Suggestion for Additional Window Layout

NEW
Unassigned

Status

Thunderbird
Mail Window Front End
--
enhancement
14 years ago
2 years ago

People

(Reporter: Dan Ferreira, Unassigned)

Tracking

Firefox Tracking Flags

(Not tracked)

Details

(URL)

Attachments

(1 attachment)

(Reporter)

Description

14 years ago
User-Agent:       Mozilla/5.0 (Windows; U; Windows NT 5.1; en-US; rv:1.5a) Gecko/20030728 Mozilla Firebird/0.6.1
Build Identifier: Mozilla/5.0 (Windows; U; Windows NT 5.1; en-US; rv:1.5a) Gecko/20030728 Mozilla Firebird/0.6.1

I think it would be extremely useful to have a Window Configuration where the
message list spans horizontally and the Folders Sidebar and Message Pane are
side-by-side, like this:

+---------------------+
| message list        |
|                     |
+-------+-------------+
|Folders|  Msg. Pane  |
|       |             |
|       |             |
|       |             |
+-------+-------------+

The message list often requires a lot of horizontal space for full display of
its columns, (specially in lower resolutions or smaller window sizes) whereas
the Folders Sidebar and Message Pane don't. In terms of usability, it would be
an option worth having IMHO.

Reproducible: Didn't try

Steps to Reproduce:

Updated

14 years ago
QA Contact: asa

Comment 1

13 years ago
*** Bug 258249 has been marked as a duplicate of this bug. ***

Comment 2

13 years ago
I would use this if it were implemented.
OS: Windows XP → All
Hardware: PC → All
Summary: Suggestion for Additional Window Configuration → Suggestion for Additional Window Layout

Comment 3

13 years ago
I strongly agree with this proposal! This would be extremely useful! Please
implement this soon!

Comment 4

13 years ago
Absolutely agree, and have posted my reasons <a
href="http://forums.mozillazine.org/viewtopic.php?t=246063&highlight=proposed+window+layout">here</a>.

Comment 5

12 years ago
this layout would allow the optimal ergonomic view, given research i've read on freeform text words/column & memory retention, and other stuff not necessary to list.

ideally i'd like to see 'panes' implemented generically, perhaps as described here: 

http://wiki.mozilla.org/Talk:Thunderbird:2.0_Product_Planning#New_Approach_to_3_.28or_more.29_Pane_UI_creation

Comment 6

11 years ago
Well, we already have:

+-------+----------------+
|Folders|  message list  |
|       |                |
+-------+----------------+
| Msg. Pane              |
|                        |
+------------------------+

And I think that the actual message is more important than many of the subject columns - especially since many e-mails' texts still don't wrap properly (not always Thunderbird's fault). That doesn't mean the Subject Pane shouldn't be "wider" too. This bug might still be a welcomed setting for many users.

I have been thinking about a potentially even better idea: How about making the folder pane auto-collapsible, much like the Favorites pane in IE7. It opens on hover, and on drag+hover, and collapses after use (and can be pinned open). The collapsed state should be wide enough to be visually noticeable and an easy-to-hit hover-target (Fitts Law). That way both the subject pane and the message pane could make full use of the window width.

+-+-------------------+
|F|  Subject Pane     |
|o|                   |
|l+-------------------+
|d|  Message Pane     |
|e|                   |
|r|                   |
+-+-------------------+

Comment 7

11 years ago
Created attachment 235344 [details] [diff] [review]
[checked in trunk and branch] patch to enable this view as an easter egg layout

I'm becoming intrigued by this view. I looked at the stack extension and took a few pieces from it to get this working. But I don't have time right now to finish implementing it. But it would still be useful to get feedback from folks (mcow and others who have expressed interest in it) who want to try it out.

I'd like to check the patch for this layout in as a hidden easter egg layout. That means:

1) No UI for enabling it. Users interesed in trying it out can go to Tools / Options / Advanced / Config Editor and change mail.pane_config.dynamic to have a value of 3.

2) Loading Account Central in this view looks weird.

3) You can't change to another view without restarting Thunderbird..

