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(195/207) 3604612 - Multi-Document Interface (MDI)

A multi-document interface (MDI) where the child document edit windows can be freely moved around and resized etc (like in Programmer's Notepad) would greatly enhance the usefulness of jEdit. There are often situations where one wants to see a document while working on another document. You could split a window into panes etc., but it would be rigid.

Submitted madhu-r - 2013-02-14 - 02:36:14z Assigned nobody
Priority 5 Category None
Status Open Group None
Resolution None Visibility No


2013-02-14 - 03:27:22z
Have you tried creating a "new plain view"?
2013-02-17 - 02:23:51z
With new plain views, you would have multiple windows. Each window is almost like a new instance. Not a substitute for MDI.
2013-02-17 - 03:08:37z
It's actually a perfectly fine substitute for MDI. It does exactly what you've requested without the restriction of forcing your new window to be contained in a parent window. The combination of new views and unlimited split panes handles all the use cases of MDI, and is considered by many to be the successor to MDI systems. There is also the BufferTabs plugin, which gives jEdit a TDI (tabbed document interface), which is a variation of MDI that is considered more usable. Please explain how an MDI would "greatly enhance the usefulness of jEdit" over what it already has.
2013-02-18 - 09:33:29z
You mean a JDesktopPane with text documents shown as JInternalFrames (like this ) ?
2013-02-18 - 16:42:10z
I remmebered this page, although I don't have tried.

Would you please try this to see if it still works?
2013-02-18 - 17:41:00z
I'm with Dale. Among other things I like jEdit for the clear user interface and not having these floating buffer windows.
2013-02-19 - 16:37:05z
You 'can' live without MDI, but MDI adds an extra dimension, if you will. TDI is not a successor of MDI. Tabs have been there since the beginning of time. And, everything that you have in SDI would be available in every single child window, including the split panes etc that you have mentioned. The only problem with MDI would be the extra complexity of the program, and many, including Microsoft Office, think that SDI is 'good enough' for most uses. But a project like jEdit with an army of contributors does not have to settle with less of a feature. 'rschwenn' said 'floating buffer windows'. Jesus! That is precisely my point. Plain views float around like windows. We want something that contains those windows, so that they all can be minimized at once etc. Again, I am not saying plain views are not good. They would have their own use. MDI would not prevent you from having them. And, if you don't need, or don't like multiple child windows, you can just fill your main window with just one child windows. There is no compulsion to use them.I can not comprehend why it is hard to see the usefulness of MDI. Even while typing this reply, I am looking at your replies in a separate window. My browser does have the 'tabs', but they are not suitable for this purpose. I needed two windows side-by-side. Since the screen is such a premium real estate, I align them, move them around 'freely'. With split-panes you do not have that freedom.....
2013-02-20 - 19:32:19z
If I can add a few more words, the difference between MDI and TDI is very little. From the users perspective, TDI is like multiple documents of 'exact same size' stacked one top of another. You can see only one document at a time. In MDI, you can grab the edge of the top document and size/move so that you can see the ones below. Why should such an ability an unnecessary, or undesirable thing? MDI is such a standard feature that the GUI framework has all the functionality built-into. Looks like the 'New Free View' is overshadowing this standard feature. But it is no substitute for MDI. With MDI you can look at I have not gone through jEdit code, but it might just take a few tweaks like JInternalFrames pointed out by 'kpouer'. But we need to incorporate this feature into jEdit early on. As jEdit grows bigger and bigger it would become increasingly difficult to incorporate this feature later. Let us act now and don't leave room for yet another text editor project.
2013-02-20 - 20:16:04z
I'm not a developer, but one thing to keep in mind is that jEdit is used on multiple platforms. Windows, Linux and Mac are most prevalent, but it can run anywhere Java does, pretty much. I've even gotten it to run in Haiku.

MDI is, for the most part, used in Windows. There are exceptions to this rule, of course, but that is the primary place I've seen it. In OSes where one doesn't normally run apps fullscreen, I find MDI far less desirable.

So my vote would be that if you want to add MDI, it should be as a plugin or optional.