Re: Overstrike mode for key driven ups?

From: Russell Browne (
Date: Sat Oct 20 2001 - 01:03:23 BST

I agree with Will that toggling between an insert and overstrike
modes would have a number of UI problems.

I have a hard time imagining how <tab> would move focus in a reasonable
way.  Every displayed value, array index, expression, and breakpoint
is a potential editable field.  Would you have to tab through everything
in the display window to get to a breakpoint you wanted to edit?

I can imagine a typing region that would take single keystrokes and
do the most common things.  Since it only needs to display a single
character it need not be very big.  Perhaps a new region between the <<
and Help  buttons, and a little bit bigger that the << button.  I would
have the region redraw itself in some fashion when active to give
visual feedback.  Perhaps gray it out when inactive and gray out
the typing line when the new region is active. I would have a <tab>
toggle focus between the two regions, and would move focus also with
a mouse click.  I hesitate to have it grab focus when the mouse
enters the region because the mouse could wander out unintentionally,
especially if it is a small target.


> My opinion only: this proposal is quite complex from the point of UI
> design (modes always are).  A user not expecting typing modes would be
> surprised if he unwittingly found himself in overstrike mode.  I know
> there is a certain current in this conversation pointing to "no mouse
> at all", but I would prefer a mouse-over to a button region, then true
> one keystroke commands (s (no <ret> required) for step, etc.), to this
> proposal.  Mouselessly: <ctrl><tab> to bring focus to typing area,
> <tab> to move focus to other regions.  I understand that implementing
> this might be difficult, but you asked ...
> Thanks,
> Will
> Rod Armstrong writes:
>  > 1. ^o would toggle between the insert mode with the vertical cursor between
>  >    letters, to the overstike mode with a horizontal line under a letter.
>  > 2. A command would still require a RET or ESC to be processed, so hitting
>  >    RET repeats the current command.
>  > 3. To do a series of nexts, you would type !n in the default insert mode
>  >    then ^o to switch to overstrike mode. Each press of RET would repeat the 
>  >    command
>  > 4. To change to a step, press s then RET.
>  > 5. To enter a mutli letter command, you could toggle back to the insert mode
>  >    to get automatic cursor advance, or alternatively stay in the overstrike
>  >    mode and manually advance the cursor.
> -- 
> William F. Dowling
> ISI/Thomson Scientific (
> 215-386-0100 x-1156

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