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Re: [lmi] Re: FW: LMI Help Proposal

From: Greg Chicares
Subject: Re: [lmi] Re: FW: LMI Help Proposal
Date: Mon, 22 May 2006 04:17:18 +0000
User-agent: Mozilla Thunderbird 1.0.2 (Windows/20050317)

On 2006-5-19 23:46 UTC, Vadim Zeitlin wrote:
> On Fri, 19 May 2006 07:54:46 -0400 "Ericksberg, Richard" <address@hidden> 
> wrote:
> ER> On 2006-5-18 14:56 UTC, Greg Chicares wrote:
> ER> 
> ER> > What should right-clicking a text control do? Look at
> ER> > some ms apps and you'll see why I ask this in the
> ER> > "What's This?" context.
> ER> 
> ER> 3 distinct MS Behaviors found:
> ER> 
> ER>   Word, Excel and PowerPoint
> ER>     Do nothing.
> ER> 
> ER>   Publisher, Outlook, InfoPath (and interestingly LMI also)
> ER>     Give the pop-up with:
> ER>       Undo
> ER>       Cut
> ER>       Copy
> ER>       Paste
> ER>       Delete
> ER>       Select All
> ER> 
> ER>   Access
> ER>     Gives the "What's This?" pop-up and provides the yellow-box Help.

The second behavior is the msw default edit-control implementation.
That's why the context menu is identical in the applications listed
and also in adobe 'acrobat', 'beyond compare', the borland C++ 5.02
IDE, 'firefox', 'winzip', and our non-wx legacy illustration system.
This is the behavior seen in the msw 'common file dialogs', too.

>  The behaviour which I proposed can be seen in standard Windows dialogs
> themselves, see e.g. the "Properties" dialog of any file in Explorer and so
> I still think it's the most standard one. For the record, it was:
>       Show help for readonly text controls but show the standard
>       menu for the other ones.

Yes, in my experience too, that's the standard behavior. As Rick
points out, ms 'office' apps are intentionally "distinctive", but
then again they don't even use the operating system's common file
dialogs--cf. "Standards are for Breaking" here:
But their behavior in the case we're concerned with--right clicking
a text control--is to do nothing, and we don't want to imitate that.

> ER> Best solution would be to add "What's This?" as another entry at the
> ER> end of the Undo et al pop-up.
>  This might be better but such approach has an important drawback: we can't
> modify the existing standard menu so we'd have to recreate it. This is not
> complicated (in fact wx already does it) but it's not very good because it
> means that we don't profit from any improvements/enhancements to the native
> text control menu. E.g. because of the wx (IMO bad and I want to change it)
> current behaviour, we don't see "Right to left" and "Unicode"-related items
> in the popup menu of the rich edit text controls under Windows XP/2003
> currently.
>  So I'd hesitate to recommend overriding the standard Windows menu. Maybe
> we can somehow add the item to the existing menu but I don't know how to do
> this and would need some time to find out. If we have this time and I can,
> indeed, find the solution, then I think Rick's proposal is the best. If not
> I'd like to argue for the last time in favour of staying with the standard
> Windows behaviour.

If we were designing an operating system's GUI layer, then I'd want
to approach this in a different way than ms has: the widespread
general lack of "What's This?" help for edit controls is a strange
anomaly, and there ought to be a way to append to the context menu
that the system provides. That would be ideal, if feasible.

I spent some time trying to do that a few years ago, but failed,
and concluded that there's no way to do it cleanly. See 'doxygen'
for an example of doing it uncleanly--their emulated context menu
for edit controls looks weird and doesn't behave the same way as
the operating system's. To the extent wx has done anything like
that, I'd say you're right to want to change it.

The ms 'office' behavior is just wrong. The ms 'access' behavior
is unusual and loses the benefits of the system context menu--and
I believe most users would use copy or paste more often than help.
The ideal behavior is difficult to get right, and fragile: it'll
become wrong when the operating system changes again. So I don't
believe we should try to change the current lmi behavior: instead,
I recommend following the most widespread practice, and providing
"What's This?" help for the static-text control associated with
an edit control.

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