[texworks] close / exit

Paul A Norman paul.a.norman at gmail.com
Tue Apr 6 01:56:44 CEST 2010

Dear Jonathan,

Sometimes with various windows open in TeXWorks, if you are used to
them becoming obscured behind say your browser if you have used it or
JabRef and other LaTeX helps, then you may not even know that the
TeXWorks window you are Clos(ing) is your last one!
( Many people have their task bar set to auto hide to optimise their
work area - so do not see the logos for the open TeXWorks windows. )

As part of best Windows develpopment practice we were encouraged ..
Its on the File menu so Close refers to a File, Exit is taken by
convention to refer to the whole thing and sometimes still even is to
say Exit Program or Quit Program or even ... File / "Quit TeXWorks" !

This is literally like a cross cultural language issue -- where
different platforms have developed different paradigms and terminology
for similar things sometimes using the same words as each other to do
somewhat slightly different things.

On top of that the developer thinks in terms of the window, the pane
and the window technologies. While the publishing orientated user,
thinks of their document(s), more ignorant of how they get to be
displayed and be editable.

I was just looking at some other LaTeX type editors on the Windows platform:

Lyx who have faced the same issue, when the last document is closed
they default to a bare  presentation with a centred logo for their
application - replacing the closed document.
LEd (http://www.latexeditor.org/) does similarly,
TeXnicCenter also,
Winshell (also tabbed) http://www.winshell.org/ also,
TeXMaker, and a few others form memory which I don't have time to look
at right now.

I  really believe that a lot of people coming from a windows
publishing environment (like say Corel Ventura 8 - 10) will anticipate
that Close refers not to the Program's (perhaps main invisible) window
as such -- as an application developer would consider it, but only to
their current document or associated current workspace under the
application's main functionality.

That their document or workspace is housed in a window of some sort
may not even occur  to the user at all!  They will often not be
thinking in those terms.

I was always encouraged to this paradigm as best practice in Windows
application development:
They'll think of Exit (or even Quit) to close the whole application,
and Close to just close what they are on right now.

In Windows they'll think of File / Exit (Sometimes Crtl X  or  Alt F x
 or Alt F4) or File / Quit for the application as a whole.  File /
Close (Alt F c) as only part of it.

Having said that, go back a few years more, and Close or Quit (and not
Exit) was used for windowed dos applications prior to the uptake of
Windows -- perhaps at a time when MS dos stuff was closer to its Nix
roots :)


On 6 April 2010 08:29, Jonathan Kew <jfkthame at googlemail.com> wrote:
> On 5 Apr 2010, at 21:07, david allen wrote:
>> My request is that if one closes the last file, he gets the same blank screen present when the
>> program starts. This way close just means close. What could be simpler or clearer?
> This would be possible, but I'm unconvinced (so far) whether it's a good idea. Arguably, if we did this, "close" does NOT just mean "close", it means "close this document AND create a new, empty one". Or another way to interpret the scenario, from a user's viewpoint: there's one window on the screen, and I click its close box, but the window does NOT close, it merely discards its content and title, becoming a blank window. I think that's confusing. Apparently "close" does not close the window! Users might easily misunderstand this behavior, thinking the content of their file has suddenly vanished (and not noticing that the window title has changed).
> My impression is that most of the applications where you can close all documents without closing the application itself are those where there is some kind of "workspace" that hosts the document windows, and remains open and on screen even after the last document is closed. From this "workspace", you can then open another document, or create a new blank one, etc.
> Another model I've seen is where the application presents some kind of "common starting points" screen when all documents are closed, with friendly graphical buttons to access existing documents, create new ones (perhaps from templates), access help, etc. I could imagine this being quite a workable approach, but we don't have such an interface at the moment.
> I'm still happy to listen to input on this issue; I'm not seeing a clear answer yet.
> JK

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