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From Ariel Constenla-Haile <>
Subject Re: [Extension]Task panel/ sidebar view
Date Wed, 19 Sep 2012 18:24:03 GMT
Hi Jürgen,

On Wed, Sep 19, 2012 at 01:13:23PM +0200, Jürgen Schmidt wrote:
> But more important is the question how we can move forward with the
> already  planned improvements of this feature (see the wiki pages).

I guess in the usual way: someone sits down, and writes code ;)

> Especially the tabs on the right site with icons etc. comparable to the
> side bar in Symphony. Symphony comes here with some good improvements
> and useful property side bars. 

Now that you mentioned it: although the property side bar is "something
new" and may be useful from a user perspective, it has several
drawbacks, and introduces several regressions compared to what AOO
actually has to offer:

- from the user perspective, AOO currently supports a way to customize
  User Interface elements, at application and document level (Tools
  - Customize dialog). Symphony's property side bars are completely
  hard-coded in resource files, no way to customize them

- from the programmability perspective: AOO currently offers extension
  developer a whole set of features, from disabling commands via
  configuration, dispatch interception, menu and toolbar merging, etc.
  Symphony's property sidebars cannot be extended by the merging mechanism
  (as said before, their structure is hard-coded). The most important
  part is that the property sidebar wasn't design taking programmability
  into account: try disabling some command as explain in
  it will work with toolbars and menus (in context menus the command is
  not disabled, but at least the command is not dispatched); but in the
  property sidebar the command is enabled and even dispatched

While some of these regressions can be fixed (among other things, not
dispatching through the SfxDispatcher but through the SfxBindings, ...),
allowing customization of the sidebars seems not doable (at least in the
current state of the application framework).

In conclusion, I wouldn't speak about a "revolutionary UI change" in the
code that has been contributed; as explained above, it has several
drawbacks and, from some perspective, is a regression from what AOO
currently offers to users and extension developers.

> And we have already a mechanism to
> integrate such task panes/side bars via extensions. We should think
> about how we can bring together both ...

I recall that Carsten Driesner told me that the way how the tool panel
was implemented was a sort of hack; the real solution was in the
refactoring he was doing in the layout manager code, to support docking
windows as new UI elements; unfortunately, he no longer works on
OpenOffice, and there isn't much in the cws dockingwindows2 to get an

This shows another drawback of the Symphony sidebar implementation, as
completely designed in the old sfx2 framework, away from all the UNO
stuff that makes the application programable for extension development.
I guess that with a corporate mind, making this stuff extensible wasn't
in the original plan; while here at Apache OpenOffice, extensibility is
a way to produce a software for the public good, that can be extended
without the need to modify (nor learn) a single line of code (and nor
building the code by yourself from source, simply using our binaries,
provided to you for your "convenience").

Ariel Constenla-Haile
La Plata, Argentina

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