User Interface Specification: Form Editor Toolbar

Author: Jan Rojcek
$Revision: 1.2 $
Document History: available in CVS

Abstract: This document specifies appearance and behavior of form editor toolbar in the new windowing system.

Table of Contents:
1 Introduction
2 References
3 Detailed Spec
3.1 Form Editor Toolbar
3.2 Component Palette
3.3 Mouse Cursors

1 Introduction

The new windowing system modifies presentation of form editor in NetBeans IDE. The form editor would be a regular document window open in the document window area as a tab next to the source editor document window. There would be a separate form editor instance for each open form object. The component palette would be a separate window open in the window area. Due to this change, the form editor toolbar ("Selection Mode", "Connection Mode", "Test Form" buttons) should move from component palette to the form editor document window to make the connection between the toolbar and form designer more obvious. Moving the toolbar to form editor window would make it consistent with source editor toolbar.

2 References

Moving the toolbar to form editor window is initiated by new windowing system:

3 Detailed Spec

3.1 Form Editor Toolbar

The form editor toolbar would contain following controls:

  • Toggle button group - provides for switching between form editor modes. It contains "Selection Mode" and "Connection Mode".
  • Selection Mode toggle button - if selected the form editor is in Selection mode.
  • Connection Mode toggle button - if selected the form editor is in Connection mode.
  • Test button - if clicked, the Test action in form designer is performed.

The toggle button group, used for switching the form editor modes, cooperates with component palette. If a component button in palette is selected then all the form editors are in "Add" mode. This also means that all form editor instances share the mode.

Figure 1: Form Editor Toolbar - Selection Mode

Figure 2: Form Editor Toolbar - Add Mode

3.2 Component Palette

Due to the move of toolbar from palette to form editor document window, the toolbar buttons are no longer in the palette. This also requires a change in component buttons behavior. In the current state the user can not unselect a component button by clicking it. This needs to change, so that the component buttons behave like a regular toggle buttons.

3.3 Mouse Cursors

As the component palette is a window, the connection between form editor toolbar and palette is not as obvious as it was before. Mostly connection between toolbar buttons that change the form editor modes and palette which also changes a form editor mode is harder to notice and learn. Changing the mouse cursor depending on a mode in which the form editor is, would help to emphasize this relation.

When the mouse is over the form editor (toolbar and editing area) the mouse cursor displays the state of form designer. If the form editor is in selection mode, than the regular mouse pointer is shown. If it is in connection mode then a special icon is shown. If it is in add mode, then 16x16 icon of selected bean is added to the regular mouse cursor, as shown in the table below.

Important note is that the wait mouse cursor (hour glass) has a precedence over the form editor cursors. It means if IDE is blocked and the wait cursor is shown, the wait cursor is shown also over the form editor, in any form editor mode. So, the hour glass cursor have to suppress the current form editor cursor.

Table 1: Mouse cursors over the Form editor
Connection Mode
Add Mode
Add Mode 2

Add Mode 2 is an example of Add Mode with smaller icon.

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About this Project

ui was started in November 2009, is owned by Jiří Kovalský, and has 44 members.
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