appeal for usability

Dear EAPers,

We are planning to put dedicated efforts to greatly improve the user
experience in IDEA 7. So, as always, we ask for feedback from our
beloved EAP users.

At first, please answer the following questions:

1. Do you find something hard/annoying to do in IDEA?
2. Do you find something hard to find/understand in the IDEA interface?
3. Do you find something inconsistent in different places, which has
different look and interaction scenarios?
4. (Optional) Do you find something what you can say about: "it's not
modern, no good program does it this way". This is kind of emotional
experience from IDEA, but we want IDEA to be emotionally attractive as well.

All you responses are valuable, as always.

--

Kirill Kalishev
JetBrains, Inc.
http://jetbrains.com
"Develop with pleasure!"

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168 条评论

If I remember correctly, the excuse here is that Windows background
threads are too greedy, so Idea running as a secondary task (with, e.g.
Firefox in the foreground) takes too much CPU.
A bit lame, especially for those of us who don't even use Windows...
R

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Hello Jonas,

I think it is a sertain performance problem. Could you please provide us
CPU snapshot for such an activity?

Thanks.

-


Anna Kozlova
JetBrains Inc.
http://www.intellij.com
"Develop with pleasure!"

Anna Kozlova wrote:

>> Hello Jonas,
>>
>> First SELENA EAP will contain possiblity to inspect code in
>> background. Could you please have a try?
>>

I'm not sure whether we're talking about the same thing here. To
clarify what I wrote: I'm thinking about the inspection highlighting
process in the editor, which already runs in the background and
annotates my code while I'm working -- as long as IDEA has the focus.
If I switch to Firefox to do something else because the background
inspections are taking such a long time to run, then the code analysis
is paused. I have to keep IDEA on top, and focused, waiting for a
minute or two without doing anything, until 500 inspections have
finally finished running and I can see what warnings are present in
the current source file.



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Robert Gibson wrote:

If I remember correctly, the excuse here is that Windows background
threads are too greedy, so Idea running as a secondary task (with, e.g.
Firefox in the foreground) takes too much CPU.
A bit lame, especially for those of us who don't even use Windows...


Yes, I've heard that excuse too. But there are lots of long-running
tasks that keep running and using CPU when IDEA is in the background; if
editor highlighting is paused, why aren't those threads paused? If I
think IDEA is taking too much time, I can simply change its priority in
the task manager (which also works around the related Java bug that
gives high priority Java threads realtime priority under Windows, not
letting other threads run at all). The current behavior has no
workaround at all, as far as I can see, which makes it far more undesirable.

Maybe one could implement a web browser plugin for IDEA, so I can run
Firefox or IE in a tool window within IDEA, while keeping the editor
window open. That way I could do something while inspections are
running...

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For people who want to vote for this issue (or fix it:-):
http://www.jetbrains.net/jira/browse/IDEADEV-13236

Bas


Jonas Kvarnström wrote:

One more thing about usability: Inspections are an incredibly useful
tool; too bad that I'm forced to stare at IDEA while they run. I can't
switch to another program for a minute while waiting for them to finish,
or IDEA stops executing them.

This is supposedly done because IDEA shouldn't steal CPU time from other
programs while not active. If this is the reason, then it is completely
incomprehensible to me why "find usages", "find in path", or a project
rebuild continues to execute when I switch to another program. It is
even harder to understand why a complete code analysis continues to
execute in the background. This is at least as CPU-bound as a
single-file project inspection, and there's not even a "pause" button!

The operating system has a process/thread scheduler; please let it do
its job.

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Anna Kozlova wrote:

Hello Jonas,

I think it is a sertain performance problem. Could you please provide us
CPU snapshot for such an activity?


I've uploaded six different snapshots, for source files with between 484
and 2511 lines of code: http://jetbrains.net/jira/browse/IDEA-11087

Note that I don't necessarily think that IDEA is slower than it should
be: Some of the source files are quite large, my computer is five years
old (P4/1.8), and I've activated ALL inspections except those that I've
eventually turned off since they don't seem applicable. I'm sure there
are inspections running that rarely produce any results for my code base.

My argument was mainly that since inspections DO take this much time, I
want to be able to switch to some other program for a while and return
to IDEA when it has finished running inspections. Optimizations are
welcome, but won't change my opinion about background inspections unless
you make sure that everything finishes in 1 or maybe 2 seconds even for
2500 lines of code. If it's slower than that, I will still often want
to switch to another program to read a message, check a fact on the web,
or whatever, while IDEA is working.

