I'd like to understand the advantages/disadvantages of
designing a large app. inside one big main window,
versus having a "main window" with many smaller,
non-modal windows around it. Let's assume the context
is an application where the user will spend many hours
Case in point: Visual Studio vs. Borland C++Builder
In C++Builder, there is a "main subwindow" where
programmers design the software. Around it are
"Object Inspector" subwindow and a App subwindow with
menus and toolbar buttons for dragging widgets and
managing the project.
Visual Studio has the same view, except that all the
subwindows are child windows of a big window.
The convention seems to be to do it the Microsoft
(Visual Studio) way, i.e. one monolithic window with
I find the Borland design better, because it lets me
access icons in my desktop or other app windows from
the "cracks" between each subwindow, without requiring
to minimizing the Borland IDE.
I applied a similar design to a RapidApplication
Generator that produced many grid-style reports for