4) When you first switch into (or out of) this view, the thread pane blanks out and you must reload a folder in the folder pane to get info back in the thread pane.

All of that being said, if you switch into this view and stay there, it works very well and I'm starting to like it. Just don't load account central.

What do you think David? Should we leave the patch until someone can address these issues or enable it as a hidden layout?
Attachment #235344 - Flags: superreview?(bienvenu)

Comment 8

11 years ago
Asa expressed some interest in being a guinea pig with this layout.

Comment 9

11 years ago
Yeah. Get this in as an experimental layout and I and others can try it out and see how useful (or not) it is. If it proves useful, maybe we can draft some people to help clean it up some.

Updated

11 years ago
Attachment #235344 - Flags: superreview?(bienvenu) → superreview+

Comment 10

11 years ago
Comment on attachment 235344 [details] [diff] [review]
[checked in trunk and branch] patch to enable this view as an easter egg layout

This will show up in Saturday's nightly builds. 

Testers: 

Users interesed in trying it out can go to Tools /
Options / Advanced / Config Editor and change mail.pane_config.dynamic to have
a value of 3.

Please see the warnings in comment 7 :).
Attachment #235344 - Attachment description: patch to enable this view as an easter egg layout → [checked in trunk and branch] patch to enable this view as an easter egg layout

Comment 11

11 years ago
Oh, and the nightly branch builds can be found here:

ftp://ftp.mozilla.org/pub/mozilla.org/thunderbird/nightly/latest-mozilla1.8

But you'll have to wait for Saturday for this change.

Updated

11 years ago

Comment 12

11 years ago
I like this.  It goes well with the recent Folder View changes, as the list of Favorites is more compact.  (This also neatly finesses the Account Central problem. :)  I can keep the mail window smaller, while the message pane is no longer too wide.

Comment 13

11 years ago
(In reply to comment #12)
> I like this.  It goes well with the recent Folder View changes, as the list of
> Favorites is more compact.  (This also neatly finesses the Account Central
> problem. :)  I can keep the mail window smaller, while the message pane is no
> longer too wide.

I'm starting to like it too, also with the favorites view. Not sure what you mean by finessing the account central problem though. Keep us posted with feedback. Thanks!

Comment 14

11 years ago
I like i too. :-)

Comment 15

11 years ago
brilliant mscott, thanks.  it was a Tb2 blocker for me since the ext broke..

aside from the cleanup already mentioned.

1)restarting always brings up Account Central, would expect Tb to start with last folder/message selected, since that pref is set.  however, selecting a folder sets the panes alignments correctly.  [actually, this is a bug in all Views..]
2) perhaps Account Central should just occupy the Message Pane, instead of also the Message List (which might simply be collapsed initially), for all Views.
3)this view will break Lightning; bug #337119 had been filed for them.

Comment 16

11 years ago
(In reply to comment #15)
> 2) perhaps Account Central should just occupy the Message Pane, instead of also
> the Message List (which might simply be collapsed initially), for all Views.

I can confirm, the account central is using the message list instead of the message pane. Everytimes collapsing the message list would NOT be helpful, because of the related move of folder pane (it would move up and down).

> 3)this view will break Lightning; bug #337119 had been filed for them.

Not all of us are using Lightning. Maybe this new layout could be disabled, if Lightning is installed/enabled.

Comment 17

11 years ago
(In reply to comment #13)
> Not sure what you mean by finessing the account central problem though. 

If you're using Favorites view, there are no Account nodes to select, so the Account Central problem won't be seen.

Comment 18

11 years ago
Folks - I was one of the originators months ago advocating what is known as a stacked view. I (as a TB user) appreciate all the fine efforts done to create additional alternative panel views, including the one mentioned throughout this particular bug.

Unfortunately, this is missing the mark in terms of true usability for users who wish to have a "tall" view of the message pane. I have recently discussed my thoughts on this with mscott over in the MoFo forums at:
http://forums.mozillazine.org/viewtopic.php?p=2460272#2460272. FYI, I am a user interface director and understand the nuances of screen real estate and effective widget placements.

