Future of NetBeans' Options Dialogs - End of Schizophrenia



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.
Comments:

The old options dialog system should be redone. I prefer the newer model, albeit with more advanced options. The old method displayed simply \*too much\* information and much of it was not even editable or that useful. The new options dialog makes much more sense.

Posted by Moazam on říjen 12, 2005 at 03:44 dop. CEST #

I really like the new option dialog. Only on the mac os x it should look like other mac os x option dialogs: issue 65626

Posted by Christopher Atlan on říjen 12, 2005 at 04:06 dop. CEST #

I agree the approach. I also like new option dialog. These setting UIs should be friendly. It's not easy to understand Old ones.

Posted by Masaki on říjen 12, 2005 at 09:41 dop. CEST #

Christopher, thanks for the patch. I am not sure whether such late UI change will be accepted but I'll ask about it.

Posted by Roumen on říjen 12, 2005 at 10:11 dop. CEST #

I understand the need for the new Options dialog... but pllllllease - à la Roger Rabbit ;) - just make sure it contains everything from the old one. Don't remove options just because it does not fit in the "easy to use" paradigm. Of course, I felt comfortable with the old options dialog, but more importantly, everything - ok almost everything - that was configurable was there; I don't think putting options as a command line argument is an option - it is just harder to find. Anyway, the new options dialog looks promising and as a great look. Continue the great work!

Posted by Hugues on říjen 12, 2005 at 01:58 odp. CEST #

Don't even think about removing the old dialog until there's a way to disable blinking cursor in the new one!

Dmitri
Java2D Team

Posted by Dmitri Trembovetski on říjen 12, 2005 at 03:09 odp. CEST #

Dmitri, add your comment here.

Posted by Roumen on říjen 12, 2005 at 03:55 odp. CEST #

Done.

Dmtiri

Posted by Dmitri Trembovetski on říjen 12, 2005 at 05:09 odp. CEST #

I really like the mozilla approach to this. They have a nice user-friendly options dialog which contains the necessary minimum of options. And the about:config page where simply all the options are listed and can be changed.

Posted by ksorokin on říjen 12, 2005 at 10:08 odp. CEST #

OK the new is easier to be used, but the old is easier to be programmed (I thing), I meen I would like to have the old easity programmed options for my netbeans modules

Posted by George Tryfon on říjen 15, 2005 at 09:55 dop. CEST #

That should be still possible with the Advanced section of new Options dialog. I didn't have a chance to try the new API yet though.

Posted by Roumen on říjen 15, 2005 at 12:29 odp. CEST #

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