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'exit' closes all windows

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clav
 
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Post Posted May 26th, 2003, 6:59 am

Notepad, Wordpad, windows Paint, Paint Shop Pro, WinRAR all provide an "Exit" item on the menu, but it's equivalent to Firebird's "Close".

that was jsut a random selection of standard windows programs and two that I use a lot.

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Post Posted May 26th, 2003, 7:15 am

Notepad, Wordpad and Paint are all single document programs. When you open a new document in notepad, you have to physically start a new instance of the software - there is no concept of switching windows in the user interface, because it doesn't support it.

I can't speak for WinRAR or PSP, because I don't own either.

For the SDI programs I identified, however, the semantics are identical to Moz FB. Pressing exit quits that instance of the software. In the case of an MDI program, that instance may be responsible for several windows, in which case, all those windows should be closed.

The concept of program instances is blurred somewhat by the DDE capabilities of most windows software - running the software again, or invoking it on a document usually opens the document within the /same/ instance if the software is MDI. That doesn't mean that the semantics aren't preserved: Corel Draw 7, for example, is an MDI program that cannot detect when an instance is already running, so if I invoke it twice from the Start Menu, I get two processes. If I press Exit in one instance, it closes all windows controlled by that instance. Closing the other instance kills the remaining windows.

I don't see the problem. Pressing exit quits the program, or shuts down the process, if you want to split hairs. The real question is not about the semantics of Exit: there is plenty of evidence to explain its meaning.

The question is whether it should be left out of Moz FB for 'safety' reasons. Since the positioning and meaning of the Exit command is well established in the many available applications, and there are at least EIGHT ways of closing just one window, I don't see any reason to remove this option.

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Post Posted May 26th, 2003, 8:16 am

banjobacon1 wrote:Is this something people actually like? Although I usually use the close button, I have used File>Exit a few times and been surprised when all my browser windows close. Can this be disabled? And if it were disabled, the close window could be eliminated.

I'm sure some people like it the way it is, but is there something I can do to prevent this from happening again (besides getting used to it)?


This has been one of my pet peeves for a long time. Somewhere in one of these forums I learned how to edit browser.xul (inside the browser.jar archive) to disable it. The edit consists of deleting two lines that contain the word "quit".

Getting the edited file back into the "jar" is the tricky part. (I find that Total Commander does it fairly easily.)

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Post Posted May 26th, 2003, 8:30 am

Why should the user care whether they have multiple windows that are part of one instance of the program (Word etc.), or multiple windows which are different processes (notepad etc.)? It's just an implementation detail.

The behaviour in the built in windows programs is that Exit means "close this window", and it seems that if we want to be consistent witht the platform, then those bundled apps are what we should be consistent with.


I can't say I personally care that much anymore though. I've got Print Preview and Save buttons on the toolbar thanks to Trivial, so I've hidden the File menu (and all the menus except View and Tools in fact).

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Post Posted May 26th, 2003, 8:52 am

clav wrote:Why should the user care whether they have multiple windows that are part of one instance of the program (Word etc.), or multiple windows which are different processes (notepad etc.)? It's just an implementation detail.

As you say. But that's the nature of programs. Ideally they'd all detect their own instances, but since the OS doesn't do this automatically, it's down to the programmer to implement it themselves. The better quality packages do just that, or, like Winamp provide an option to do either.

The behaviour in the built in windows programs is that Exit means "close this window", and it seems that if we want to be consistent witht the platform, then those bundled apps are what we should be consistent with.

I beg to differ. The behaviour in the built in windows programs is that Close means "close this window", whereas Exit means "Exit this program". If a program only supports one window, then obvoiusly the two are equivalent, which is the behaviour you are seeing in Notepad, Paint, etc.

I can't say I personally care that much anymore though. I've got Print Preview and Save buttons on the toolbar thanks to Trivial, so I've hidden the File menu (and all the menus except View and Tools in fact).

Fair enough, I don't use the File menu much either. But closing all windows is an operation I perform at least twice a day - why take away useful functionality that is part of the defacto windows standard? Since you want to conform to the platform standard, I'd say that there needs to be a much stronger case for pulling it than you have at the moment.