In any case, any feedback on this issue is appreciated!

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I just uploaded a seventh snapshot, generated while re-parsing the
largest file after having made changes in another file. This time I
also switched to another window for a few seconds in the middle of the
parsing process. As a result, the parsing and highlighting process took
a total of 2 minutes 49 seconds.

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This one should be fixed in Selena too.

--
regards,
--
Alexey Kudravtsev
Software Developer
JetBrains, Inc, http://www.jetbrains.com
"Develop with pleasure!"

"Jonas Kvarnström" <jonkv@ida.liu.se> wrote in message
news:45B08799.1080205@ida.liu.se...

Anna Kozlova wrote:

>> Hello Jonas,
>>
>> First SELENA EAP will contain possiblity to inspect code in background.
>> Could you please have a try?
>

I'm not sure whether we're talking about the same thing here. To clarify
what I wrote: I'm thinking about the inspection highlighting process in
the editor, which already runs in the background and annotates my code
while I'm working -- as long as IDEA has the focus. If I switch to Firefox
to do something else because the background inspections are taking such a
long time to run, then the code analysis is paused. I have to keep IDEA
on top, and focused, waiting for a minute or two without doing anything,
until 500 inspections have finally finished running and I can see what
warnings are present in the current source file.



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Alexey Kudravtsev (JetBrains) wrote:

This one should be fixed in Selena too.


Great! Now I'm really looking forward to the first EAP :)

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Fantastic! This one is as old as the hills, glad it's made it to the
front of the queue.

Cheers,
N.

Alexey Kudravtsev (JetBrains) wrote:

This one should be fixed in Selena too.

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HamsterofDeath wrote:

a) There seems to be a problem with multi monitor support. sometimes, my floating tabs lose and grab focus several times a second and don't stop until i reattach them to idea.


That's my most annoying issue as well. For what it's worth, you don't
need to reattach them - it is enough if you just click once in each of
the blinking toolwindows.

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dimitar wrote:

HamsterofDeath wrote:

>> a) There seems to be a problem with multi monitor support. sometimes,
>> my floating tabs lose and grab focus several times a second and don't
>> stop until i reattach them to idea.


That's my most annoying issue as well. For what it's worth, you don't
need to reattach them - it is enough if you just click once in each of
the blinking toolwindows.


Is it under Mac OSX?

--

Kirill Kalishev
JetBrains, Inc.
http://jetbrains.com
"Develop with pleasure!"

0

Kirill Kalishev wrote:

>>> a) There seems to be a problem with multi monitor support. sometimes,
>>> my floating tabs lose and grab focus several times a second and don't
>>> stop until i reattach them to idea.

Is it under Mac OSX?


It happens for me under Windows XP.

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Windows XP, 2 monitors (have seen the same isssue on 3 monitors as well)

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3 monitors?!

Here's a usability suggestion, Selena should ship with a bundled 21" LCD.
That would increase my productivity more than any new keystroke or refactoring
ever could.

Tobin


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So true. I just used it for the first time. The dummy mode would have been enough for me.

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Some usability comments in no particular order:

- Soooo many modal dialogs. It makes the app seem old-fashioned. I'd love more direct manipulation and drag and drop. And I'd love non-modal windows for the settings and project configuration.

- Minimizing a tool window just brings another one up in its place. Very aggravating. (Yes, I do know how to get around it, but sometimes I like to use the mouse.)

- The default project settings are unusual. The one about allowing the cursor to go anywhere in the line is very odd. The default templates have all those annoying comments about how to change the templates.

- Project configuration is way too complicated most of the time. I have a directory on my disk or on some version control system. I want to point IDEA at the directory and have it create a single-module project, add the source directory as a source root, the test directory as a test root, the build.xml file as my ant build file, and all the jars as libraries. I want to use all the same settings I used on my last project. If I want to make a complicated project, I can do that later.

- Almost all the time, I work on a team. It would be really handy to be able to share the project configuration with the team members. Being able to check the project files into version control kind of works, but currently I have to do diffs of the project file's XML if there's some conflict which is really lame. Having some way to publish and subscribe to project settings would be really nice. Imagine a new user being able to type in one URL (or better, use ZeroConf) to immediately get set up. And imagine everyone getting notified when the default project inspections change and having the option to use the new changes.

