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? MDI depreciated

Hate to ask this dum question (since I've been hiding under a rock).
But if the MDI UI model is/was depreciated. What is the new UI model.

Would love some links that explain in gerneral and specific terms.

Len Sumnler

Nov 6 '05 #1
4 2296
This is probably a question better suited for a wxPython or MSDN
newsgroup. What OS are you referring to? What GUI toolkit are you

Microsoft's office on Windows has moved to a model where every document
has its own toolbar, menubar, and taskbar entry. Windows developers
tend to mimic MS Office, so many are also moving to this model. Mac
apps have never had MDI.

Nov 6 '05 #2
Hello Len,
Hate to ask this dum question (since I've been hiding under a rock).
But if the MDI UI model is/was depreciated. What is the new UI model.

This much depends on which kind of application you have in mind. In my
organization a lot of software that we use (basically for reservoir
geology/engineering visualization) use the MDI model. They are not
deprecated, in some case MDI is the best approach that one may take in order
to create effective and easy-to-use applications.
According to Micro$oft, the MDI model (in their opinion) is deprecated, but
it should be noted that:

"MDI was used a lot with versions of Windows prior to Windows 95. However,
Microsoft researchers discovered that users found this split artificial and
confusing. So from Windows 95, Microsoft announced that MDI would be
deprecated and it should not be used for Windows applications ... well,
Microsoft's story on MDI has never been consistent; legacy support has
continued to be included with windows and the .NET Framework supports the
MDI Approach in an excellent manner."

you can find the whole thing here:


For a while, M$ were preaching this as *the* way to do complex user
interfaces, but they have backed away from it quite a lot. You can read
something about it here:


If you want to read about pros/cons of MDI approach, go to the bottom of the

Some of modern applications have moved away from MDI in favour of different
other approaches:
- SDI (Single Document Interface);
- Notebook Style
- Splitter Windows/Sash Windows with multiple panels
- Docking Windows

The approach you will take, much depends on the type of application you have
in mind. I usually prefer the Notebook approach, but this is just a personal



"Imaginatio n Is The Only Weapon In The War Against Reality."
Nov 6 '05 #3
In article <11************ *********@g47g2 000cwa.googlegr oups.com>,
"LenS" <ls******@uniqu einsuranceco.co m> wrote:
Hate to ask this dum question (since I've been hiding under a rock).
But if the MDI UI model is/was depreciated. What is the new UI model.

Would love some links that explain in gerneral and specific terms.
In article <11************ **********@f14g 2000cwb.googleg roups.com>,
"Brendan" <sp**********@y ahoo.ca> wrote:
This is probably a question better suited for a wxPython or MSDN
newsgroup. What OS are you referring to? What GUI toolkit are you

Microsoft's office on Windows has moved to a model where every document
has its own toolbar, menubar, and taskbar entry. Windows developers
tend to mimic MS Office, so many are also moving to this model. Mac
apps have never had MDI.

MS also uses a "Tabbed" version of MDI where only one document at a time
is visible. Sometimes this is /implemented/ using the MDI APIs (and
they also have some MDI apps that don't use the APIs; go figure). Gnome
uses Tabbed windows as well; see Gedit, which opens documents in tabs,
though they can be dragged out into their own windows. In GTK, at
least, the Tabbed interface is easily done as a Notebook.

MacOS apps used MDI from the beginning of Multifinder; it just worked
better than on MSWindows because instead of a grey background you got to
see the rest of the desktop and the other apps. On MacOS, MDI was
referred to as "Layers". If on MSWindows MDI windows were always
maximized, had no grey background, and hid the MDI Frame when not in
front, they would be almost exactly what MacOS did.

MOSX, being a version of NextOS and NextStep, has the more "advanced"
no-layer, no-MDI UI, and Apple recommends that each app should have only
one window.
_______________ _______________ _______________ _______________ ____________
TonyN.:' *firstname*nlsn ews@georgea*las tname*.com
' <http://www.georgeanels on.com/>
Nov 6 '05 #4
Hi Len,

The preference of most users is quite platform related:
- Mac users are the most pronounced, they like SDI (single document
interface), where there is one frame for every document
- Most linux users like something between MDI and SDI: a tabbed
interface, like firefox, where there is one frame for all documents,
although some of them also like SDI
- On windows still a lot of users like MDI, where there is one frame
for all documents, even though it is officially deprecated.

This is general, but a lot of users have their own preferences. So it's
easy to have a debate about this issue. There are a lot of cross-overs:
some like a tabbed Windows MDI, some like tabs in the Mac SDI (every
frame one window, but you can navigate through them with tabs), ... So
except from the Mac there is no new, official UI model AFAIK.

Another difference is that Windows prefer toolbars and Mac prefers tool
Palettes. So all this doesn't make developping a serious cross-platform
program an easy task.

What you choose is dependent of your target OS and your own interface
'ethics'. If you are a Windows user and want to learn more about Mac
interface, this is a good starting point:
Also have a look at widely used cross-platform programs like Photoshop
or any application similar to the one you want to develop.

With SPE I opted for a kameleon interface. It's still unstable & under
development as a wxPython module (smdi.py), but it should make it
possible to develop cross-platform applications without the author
having to worry to choose a document interface. The user can simply
select his preference in the options dialog box.

The smdi.py module is included with SPE as _spe/sm/wxp/smdi.py. It is
designed independent from SPE, so you could use it for any application.
However as it is unstable and will soon go through a lot of
development, I wouldn't recommend it, unless you are experienced with
wxPython and would like to contribute to its development. I expect to
have it really stable in the beginning of next year. I think it would
be a major step if a module can handle all the worries of the design of
a document interface as this can be treated independently from the

If you want to see some screenshots of SPE in different DI's:

Good luck!

SPE - Stani's Python Editor

Nov 6 '05 #5

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