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(Standalone) OS X Prefs = scrollbar hell

Posted: Thu Oct 21, 2010 6:30 pm
by Zearin
Oxygen Info
<oXygen/> XML Editor 11.2, build 2010031913

Computer Info
MacBook Pro 13″ (generation 7,1) (purchased Summer 2010)
OS X 10.6.4 (“Snow Leopard”)

Problem Summary
When I open up the Preferences window in Oxygen, both the left pane and the right pane are simply so overflowed to the point of obnoxiousness. What's more, if I use the 2-finger scroll on my trackpad on the right pane, the scroll speed itself is really really slow. (The left pane scrolls at the expected speed.)


On the left pane, the options tree really doesn't need to be fully expanded by default. Personally I prefer to drill down from the top-level (or top+1 level) menu. If I need to dig deep in a hurry, it's easier to identify where I want to go if the other menus are collapsed, because there is less visual “noise” to filter out to focus on what I need. And the search bar at the top of the left pane is incredibly handy and fast! :wink: Personally I feel strongly about this, but if there's no clear preference among users one way or the other, could there at least be a preference? (e.g., Preferences tree: Default to expanded/collapsed)

On the right pane, use window space more efficiently…

For example, I'm looking at the preferences for Editor → Indent size. This is a field that is guaranteed to be 1 character at most. Yet the text box is so wide that it causes horizontal scrolling. AAARRGHH! Why can't this field be set to an appropriate width?! This issue happens consistently across several preferences with fields that are ridiculously wide, but will only ever hold a couple of characters at most. :(

On any preference pane on the right side, the preference for Global Options / Project Options has a ton of empty space above it. For example, I'm looking at the preferences for Custom Editor Variables. I don't have a single thing in the table, but the Global/Project Options setting is roughly 3½× the empty table's height down the preference pane. Why? (On a side note, I have thought for a long time that the Global/Project Options would be better represented as tabs at the top of the pane, rather than radio buttons at the bottom.)

Tables should never, ever make their parent pane scroll. If the table has more data than can fit, only the table itself should scroll.
There are a few instances in Oxygen where the table itself scrolls (Keyboard Shortcuts), but it also forces the container to scroll as well!
It would be infinitely more human-friendly if the table inherited the container's width instead, and then only the table itself scrolled if there were overflow.
Also, if it's possible, it would be nice to have completely empty tables—for example, the “Custom Engines” table in XML→XSLT-FO-XQuery→Custom Engines—start with just 3 blank rows, and if I ever get around to filling them up the table would then add more blank rows at the bottom as-needed. Right now, it's just wasted vertical space.)[/list][/list]

Screenshots? Forum said no…
I had taken screenshots of these examples, but sadly I don't see a way to attach them to this post. And I don't know of any simple way to host them somewhere so that I can embed them via a URL. (Would the mods consider turning on image attachments? I know forums are a tricky dance sometimes, so if there's a good reason I understand, but it would be super helpful in providing feedback about things like this. Screenshots can take lengthy text descriptions and make them “glanceable”. )

Sorry if this post comes off too negative. I'm only posting it because I love Oxygen and use it so much, but this is one of the few areas I have found incredibly frustrating in the long-term.

Out with the old, in with the…actually, the old gets to stick around for a bit.
I know a new version of Oxygen was just released, but I'm a college student that happens to be not-so-great at personal finances, so I'm not likely to be in any position to upgrade for a couple of weeks at the least (most likely months). I really want to upgrade, but food, shelter, and school have to come first. :?

Is Oxygen version 11 now only supported in terms of bugfixes, or is there any chance the above might be fixed with a patch?

Workaround-friendly! :D
If these aren't likely to be fixed in a patch ever, is there a workaround? I'd be totally fine with opening up some preferences files and editing some values if it meant a fix for some of the above issues.

Apple's Property Lists are becoming ever-more-standard as a means of storing UI settings on OS X (though I'm not sure if Oxygen uses them or not).

Re: (Standalone) OS X Prefs = scrollbar hell

Posted: Fri Oct 22, 2010 5:36 pm
by adrian

Thank you for all the feedback.

I've added a this to our issue tracking tool with several points each describing the problems you've encountered.

First you should know that the scrollbars from the right pane aren't the norm for Oxygen. This is a fallback used when the option pane doesn't fit your current screen resolution. Since the option panes are very large it was considered best to have them in scroll panes so they would at least be accessible(though with some inadequacies).

The workaround is to increase the screen resolution, though I understand that on a smaller notebook this is sometimes not possible.

Most of the things you've seen(large wasted space, editable fields that seem to waste space, etc) are the result of the fallback which simply adds a scroll pane for all of the option panes disregarding its necessity for that particular case. This will be fixed. The scroll pane will only be used in special cases where the option pane really won't fit otherwise.

The collapsing of the tree from the left pane is still open for debate.

We are already aware of how these problems look like in the GUI but if you want to send us the screenshots then please send them to our support email address:

Don't worry about the tone. Criticism can be constructive when done right. And it's been done right.

This will most probably be fixed in 12.1. But we may have a solution for you in this regard.