[MonoDevelop] Tab replacement for files proposal

Michael Hutchinson m.j.hutchinson at gmail.com
Thu Aug 5 16:21:14 EDT 2010

On Thu, Aug 5, 2010 at 1:30 PM, Dale Ragan <dale.ragan at sinesignal.com> wrote:
> Hi Justin:
>> My preferred workflow is to have only a few files open that I am actively
>> working on.  Like others, I really like the heads up nature of this and
>> the
>> ease of seeing which files have unsaved changes.  A drop-down seems like a
>> step back for this style of working.
> We can always figure out another way to show files that are opened and
> have unsaved changes.  The dropdown is just one way, we could also have a
> pad, for instance that sits to the left, just like the solution explorer
> showing the details.
>> That said, I certainly have the experience of looking up during a
>> coding/debugging session and seeing that I have a couple dozen tabs open.
>> Sometimes, there are multiple tabs with the same names (eg. Index.aspx).
>> What would be great in this situation is to have a drop-down option in the
>> tab-bar when the number of tabs no longer fits on the screen (or when
>> there
>> are four tabs open or something else).
> This doesn't ultimately solve the issue I am hoping to solve, which is
> alleviate the mixing of file tabs with other relevant tabs, like for
> instance the Version Control Changes tab.  When you have multiple files
> open, it becomes hard to find those other relevant tabs.

I think it would be useful to abstract things sufficiently to be able
to experiment with several different options. Several things have been
proposed -
1) make the file tabs into real first-class monodevelop docking tabs
so they can be split side-by-side, dragged onto different monitors,
2) improve the usability of the tab bar / document well. The VS2010
power extensions addin has lots of interesting ideas for the document
3) remove the file tabs, like xcode, and instead re-use one file tab
for displaying different files, with some kind of menu/switcher to
view unsaved and recent files (The VS2010 solution navigator also has
an interesting take on a recent/open/unsaved switcher).

It would be interesting to experiment with a combination of these
ideas. For example, I like the VS2010 dockable file tabs. But I also
really like that in Xcode one doesn't have to explicitly close files -
if they're saved and disappear off the "recent" list, they're closed
automatically. Perhaps we could implement this behaviour while
retaining the tab bar. And it certainly wouldn't hurt to improve the
usability of the tab bar, for example an overflow dropdown instead of
the cumbersome sideways scrolling.

One thing I don't think we should do is to add lots of configurations
options to switch between different behaviours.

Michael Hutchinson

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