Tinderbox Forum

Dockable Inspector within TB main project window : Modernized UI Request

Hello TinderBox Ohana,

Currently evaluating TB9 demo to see if it’s a good fit for my future projects. I’ve searched the entire forum in regards to my subject question but the returned value was null; please forgive me if I’ve overlooked this topic because I’m new to this forum.

Long story short, I’ve watched vids plus investigated TB9’s feature set and while tinkering with notes to get a better feel for my future workflow usage it apparently surprised me that I became quite annoyed with the inspector floating hovering window. I’ve come to understand thus far that there’s absolutely nothing wrong with working in a floating window app environment (for those whom are conditioned to do so) however it’s just my personal preference to have all frequently used property inspectors visually accessible and docked so it doesn’t break my focus or thought process to constantly open/close or slide it out of the way or shrink the project window to access the areas blocked by the inspector hovering on top or over utilize quick key commands to reveal and hide (hope this makes sense and doesn’t come across as being lazy after all software at its price point are automatically expected to allow the user to do more with less interface resistance).

Simply put, I’ve grown accustomed over decades to utilizing macOS apps with a nested or docked property window capability.

Please inform me if there’s actually a setting that will allow this, to whom this may concern. I’m totally aware that this may seem like a nitpick of sorts but it’s one of those things about Tinderbox’s current user interface that insults my user experience irregardless of how powerful it is under the hood; it’s also very distracting especially when switching between several other modern macOS apps (I’d give examples but the list would be too long hence “long story short”).

On the other hand thanks for TB’s creation overall and its one of a kind thought process environment. I certainly hope a future UI update is in its roadmap because aesthetics really matter in my workflows respectfully.

Superficial thought just out of curiosity: Why doesn’t Tinderbox adopt the new look & feel of macOS (Apple’s Developer UI Guidelines <developer . apple . com/videos/play/wwdc2020/10104/>)?

Thanks in advance for your time and understanding.

Edit: I think the URL being suggested above is: Adopt the new look of macOS - WWDC20 - Videos - Apple Developer

As context to the status quo:

  • not every user is on Big Sur or a UI fashionista
  • iOS-ification is not necessarily helpful for non-trivial work tools
  • many people work on small (13") screens so losing a chunk to an Inspector sidebar is not necessarily a boon.

An example for recent past was that the UI fashionista crowd absolutely insisted that the Tinderbox v6 (new) UI had to be single window, as that was trendy at the time. So, it came to pass that the initial v6 was single window. And lo, there was wailing and gnashing of teeth as it transpired that whilst that looked cool it didn’t necessarily help get stuff done in Tinderbox. So, support for multiple document windows, and additional non-document windows, was quickly added back and peace and productivity have returned.

TL;DR —some of the UI styling comes courtesy of the frameworks on which it sits. Bending the app out of existing shape just to match the visual zeitgeist might not be good for productive use of the app. Style is not necessarily the friend of productivity.

For my 2¢, I find the need for an extra focus setting click traversing to/from the inspector a nuisance, but I guess is a tax of it needing a discrete window. I don’t know what the macOS guidelines are on set-window-and-control-focus-in one. But Tinderbox users work in quite disparate ways, so not everything suits every user and slavishly following new UI fads probably benefits even fewer. Me having space on my big monitors for docked inspector pane(s) might be fine but also ruin productivity for those with only a single smaller screen. Riding both options then needs to be considered in ROI terms. As a long term user, I’d prefer the fixed resources of a small developer go into the tool rather than window-dressing to have the ‘latest’ UI style. I accept that may be minority view and wouldn’t want the above to represent more than my personal view; I happen to be the forum’s moderator, but that doesn’t privilege my view in this context.

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I’ve taken the liberty to reposition the TB Inspector as it would appear if nested below the text editor window (I would love to share a screen shot from my MBPro that demonstrates this in TB but my new forum account doesn’t afford me the privilege to upload pics nor attach links at this time).

Both Tear-Off Floating Windows & Single Window workflows containing nested dock-able inspectors are actually nothing new (Adobe Suite for instance has adopted this approach over half its lifetime) to macOS and has evolved for over a decade to allow app developers to offer the best of both worlds (Apple’s iOS App UI is simply a side effect as a result of macOS innovations).

If TB had this capability for its Inspector (the heart of Tinderbox operations IMHO) it certainly would greatly improve consistency between desktop workflows by eliminating the need to constantly shuffle or stagger its Inspector to reveal anything it overlaps and it’s absolutely a space saver on smaller displays (where screen real-estate is a premium) compared with leaving it open outside TB’s workspace window boarders.

I understand there are folks whom prefer it just the way it is currently so that’s fine for their workflow and thought process however I’m simply asking the developer to also deeply reconsider this suggestion because there are more than just one approach to visualize productive workflows as The Tinderbox Way.

Sharing my screen shot of the Inspector window as it would appear with Tinderbox docking capability.