The reason Preferences moved to Tools menu?

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The reason Preferences moved to Tools menu?

Unread postby BenFenner » Mon, 15 Jan 2018, 15:51

As someone who has developed cross-platform applications, one of the things I learned was that Windows places Preferences/Options menus under the "Tools" top-level menu and Linux places them under the "Edit" top-level menu.

According to the 27.7.0 release notes it seems that the Linux folks are being given the Windows behavior, and this is on purpose.
http://www.palemoon.org/releasenotes.shtml

I have no real preference, or dog in this fight. I just found it curious, and I'm wondering why the change? There must be a good reason to ignore the system look and feel. Or have the Linux community changed their recommendations? Maybe there is a thread about this that I didn't find in my searching... ?
Last edited by BenFenner on Mon, 15 Jan 2018, 17:28, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: The reason Preferences moved to Tools menu?

Unread postby New Tobin Paradigm » Mon, 15 Jan 2018, 16:44

It's a compromise to eliminate several special cases. It is not without precedent on all platforms.

Mozilla introduced this disparity when they moved Preferences to the Tools menu and renamed it options even though it was only cosmetic for the menu item and the window title.. Everywhere internal and elsewhere it was called Preferences.

This is our attempt to reconcile and standardize what has happened since then.

The Tools Menu globally has become the hot spot for Extensions to put their preferences menu items and that is where Options has been on Windows since Firefox happened. It makes sense to group them in one location.

HISTORY LESSON TIME

Back in the day when Preferences was in the Edit Menu back on the Suite (Netscape or Mozilla/SeaMonkey) which was was the standard in Mac and Linux. This was fine for Windows as Windows applications could put them anywhere.. For Extensions they could hack the Preferences Window and include their own preference panes because ALL preference panes were all listed at the left in a tree. The Extension Manager was ALSO in the Preferences window even if it was more primitive.

access_netscape.gif


Then Firefox happened. They redesigned the preferences window to be more iconic and less complex. This was more of an evolution from the old Suite preferences window and it also included the more modern extensions and themes managers. They also renamed it Options and put it in the Tools Menu on Windows but ONLY Windows.

24eddc49-cb76-429a-8e21-9361af19906a.jpg


However, before FIrefox went 1.0 they redesigned it again to follow Macintosh standard which was popular everywhere at the time. This is the Preferences Window we have in Pale Moon today. While some older extensions sometimes hack it and insert its own pane.. It becomes less useful if a bunch of extensions start doing that because the Iconic pane selection exponentially expands the window horizontally. So most extensions started putting menu items in the Tools Menu instead where Options was on Windows.

Mozilla also split the Extensions and Themes Managers out of Preferences into a universal Add-ons Manager which was originally in the same style as any other Toolkit Preferences UI and placed THAT into the Tools Menu, again where Options was on Windows.. So that started the huge split in BOTH location on non-windows and access to various bits of accessing Preferences.

aa33c090-ffff-41c9-b2f9-c481a73f60c5.jpg


BACK TO NOW

This change is an attempt to reconcile both the disparity of Options vs Preferences and the location cross-platform. IF Everything was still in Preferences like it used to be on Suite then I could see a justification of moving Options on Windows to Edit and have it be called Preferences.. BUT IT ISN'T.

Everything barring some long standing extensions goes to the Tools Menu (or inside the Add-ons Manager which is in the Tools Menu).. So that over the years has become the defacto standard location for these kinds of things.

This change makes it universal for everyone to know where things are and what they are called.. Now when someone says Tools > Preferences > XXX it is just that no matter what OS you are using.

NOW, I want to make absolutely clear that I respect the historical significance of Edit > Preferences on non-Windows operating systems but in the grand scheme it just doesn't make sense anymore in the context of Pale Moon and it is a little ridiculous to have these hackish special cases and different strings and locations. Of course, Pale Moon also respects to a reasonable degree differences in operating systems and even VERSIONS of the same operating system but there must be some semblance of balance between the Application and the OS.

When evaluating how to do this to finally resolve the question, I looked at several cross-platform applications to see what they do.. And what we have done is NOT without precedent. I know for some it may suck because they will have to retrain them selves .. Some with using the Tools menu and others to look for Preferences instead of Options.

