[MonoDevelop] Thoughts on Monodevelop's gtk designer:

Lluis Sanchez Gual lluis at novell.com
Wed Mar 18 06:41:39 EDT 2009

El dl 16 de 03 de 2009 a les 20:48 +0800, en/na kev va escriure:
> Preface:
> I'm a complete newbie when it comes to gtk development.  Therefore the
> following observations and comments are coming from someone who has
> neither used monodevelop's gtk tools, or any other tools for gui
> development.  Due to some frustrations with monodevelop's designer, I
> ended trying to use Glade3 to do the UI.  I shall try to point out some
> of these frustrations.

I think some of the frustrations come from an incorrect use of the GTK
framework. In GTK, widgets rarely are placed in absolute positions.
Instead, you combine containers to design the layout of the window, and
put widgets on the containers, playing with relative alignments and
margins. GTK also supports absolute positioning of widgets with the
Fixed container, but MD doesn't yet have design tools for helping
building guis using this container, because even if you can do it, it is
not the right way of doing it.

> I'm using monodevelop from svn.
> 1) When adding a widget container, the default size is very small.  It
> appears to default to about 1px in height.  It feels to me that it
> should default to "fill" the entire canvas.  This applies to all of the
> containers I used, VButtonBox, Fixed, HButtonBox.

This happens when you put a container inside a Fixed. We can fix that.
However, if you want the container to fill the entire canvas, just don't
put it inside a Fixed.

> 2) Glade's containers have grid markers.  These were useful to me when
> aligning buttons in specific areas.  In Designer, I had to guess.
> Snapping functionality would be a nice addition to grid lines in Designer.

We might add is, although I'm not very found of encouraging this way of
designing guis.

> 3) I really liked how in Glade3, the V/HButtonBox(s) had placeholders
> for the number of buttons it was allowing.  Dropping a button in these
> placeholders was very intuitive to me.
> 4) The points around the widgets, eight in total, gave me the initial
> impression that I could resize the widget by clicking on the point and
> dragging it.  I discovered later that those points are used for
> positioning?  The real way to resize the widget, in my case a button,
> was to adjust the requested width and height.  This was the case in
> Glade as well.
> I feel that it would be intuitive to allow the adjustment of the
> "requested width/height" by dragging the mouse on those points.

Yes, when resizing widgets in a Fixed that would help.

> So what did I like?
> Lots!  I liked Designers Properties layout better.  It seemed more
> intuitive to  use icons with buttons, or select "stock" buttons from the
> library.  Overall, I love the improvements that have gone into
> monodevelop in the last 6 months.  It's getting really good.
> -Tripzero
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