The proposed change in the default windowing system layout is primarily motivated by two factors:

  • making the Task List window visible and available automatically (when a project is open)
  • introduction of the new Debugging window shown at the position of Projects window

The Task List window showing errors and warnings in open projects is a very useful but hidden feature. Users may not even know it exists as they have to find it in Window menu. For 6.5, the window should show up automatically if the user opens or creates a project. Consequently, it should disappear automatically if the user closes the last project. The window would open docked at a new position below the editor.

The new Debugging window needs a bit of vertical space to show a bigger portion of call stack. In the 6.1 default winsys layout that can be hardly met on monitors with small screen height (900px or less which accounts for 56% of visitors), as the vertical space is split between the Debugging window, Navigator and Output. The new layout proposed for 6.5 opens Output, Local Variables, Watches, Breakpoints and Task List windows at a new position below the editor which frees some vertical space for the new Debugging window. The disadvantage of this solution is obvious as the Output window is no longer visible at the same time as Local Variables or Watches during debugging. Users who need to see both windows at the same time would have to rearrange windows according to their needs and screen resolution of their monitors.

For 7.0, we may consider other changes in the default layout, including introduction of special debugging workspace that is considerably different from regular editing layout (something along the lines of simplified NetBeans 3.5 workspaces). We could maybe hide the Navigator window in debugging layout, or do bigger changes like showing the debugging windows above the editor. All is possible, but as it would require thorough analysis and changes in the windowing system infrastructure, it needs to be planned for.

Figure 1: Startup (1024x768)


Figure 2: Tasks and Navigator (show up when a project is open; 1024x768 maximized)


Figure 3: Usages (1024x768 maximized)


Figure 4: Output (1024x768 maximized)


Figure 5: Debug (1024x768 maximized)


Figure 6: Debug with HTTP Monitor (1024x768 maximized)


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