Allow Toolbar and Properties Panels to be (un)docked #37424

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opened 2013-11-13 23:13:30 +01:00 by Jonathan Williamson · 6 comments

The current toolbar and properties panel are very cumbersome to use, particularly when many addons are enabled. Most of the time, depending on the task, a user only needs one or two of the panels available. And they need these panels often. For example, while sculpting you will often switch brushes constantly but very seldom touch anything else within the toolbar. This leads to a lot of wasted space and visual clutter.

A solution to this problem is to allow panels to be undocked from the toolbar/properties, making them a floating panel in the editor. At anytime the user may dock the panel back into the parent region by closing it or dragging it back in.

The current toolbar and properties panel are very cumbersome to use, particularly when many addons are enabled. Most of the time, depending on the task, a user only needs one or two of the panels available. And they need these panels often. For example, while sculpting you will often switch brushes constantly but very seldom touch anything else within the toolbar. This leads to a lot of wasted space and visual clutter. A solution to this problem is to allow panels to be undocked from the toolbar/properties, making them a floating panel in the editor. At anytime the user may dock the panel back into the parent region by closing it or dragging it back in.
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Changed status to: 'Open'

Changed status to: 'Open'
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Added subscribers: @JonathanWilliamson, @brecht

Added subscribers: @JonathanWilliamson, @brecht

I think it's too early to tackle this, and would suggest to close it leave it for later, starting with easier topics. Making the panels floating is often a stopgap solution for poor UI organization, and we should really take a broader look at where to put tools, their properties, editor properties, etc.

Floating and docking panels may well be a part of the eventual solution, but I rather do a bigger review at some point instead of adding complexity to the code now for what would probably be an intermediate solution.

I think it's too early to tackle this, and would suggest to close it leave it for later, starting with easier topics. Making the panels floating is often a stopgap solution for poor UI organization, and we should really take a broader look at where to put tools, their properties, editor properties, etc. Floating and docking panels may well be a part of the eventual solution, but I rather do a bigger review at some point instead of adding complexity to the code now for what would probably be an intermediate solution.
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@brecht, I agree that floating panels can be used as a stopgap for poor organization, but that's not my reasoning for this. I spent quite a while discussing this with multiple people at the Blender Conference (Sebastian Koenig for one) about dockable panels. I think we all agreed that it would be a superior workflow.

The point of dockable, and undockable panels is not to inadvertently promote sloppy organization, but to allow the artist to customize their workflow specific to the tools they need during the task at hand.

The toolbar/properties organization, while bad, is not really all that bad right now. It's quite usable. That is until you start activating lots of addons. Most addons have no better place to go, other than the toolbar. This is fine. But it becomes a major problem when you start getting an obscenely long toolbar (there's a screenshot of this somewhere, need to track it down). This leaves you having to hunt through a massive list of tools/settings constantly, when generally you just need one or two. Being able to undock the panels you need for the process at hand would fix this.

A perfect example is brushes while sculpting. I need to switch brushes constantly. Sometimes many times a minute. But I don't touch hardly anything else in the toolbar.

All that said, I do agree that it's a larger task and so am fine with leaving it 'til later. Also agree that it would be better done as part of a larger review.

@brecht, I agree that floating panels *can* be used as a stopgap for poor organization, but that's not my reasoning for this. I spent quite a while discussing this with multiple people at the Blender Conference (Sebastian Koenig for one) about dockable panels. I think we all agreed that it would be a superior workflow. The point of dockable, and undockable panels is not to inadvertently promote sloppy organization, but to allow the artist to customize their workflow specific to the tools they need during the task at hand. The toolbar/properties organization, while bad, is not really all *that bad* right now. It's quite usable. That is until you start activating lots of addons. Most addons have no better place to go, other than the toolbar. This is fine. But it becomes a major problem when you start getting an obscenely long toolbar (there's a screenshot of this somewhere, need to track it down). This leaves you having to hunt through a massive list of tools/settings constantly, when generally you just need one or two. Being able to undock the panels you need for the process at hand would fix this. A perfect example is brushes while sculpting. I need to switch brushes constantly. Sometimes many times a minute. But I don't touch hardly anything else in the toolbar. All that said, I do agree that it's a larger task and so am fine with leaving it 'til later. Also agree that it would be better done as part of a larger review.

Changed status from 'Open' to: 'Archived'

Changed status from 'Open' to: 'Archived'
Brecht Van Lommel self-assigned this 2013-11-14 11:36:49 +01:00

Closing for now then. If some developer would implement this with the current system it will be quite complex code and difficult to generalize to a better design later, so would rather not encourage this to be worked on yet until we have a better understanding of where we want this to go.

Closing for now then. If some developer would implement this with the current system it will be quite complex code and difficult to generalize to a better design later, so would rather not encourage this to be worked on yet until we have a better understanding of where we want this to go.
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Reference: blender/blender#37424
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