Understanding Aqua Windows

Jason Spencer jps2 at ualberta.ca
Fri Nov 28 19:41:15 EST 2003

On Nov 28, 2003, at 4:31 PM, Ken Ray wrote:

>> Rev needs to be changed, especially if we're doing silly things like
>> using PNGs. The system is providing the service for consistency, we
>> should be using it.
> Actually, Rev is adhering to the Aqua HIG, as it should. If you want a
> window to have the grey lines when it's a document window, you can
> either set the style of the window to modeless (assuming you don't want
> a modal dialog or palette), or set the backgroundPattern to an image to
> a snapshot of a section of the striped background. When and if Apple
> decides to revise the HIG to make the lines appropriate for document
> windows, I'm sure Rev will follow suit. But to NOT follow the HIG
> because someone else ISN'T (even Apple itself, occasionally) is just
> "bad form". ;-)

I respectfully disagree.

"Bad form" is displaying an inconsistent or confusing interface to the 
user. The pinstripes help set apart editable areas from areas having do 
do with the operations of the application. This window I'm using now to 
write mail, for example, has pinstripes under the icons for "Send" and 
"Attach" and such. The section of the window I'm typing in of course 
does not. I don't think the original intent of the HIG would be to have 
all of these areas white, just because this happens to be a 
document-style window. That would be more visually confusing and ugly.

I know you're just being helpful (and much thanks to you and all of the 
other helpful people around here), but suggesting the use of a modeless 
window or a striped background picture is somewhat hypocritical in this 
context. Modeless windows have their own purposes according to the HIG. 
Background patterns will not follow any changes to the OS such as we 
have seen with Panther.

It should be up to the developers (us) to follow the HIG as we read it 
and to keep our applications consistent with the de facto standard look 
of all the other applications installed on a user's machine. It's not 
up to the makers of our tools to babysit us.

I'm all for standards, the Web is a real mess due to the sloppy and 
rushed implementation and following of standards. For something like 
this, however, where we're just trying to maintain consistency, 
following the HIG to the letter, rather than in spirit seems rather 
stubborn. And from the discussion here it seems to be creating more of 
the problems it was designed to solve.

take care,


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