11 thoughts on “Embedded Notifications for Externally Modified Files

  1. I wonder, while that looks modern, is it still possible to control the notification via the keyboard, esp. the Tab shortcut to select the desired action to take?

    1. Well, TAB is always a problem in text editors, since TAB does everything from indentation, inserting a tab and switching focus.

      So it depends on what has focus.

      What works very well, though, is to press ALT, then you will see the shortcut accelerators to invoke an action.

      1. That’s exactly why I asked. A modal dialog takes focus, and can thus be dismissed easily and rapidly by hitting Tab (if necessary) and the Space or Enter keys. No need to think about which shortcut, or hope the Alt key will work the same way on all platforms (I’m not so sure it does on OS X, for instance). Also, Tab, Space and Enter keys can typically be hit from whatever position your fingers are in (if typing in the text). That’s not the case of the Alt key, nor (probably) of the shortcut you’d need to hit to dismiss the new notification. And let’s not talk about grabbing the mouse at all…

        What I actually wonder is exactly by what users where annoyed. Because ergonomically speaking I’d agree with the idea that a situation in which a document has changed on disk AND in the editor is one that justifies the principle of a modal dialog. I think it’s justified that, if you’re typing something at that exact moment, focus is moved away from the document to an alert … and actually that alert shouldn’t have default buttons that can be triggered by the space key (even OS X goes wrong there!). If the new notification has the possibility to steal focus, then fine.

        It’s a different thing when you just have a document open, without any changes pending to be saved, and the document changes on disk. Exactly how often do you want that open document NOT to reflect changes on disk? I can easily imagine that it’s the appearance of a dialog you have to dismiss by telling it to do something that should have happened automatically that annoyed so many users.

        So I hope you’ve thought this over beyond simply changing the nature of the alert to a notification. For instance, did you consider making it possible to reload the document automatically (if unchanged in the editor), and put up a simple notification to inform the user? And let that notification disappear as soon as the user saves the document? Hint: that sounds like the indication used to inform that a file has been changed in the editor, no? :)

        FWIW, Apple used to have a developer toolkit back in the MacOS 7+ days that’s still one of my favourites. It integrated shell and editor, and a window in editing mode was nothing more than a window on the on-disk file. IOW, you could use it as a file monitor as long as you didn’t type into the window.

        Final thought: users have a habit of not complaining about things they like. We’ll see how the number of users annoyed by the new implementation compares to the number annoyed by the modal dialog ;)

      1. Hi, this is unrelated question: what makes kate for mac does not have plugins for python autocomplete? technical or others because if you have no time, I could build that version by my computer.

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