I noticed the following when reading the SCJD book chapter on GUIs. The authors first discuss how the natural (work)flow in a Western gui should be from top-left to bottom-right. Later on in the chapter the MainWindow layout is discussed. The MainWindow has the JTable at the top, followed by the search field and button, and finally at the bottom the Rent and Return buttons. If I were to use this application, I would first do a search, then select a DVD to rent or return from the table and lastly hit the Rent or Return button. Would this "natural flow of working" not suggest that the search field and button should be above the JTable instead of underneath it ?
Also, many applications I use, don't show the "Search panel" by default. One usually first has to select for example a menu item like "Edit Find" or hit the keyboard CTRL-F sequence. The search window usually appears as a separate dialog on top of the main window. Do you think this would be a good thing for the SCJD assignment, having the search window as a separate dialog I mean ? One of the advantages I see would be the possibility of adding additional search criteria to the popup search window without affecting the layout of the Main window. What do you think ?
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The way the sample application works is that the table is pre-populated with data before the user can choose any operations. There is no requirement to perform a search first, so we chose not to have the search panel at the top.
This also gave us the opportunity to demonstrate using panels within panels to create a particular format (yes, we did make design decisions that allowed us to demonstrate a particular technique that we think readers need to learn).
But as to whether it makes sense for your assignment or not is up to you. Remember that you are the one that has to justify it in your design decisions / potentially in the exam. As was mentioned many times in the book, there are places in our sample application where we deliberately deviated from what might otherwise be too close to the real exam.
I am not sure about the pop-up search window - I usually associate these with performing a search within the current results (with all the results staying on screen, just the searched for item highlighted). An interesting idea though - it will be good to hear what others think of it.
But as to whether it makes sense for your assignment or not is up to you
I will go thru my instructions again (for the millionth time ) and see if I can find some hint of what would be the prefered location of the search panel.
the pop-up search window - I usually associate these with performing a search within the current results (with all the results staying on screen
You have a good point here. Thinking about this a bit further you are absolutely right. In a text editor, the text is already on the screen when hitting the search button or ctrl-F, same in a spreadsheet or word document. In all these cases the data is already there visible on screen before doing the search.
On the other hand, given that in the sample application all data is pre-populated, meaning "the current results", as you say, are already on screen, this would mean that in case of the sample application a pop-up search window would be appropriate ?
Thanks for giving me something to think about
Regards, Ronald. [ February 24, 2006: Message edited by: Ronald Wouters ]