Window System in 7.1
By Geertjan on Oct 13, 2011
Trying to build up a complete list of all the enhancements in the NetBeans window system in 7.1.
- Roles. There's support for roles/perspectives/profiles in NetBeans Platform 7.1, for the first time, as I wrote earlier in this blog. That's good news, now window layouts can be stored/retrieved per user. What's less good news is that this is limited to the window system, i.e., would have been nice to have had the entire file system be available on a per-user basis, e.g., some Actions are relevant to Admin users, while others aren't. Though other solutions exist in the NetBeans Platform for solving this scenario, it would have been nice if it had been included in the "roles" enhancement.
- Modes. New mode "topSlidingSide", i.e., that lets you minimize a TopComponent above the window display area, in addition to the existing "leftSlidingSide", "rightSlidingSide", and "bottomSlidingSide", and you can drag and drop TopComponents into that area, as done below for the Projects window, Services window, and Files window:
- Groups. For TopComponents found in the same "view" mode—e.g., in the "explorer" mode, which is a "view" mode, you have "Projects window", "Files window", and "Services window", as shown below—there are now new menu items, available when you click to the right of the TopComponent tabs, for manipulating the group as one unit:
Above, you can see that a number of menu items are disabled, since they do not relate to the current context, which is group behavior, since we didn't select a specific TopComponent but, rather, to the right of the tabs of the TopComponents, i.e., in the brand new "group tab area". So, above, the "Move" action is disabled, since it would only make sense when a single TopComponent is selected, rather than a group, as shown below:
Above, the majority of the menu items are enabled, since here we right-clicked on an individual TopComponent's tab, rather than to the right of the tabs, in the brand new "group tab area", which is what the earlier screenshot showed.
So, that's the new behavior for "view" modes. Modes of kind "editor" are different, they've always had different behavior to "view" modes. E.g., TopComponents in "view" modes can be minimized, while TopComponents in "editor" modes can be cloned. That's logical functionality, i.e., it makes no sense to clone (i.e., create a splitter) for the Projects window, while split pane functionality for editor documents is something that is often needed.
You can see new behavior above for TopComponents in "editor" modes, too. (There's always only one "editor" mode, as far as I am aware, by the way, with multiple editor documents docked within it.) You can now create separated "Document Tab Groups", which then have behavior dedicated to the group, such as the ability for the documents within the tab group to be floated out of the main frame of the application together.
In the same way as there is a new "group tab area" to the right of TopComponent tabs in "view" modes, there is also such an area to the right of the tabs of TopComponents in "editor" modes.
Something that's interesting, and possibly unintentional, is that you can now, for the first time, drag TopComponents from "view" modes into "editor" modes, and vice versa:
- Tools. When you create a new TopComponent via the Window wizard, you'll see a new button to the right of the "Window Position" drop-down, letting you create your own new mode or customize one of those that already exist. Another entry point into the same functionality is the new "Layout of Windows" template in the New File dialog. I blogged earlier about this new template here.
- Terminology. The term "undock" is replaced by "float". So, where in the past you would dock/undock a TopComponent from the main window, you now dock/float a TopComponent or a group of TopComponents from the main window. Another new term is "Document Tab Group".
A related enhancement is the pluggability of multiview components, though that relates to a completely different API. So, above you see all the window system enhancements of which I am personally aware. Probably there are a few others, hoping I'll be enlightened about these soon.