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Set of Skills

Reducing UI clutter, docking bars removed

Nov 29, 2009 by Martin Nordholts

GIMP has a UI that feels rather cluttered. Not only because of the many windows, but also because of the contents of each window. It is not hard to point out areas for improvement. The last few weeks I have worked on getting rid of one thing that contributes a lot to the clutter in docks: the docking bars.

The docking bars were used as drop targets when moving around dockable dialogs with drag-and-drop. They had many problems:

  1. They took up space, even when no drag-and-drop was going on
  2. They were not pretty
  3. They were only at the top and bottom of a dock, preventing dockable dialogs from being dropped in the middle of docks
Instead of having dedicated widgets acting as drop targets, I have now made certain areas within the existing widget hierarchy drop targets. These areas are highlighted when hovered. The new drag-and-drop system still has some rough edges, but it is already infinitely better than the docking bars.