Is there any chance for what I call the "stacked view" being implemented? The user benefits include both (1) more message screen real estate and (2) more compact folder/msg list panes. In a perfect world, and possibly something for consideration in future TB releases, would be user configurability of panel placements within Options area (IMHO).

thanks again for all your fine work,
dbMorris

Comment 19

11 years ago
(In reply to comment #16)
> (In reply to comment #15)
> > 2) perhaps Account Central should just occupy the Message Pane, instead of also
> > the Message List (which might simply be collapsed initially), for all Views.
> 
> I can confirm, the account central is using the message list instead of the
> message pane. Everytimes collapsing the message list would NOT be helpful,
> because of the related move of folder pane (it would move up and down).

there is no way around moving the Folder Pane to fill the space of the Message List.  either the space is left, or collapsed - resulting in a move.  it's the nature of the view.

> 
> > 3)this view will break Lightning; bug #337119 had been filed for them.
> 
> Not all of us are using Lightning. Maybe this new layout could be disabled, if
> Lightning is installed/enabled.
> 

this was just an fyi.  in *no way* should Tb disable the view for Lightning.  it is Lightning which needs to adjust to the view.

+1 to support the stacked view as well.

Comment 20

11 years ago
Just wondering: I actually use Thunderbird to ANSWER messages, aside from reading them. Therefore it might prove useful to have a tighter integration of message answering with reading.
Concerning the subject of this bug an option to view the answer right next to the message without shuffling around windows would be great.
Once upon a time there have been dockable windows/frames/panes quite popular, so that everyone could rearrange their views relative to each other without loosing space.
These ongoing discussions of different views might be resolved with a proper dynamic handling of panes (to be able to shift them around at will and save them as personalized views). I am also thinking of multiple screen views (nowadays they get more and more popular).
A little off-topic: Using the current message pane also as an answering pane could help to reduce clutter drastically (the main pane would be reused this way) - having an option to directly write into the current message would even speed up the whole procedure 8saving hours and hours of clicking and re-arranging.
Connected with that would be message referencing, so that messages are not completely quoted (usually a thread keeps a full track of up to 20 msgs), but only their references including the line number instead (which can be transparently included by the client) - but this might be quit off topic now...
QA Contact: front-end

Comment 21

10 years ago
> "an option to directly write into the current message"

This sounds like a fantastic idea to me! I always seem to switch between the composer window, the draft folder, and possibly the message I'm referring to (answering) about two dozen annoying times to make sure everything is in place in my messge, and correctly answered.

I mean, it is about ten years ago that MS Word quit the annoying habit where you could only edit your document in "NORMAL" mode and could only look at what it will look like in the end in "PAGE LAYOUT" mode, but could not EDIT anything in page layout mode.

Why not just get rid of the composer window foor good, in favour of a toolbar inside the message pane that can be toggled on (edit mode) and off (read only mode)?

I understand that technically, this is probably hard to do since the rendering engine of the composer probably is completely separate of the message pane engine. Still I like the idea very much.

David.P

Comment 22

10 years ago
Btw, regarding the folder pane layout issue -- who needs the folder pane anyway these days, when there are such useful extensions as

- Maximize Message Pane (for collapsing the folder pane completely);
- Quick Folders (have your favourite folders as toolbar buttons); and finally
- the folders dropdown button (actually I can't remember where I got this in the first place).

See screenshot here: http://tinyurl.com/22l9zm

David.P




Comment 23

10 years ago
This was removed on trunk...
<http://bonsai.mozilla.org/cvsview2.cgi?diff_mode=context&whitespace_mode=show&subdir=mozilla/mail/base/content&command=DIFF_FRAMESET&file=msgMail3PaneWindow.js&rev1=1.130&rev2=1.131&root=/cvsroot>

Comment 24

10 years ago
(In reply to comment #23)
> This was removed on trunk...
> <http://bonsai.mozilla.org/cvsview2.cgi?diff_mode=context&whitespace_mode=show&subdir=mozilla/mail/base/content&command=DIFF_FRAMESET&file=msgMail3PaneWindow.js&rev1=1.130&rev2=1.131&root=/cvsroot>
> 

argh, is this on purpose or a regression??  please, this is the most useful view..
follow the links to the change log for the module and you will see why Version 1.131 changed it. at the bottom click "blame" and then at the top click "full change log"