IMHO, of course. ;-)

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Post Posted May 26th, 2003, 9:02 am

The first assumption is that the user interface is better if it provides easy access to commonly-used features and restricts possible user error. The second assumption is that the desktop is document-centric and not application-centric (with the exception of MacOS which is required to have the Quit function).

Keeping it in is problematic because (a) it makes Firebird more application-centric and thus forces the user to think about the program they are using rather than just the web page in the window(s), and (b) because its placing as compared to the "Close" function on apps without an "Exit" is identical - possibly leading to dataloss.

On the other hand, it takes a second less to shut all browser windows simultaneously. This would be the sole advantage.

How is there not a strong cause for removing it, given the considerable changes in the UI from Mozilla already?

- Chris

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Post Posted May 26th, 2003, 9:38 am

Sorry, I thought I'd made that clear:

1. It's easily accessible, but sufficiently out of the way that it isn't easily activated accidently. So much so that some people actually dispense with the File menu altogether.
2. It's a defacto part of the Windows platform UI, with a long heritage dating back to the early DOS programs. As such, it's presence is both expected and well understood, regardless of whether /you/ actually use it. I've not used it to this point, but I would still expect it to be there.

Just a quick diversion, for a moment. One reason I can think of for its absence from IE, is that IE is increasingly integrated into the shell. I can access a web-page by typing a URL in an explorer window. IE is still running, but I'm not made aware of it. So in this specific case, it IS document centric. If I were to start the application from an icon, then frankly I'd expect to see "Exit", but for practical reasons, it isn't possible to have it both ways.

3. I don't agree with your 2nd assumption anyway. My desktop was application-centric, last time I looked. I have shortcuts to run specific /programs/. I have a command window to run specific /applications/. When I open a document, I understand that I'm invoking an /application/. All windows programs work on this assumption (I can't speak for Mac OS X). The Close function was drafted in to fill the needs of managing multiple documents and/or windows, but nevertheless the concept of an application remains, in terms of the process, look and feel of the application - from the splash screen to the help menu. I think even the most inexperienced users understand that there is a difference between a file and a program.

Just because there is the outside possibility of pressing the item accidently, isn't a good reason for taking it out. To choose an analog: I might accidently CUT a file in the shell, instead of COPYING it. This might mean that I lose my data. Surely it would be better to take out the CUT option, and make the user explicitly delete the file? That's the way your argument runs.

Essentially, you're saying "Get rid of it because (a) it isn't useful to me, and (b) I might hit it accidently". To counter that, I'd say it's useful to me, and it's so far out of the way that it isn't very likely you'd do it (more than once, anyway). It's clearly labelled, well understood, in line with the interface standards, useful, and you can remove it if it's really annoying you.

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Post Posted May 26th, 2003, 12:03 pm

asquithea wrote:1. It's easily accessible, but sufficiently out of the way that it isn't easily activated accidently.


White is black, cats like dogs. It does get activated accidentally.

2. It's a defacto part of the Windows platform UI, with a long heritage dating back to the early DOS programs.


It's a legacy feature from a single-tasking operating system where an application had to be shut down before the next one could be loaded, yes?

As such, it's presence is both expected and well understood, regardless of whether /you/ actually use it. I've not used it to this point, but I would still expect it to be there.


Where would you expect the preferences menu? Under the Ancient Traditional Spot Of All Time (view -> preferences, as seen in such ancient creatures as Quicktime, Acrobat Reader and Mozilla), or Tools -> Options (as seen in upstarts like, errr, every modern Windows application)?

3. I don't agree with your 2nd assumption anyway. My desktop was application-centric, last time I looked. I have shortcuts to run specific /programs/. I have a command window to run specific /applications/. When I open a document, I understand that I'm invoking an /application/. All windows programs work on this assumption (I can't speak for Mac OS X). The Close function was drafted in to fill the needs of managing multiple documents and/or windows, but nevertheless the concept of an application remains, in terms of the process, look and feel of the application - from the splash screen to the help menu. I think even the most inexperienced users understand that there is a difference between a file and a program.