- Until recently, I worked on a very large project. Opening the project was quite slow. People started switching back to emacs. Perhaps it's not necessary to scan all the files at startup? I'd much rather be able to fire up IDEA and start coding and have ctrl-N not work right away than be forced to wait for it to scan through the bazillion files in the project.

- Checking out a project from version control inexplicably doesn't set the project's version control type to the one I just checked the project out from. That one gets me every single time I create a project.

- I can't use IDEA to browse code without creating a project, so I use vi or something and all that nice IDEA navigation goes to waste.

- The "run" and "debug" icons in the toolbar don't seem related to the run configurations menu. I've noticed that new users expect the run icon to run the class that's currently being edited, not the one selected in the run configurations menu.

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- Soooo many modal dialogs. It makes the app seem old-fashioned. I'd love more direct manipulation and drag and drop. And I'd love non-modal windows for the settings and project configuration.


I don't see a problem with modal dialogs and can't understand the
"old-fashioned" state. Maybe you can help me to understand your opinion
pointing to some concrete examples where modal dialogs seem inappropriate
for you.

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There needs to be some way for intention authors to weight their intentions based on likelihood of use. Random order causes too many confusing or suboptimal placements.


+1

I've also filed a Jira suggestion for speedsearch, which might help a little
http://www.jetbrains.net/jira/browse/IDEADEV-13259

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Maybe it's just because I'm used to the Mac, where modal dialogs were more or less banished years ago. The only thing that I can think of that's modal on the Mac are the "Do you want to save this document?" dialogs which are attached to a single window (or tab) so they only block you from working in that window (or tab) not from doing anything else in the application.

Here's a recent example of where the modality bugged me (note that it's not the end of the world, but this thread is about usability): I was duplicating a run configuration. In the new one, I wanted to pass in a system property, but I couldn't remember the name. I couldn't just look at the code, because of the modal dialog. I had to close the dialog, find the code, and then open the dialog again. (Again, not the end of the world; just less usable.) If the dialog had been nonmodal, I could have flipped over to the code, found the property and flipped back.

Another example: I had two projects open and I was flipping between them. At some point I lost the ability to type or click on anything. I assumed IDEA had locked up again (I just switched to Kubuntu and KDE and IDEA hasn't been very happy). I was about to kill IDEA when I noticed that there was a modal dialog from the other window that was blocking me from doing anything.

(I have to say though that I'd happily live with all these usability issues if it meant that I'd get better Javascript completions and refactorings sooner.)

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Maybe it's just because I'm used to the Mac, where modal dialogs were
more or less banished years ago. The only thing that I can think of
that's modal on the Mac are the "Do you want to save this document?"
dialogs which are attached to a single window (or tab) so they only block
you from working in that window (or tab) not from doing anything else in
the application.


Remember all those settings dialogs which often are modal, but use the
immediately-apply- instead of the OK-Cancel paradigm. I prefer the latter
one to easily revert changes.

Here's a recent example of where the modality bugged me (note that it's
not the end of the world, but this thread is about usability): I was
duplicating a run configuration. In the new one, I wanted to pass in a
system property, but I couldn't remember the name. I couldn't just look
at the code, because of the modal dialog. I had to close the dialog, find
the code, and then open the dialog again. (Again, not the end of the
world; just less usable.) If the dialog had been nonmodal, I could have
flipped over to the code, found the property and flipped back.


OK.

Another example: I had two projects open and I was flipping between them.
At some point I lost the ability to type or click on anything. I assumed
IDEA had locked up again (I just switched to Kubuntu and KDE and IDEA
hasn't been very happy). I was about to kill IDEA when I noticed that
there was a modal dialog from the other window that was blocking me from
doing anything.


This problem should be fixed/fixable with Java 6, allowing dialogs to be
parent-modal instead of application-modal.

But imagine a lot of refactoring configuration dialogs which have more
options than just a plain text input field. If those would be non-modal, it
would allow to change the caret, to delete text (e.g. the method you are
trying to move). This would IMHO be horror to implement just for the sake of
having a modal dialog.

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Erik Hanson wrote:

- Soooo many modal dialogs. It makes the app seem old-fashioned. I'd love more direct manipulation and drag and drop. And I'd love non-modal windows for the settings and project configuration.


+1 !!!

modal dialogs are a pain. I often need to perform some action or view
some information below the modal dialog before I respond to the dialog,
but there is not way to do it without dismissing the dialog
If at all possible, dialogs should be non-modal.