Some may agree that a compromise is an agreement that neither side is completely happy with.. This may qualify but it was not made lightly or without rational thought and debate of what to do.

I hope this explains things for people and doesn't devolve into another situation.
Last edited by New Tobin Paradigm on Mon, 15 Jan 2018, 17:17, edited 13 times in total.

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Re: The reason Preferences moved to Tools menu?

Unread postby BenFenner » Mon, 15 Jan 2018, 17:35

Thank you Tobin for the thorough explanation and rationale.

Cheers!
Last edited by BenFenner on Mon, 15 Jan 2018, 21:05, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: The reason Preferences moved to Tools menu?

Unread postby New Tobin Paradigm » Mon, 15 Jan 2018, 17:47

As a completely off-topic aside... Cookies are delicious delicacies.

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Last edited by New Tobin Paradigm on Mon, 15 Jan 2018, 17:48, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: The reason Preferences moved to Tools menu?

Unread postby Isengrim » Mon, 15 Jan 2018, 18:46

New Tobin Paradigm wrote:As a completely off-topic aside... Cookies are delicious delicacies.

Can we (re-)add that to the cookies preferences window? :D
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Re: The reason Preferences moved to Tools menu?

Unread postby New Tobin Paradigm » Mon, 15 Jan 2018, 19:19

Alas, that was rejected (I tried).. There used to be an extension that did it but that long stopped working.. I'd say fork it but it may be simpler to do it from scratch.
Last edited by New Tobin Paradigm on Mon, 15 Jan 2018, 19:20, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: The reason Preferences moved to Tools menu?

Unread postby BenFenner » Mon, 15 Jan 2018, 21:07

I've always wondered if anyone in England calls them micro crisps, or computer crisps?
And similarly, maybe they call them browser biscuits? I've certainly started calling them such at work. ;)

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Re: The reason Preferences moved to Tools menu?

Unread postby Moonraker » Mon, 15 Jan 2018, 21:14

BenFenner wrote:I've always wondered if anyone in England calls them micro crisps, or computer crisps?
And similarly, maybe they call them browser biscuits? I've certainly started calling them such at work. ;)

Native englishman here,must admit i have never come across those terms.We have micro-chips etc.
Cookies is the usual term or gingerbreads lol. :lol:
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Re: The reason Preferences moved to Tools menu?

Unread postby Thehandyman1957 » Tue, 16 Jan 2018, 01:26

Thank you Tobin for that great piece in history. :thumbup: You are very knowledgeable in these things and I'm sure
I'm not the only one who is thankful for your contributions in this great browser. :angel:
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Re: The reason Preferences moved to Tools menu?

Unread postby gracious1 » Tue, 16 Jan 2018, 06:23

I appreciate the history! Very informative. :thumbup:
However, I don't agree with your conclusions; to me, this supports keeping it in Edit -> Preferences. :problem:
Ergo, I don't like this change. :thumbdown:
But then again, I am told that I have no taste in change. :roll:


BenFenner wrote:Or have the Linux community changed their recommendations? Maybe there is a thread about this that I didn't find in my searching... ?

That is hard to say. Human interface guidelines vary (e.g. GNOME, KDE, etc.)
See this however regarding GNOME: https://developer.gnome.org/hig-book/3. ... ndard-edit
It definitely puts Preferences under the Edit menu, and offers an explanation why.
Last edited by gracious1 on Tue, 16 Jan 2018, 09:45, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: The reason Preferences moved to Tools menu?

Unread postby biopsin » Tue, 16 Jan 2018, 08:42

so why not name Tools > Settings as what it is, move both Downloads and Page Info -> View

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Re: The reason Preferences moved to Tools menu?

Unread postby New Tobin Paradigm » Tue, 16 Jan 2018, 11:52

Because it also has Tools in there.. I could also say that the preference window is a tool to adjust preferences.

But here we go.. It's starting...

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Re: The reason Preferences moved to Tools menu?