No, no they don't actually. That's the whole idea behind document-centricity, after all, that you don't need to care about the applications as long as you have a task in mind. Although it was stated as an assumption and not fact because document-centricity is the 'friendlier' way to approach interface design.

Just because there is the outside possibility of pressing the item accidently, isn't a good reason for taking it out. To choose an analog: I might accidently CUT a file in the shell, instead of COPYING it. This might mean that I lose my data. Surely it would be better to take out the CUT option, and make the user explicitly delete the file? That's the way your argument runs.


That's another argument entirely. I pitched the same style of question earlier biased towards my side: you could have a "delete my bookmarks" item in the menu somewhere, which would surely save some people time, but it would be inappropriate owing to the high chance of accidental use comparing to purposeful use.

Essentially, you're saying "Get rid of it because (a) it isn't useful to me, and (b) I might hit it accidently". To counter that, I'd say it's useful to me, and it's so far out of the way that it isn't very likely you'd do it (more than once, anyway). It's clearly labelled, well understood, in line with the interface standards, useful, and you can remove it if it's really annoying you.


You can put it back in if it's really annoying you, and it can be removed from the default build to stop IE refugees from accidentally hitting it.

- Chris

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Post Posted May 26th, 2003, 12:24 pm

thumperward wrote:White is black, cats like dogs. It does get activated accidentally.

So I sometimes hit the close button accidently, resulting in the loss of 10 tabs worth of data. That doesn't mean it's a good idea to remove it.

It's a legacy feature from a single-tasking operating system where an application had to be shut down before the next one could be loaded, yes?

It's a feature that originated from first need to exit an interactive application. Just like Close is a feature originating from the first need to close a window of a multi-window application.

Where would you expect the preferences menu? Under the Ancient Traditional Spot Of All Time (view -> preferences, as seen in such ancient creatures as Quicktime, Acrobat Reader and Mozilla), or Tools -> Options (as seen in upstarts like, errr, every modern Windows application)?

I'd expect it to conform to the platform standard, if there is one. In this case the nearest thing is Internet Explorer, since it's got a 95%+ market share. That means Tools>Options. I've already explained my take on why the same logic cannot be applied to IE's absence of an Exit option.

No, no they don't actually. That's the whole idea behind document-centricity, after all, that you don't need to care about the applications as long as you have a task in mind. Although it was stated as an assumption and not fact because document-centricity is the 'friendlier' way to approach interface design.

Well, it's a nice ideal, but that doesn't make it conform to platform standards and user expectations. All the users I've met care a lot about which application opens their document, for example. In fact, if they didn't care, they wouldn't be using MFB in the first place.

I pitched the same style of question earlier biased towards my side: you could have a "delete my bookmarks" item in the menu somewhere, which would surely save some people time, but it would be inappropriate owing to the high chance of accidental use comparing to purposeful use.

Having it in the Bookmarks menu would be dumb, since that's a commonly used menu. The File menu is much less heavily used. You could put that option somewhere in the Bookmarks Manager or Preferences UI, and I'd be happy. Oh, wait, it's already possible to delete whole folders of Bookmarks in that way.

You can put it back in if it's really annoying you, and it can be removed from the default build to stop IE refugees from accidentally hitting it.

User's don't tend to put in features that they don't know exist. Look at all the requests we get for tabbed browing extensions and mouse gestures. As a standard windows UI feature, as part of an application and as a useful piece of functionality, it should stay, IMO. An important part of usability is showing users what they expect to see. I can't find a single Windows program where Exit does anything different.

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Post Posted May 26th, 2003, 12:39 pm

I will use this occasion to quote from a different thread:
thumperward wrote:I know for a fact this topic will be eight pages long later. le sigh.

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Post Posted May 26th, 2003, 12:50 pm

asquithea wrote:So I sometimes hit the close button accidently, resulting in the loss of 10 tabs worth of data. That doesn't mean it's a good idea to remove it.


That's why shutting a window while more than one tab is open should alert the user, and why there is an option for that in TBE. A different issue.

It's a feature that originated from first need to exit an interactive application. Just like Close is a feature originating from the first need to close a window of a multi-window application.


That's what I said, it's a throwback to a defunct series of operating systems where you have to explicitly control the application rather than just "shutting the document".