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On 2007-01-22 18:42:45 +0300, Arthur Blake <no_reply@jetbrains.com> said:

Erik Hanson wrote:

>> - Soooo many modal dialogs. It makes the app seem old-fashioned. I'd
>> love more direct manipulation and drag and drop. And I'd love non-modal
>> windows for the settings and project configuration.


+1 !!!

modal dialogs are a pain. I often need to perform some action or view
some information below the modal dialog before I respond to the dialog,
but there is not way to do it without dismissing the dialog
If at all possible, dialogs should be non-modal.


We are actually working on putting processes to background and making
windows non-modal where possible. But could you tell us which specific
dialog you hate to have modal?

--
Kirill Kalishev
JetBrains, Inc.
http://jetbrains.com
"Develop with pleasure!"

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Here are a few requests related to the while project/module management issue....

Libraries should be handled more consistently; would simply and make things more regular
http://www.jetbrains.net/jira/browse/IDEABKL-4338

More flexibility:
http://www.jetbrains.net/jira/browse/IDEABKL-3005

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+10. Sharing error and formatting configs is totally unintuitive.

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+1
I always have to "re-study" structured search and thus reluctant to use it. Most of the time I need only something like "search in strings"..

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There's no usable way to edit just a bunch of plain old text files (e.g. some documentation) - one has to create "java module", set dummy build output path ("c:\tmp"), no source dir.. or use file managers.
New module type 'just files' is wanted.

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1. Do you find something hard/annoying to do in IDEA?


Mac OS X support :)

  • The MacOSX and Quaqua themes are extremely ugly. Yes, personal opinion :)

  • The Alloy theme does not properly work on OS X. I understand from Dimitry that you guys don't have source code for Alloy. Why not buy that and fix it? Or put some pressure on the original maker to fix the OS X compatibility.


Resulting in:

  • Selecting multiple items from any list or tree does not work (command-click)


  • Multiple monitors support is broken (menus always appear on the main screen instead of in the actual IDEA window that you clicked in


  • Default keyboard shortcuts don't work in text fields of dialog. Sometimes they do, for other fields they don't. It is not very consistent.


  • The FSLogger tool that keeps track of changed project files does not work, resulting in confusion when external tools modify source files. (For example a revision control system)


General bugs and annoyances:

IDEA Inserts empty lines. Marked as resolved but not working in 6.0.4 Confirmed by other people on the forum. http://www.jetbrains.net/jira/browse/IDEA-9375

Get rid of horizontal scrolling in the project view. http://www.jetbrains.net/jira/browse/IDEADEV-13386 and http://www.jetbrains.net/jira/browse/IDEADEV-9197 Marked as resolved but still happens. Extremely annoying that the scrolling happens as it puts your project view out of focus. With long paths in the project view it sometimes scrolls so much to the right that nothing can be seen anymore.

The navigation bar is broken. http://www.jetbrains.net/jira/browse/IDEADEV-13287 and http://www.jetbrains.net/jira/browse/IDEADEV-13285 Or it is very poorly implemented in a way that it decided to not show anything when the whole path does not fit on the screen.

Would be nice to have:

The ability to wrap long lines in the 'Run' View. So that it is possible to read a program's output without having to manually scroll all the time. http://www.jetbrains.net/jira/browse/IDEA-10418

The ability to click on project file and class names in the output of a program. For example when I print a stacktrace to System.out it would be nice if the class names were actually clickable. Same with for example log4j output that contains a class name.

Message was edited by:
Stefan Arentz

Removed the complaint about the external keyboard until i figure out what is causing IDEA to ignore the command key there.

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...

We are actually working on putting processes to
background and making
windows non-modal where possible. But could you tell
us which specific
dialog you hate to have modal?


For example the Settings dialog. For example to make code style or color changes you need to open the Settings dialog (modal) and then the Colors & Fonts one (modal too) and then both close them to actually try out your changes. It would be nice if you could simply hit Apply, switch to the main window, work/try/whatever and then go back to the settings dialog by activating the window that was still there.

Maybe Colors & Fonts is a bad example since it has a preview, but I was annoyed by for example the Live Templates dialog also being modal .. not very user friendly to go back and forth between opening and closing two layers of model windows before you can try out a simple change to a template.

S.

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If you print out the classname + line number in the same format as a stacktrace with either Log4J or System.out, then the link is rendered correctly. Unfortunately, it will only create one link per line of output.

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