Debugger layout

Is it possible to somehow have the old IDEA6 debug layout?

The current one is HORRIBLE, there's no other word for it. First, you've splitted the window vertically (so we can have a teeeeny piece of console output which is completely useless, since the most common console use-case is looking at stack traces) and then as a hack to compensate for the loss of vertical space you've added tabs in the panel header. Also, small 'frames' window is useless.

Keyboard navigation is still horrible (code editor consumes hotkeys half of the time, especially when two programs are debugged at the same time) AND mouse navigation got even worse.

Seriously, this 'new and improved' debug panel made me consider not to buy IDEA7 upgrade. I like the new Spring and Maven integration, but I can live without them. But I can't live without the most used IDE feature - a good debugger.

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Alex,

First of all let me remind you that choosing gentlier tone makes your
chances for constructive feedback higher in any humal relationship and
this community forum isn't something exceptional in this regard.

With new debugger layout we tried to preserve as many good things from
old layout as possible and add more useful features. Namely, in
previous layout your could only see console vs. all other controls at a
time. Now you can see all of them simultaneously AND if you want
console window to occupy all the place available just double click on
it's tab. Console window can be hidden the similar manner so
usless 'frame' window]]> appears something useful with new
features in it.

As to your passage about horrible keyboard and mouse navigation: if
there are any bugs, which you can describe in detail steps please
submit them to JIRA. I'm completely lost trying to decode what problem
you probably/theoretically may have here.

Back to your questions:

Is it possible to somehow have the old IDEA6 debug layout?

No

Seriously, this 'new and improved' debug panel made me consider not

to buy IDEA7 upgrade.
You can't please everyone, that's OK.

-


Regards,
Maxim Shafirov
JetBrains s.r.o
"Develop with pleasure!"

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I'm sorry I was very rough. I'm a long-time IDEA user and I was that disappointed with the new debugger. The problem is that the new layout does not solve ANY of my problems but creates a few more, just to make my life more interesting.

First, 'Frames' window IS useless. I can't navigate between threads easily (and I usually have about 100 of them because of thread pooling in appserver) - the old 'Threads' tab was much better. And I don't see any new functions there, BTW.

The tiny console (about 6 lines on my 1400x1050 screen) is also useless for me. I was perfectly fine with the console on a separate tab.

And the 'Maximizing' behavior in this new layout is a joke. It's useless. You need to double-click on a caption to maximize a tab, then you need to double-click on it AGAIN to minimize it and then you need to double-click on the tab which you want to see next. In the old IDEA I could just press on a tab, which was at a predictable location, BTW.

I understand that there might be users who like this new layout. But why not give us the choice? It's not like I'm asking for any new functionality. You still have Classic and Default settings panels, for example.

BTW, quick poll of programmers in my team showed that only 1 of 5 liked the new layout more.

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Well, I do like the ability to see both watches and variables at
the same time.
I, too, do not really like the complicated way to maximize the
console to see more than a small fraction of the output, then
switch back to other views. Just switching tabs was definitely more
usable. On my private machine with a 1900x1200 display I just make
the whole debug tool window larger, but at work that would not leave
any source code visible at all.

However I like the Eclipse way of using a special debug perspective
even less than the two Idea variants.

What could be a solution that suits all needs (seeing multiple views
at once, easy switching of "maximized" views, etc)?

Alex Besogonov wrote:

I'm sorry I was very rough. I'm a long-time IDEA user and I was that disappointed with the new debugger. The problem is that the new layout does not solve ANY of my problems but creates a few more, just to make my life more interesting.

First, 'Frames' window IS useless. I can't navigate between threads easily (and I usually have about 100 of them because of thread pooling in appserver) - the old 'Threads' tab was much better. And I don't see any new functions there, BTW.

The tiny console (about 6 lines on my 1400x1050 screen) is also useless for me. I was perfectly fine with the console on a separate tab.

And the 'Maximizing' behavior in this new layout is a joke. It's useless. You need to double-click on a caption to maximize a tab, then you need to double-click on it AGAIN to minimize it and then you need to double-click on the tab which you want to see next. In the old IDEA I could just press on a tab, which was at a predictable location, BTW.