I'd expect it to conform to the platform standard, if there is one. In this case the nearest thing is Internet Explorer, since it's got a 95%+ market share. That means Tools>Options. I've already explained my take on why the same logic cannot be applied to IE's absence of an Exit option.


You made an excuse in MSIE's case, and to be honest I don't believe you think it was a correct assumption anyway. Plenty of Microsoft applications which aren't part of the window manager have a single "close" option, and if you go and look on the 10-page long discussion I've referred to before you'll find a horde of other extremely common Windows apps which do the same.


Well, it's a nice ideal, but that doesn't make it conform to platform standards and user expectations. All the users I've met care a lot about which application opens their document, for example. In fact, if they didn't care, they wouldn't be using MFB in the first place.


I'd prefer it if you didn't dismiss what I say out of hand, thanks. Microsoft clearly attempts to make Windows task- and document-centric, and document-centricity is a widely accepted more user-friendly way of working with the operating system. The platform standard is document-centricity. User expectations appear to differ between the two of us, but clearly not every user wants to work primarily with applications. (the Firebird issue is irrelevant: Firebird is a better way to get the task done, and there is still room in a document-centric system for one to pick the tools he uses to manipulate his documents. That does not mean that the user's primary concern switches from viewing websites to operating Firebird.)

Having it in the Bookmarks menu would be dumb, since that's a commonly used menu. The File menu is much less heavily used. You could put that option somewhere in the Bookmarks Manager or Preferences UI, and I'd be happy. Oh, wait, it's already possible to delete whole folders of Bookmarks in that way.


I fail to see hard evidence that the File menu is little used, and regardless that totally fails to counter my concern that regardless of where the function is tucked away it's actually in a place where users are explicity expecting another function to be, i.e. close window.

User's don't tend to put in features that they don't know exist. Look at all the requests we get for tabbed browing extensions and mouse gestures. As a standard windows UI feature, as part of an application and as a useful piece of functionality, it should stay, IMO. An important part of usability is showing users what they expect to see. I can't find a single Windows program where Exit does anything different.


It's a power user feature. It causes dataloss for the sake of saving upwards of three seconds manually closing extra windows. It adds little intrinsic value to the browsing experience and can be downright hazardous. If you can't find a single Windows app where the bottom menu item on the File menu shuts a single window rather than all open application instances, go look on the other thread. I didn't say it had to be labelled "exit", as clearly this function does not exist. It's the positioning which is important.

- Chris

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Post Posted May 26th, 2003, 1:21 pm

Hmm.

This thread seems to cover most of the arguments.

In the absence of a proper usability study to prove the point, I'd go with the platform standard (also the current UI). Beyond that, nothing seems to have changed since the last thread.

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Post Posted May 26th, 2003, 1:57 pm

thumperward wrote:
I'd expect it to conform to the platform standard, if there is one. In this case the nearest thing is Internet Explorer, since it's got a 95%+ market share. That means Tools>Options. I've already explained my take on why the same logic cannot be applied to IE's absence of an Exit option.


You made an excuse in MSIE's case, and to be honest I don't believe you think it was a correct assumption anyway. Plenty of Microsoft applications which aren't part of the window manager have a single "close" option, and if you go and look on the 10-page long discussion I've referred to before you'll find a horde of other extremely common Windows apps which do the same.


the reason for that of course is you CANNOT close Internet Exporer as it is constantly running due to it being the backbone of Windows itself.

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Post Posted May 26th, 2003, 1:58 pm

I would like to take this opportunity to let out a loud groan of relief that you finally went and found that thread, even if you somehow failed to be convinced by the plethora of good arguments in it.

- Chris

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Post Posted May 26th, 2003, 2:02 pm

asquithea wrote:User's don't tend to put in features that they don't know exist. Look at all the requests we get for tabbed browing extensions and mouse gestures. As a standard windows UI feature, as part of an application and as a useful piece of functionality, it should stay, IMO. An important part of usability is showing users what they expect to see. I can't find a single Windows program where Exit does anything different.


Sheer boredom made me find one.

Wordpad.

Well?

- Chris

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