Enhancement to the "Plugins" dialog

I was never actually bothered by this dialog, but this morning I was imagining what a newcomer to IDEA would think about it -- there's too much information in a badly structured and presented way. Here are a couple of things that should make it more usable:

1) Organize plugins in category trees. Plugins already have categories associated with them, IDEA just need to show it in a more elegant way. How about a tree-based control, where the user can expand/collapse each individual category?

2) Show only the plugin name and versions (installed/available). There are currently 8 columns in the plugin table, and most of this information isn't that important. How about showing just the name and versions, and moving all the other info to the bottom panel, together with the full description and change notes?

I'll try to design a mock in my lunch time, and if it looks good, I'll open an issue for it. In the meanwhile, any comments?

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Great ideas, keep going.

Marcus Brito wrote:

I was never actually bothered by this dialog, but this morning I was imagining what a newcomer to IDEA would think about it -- there's too much information in a badly structured and presented way. Here are a couple of things that should make it more usable:

1) Organize plugins in category trees. Plugins already have categories associated with them, IDEA just need to show it in a more elegant way. How about a tree-based control, where the user can expand/collapse each individual category?

2) Show only the plugin name and versions (installed/available). There are currently 8 columns in the plugin table, and most of this information isn't that important. How about showing just the name and versions, and moving all the other info to the bottom panel, together with the full description and change notes?

I'll try to design a mock in my lunch time, and if it looks good, I'll open an issue for it. In the meanwhile, any comments?


--
Martin Fuhrer
Fuhrer Engineering AG
http://www.fuhrer.com

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Sounds good. Let's see you prototype and talk more about that. :)

Franklin.

Marcus Brito wrote:

I was never actually bothered by this dialog, but this morning I was imagining what a newcomer to IDEA would think about it -- there's too much information in a badly structured and presented way. Here are a couple of things that should make it more usable:

1) Organize plugins in category trees. Plugins already have categories associated with them, IDEA just need to show it in a more elegant way. How about a tree-based control, where the user can expand/collapse each individual category?

2) Show only the plugin name and versions (installed/available). There are currently 8 columns in the plugin table, and most of this information isn't that important. How about showing just the name and versions, and moving all the other info to the bottom panel, together with the full description and change notes?

I'll try to design a mock in my lunch time, and if it looks good, I'll open an issue for it. In the meanwhile, any comments?

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The disadvantage of the tree control is that you've locked in the top-level sort. I know I've looked for things by name before, though this need could be met with quicksearch on the tree. Sorting by popularity could be useful. Sorting by last updated time could be useful.

Might be nice to be able to switch between table and tree views, like cvs file view.

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Just implement it as a tree table, then you have both worlds.

Russell Egan wrote:

The disadvantage of the tree control is that you've locked in the top-level sort. I know I've looked for things by name before, though this need could be met with quicksearch on the tree. Sorting by popularity could be useful. Sorting by last updated time could be useful.

Might be nice to be able to switch between table and tree views, like cvs file view.


--
Martin Fuhrer
Fuhrer Engineering AG
http://www.fuhrer.com

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Just implement it as a tree table, then you have both worlds.


A tree table is not a good UI decision, because very often the tree part is
cut-off my making the column too small. I did not tried it, but maybe it is
possible to disable the possibility to move the splitter between the tree-
and the next column.

BTW, using tables, which are limited in width (like now) is a very bad
choice, because almost ever content is hidden. Better set the default column
widths according to their content (as in SmartCVS ;)).

Tom

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Marcus

>1) Organize plugins in category trees. Plugins already have categories associated with them, IDEA just need to show it in a more elegant way. How about a tree-based control, where the user can expand/collapse each individual category?
>

>

Though more "elegant, more pleasing for the eyes, I find trees much less
effective than tables:
- tables let you sort with 1 click on the column header.
- tables let you implement multi-column sort in a snap, and with an
intuitive interface.
- the scrollbar tells you in a snap if you're seeing 10%, or 90% of the
whole set.
...

Collapsing rows is the one place where trees beat tables, but this could
be easily fixe: improve the table à-la Exell DB filtering, and replace
the column header by a combobox.
- 1-click on the column header
=> sort the table on this column
- 2-clicks on the column header
=> header turns into a combo-box, with all the different values
in it.
select 1 value, and the table is filtered, on that value.



I cried when they replaced the clean Inspection result table by a tree
$*#@&. I'd hate seeing trees invade one more clean data display.
There is no better standard than end-of-line effeciency and easiness. I
find table easier to use.

Just my opinion.

Alain

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I think instead of a tree, there should be a way to choose which category
of plugins you're viewing. This could be a pulldown box, or an old-IDEA-preferences-style
"outlook bar" of icons on the left

-Keith

I was never actually bothered by this dialog, but this morning I was
imagining what a newcomer to IDEA would think about it -- there's too
much information in a badly structured and presented way. Here are a
couple of things that should make it more usable:

1) Organize plugins in category trees. Plugins already have
categories associated with them, IDEA just need to show it in a more
elegant way. How about a tree-based control, where the user can
expand/collapse each individual category?

2) *Show only the plugin name and versions
(installed/available).* There are currently 8 columns in the plugin
table, and most of this information isn't that important. How about
showing just the name and versions, and moving all the other info to
the bottom panel, together with the full description and change notes?

I'll try to design a mock in my lunch time, and if it looks good, I'll
open an issue for it. In the meanwhile, any comments?



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In article <141988632427784249510752@news.jetbrains.com>,
Keith Lea <keith@cs.oswego.edu> wrote:

I think instead of a tree, there should be a way to choose which category
of plugins you're viewing. This could be a pulldown box, or an
old-IDEA-preferences-style
"outlook bar" of icons on the left

-Keith


That would take too long. I think the current impl is simple and it
works, for the amount of time we spend in there, do we really need a
whole engineering redesign discussion? It serves its purpose... or did
I miss anything?

Dunno to me it's like asking what color plug do you want your receptacle
to be Pure White or White, and the pure white will cost you an extra
$200.00 per plug.

R

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Independent of your ideas, I want to add my complains of the "Plugins" dialog.

1) Can a native speaker please check, what is correct spelling: "plugin" or
"plug-in".
2) Why I always get the annoying Yes-/No-dialog, when I want to switch to
the "Available" tab? I always answer Yes. I know, there are users, who do
not have an internet connection or need to establish it manually, but a
"Don't ask again" checkbox would be fine.
3) By default, the "Name" table column is so small, that I cannot read it.
4) The plug-icon is completely useless and only takes space. What about
changing it according to the "Installed" value, e.g. a gray icon for
non-installed plug-ins, an yellow icon (like now) for the installed ones
and an yellow icon with a new-star for installed plug-ins, where an
update is available?
5) The number columns ("Size" and "Downloads") definitely should be
right-aligned, if not removed at all.
6) As already mentioned, NEVER use the auto-resize modes. Better make the
table columns as wide as required by the content.
7) Don't show plug-in sizes of -1. Instead use an question mark or the text
"Unknown".

Tom

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