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Motif and CDE 2.1 Style Guide
CDE Application Design Guidelines
Your application should present its components to the user
in a logical and task-oriented manner. Menus should follow a common
organization and naming convention to enable users to use the same rules and
practices across the desktop. The following sections outline CDE application
design and menu structure requirements.
Consider the following guidelines when designing a CDE
- There should always be exactly one control within any window of your
application that has the input focus if the window in which it resides has the
If any window within your application has focus, some control within that
window must have focus. The user should not have to explicitly set focus to a
control within the window.
- When a text field within your application does not have input focus, do
not display the text cursor within that field.
Although use of inactive text cursors is allowed within Motif, it is better
to hide the text cursor when removing focus rather than display the inactive
text cursor. This makes it easier for the user to quickly scan the screen or
window to determine which text field currently has focus.
- Your application should provide keyboard mnemonics for all buttons, menus,
and menu items displayed within the application.
Once the user becomes adept at using your application, keyboard mnemonics
are a quick way to access functionality. Mnemonics also facilitate access to
functionality from within keyboard-centric applications or windows. The user
need not frequently switch between using the mouse and keyboard. Mnemonics
should be provided pervasively throughout the user interface.
- Your application should provide shortcut keys (accelerators) for those
functions that you expect the user to use frequently.
Shortcut keys provide the user who has become expert at using your
application a quick way to access application functionality without going
through menus and dialog boxes.
- If your application does not use the values of global environment
settings, such as multiclick timeout intervals, drag thresholds, window color
settings, mouse left- or right-handedness, and so on, but instead uses its own
values for these settings, then your application should provide one or more
Options dialog boxes that allow the user to change the values for these
In general, you should not override the value of settings treated as global
environment settings. The user controls these settings through the CDE Style
Manager. If you choose to ignore these settings and specify your own settings,
then your application will be inconsistent with other applications in CDE. If
you nevertheless choose to provide your own values, then you must provide the
user with a way to make your settings consistent with the rest of the desktop.
Tool bars provide quick access to already user-accessible functions.
Some common usages of tool bars include navigation, changing data views,
accessing frequently used tools or editors, simplifying the number of steps to
complete a common operation, and providing a fast path to frequently used menu
items. Figure 57 is an example of a tool bar on the CDE Calendar.
Figure 57. Tool Bar on the CDE Calendar.
Tool Bar Design Issues
When designing your application and an associated tool bar, consider
the following guidelines:
- Use tool bars only when they improve or enhance user access to common
operations, such as in an application with several large menus.
- Present a natural organization of actions on the tool bar. Grouping items
that are dissimilar can confuse the user if the item they are looking for is
not in the proper context.
- Do not place too many items in the tool bar. The user should be able to
find and use an item quickly. Keep the number of buttons to a minimum so that
you do not increase the difficulty of using a tool bar.
- Do not use cryptic icons as they can confuse the user. Keep the pixmaps as
simple as possible. Remember that all graphics must be international in scope.
When designing a graphic to represent a command, such as Save, remember that
the icon has to represent a verb, as opposed to a noun, like most other icons.
Tool Bar Components
You typically use the following Motif components when constructing a
- Tool bar container
- The tool bar uses a container component to provide a layout mechanism for
the drawn buttons that make up a tool bar. You may choose most any container
for the tool bar, as long as it allows for the specified behavior. The tool
bar container is placed directly under the menu bar and should be the same
width as the window, as well as similar height to the menu bar.
- Tool bar button
- The Motif widget DrawnButton provides an appropriate medium for
the graphic buttons in tool bars.
- The pixmap for the drawn button is the graphic that conveys the
functionality to be expected by pushing a particular button.
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