I understand that there might be users who like this new layout. But why not give us the choice? It's not like I'm asking for any new functionality. You still have Classic and Default settings panels, for example.

BTW, quick poll of programmers in my team showed that only 1 of 5 liked the new layout more.

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A major improvement for me would be to make the debugger window more keyboard friendly, starting with issue http://www.jetbrains.net/jira/browse/IDEA-12355 and giving some possibility to restore a hidden panel by keyboard amongst others.

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What could be a solution that suits all needs (seeing multiple views
at once, easy switching of "maximized" views, etc)?


I have said this before on several occasions:
Turn all debugger constituents (frames, variables, watches, console, log files...) into individual windows which are flexibly dockable wherever it pleases the user. As is done in MS Visual Studio.

Regards,
Jens
--
Jens Voß - http://www.jroller.com/jaypeevoss
Everything's all right just code all night
That's because I'm a good old-fashioned Java boy

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Yeah, we have been discussing that before.
The big problem with your suggestion is that you either end up showing/hiding lots of individual windows yourself for every debug session or else you need the eclipse concept of a debug view.

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>

First, 'Frames' window IS useless. I can't navigate between threads easily (and I usually have about 100 of them because of thread
pooling in appserver) - the old 'Threads' tab was much better. And I don't see any new functions there, BTW.

>

What is the ideal threads view in your opinion? What actions would you like to have there? I'm asking because we might restore a
separate view for threads, so any feedback is welcome. We've dropped the old one because noticed it was not helpful enough. Also you
may obtain all threads with their stacktraces in a more convinient (IMO) text view using "Export Threads" action. Actually you'll
get a thread dump there so you are able to see what threads are running now and what is their status - this is quite enough for most
cases.

The tiny console (about 6 lines on my 1400x1050 screen) is also useless for me. I was perfectly fine with the console on a
separate tab.
And the 'Maximizing' behavior in this new layout is a joke. It's useless. You need to double-click on a caption to maximize a tab,
then you need to double-click on it AGAIN to >minimize it and then you need to double-click on the tab which you want to see next.
In the old IDEA I could just press on a tab, which was at a predictable location, BTW.


Well, I also like a big console and because of this always have it maximized. However, instead of minimizing it, I use a middle
buttonwhich collapses the pane into a button. Clicking on a button restores the console in its maximized state. Thus I flip
"Console" and "Frames" panes with single click having the bahaviour similar to the previous one. Please note that all this
minimizing/maximizing actions have keyboard shortcuts. The location of tabs and buttons is also predictable.

BTW, quick poll of programmers in my team showed that only 1 of 5 liked the new layout more.


Our polls show that quite a few people do like the new layout. Indeed, as Max mentioned, you cant't please anyone... But we are
trying to make it more usable for majority of people.


--
Best regards,
Eugene Zhuravlev
Software Developer
JetBrains Inc.
http://www.jetbrains.com
"Develop with pleasure!"


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>What is the ideal threads view in your opinion? What actions would you like to have there?
The ability to view "the whole picture". I used the threads view to diagnose thread pool starvation, livelocks, convoy effects and so on. It's intuitive and easy-to-use.

>Well, I also like a big console and because of this always have it maximized. However, instead of minimizing it, I use a middle buttonwhich collapses the pane into a button.
I have no middle button (I use a notebook computer) - I need to click on edge of my touchpad to emulate it. Of course, I can (and will) redefine this action to something like alt-click, but it's still not very easy to use compared to a single click on a tab.

>Clicking on a button restores the console in its maximized state. Thus I flip
"Console" and "Frames" panes with single click having the bahaviour similar to the previous one. Please note that all this minimizing/maximizing actions have keyboard shortcuts. The location of tabs and buttons is also predictable.
So... You've reinvented the wheel, you know, the tab pane? BTW, buttons are not really predictable because they are not placed in a fixed order.

And hotkeys do NOT work.

