Such a pane

by Robert Daeley

A blogger by the name of Paul Souders (aka axoplasm) posted a screenshot today that speaks volumes about the current state of GUI:

I hit F9 just now and my mind boggled at the number of multi-paned interfaces I saw. Of the 14 windows I have open, 13 of them have panes or sidebars. (12 if you don't count GMail). I'm also not counting the columns view in the Finder....

Of course I felt compelled to hit F9, which produced not as many windows (or panes) as Paul, but still -- lots of interface elements, both in number and in diversity.

With toolbars, drawers, sidebars, tabs, etc. spreading like a game of Qix, the multitasking sure is, well, tasking sometimes. Wasn't there some sort of one-window-per-app ideal back in the day?


2006-07-11 17:40:23
No, to my knowledge there wasn't. But in 20 odd years of using Macs and PCs I can count about 4 or 5 apps which I'd say had a really excellent UI.

If Apple break every rule in the book on a regular basis, which they do nowadays, how can we expect developers ( especially those young ones ! ) not to use all those "wonderful" widgets which the jobsworths are serving up on every new OS release.

It's come down to this I think... A lot of people are being payed to come up with "GREAT NEW IDEAS" and if don't they'll lose their jobs ... and the managers who're supposed to know better and should be managing those enthusiastic designers, the managers who should be there on the ball to say NO, those people simply don't exist any more.

2006-07-12 02:33:51
Agree that some apps have gone overboard (Word, Dreamweaver, Photoshop comes to mind). But this is partly a user problem, isn't it? If users focus on doing a limited number of tasks at one time, then how many interfaces would need to be opened? After all, why would Paul Souders (axoplasm) need 14 windows open? Many people can't even multitask more than 5 tasks before requiring serious concentration to get anything done.

Don't forget that the more apps and windows (presumably 1 document per window) we start, we cause more physical RAM to be taken up, in turn causing memory paging to hard disk and overall slowdown in performance.

I don't think anyone would want to go back to Finder (as it was before MultiFinder was released) where you can only do one thing at a time. That would be a bit too drastic, don't you think?

2006-07-12 12:36:07
Not every window has to have a pane showing. Most Mac apps I use that do have extra panes allow you to show/hide the panes.

I don't consider something like Mail to be having separate panes; the panes shown in the screencap are part of the Mail interface :). For many apps, if they didn't have these "separate" panes, you really wouldn't be able to use the app very well.

2006-07-12 23:38:55
I don't see the problem. The master-detail interface is pretty much standard and deemed the easiest way to display a large amount of information and still let one edit an individual item. If someone doesn't like it, login as ">console" and live without it for a day or so.