off the desktop. Unfortunately, when an edit session is closed, the results window tries to position itself relative to the main window; thus, if the main window is off the desktop, so will the results window be, giving the program the appearance of being frozen.

Another user preferred to minimize the windows when they walked away from the computer, but then reported they could not find their edit session again when they returned. This is because of the way Windows itself handles minimized child windows in an application. Instead of putting them on the taskbar, it makes them 'really small', and displays them just above the task bar. If you have a lot of windows open, they can easily be 'lost'. Here is a screenshot showing an minimized edit session; even with no other open windows, the edit session might be easy to miss if you are not used to this behavior:


We will try to improve the program with regard to these difficulties in the coming versions. Obviously, we cannot change how Windows itself handles minimizing things, and we are not going to go back to a 'one window' design; but there are still many changes we can make to make the program easier to use.

1) something that has held us back from enhancing the edit session for a very long time
239/interface_quirks.txt · Last modified: 2013/04/27 09:09 (external edit)
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