Unread postby Swicher » Wed, 17 Jan 2018, 00:12

gracious1 wrote:I appreciate the history! Very informative. :thumbup:
However, I don't agree with your conclusions; to me, this supports keeping it in Edit -> Preferences. :problem:
Ergo, I don't like this change. :thumbdown:
But then again, I am told that I have no taste in change. :roll:

Existing extensions like Tools > Options… for Linux, how difficult would it be to modify it to do the opposite?

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Re: The reason Preferences moved to Tools menu?

Unread postby gracious1 » Wed, 17 Jan 2018, 00:59

Swicher wrote:Existing extensions like Tools > Options… for Linux, how difficult would it be to modify it to do the opposite?

Hrmm... Well, I will give it a try...
Watch this space. ;)
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Re: The reason Preferences moved to Tools menu?

Unread postby BenFenner » Wed, 17 Jan 2018, 03:56

Moonraker wrote:Native englishman here,must admit i have never come across those terms.We have micro-chips etc.
Cookies is the usual term or gingerbreads lol. :lol:


Off-topic:
Wait, so you'd call them Browser Gingerbreads? Hmmm, I can't say I follow that.

How do you justify calling them micro-chips when they should clearly be micro-cricps? RIght?

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Re: The reason Preferences moved to Tools menu?

Unread postby Moonchild » Wed, 17 Jan 2018, 08:22

I'm sure everyone can come up with specific reasons why they'd prefer it named X in location Y, with supporting "evidence" by other people who agree with your viewpoint.
You can then have unending discussions about "which is better" which is all going to be subjective choice, based on circumstance, workflow, general design guidelines or even "because application Z does it also" -- none of which is fruitful, and none of which is more than wanting to exchange one choice that works for group A with another that works for group B.

We are balancing out the desires of all groups of users here. It's a compromise that will not perfectly fit anyone because simply put, to do so would make it irreconcilable with other users.

If you don't like it, then make an extension to change it. If you can't, then change your attitude about it, but please don't complain.
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Re: The reason Preferences moved to Tools menu?

Unread postby Roranicus » Sun, 21 Jan 2018, 14:04

gracious1 wrote:
Swicher wrote:Existing extensions like Tools > Options… for Linux, how difficult would it be to modify it to do the opposite?

Hrmm... Well, I will give it a try...
Watch this space. ;)


Consider me interested. I've always prefered the preferences in the edit menu.

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Re: The reason Preferences moved to Tools menu?

Unread postby bgstack15 » Mon, 22 Jan 2018, 23:09

It threw me for a loop, but since I know to check both the Edit and Tools menu, it is not a big deal. I think making the experience consistent across platforms is a worthy goal.

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Re: The reason Preferences moved to Tools menu?

Unread postby Dustie_Rose » Tue, 23 Jan 2018, 16:27

https://forum.palemoon.org/viewtopic.php?f=37&t=

Just to add, I prefer all the extensions, preferences and addons like this now under the same heading list on menu. To add, Mr. Tobin, great history lesson on the changes, I wondered who came up with the Windows versions after years of using most of them, Linux is always my choice now and so much easier to figure out.

Also, thanks again for all the team who always do the hard work with long hours spent doing so for each update which keep getting better every time if that is possible. Compared to what is out there today, that is the biggest compliment I can give. I also read many forums all across the web, and here. I think you guys are the best for taking the time and having so much patience explaining things to the users when most don't even care about that anymore or ever did. Many don't realize how much effort and experience goes into producing a web application especially browsers these days with all the changes, formats and security issues.

My greatest appreciation goes to all the Palemoon team, for their work and expertise that keeps on getting better each time. Also, Basilisk is working good on Linux Mint 18.3 so far, havent used it too much.

Great job as always, I have learned so many things from the best production team on the web!
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Re: The reason Preferences moved to Tools menu?

Unread postby mr tribute » Sat, 03 Feb 2018, 23:48

I like the change. I mainly use Linux, but I never really understood why Preferences is in the Edit menu. At the same time I think Preferences is a better word than Options. So despite this move breaking with some conventions it's a good move I think. Also it's not without precedent. VLC media player has the same menu layout on both Windows and Linux with Preferences in the Tools menu. I don't know if this was mentioned, but it's worth noticing that Pale Moon isn't more "radical" than VLC.


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