Comment 26

10 years ago
awright, instead of moaning i've put together some code to support both Wide Thread and Stacked View:
http://forums.mozillazine.org/viewtopic.php?t=578861

no account central issues, no restarting needed, available in View->Layout menu, all layout states persisted.  only for Tb2, though based on relevant trunk code, due to trunk changes/issues, but i'd be happy to upgrade it once resolved and there's a DOMi.

Bryan, perhaps of interest
This is an interesting change in layout.  I think you could be on to something, especially for people with a small number of folders and large number of mesages in the inbox.  You've effectively rearranged the space for that style of usage.

My concern is that I don't want to see more layout types in Thunderbird, I'd rather see less of them actually.  I believe there is a lot more to gain improving our existing layouts compared to adding more.  I don't think that means we should think of replacing an existing layout with this one, but I'm not sure what the path forward is.

I wish it wasn't extremely hard to write your own pane layout in an extension right now.  I'm hoping that in the near term future this issue will go away and there can be many more extensions trying out new layout views.  Then (in that rosey future) I think we could offer a menu item in the View -> Layouts list for "Layout Extensions..." which opens the add-ons manager to a list of different layout extensions.

Comment 29

9 years ago
(In reply to comment #28)
> This is an interesting change in layout.  I think you could be on to something,
> especially for people with a small number of folders and large number of
> mesages in the inbox.  You've effectively rearranged the space for that style
> of usage.
> 
> My concern is that I don't want to see more layout types in Thunderbird, I'd
> rather see less of them actually.  I believe there is a lot more to gain
> improving our existing layouts compared to adding more.  I don't think that
> means we should think of replacing an existing layout with this one, but I'm
> not sure what the path forward is.
> 

i don't follow this reasoning at all.  there should be infinite user choice in pane number and layout.  with sidebar and lightning and other such things, this is going to be even more evident.  Fx has nice solutions like Splitbrowser and MultiSidebar extensions to achieve this, yet due to the nature of the data in Tb, it's more important here to organize layout well (meaning per user preference).  

> I wish it wasn't extremely hard to write your own pane layout in an extension
> right now.  I'm hoping that in the near term future this issue will go away and
> there can be many more extensions trying out new layout views.  Then (in that
> rosey future) I think we could offer a menu item in the View -> Layouts list
> for "Layout Extensions..." which opens the add-ons manager to a list of
> different layout extensions.
> 

imo, the right solution is to provide a blank slate and allow segmenting 'panes' via dragndrop, then drop in widgets from a menu.  see comment 5.  but this would belong as a core architectural feature for the platform.
(In reply to comment #29)
> i don't follow this reasoning at all.  there should be infinite user choice in
> pane number and layout.  with sidebar and lightning and other such things, this
> is going to be even more evident.  Fx has nice solutions like Splitbrowser and
> MultiSidebar extensions to achieve this, yet due to the nature of the data in
> Tb, it's more important here to organize layout well (meaning per user
> preference).  

Yes, I think you've misunderstood what I was saying.  I agree there should be infinite choice available for layouts.  I was referring to core thunderbird as needing to have less layouts, but easy access to more layouts via extensions should offer many, many more.

Comment 31

9 years ago
ah, i see.  but, as the author of morelayoutsforthunderbird, i think layouts in fact belong in core.  for example, moving DOM nodes (the current way to achieve different pane layouts) brings out problems like lost event listeners (at least in Tb2 which may be fixed in latest gecko) and xbl binding code running when it shouldn't (as i've discovered making it work with Lightning).  so this easy access can only be achieved in core architecture as a generic design goal.

i was considering submitting a patch for the 2 new layouts, but if it won't be accepted i won't bother, of course.

Updated

9 years ago
Assignee: mscott → nobody

Updated

2 years ago
Duplicate of this bug: 223134

Updated

2 years ago
Duplicate of this bug: 524658
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