Allow Subform ABOVE the Actionbar 
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: 45
: 47
: 2
: Domino Designer
: form, subform, actionbar, ui, design
: Theo Heselmans9557 14 Mar 2008
: / Email

A lot of websites have a menubar/actionbar below the banner/logo/title. This gives the user a better experience, and looks nicer too. Notes currently has the actionbar always at the top.
I propose to have a setting in the actionbar to define/compute an optional subform to put above the actionbar.
When scrolling is needed, it will start below the actionbar (as it is now).
I would like it to work in 7 and 8 if possible.
Look at the included picture to see how it could look like.

1) Paul Davies13558 (14 Mar 2008)
this seems a prescriptive suggestion. It might work better if action bars themselves were shared { Link } and insertable as a resource at any position

2) John Head1126 (14 Mar 2008)
I like the idea, but it has major challenges on how Expeditor wraps the Notes client. But asking for any features in 7 ... sorry, until you remove that no vote from me. IBM only adds functionality to current software. Today, that is the 8.0.X timeframe.
3) Theo Heselmans9557 (14 Mar 2008)
@Paul: Insertable at any position would indeed be more flexible, but I didn't want to aim that high ;-)
@John: I know 7 is off limits, reason for being so careful in my request: "I would like it to work in 7 and 8 if possible"
4) Declan Lynch710 (14 Mar 2008)
If the 'Works in 7' means 'Degrades nicly in 7' then it has my vote. If it's even possible to move the actionbar below an object then degrading could be done by a form setting called 'Move first subform above actionbar' then you design your form as normal and put the subform you want moved to the top of the page. In Notes 7 it would just display the subform under the actionbar as done currently.
5) Kevin Pettitt1036 (14 Mar 2008)
Theo, I appreciate what you're trying to achieve here but I think it would actually be *easier* to have the "insert button strip anywhere" capability, IN ADDITION to the familiar action bar at the top capability. The "Shared Action Bar" idea is on the right track, but that seems to be only focused on the cosmetic appearance of the bar, not a set of actual buttons.

What I imagine is a new "resource" design element on par with a subform, and used/inserted in much the same way, but instead of showing form contents (and possibly adding actions to the top), it shows just actions in that position. It might or might not include action bar formatting information.

All fine and good, but let's step back and understand why you would want to do this. I think it goes beyond simply wanting a way to reuse a set of buttons, formatted a certain way, across several forms. And it has to be more than just wanting some buttons part way down the form, since you can just put buttons directly on the form to do that. So what is it about *action* buttons that's more special than regular buttons?

Setting aside the obvious things like convenience of use, more formatting options, and not scrolling down the page with the form, the thing that I like about actions is that clicking them DOESN'T SWITCH FOCUS from whereever your cursor happens to be at click time. This is HUGE. Imagine you have a richtext body field on a form and you want to be able to offer little "toolbar" buttons directly above the field to do "stuff" inside the field. Imagine one of those things is to turn seleted text into a url link. If you put a regular button on the form to do that, the moment you click the button your cursor is no longer where it was inside the field so the button loses it's "context". An action button has no such problem, which is why it is special.

If you give me something *like* an action button/bar that can be positioned anywhere on a form, be reusable like a subform, and doesn't mess with cursor focus, then I think you've really got a winner.
6) Kevin Pettitt1036 (14 Mar 2008)
As for how to implement my alternate idea in a way that will degrade gracefully in 6.5/7...

Well, if you really create a *new* element type, then you probably can't degrade gracefully. With shared columns and shared fields there are at least unshared versions of those element types to fall back on.

So you might modify my suggestion to instead *enhance* the current subform element by adding a setting to "show actions at insertion point", such that in earlier releases this setting would be ignored and the actions would behave like they do now (i.e. they get appended to the top action bar with other form actions). You would also want to allow for action bar styling information to be stored in the subform (it currently is not), so as to control the appearance of the actions/bar. Again, those attributes would be ignored in previous releases.

There would probably need to be additional attributes as well, such as whether to make the bar background transparent, or whether to even extend the bar the full screen width or some fixed amount. Considering that subforms can be embedded within tables, presumably the actionbars associated with them would be constrained by the table.

I think I'll submit a formal idea for this proposal...
7) Theo Heselmans9557 (15 Mar 2008)
@Declan: a form setting called 'Move first subform above actionbar': Wonderful solution to achieving both my goal, and being backward compatible.
@Kevin: Just having an button-property to 'No focus on Click' would already be enough to be able to build your subform style button bar. You don't need a special design element then. I do prefer your second 'backwards compatible 'subform' actionbar idea.
8) Theo Heselmans9557 (15 Mar 2008)
The reason I like an actionbar over a row of buttons/links is the formatting of it and the dropdown capabilities of actions.
I could also embed a horizontal outline on my form but these have the disadvantage of not having dropdown capabilities and getting the focus away from the selected object/text.
9) Stan Rogers1200 (15 Mar 2008)
Okey-dokey -- but CSS already allows this to happen if you want it right now, today.
10) Kevin Pettitt1036 (16 Mar 2008)
@Stan, are you alluding to a way of getting this to work now in the Notes client or just on the web?
11) Ed Maloney97 (16 Mar 2008)
The subform would be a time saver, but I agree that being able to position the action bar anywhere would be better. The floating toolbar that is common in other applications would be a welcome addition in the Notes world.
12) Martin Humpolec753 (17 Mar 2008)
Yes, allow it anywhere, please. Bottom can be nice as well, or right side?
13) Starrow Pan5103 (21 Mar 2008)
;-0, this idea is like a hen who can lay golden eggs.
Interesting thoughts of Kevin.
14) Grant Lindsay1038 (25 Mar 2008)
Hmmm... What would happen when the user scrolls the page down? Right now the action bar stays put (as it should). Would the "position anywhere" action bar move with the page?

Also, it occurs to me that the visual layout in the image can be accomplished with a frameset (client and browser.)
15) Richard Schwartz4594 (26 Mar 2008)
Why not just use a frameset with a page displaying above the form/view frame?
16) Charles Robinson8913 (19 May 2008)
@15 - That's exactly how I do it today. Coupled with shared actions it does exactly what Theo wants. It would be nice if there was an easier way, though.


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