Quarter Life Crisis

The world according to Sven-S. Porst

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Not for Drawing

324 words

Erik airs his dislike of drawers. I beg to disagree. For sure, it takes a bit of skill to make sure drawers are not a nuisance, don't have the wrong size all the time and get in your way – but if done properly, they are 'just right'. Strangely Erik's and my assessment of where drawers are done right differs.

The mailbox drawer in Apple's Mail is one of the things I like most about the program. You don't have the annoyance of a separate window – as I used to have in PowerMail – that you don't need most of the time, nor the flimsiness of palettes. If you need to do serious organising or searching your mail, you can pop it open and do your work while it doesn't get in your way. The rest of the time it'll just slide open when needed to file away a message. Slick.

The drawer in Preview is quite sweet as well, however, due to Apple's poor (non-existent?) skills at getting the prioritising of threads right, the fact that Preview can display previews of PDF pages there will slow down the scrolling etc in the program unbearably while those previews are generated. Not really a problem of mine, I suppose, as I always use Acrobat and GraphicConverter anyway but Jan-Philipp complained about it once. Hardly anything to do with drawers either.

I agree with Erik that drawers can be mis-used easily. Resizing them is fairly easy in my experience. You can grab them all around the borders and the sensitive area consists of the border plus a couple of pixels inward, probably about the same as the resize area. Many applications put odd constraints on the drawer sizes they allow, though. Some features are suited for drawers, others aren't. The same is true for palettes, sheets or even the 'multi-paned-window' – although I mostly consider its use as poor UI and lack of imagination.

May 3, 2003, 15:06

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