Thursday, January 2, 2003

That Sort of Thing

John Gruber, whose Daring Fireball has lost its Bob Dole/Karl Malone complex, compares BBEdit 7’s new sorting plug-ins with the latest version of Craig Maynard’s venerable LineSort plug-in. This comparison is missing from my BBEdit review because for some reason I thought that LineSort hadn’t been Carbonized.

Modal dialogs get a bad rap from many users, so you might find it curious that Bare Bones would choose to use them for new plug-ins. But there are in fact several advantages to modal dialogs. One is that they can be driven by the keyboard. Bring up BBEdit 7’s Sort Lines dialog, then hold down the Command key, and a moment later you will see shortcuts appear for each of the checkboxes in the dialog. These shortcuts don’t conflict with normal menu command shortcuts, because most menu commands are disabled when a modal dialog is open. A floating palette such as LineSort’s can only be driven using the mouse.

Modal dialogs, used right, are great. I’m so sick of these Cocoa applications where it’s impossible to tell which window has keyboard focus.

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