The blog of Eric Sibly; focusing on mountain biking, .NET development for the Desktop, Smartphone and PocketPC.

Thursday, March 31, 2005

Tabbed browsing; tabbed applications…

I am all for the inclusion of tabbed browsing within Internet Explorer, it is absolutely a must have feature. It is a fantastic feature, masterfully implemented, within Visual Studio since the inception of .NET – and with it I like the fact that multiple types of files are supported and the UI changes when the different tabs are selected; including the enabling / disabling / addition / removal of menus and toolbars.

So why should we just stop at Internet Explorer; I think this could be the next killer addition to the likes of Outlook and Office.

For Outlook, wouldn’t it be great it there were a series of configurable permanent tabs, for the likes of Mail, Calendar and Contacts, etc. that would then show their current forms. Then as an item of these is opened or created, an additional tab was created to house the new type - then I wouldn’t have half a dozen open emails, appointments and contacts strewn across my screen that I have to alt-tab or click to select. Also, add an option to drag/move a tab from Outlook to be hosted in its own window and back again when I need this type of stand-alone functionality.

For Office, why don’t we just have a single application that is document type independent? So when we go “File/New” we get the choice of Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Project, Publisher, et al. Then each of these documents is just a tab within the main Office application, and the menus and toolbars would change accordingly depending on the selected tab. Again, add an option to drag/move a tab from Office to be hosted in its own window on request.

This would also simplify the editing of embedded objects as these could then be hosted as an additional tab within the parent application. Make the whole tab concept pluggable such that any third party developer can add their relevant applications into these parent applications to allow users to have a seamless experience.

I am not suggesting that we should create some type of über application that could house any and every document as that would render the concept of multiple windows redundant, and would be plain stupid. But, I think where a bunch of documents/files are contextually related such as the types of Office documents, Outlook documents and Visual Studio files then consolidation would make the general user experience simpler, reducing the number of open windows, making all of our lives more manageable.

This sounds a little like MDI applications of the past – and I know these have largely gone the way of the dinosaur, and rightly so as they mostly sucked (the whole minimizing, arranging and tiling was ugly and not particularly usable). I think the simple tab concept has proved itself in competing browsers and Visual Studio; including the current options to show a document/file as Tabbed, Docking or Floating (new window).

Finally, how good would it be to look down at your taskbar and only see Outlook, Office and Visual Studio open? No multiple task buttons, no application grouping – pure bliss :-)

What do you think Microsoft?

Wednesday, March 30, 2005

The Easter break...

Well it wasn't all Easter Eggs and chocolate; the four day break was a great time to just hang out with the family:

  • Thursday night we went to the movie Robots - that was a very clever and funny movie - one for the whole family :-)
  • Friday I took my boys Kyle (7) and Caleb (5) for a bike ride down to the park with a small BMX track - good fun.
  • Saturday we took the kids to Brisbane Southbank Beach - a man made beach next to the river - very cool - plus it's free!
  • Sunday we did the right thing and went to Church - got to remember the real reason for Easter. In the afternoon went to a park and kicked around a ball and played on the equipment. That night we watched the movie Sinbad - it was ok - the boys like it.
  • Monday we went to a place called O'Riellys which was part of the state forest with some walks including a rainforest walk 20m up which was pretty cool.

The funniest thing was, Kyle was struggling with the Easter Bunny and why it was he and not a chicken that delivered the eggs. So he left a note asking that whoever delivered the eggs to leave proof - a feather or fluff. Thankfully, it has all been cleared up as the Easter Bunny left a letter and fluff to clear up the confusion, along with the eggs!!

Monday, March 21, 2005

Great place to work...

Wow - not only does Pixar makes some fantastic movies; but it sure looks like an awesome place to work also! I wonder what my cubicle would look like?!?

Monday, March 14, 2005

Entity classes vs. datasets...

Here is quite a good article that talks about custom Entity Classes versus the use of DataSets etc. I personally like the use of Entity Classes that are totally independent of any databases, this way the object oriented approach is not influenced by the structure of an underlying database or data source. This provides cleaner code, although agreed it can result in more code, but for an enterprise scale solution I think this is a minor trade-off. I think DataSets can have their place, in simple applications where there isn't the same seperation required between the UI and the database - then binding the two is OK. And I absolutely do not advocate DataSets going across service boundaries, and therefore they should never find themselves into a Web Service - this is just bad. Anyway, read and enjoy!

Sunday, March 06, 2005

Maybe not as bad as I thought...

I had a rant previously about the next project I am about to go on to. It turns out it might not be so bad after all. It is C# and not VB.NET, phew! It is still ASP.NET which is kinda average; but it is .NET Framework 2.0 and Visual Studio 2005 - very, very nice!

Need to find/lose 3kg...

Weighed the bike this weekend, it is 13.5kg all up. My old bike is only 10.5kg. I guess that what you get when add 5.75” of rear suspension, a beefier frame, and an extra 50mm of travel up front. So I need to find/lose 3kg so that we have equilibrium in the universe. Can’t remove it from the bike, so will need to lose it from my fat __, so back on a diet and more exercise for me.

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

Born under a bad sign...

I must be born under a bad sign as I have just discovered I have been proposed to go onto a project that is Web related, see my previous rant, and they use that nasty VB.NET versus the very elegant C#. Oh well, how sad for me, sigh!

Realism in marketing...

I am all for more realism in marketing; although this might be taking it a bit too far ;-) I think the VB developer is perfect!

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

It's my content; leave it alone...

I know no one actually reads my blog, but that is not the point here; the point is my content is my content and no one should be allowed to change this but me. What I am referring to is Google's AutoLink - this is a new feature provided by their toolbar in that it will analyse then change the displayed page adding *auto* links. Please don't do that, if I wanted links I would have added them; what is next *auto* changing the content and intent of a page. I agree with Scoble et al that this is not good. Sign the petition.