Monday, October 3, 2011

Tool Palette and Options

Tools have gotten a major usability improvement featuring:

  • ToolPalette - used to quickly explore available tools, configure tool display to show labels, descriptions or large icons for a helpful hand when learning. By default the Palette is displayed along side your Map; you can also Choose Show View > Other and Open the Palette on its own as a tear off View. This is great for users with more than one monitor or when you have multiple maps open side by side. This is the same Palette used during Page printing.
  • ToolOptions - quick access to common tool preferences from the Map Status Line. This has allowed us to reduce the number of tools while maintaining the same functionality.

These change combine to make uDig even more User-friendly with a presentation of tools similar to a paint program. As an example edit tools can use the area to make options such as "snapping" visible (previously available as a keyboard shortcut!). It is also an efficient use of screen real estate as snapping options do not waste space when they are not needed.

Palette

Here are a couple examples how how the palette looks using the Large Icons preference.

Extension

uDig practices an open development model with a couple Request for Change proposals being closed today.

As part of that the following pages have been updated in the user guide:

For more information about what is new in the uDig 1.2 series see the user guide.

And developer documentation for the new tool option functionality:

The good bit is covered here:
public class OptionContribtionItem extends ToolOptionContributionItem {
     public IPreferenceStore fillFields( Composite parent ) {
            Button check = new Button(parent,  SWT.CHECK );
            check.setText("Scale");
            addField( NavigationToolPreferencePage.SCALE, check );
         
            Button tiled = new Button(parent,  SWT.CHECK );
            tiled.setText("Tiled");
            addField( NavigationToolPreferencePage.TILED, tiled );
            
            return ToolsPlugin.getDefault().getPreferenceStore();
        }
    };
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