The TPF/GI menubar contains over 120 commands that programmers
can use to interact with their code.
On the other hand, offering only a small, fixed subset of commands on buttons
is not adequate either: programmers would be equally unlikely to find the
commands they need quickly they simply wouldn?t be able to see important
commands without resorting to the main menu. The main menu is a great learning
tool, but it is not as quick-to-use as tool buttons.
The answer is to let programmers themselves decide which tool buttons and
toolbars they need to see.
A hypothetical example
To illustrate this truth, consider a hypothetical programmer (call him
Roderick) with a very real problem. Some unknown code in Roderick?s TPF system
is "walking on core" in the global areas, and Roderick suspects that
more than one program may be guilty. As he works on this problem, he finds
himself accessing certain commands so often that he decides to customize a
toolbar with the commands he needs.
To create the new toolbar, Roderick first opens the Customize Toolbar window
and clicks the "New" button. Figure 1 on page 1 shows Roderick naming
his new toolbar "My Tools."
Roderick then drags commands from the Customize window to his new toolbar.
Figure 2 shows Roderick’s completed toolbar.
Figure 2: A customized toolbar containing buttons for the commands "Globals
Area 1," "Globals Area 3," "Trace Store," and
"View Call Stack."
Now when Roderick wants to view Globals Area 1, he simply clicks one button?the
first button on the toolbar in Figure 2. And he easily remembers where that
button is, since he put it there himself.
Reducing clutter by docking
Another way to improve programmer efficiency is to reduce screen clutter. TPF/GI
accomplishes clutter reduction by "docking" related windows together.
Figure 3: The Machine Instructions window is docked at the bottom of the
Forms dock in two ways in TPF/GI. In the first way, one window nestles
at the bottom of a second window, as illustrated in Figure 3.
The second way windows dock is by combining together in a structure called a
"tabbed notebook," as illustrated in Figure 4.
With both ways of docking, screen space is saved and window management chores
are reduced for programmers. Quite simply, programmers have less arranging of
windows to do, allowing them to concentrate on the task at hand.
But to give programmers the lattitude they need, docked windows can always be
pulled apart to be viewed separately, if desired.
Figure 4: Two hex editor windows are docked together in a "tabbed
notebook." They can be pulled apart.