[Bf-funboard] Re: Expanding the menus

Matt Ebb bf-funboard@blender.org
Thu, 7 Aug 2003 18:46:44 +1000


> Making the menus context sensitive would be a big improvement. I like
> the idea of a mutating space-bar menu better than all the functionality
> in the top menu bar. That is, whatever hotkeys are active in a certain
> area appear in the space menu.

I mentioned this in my last email - I agree with you, but I think the
toolbox and main menu should be complementary - not just replicating each
other. So the toolbox can be context sensitive, but hte main menu can remain

> How are you implementing the top menu-bar? Many commands require an
> active screen area to work on - for example, the view menu items
> require you to click on a viewport once you have selected the menu
> item. This is (in HCI jargon) a verb-noun action*, which is a flaw, in
> part because in creates an invisible mode.

Yes, if there is more than one 3D viewport open, many of the features
require a mouse click on the viewport that you want to operate in (this
seems to be built into the menu code). This is pretty much a symptom of the
way Blender works using multiple window spaces, and with so much emphasis on
what space the mouse pointer is in and its position. I don't think this
would be possible or feasible to change within the current system (put it in
the Blender 3 'too hard basket' :P)

Blender is largely built around a command->object philosophy and although I
don't have a good understanding of the code, I think it would take major
structural changes to change this, which just aren't feasible right now. It
may be considered a flaw (especially by die-hard direct manipulation fans),
but it's not *that* bad. In any case, expanding the menus even within this
current system, is an improvement over the current situation.

> Some actions belong in the
> top menu bar, file saving and that stuff, basically the things that act
> upon the entire application or document. Other menus ought to be
> connected to the screen areas they work upon.

Yeah that's one thing I was thinking about when I started this experiment,
but in practise I think it would be clumsy to implement. Having multiple
layers of menus on top of each other would look messy and take up lots of
space in the window headers. It also means that options are hidden (can't
see the menus in other window spaces) which is something I want to avoid. My
main aim for these menus is just to make Blender's features more visible to
the user. You see it all the time on elysiun.com - people asking questions
about how to accomplish something, or requesting features that already
exist. They just don't know they are there. Blender's a lot more capable and
powerful than people (both newbies and the 'pros' that sneer at Blender)
think it is - it just needs to be a bit more communicative ;)