For example, on this screenshot: http://sd-sup.staffdirector.net/IDEAbug.PNG you can see that the 'Console' window has focus (even keyboard focus!). But when I press ctrl-alt-up (which is supposed to be 'Maximize' shortcut) IDEA switches the current frame in the 'Frames' panel!

Switching frames with ctrl-alt-left/right also does not work reliably and predictably.

>Also you may obtain all threads with their stacktraces in a more convinient (IMO) text view using "Export Threads" action.
It's not very easy to use - the old 'Threads' view allowed one to view stacktraces of only selected threads. I don't really want to search for my threads among kilometer-long stacktraces from 100 threads in appserver. And 'Export Threads' does not allow me to jump on stack frame by clicking on it. And it also requires me to switch to 'Frames' view first.

I'm sorry, but the new layout is a regression in my book. Please, give us ability to customize it. At least allow us to use the old behavior.

Actually, you need to think about more flexible layout system - you can't please everyone, so let us customize layouts. VisualStudio 2005 got it right, I think.

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The simplest solution - allow users to rearrange windows inside the debug panel.

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1. The new debugger layout doesn't seem well-optimized for wide screens, which are becoming more popular these days. I usually have one tab minimized. This means there are three horizontal bars of wasted vertical space: The top tab bar, the middle tab bar, and the space at the bottom where the hidden tabs are docked. On my wide screen, that's a lot of wasted vertical space. Especially in debug view, where the vertical space is so critical, especially for the console.

At least with the old layout, all the debug windows were in a single row of tabs, which, given the new tab display you designed, could share space with the tool windows title bar.

2. Also, I have to admit that despite never being an eclipse user, whenever I click and drag one of the tabs in the debug view, I intuitively expect the tabs to recombine with other tab groups, like in eclipse. I'd only expect the tab to tear away if I dragged it outside the scope of the debug tool window.

3. Could you make the debug view remember it's layout better? I usually have my console maximized, but the view resets everytime I start a new debug session.

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i disagree. this would eliminate the possibility to show frames, variables and watches at the same time because the left and right sides are most likely already used (structure left, project right or something like that), and using tabs from all sides at once totally supresses the code window.
when i want to see the console output, i maximize that "tab". when i want to continue to debug, i minimize it, so basically i switch between console and the other three which is perfectly fine for me.

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Let me chime in. I have been using Idea since v2. The problem is, IMO,
even at the 1600x1200 res that I run, there simply isn't enough space to
see everything. I tend to use the variables more than anything and
before a simple tab click was enough to switch. In addition, since the
debug controls are tied to frames you HAVE to have this window open. I
almost never use frames.

So, I have to shrink the frames window down enough that I can have the
buttons without the space usage.

In addition, a pretty common mantra is "just use the keyboards." Well,
perhaps it is because I'm left-handed(even though my mouse is on the
right side), but I like using the mouse and for 4 versions I didnt'
have to compromise. Why now?

At least keep the debug step buttos on the side so you don't need to
have frames open.

In article <fbkbnu$53n$1@is.intellij.net>, max@jetbrains.com says...

Alex,

First of all let me remind you that choosing gentlier tone makes your
chances for constructive feedback higher in any humal relationship and
this community forum isn't something exceptional in this regard.

With new debugger layout we tried to preserve as many good things from
old layout as possible and add more useful features. Namely, in
previous layout your could only see console vs. all other controls at a
time. Now you can see all of them simultaneously AND if you want
console window to occupy all the place available just double click on
it's tab. Console window can be hidden the similar manner so
<quote>usless 'frame' window</quote> appears something useful with new
features in it.

As to your passage about horrible keyboard and mouse navigation: if
there are any bugs, which you can describe in detail steps please
submit them to JIRA. I'm completely lost trying to decode what problem
you probably/theoretically may have here.

Back to your questions:

Is it possible to somehow have the old IDEA6 debug layout?

No

Seriously, this 'new and improved' debug panel made me consider not

to buy IDEA7 upgrade.
You can't please everyone, that's OK.

----
Regards,
Maxim Shafirov
JetBrains s.r.o
"Develop with pleasure!"


--
-


David H. McCoy


-


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