Future of NetBeans' Options Dialogs - End of Schizophrenia
By Roman Strobl on X 12, 2005
The NetCAT community testing is in full throttle. As I expected, there is a lot of discussions about the new Options dialog, because people have different opinions how the Options dialog should look like - some prefer simplistic approach, some would like it to become the old Options dialog. The right solution seems to be somewhere in between and we are gathering feedback to find out which options are important and should not miss in the new Options dialog.
We are planning to remove the old Options dialog in the next release of NetBeans. Some people have already objected against this change - they would prefer that both dialogs would stay in the IDE. This is an interesting idea, but unfortunately it would mean quite a lot of overhead of having to maintain two dialogs instead of one. It would also slow down evolution in the settings area, because incompatible changes could not be done. We've already seen this problem in NetBeans 5.0 - e.g. fonts & colors settings were changed to include profiles and thus they had to be removed from the old Options dialog.
I think the right approach is to add the important missing settings to the new Options dialog, either directly to the main categories or to the Advanced section for options which are rather advanced. Obscure options which would be necessary could be done as command line switches. So there are ways how to solve all these issues. It is quite natural that some people will be against removing the old Options dialog (after all it took them probably months to get used to it)... but from UI perspective I think it is better to have a single dialog. Especially if other settings would start disappearing from the old dialog whenever an incompatible change would be done.
If you disagree with this approach, I'd be interested in your arguments.