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I'm developing an application. If you really care, it's written in Swing, but that doesn't matter for the question.

My application won't have a big complicated UI. In fact, a toolbar with some buttons plus an textarea beneath it, and it should be done. Some of the buttons might open another window to execute some other configuration options.

Practically all applications I know use menus, only one doesn't use (emule), but it's not a commercial application.

My question is: must I include a menu in my application? Is it programatically correct for desktop apps to have a menu, like it's programatically correct to indent your code, or did the programmers follow the original programmer like lemmings and like me on the current project I'm working on?

So? To menu or not to menu?

Wednesday, April 07, 2004

You might consider a web page layout even when
using a swing.

son of parnas
Wednesday, April 07, 2004

A) Menus aren't absolutely required, and a lot of simple utilities don't have them.

B) It sounds like you are a mouse user (as am I), but how would your users who like to do everything from the keyboard use your toolbar? That's why a menu is almost always needed.

Wednesday, April 07, 2004

You probably do want a menu as well. It looks more standard. It's somewhere you can put an indication of the shortcut keys, rather than having to have a cheat sheet dialog. It provides text for each command, so you don't have to wonder what the icon might actually do when you click on it. And it provides some way of letting people use the program once they've turned the toolbars off...

The text item is probably the most important. Lots of people scan through the menus to try to find what they're looking for. It's usually pretty easy. Doing the same with an "easy to use" toolbar is either impossible (without tooltips) or slow (with tooltips).

Insert half smiley here.
Wednesday, April 07, 2004

Put in the menubar.  Have a configuration option to hide it.  Have another configuration option to hide the toolbar.

Sight-impaired folks will appreciate having a menu bar.

Should be working
Wednesday, April 07, 2004

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