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Report From: Delphi-BCB/IDE/Tool Palette    [ Add a report in this area ]  
Report #:  53360   Status: Reported
Position in Tool Palette lost, should have been in a separate panel!
Project:  Delphi Build #:  all
Version:    11.0 Submitted By:   Alexey Rytov
Report Type:  Suggestion / Enhancement Request Date Reported:  10/12/2007 4:36:56 AM
Severity:    Serious / Highly visible problem Last Updated: 2/23/2008 7:19:22 AM
Platform:    All versions Internal Tracking #:  
Resolution: None  Resolved in Build: : None
Duplicate of:  None
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--- [Added on 23-Feb-08:]

To summarize:  the suggested feature/improvement is to add a small, easily configurable component palette docked inside the Form Designer window.
The user should be able to configure the palette by dragging controls from the general component toolbox and dropping them onto the Designer window (but outside the form being designed).

For more details, read on...


In my opinion, it was a very bad idea to merge into the same panel the component palette (for the form designer)  and the palette of things that could be added to the project (for anything other than form designer).

Example:  I'm designing a form using some 3-rd party components. There are a lot of component categories and I have to scroll down long way to locate the ones I need.

After placing some control on the form, I doubleclick on it to define some event handler.  The moment I get to the code editor, the component palette is replaced with that "add to project" palette.

When I hit F12 to get back to the form, the component palette gets displayed again, BUT IT IS NOW SCROLLED BACK TO THE STANDARD COMPONENTS!  

So every time I move between design and code view, or go to look at a different unit, position in the Toolbox is lost, which is extremely inconvenient.

In my opinion, the way the component palette was done in Delphi 7  was MUCH better. I don't really expect you to go back to the old layout, but there are several things that could improve usability a lot:

1)  First of all, split the Component Toolbox and the Project one into separate panels.  They still could be docked together if you prefer it that way, but their content should not compete for the same panel.

2) Do any combination of the following:

- Allow the component palette to be docked onto the toolbar, as it was in D7 and earlier versions.

- If that is not feasible,  introduce a "component shortcut" toolbar panel, which would show some of the components most commonly used in this project.  

- Since component palette is only used the Form Designer, consider docking either the entire Tool Palette or a smaller "component cache" INSIDE the Designer window.

- If there is a "component palette cache" parked either on the toolbar or inside the designer, consider various way to fill it:

  - automatically,  with MRU controls
  - automatically,  with controls already on the form (if a form uses some     TWeirdLabel and TWeirdCheckbox components, it is likely to use     more of them)
  - by dragging components from the Tool Palette.
- The original (tabbed) component palette from D7 and earlier had an important advantage of SEPARATE SCROLLING for categories and for controls. You could scroll the tabs without actually clicking any of them, or you could scroll components in the current tab.  With the current outline, categories and components are all scrolled together, which makes it more difficult to find either.  
Steps to Reproduce:
see description

Lucian Radulescu at 10/12/2007 3:44:23 PM -
you know you can just type a substring part of the component name you're looking for and the palette filters nicely... For example if you want to drop another TDBISAMTable on the form after you hit F12, you click the palette and just type ISAMTA and voila, yTDBISAMTable is in view.

But than .... even if this is way faster than scrolling amongst 100 or so palette entries ... I agree with you: it was much better in D7, when the palette just got stuck.

Alexey Rytov at 10/13/2007 9:56:52 AM -
Yes, I've heard about this type-n-find feature, although never got around to try it.  The matter of habit, I guess.

It appears that the move away from the "classical" Delphi toolbox (which to me was Delphi's signature feature, and a big loss in D2007) to the current outline format was in response to the ever-increasing number of components and categories.

But if you have a thousand controls in a hundred categories, designing a convenient way to represent them is not going to be easy.  Perhaps the only way is to organize a smaller secondary "cache" or "palette" for those controls needed in a particular project, whereas the current "Tool Palette" would be treated as a repository to fill the cache from.  

I would be perfectly happy with its current outline format, if only I could drag a dozen or so of component icons to a more easily accesible place, e.g. stick them inside the border of the Form Designer window.

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