[Oberon] Interfaces; was Texts

peter at easthope.ca peter at easthope.ca
Wed May 9 15:52:59 CEST 2018

From:	Andreas Pirklbauer <andreas_pirklbauer at yahoo.com>
Date:	Tue, 1 May 2018 11:25:32 +0200
> So at least for that task, no more cheat sheet was needed. 

Good!  Ideally a system is self-contained; minimally dependent upon 
external documentation.   How often does a person using a smartphone 
or tablet consult a manual or sticky note?

> But I havenâÄ™t found a satisfactory solution yet for some of the 
> other operations (e.g., copy-to-caret, copy-looks) other than adopting 
> Ctrl-C/Ctrl-V/Ctrl-X.

Any implicit or invisible command is problematic.  The best 
possibility I've imagined is a small floating viewer displaying core 
commands.  Similar to the popup menu of ET but remaining  open 
continually.  Aspect ratio similar to the screen rather than tall and 
narrow.  It would track the mouse as the arrow does in extant Oberons.  
It would have an arrow point and hotspot somewhere on the perimeter.

This "command viewer" would be wide enough for the familiar commands   
"Insert Execute Select" corresponding to the 
three mouse buttons, left, middle, right.  A click of a mouse button would 
activate the corresponding command. The left button would set 
insertion at the hotspot, the middle button would execute the command 
under the hotspot and the right button would select at the hotspot. 
Similar to the existing interface but with implicit commands legible 
in the moving command viewer.

This command viewer would be scrollable to accomodate arbitrary text.  
The installed form would include core commands and text editing.  On a 
desktop or laptop machine, two mice would allow movement of the 
command  viewer independent of scrolling.  Also achievable with one 
mouse and small complications in protocol.  With a touchscreen, 
movement and scrolling would work more neatly.  The text of the 
command viewer would be editable just as any other text.  Any command 
could be added to the command viewer.  A command in a track viewer 
would execute as in extant Oberons.

This interface would allow some interesting simplifications. ScrollUp 
and ScrollDown commands could deprecate vertical scroll bars on track 
viewers. The menu bar would need only the name.  Familiar commands 
"System.Close ... Edit.Store" could be in the command viewer rather 
than the menu bar.

Character insertion and other text editing can also be performed via 
the command viewer.  With the viewer tracking an insertion point, 
characters would be inserted from the command viewer by clicking mouse 
buttons.  Hence the keyboard would be redundant.  (A keyboard would 
continue to work but not be essential.)  Again, two mice would be more 
efficient than one.  A touchscreen even better.

I can't imagine any simpler way of activating various commands on 
various data with all commands and data visible.  The concepts allow 
integration of a touchscreen interface and the traditional Oberons.  
Nothing really original but combining established features in a new 

I've implemented a second mouse controlling a left pointer.  Not the 
command viewer yet.  The Wikibook has priority for now.

Regards,                                  ... Lyall E.
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