Resolved: MS should ditch MDI (document window within an application window)

NotePad doesn’t do it.

Internet Explorer doesn’t do it.

I believe MS Word, in its current incarnation on the PC, doesn’t do it.

Each document from the above-mentioned programs is its own stand-alone window. You can position any two of them from Application 1 on either side of one of the others from Application 2. And easily drag document window 5 to your second screen without being confined by the jurisdiction of window 5’s parent application window, because there is none.

Just like a Mac.

In all honesty it’s the last really major objection to the Windows interface IMO. Y’all have come a long long way. As of Windows98 you could do multiple monitors. Y’all ditch MDI (the “document window within an application window” motif) and I’m gonna be down to trivial quibbles as far as explaining why MacOS is superior to Windows.

You know it’s dead. You know it sucks. You yourself have abandoned it in several of your own apps, including one of your flagship commercial apps. (You being Microsoft of course).

So just tell all your developers that the MDI interface is not only not required or expected but only at this point supported as ancient legacy code, and that no modern app is to behave like that.

You copy?

I agree that it should rarely be used, and have absolutely no problem if 99% of the vendors out there pretend it doesn’t exist, but I don’t want to see it ditched. There are a few areas where it still comes in very handy, such as synchronized scrolling in a code editor.

Would you like MFI in the title changed to MDI? Or am I missing something?

Unless they’ve changed the acronym in recent years, you’re correct. That would explain why something seemed slightly off when reading the OP.

In many cases I much prefer to be able to group several documents under one MDI interface and would really hate to lose it where it is supported now. The move to tabbed windows instead of MDI has been enough of a setback and I’d like to see more things enhanced to support MDI so that users who prefer that can use it.

:o yes please

There are plenty of areas where MDI is useful. tbdi mentioned code editors. I’ll expand that to include any kind of IDE (integrated development environment) - including debuggers, database tools, etc. - where you need to keep several tightly-coupled windows together.

A big annoyance with SDI is having to ALT-TAB through every freaking window on the screen, when all I want to do is switch between applications, or between documents within the same application. MDI (and tabbed interfeces) go a long way toward managing this.

FWIW, Word 2003 still lets you go into MDI mode. It really hides its MDI by using Windows XP’s new taskbar. It really annoyed me when Word (2000? XP?) took away MDI without a good alternative for Windows 2000 users.

I for one enjoy tabbed windows, but the tabbed interface really needs to grant the user the ability to break tabs off into their own windows. The Tab Mix Plus plugin for Firefox comes close to letting you do this (“duplicate tab in new window”) but it’s not quite enough, IMHO.