The current Preference dialogs have a lot of shortcomings mostly from trying to force all preferences to fit a single size. The tree navigation of preferences is also difficult for users to penetrate or understand. The referenced URL is a rough outline of a Control Panel approach... comments welcome.
OK confirming RFE as I've not seen this suggested elsewhere. The User Interface: Design Feedback seems like the most appropriate place for this because this isn't a bug with the existing preferences panel but a request for a total revamp of this. BTW if you haven't already post this proposal to the appropriate newsgroups: netscape.public.mozilla.ui should be appropriate and also .prefs
Updated the document to include a sample RDF definition and a description of the UI in XUL terms. I announced this in prefs, ui and wishlist at the time but I'll freshen that.
simon, the link appears dead --d'you have a more recent url? and/or, could you attach the outline to this bug? thx!
Simon, ping? It would be interesting to see what you're talking about.
I've updated the link to the original document.
Updated the document to include a mockup of the Control Panel Window.
marlon/samir, what d'you think?
Simon, I still don't see anything at that address ... It's an empty HTML doc.
It was there when I published it. It looks like it got lost when I republished the site. Its back there now, thanks for telling me.
isn't this too much of a "windows" look? non-win32 users would probably object to such a design...
Is this a criticism of how it looks or what it achieves? Also check KDE's control panel and Gnome's.
well. i don't know. i don't use either gnome or kde, but it *looks* like it's windows style. The name "Control Panel" is an especially blatant reminder of Windows Control Panel.
Yes it is blatant, I don't think there's anything particularly wrong in that. You could lose the left hand box which gives more detail about the selected icon on the right but its a tiny thing. What about its intent? That preferences be taken out of the artificial and from the user's point of view difficult interface that we have hat present.
What about the users that have been used to the interfaces for many years? It was the way that Netscape did it and the way Mozilla/Netscape6 then does it. You should mark this OS -> Windows. Last thing Linux users want to see is a Control Panel.
> Last thing Linux users want to see is a Control Panel. You mean that the last thing _you_ want to see is a Control Panel. The approach actually makes sense to me. Instead of a dialog with a tree that I have to read and then select and then change prefs, we could have a window that lets you open pref panels by clicking on labeled icons. The most obvious benefit is being able to have two pref panels open at the same time.
ehh. whatever. i'm removing myself from cc. pointless arguing. i knew linux couldn't last long before people started turning it into windows.
There are a lot of good ideas here, including flattening the category hierarchy, and getting rid of the Advanced category, and using the filesystem as a UI for accessing the preferences. However, Mozilla-the-browser -- or even Mozilla-the-Internet-suite -- is not an island, or an operating environment (unlike Windows, Mac OS, or OEOne HomeBase), and its popularity will tend to be inversely proportional to the degree to which it tries to be a system unto itself. By having an entire set of control panels for its own preferences, I think Mozilla risks looking arrogant and overly complex. In addition, it would encourage over-complexity in individual preference categories (we've got a whole window of our own to play with, let's put subcategory tabs/groupboxes/listboxes/trees in it!), and make tasks like switching between preference categories unnecessarily slow (two or three clicks instead of one). For different applications -- WordPad, Gnumeric, Composer, Navigator -- there should indeed be separate prefs windows, as those programs have little to do with each other. And where settings can obviously be located in a particular place in the UI, they should go there rather than being dumped in the preferences. (For example, address book prefs should be accessed only from the Address Book menus, and the UI for customizing mail labels should be accessed only from the Label submenu.) But to have multiple independent windows for non-locatable settings in the same application, I think, is overkill.
I'm not sure that risking looking arrogant is all that bad a thing :-). The other side of the coin is though, how to flatten the categories and make preferences accessible unless its this kind of UI. Whether generalised for all Mozilla apps or separated by application. I agree completely that separate applications should have their own preference management, but that can be seen as a different layer. Some preferences cross Mozilla app boundaries, security, proxy settings, font bases and so on. Those kind of preferences should be navigable vertically through the environment as well as horizontally at the application layer. From my point of view, Mozilla as browser is much less interesting than Mozilla as cross platform development and I'll admit that colours my intent. However, I still think its a viable model for handling preferences.
BTW, the KDE control panel has a tree navigation, and has panels about different application in it. Also, the panels themselves have tab navigation between different aspects sometimes. They have a big difference to our prefs windows though: each panel can be called outside the main control-panel (without the tree pointing to all other available panels), therefore every panel has it's own "Apply" and "Cancel" buttons and if you change panels, you always have to "Apply" first - you'll get an alert if you changed something and didn't "Apply". They also seem to have a possibility to call a window with only a certain subset of all panels (which are interesting for the calling application), with showing the icons of those on the right handed side of the window instead of the whole tree view. And don't forget that also newer Windows versions (like e.g. XP) split the control panel into main categories, providing them in a tree view from Explorer.
> The other side of the coin is though, how to flatten the categories and make > preferences accessible unless its this kind of UI. That is relatively easy. First, have one preferences dialog for each program. Second, chuck out silly panels such as those for Mousewheel, Downloads, Software Installation, and Validation. I've been maintaining a Navigator Preferences spec which is flattened into only 13 panels (mainly for fun, since I doubt anyone will ever volunteer to implement it), and I dare say any competent interface designer could do the same. > Some preferences cross Mozilla app boundaries, security, proxy settings, font > bases and so on. Those kind of preferences should be navigable vertically > through the environment as well as horizontally at the application layer. And they are, through the Internet control panels on both Windows and Mac OS. We have various bugs on lack of support for the settings in those control panels. And once equivalent control panels establish themselves in Linux environments, lack of support for those control panels will be bugs as well. > Mozilla as browser is much less interesting than Mozilla as cross platform > development and I'll admit that colours my intent. How useful Mozilla-the-platform is for developing cross-platform apps has exactly nothing to do with Mozilla-the-browser's preferences interface. Wontfix for the reasons given in comment 17.
>> Some preferences cross Mozilla app boundaries, security, proxy settings, font >> bases and so on. Those kind of preferences should be navigable vertically >> through the environment as well as horizontally at the application layer. >And they are, through the Internet control panels on both Windows and Mac OS. We >have various bugs on lack of support for the settings in those control panels. >And once equivalent control panels establish themselves in Linux environments, >lack of support for those control panels will be bugs as well. Well no they aren't, which is the whole point. There are scads of preferences which either have no UI at all to set them or have multiple views. Just collapsing the categories isn't enough. I really don't like it being set to WONTFIX because its an RFE not a bug.
Yes, I would have marked it INVALID (because the requested behavior would not be an enhancement), but people get grouchy when I do that, claiming that RFEs can't possibly be invalid. So, I mark bad RFE ideas as WONTFIX instead. WONTFIX.
mass-verifying Wontfix bugs. mail filter string for bugspam: Tursiopstruncatus