Connectivity Usability Ganymede
- 1 Connectivity Usability Changes for the Ganymede (DTP 1.6) Release
- 1.1 Part 1 -- The Driver Combo Box
- 1.2 Part 2 -- The New Connection Profile Wizard
- 1.3 Part 3 -- The Driver Definitions Dialog and Preference Page
Connectivity Usability Changes for the Ganymede (DTP 1.6) Release
Over the course of the last three months, we've asked for feedback from the community about some of the proposed changes for DTP Connectivity to address some of the usability issues that have come up. We've received quite a bit of good feedback via Bugzilla, the Newsgroups, and the Mailing Lists. So a big thank you to everyone who provided feedback!
As we approach the DTP 1.6M7 milestone and now that we've had time to consider some of the feedback we received at EclipseCon 2008, I wanted to document "the plan" for what is going to make it into the DTP 1.6 release.
Part 1 -- The Driver Combo Box
For the past few releases (0.9, 1.0, and 1.5), the Driver Drop-down list has provided a simple combo box with a sorted list of all available drivers or a filtered list, and a "..." button that opens the Driver Definitions dialog (basically the Driver Definitions preference page hosted on a dialog), where users can create their own drivers, manipulate existing drivers, and so on.
The Ganymede version of the Driver Combo box makes the buttons to the right of the combo box a toolbar, which provides some nice functionality for free and easier addition of buttons in the future should we need them. There are two buttons:
- New Driver Definition (opens the new New/Edit Driver Definition dialog discussed later)
- Fast Driver (opens the new New/Edit Driver Definition dialog with the Generic JDBC template pre-selected)
The goal here it to simplify the tasks that people do on a regular basis. If someone wants to create a new driver, they shouldn't have to wade through a tree on a dialog and then go to another dialog to provide driver details. Or if someone simply wants to create a generic JDBC driver for some database, they shouldn't have to wade through that either. This gives users one click access to routine actions.
Part 2 -- The New Connection Profile Wizard
A minor change has already gone into the New Connection Profile wizard for Ganymede to allow each driver to have a custom UI. This simplifies the process for adopters greatly, as they can customize a driver UI and provide it via an extension point rather than totally revamping and extending existing new profile wizards to get it to look/work the way they want. Nothing prevents them from extending the wizards, but this is a mid-way point for a lower bar of access.
However, there was a call from the community to streamline the wizard to simplify creating new connection profiles. For example, the profile details page where users enter a name and description for their profile seems a step that could be combined elsewhere. Same for the auto-connect at startup option.
Profile Type Selection Page (Page 1 of New Connection Profile Wizard)
So we've combined the Name/Description page with the Profile Type selection page at the beginning of the wizard. This also allows us to provide a default name for the new profile that can then be edited in the case that a profile with that name already exists.
Also, at the top of this wizard there is a text box. This is similar to the text box on top of the preference dialog where you can filter which preference pages you see, allowing the user to simply filter the profile type they want... For example, typing "D" provides the following:
Profile Details Page (Page 2 of New Connection Profile Wizard)
And we've moved the Auto-connect checkboxes from the Name/Description page to the Details page.
Also, we've broken the "auto-connect" functionality into two separate parts. If the user wants to auto-connect every time the workbench is started, they can select "auto-connect at startup". If they want the profile to connect when they are done with the wizard, they can select "auto-connect at finish". And they can obviously click both. This gives them finer-grain control over when they actually want the profile to connect.
Profile Summary Page (Page 3 of New Connection Profile Wizard)
The profile summary page has not changed for this release. We debated adding the auto-connect checkboxes on the summary page, but have instead chosen to put them on the details page (page 2).
Part 3 -- The Driver Definitions Dialog and Preference Page
Creating a new Driver Definition has always been a bit clunky. The user goes through three dialogs from the old drop-down to create a driver on the fly. From the preference page, it's only two dialogs. But we've simplified to provide a more concise, shared UI that can be used to create new driver definitions or edit existing driver definitions.