[MonoDevelop] Tab replacement for files proposal

Lluis Sanchez Gual slluis.devel at gmail.com
Thu Aug 5 12:27:45 EDT 2010

El dc 04 de 08 de 2010 a les 12:35 -0400, en/na Dale Ragan va escriure:
> Hello!
> I've recently been thinking about how we can replace the tabs for files in
> MonoDevelop into one file dialog.  We've all been there, we get into a
> zone and by the time we come up for air, we have 25 or more files opened
> and all those tabs for files are just a pain, because it makes it hard to
> find the other dialogs we care about.  I've seen this discussed on IRC,
> but I don't think I've seen anybody propose a solution.
> The proposal is to create one tab for the file editor dialog and then
> polish and enhance the new navigation breadcrumb control.  We enhance the
> control by showing the currently opened file and then have functionality
> to be a drop down for picking another opened file.  This will allow a
> secondary way of navigating and also make available which files are opened
> to the user.  The main way for navigating around is to use the new
> navigate to command and use the navigate to dialog that we've all come to
> love.  The rest of the navigation breadcrumb control will behave how it
> does now, so for example when looking at it, you will see:  Opened File |
> Current Type | Current Member.
> Let's discuss to see how many like this approach and any issues that are
> raised.

The usability of the document tab strip has been discussed in the past
and it is a complex subject.

I have two ways of using MD:

For coding: When I'm writing code, the set of files I'm using is
reduced. I have the file being edited and a few other files I use as
reference. To switch between the files I use the ctrl+tab command, which
is very convenient because it allows you to switch to a file and quickly
go back to the original file with a single ctrl+tab press (it works like
alt+tab for switching windows: the most recent windows are shown first).

The other way of using MD is for code browsing. When browsing I use the
mouse since it allows me to find things in the solution pad, scroll
through code, select text, and so on. When doing that, I use the
document tabs to switch between files, and it is very convenient for
that, since I can see all the files I'm browsing and I can easily switch
between them with a single click.

So, having a the list of files in a dropdown isn't a big improvement for
me. If I'm coding, it is not useful to me since I use the keyboard to
switch. If I'm browsing, a tab strip is easier to use with the mouse
than a dropdown, since I can switch with a single click. And in case
there are too many files, I can always use the Window menu, which shows
a list of all windows.

I don't think the solution you are proposing is much better than what we
have now. A lot of people is accustomed to the current model (after all,
that's how Visual Studio works), so if we change it, we have to make
sure the new model is much better. In any case I agree that there is a
lot of room for improvements in this area, so the discussion is welcome.


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