The panel tabs for addons should never shrink. Scroll instead

** The title panels of add-ons should never shrink. They become unreadable.**

PROBLEM
When creating separate workspaces; it is always challenging to include everything that a user may potentially want to include; as the tabs start to shrink and become unreadable & indistinguishable.

  • As seen in this screenshot, (Look at the panel tabs on the right of the 3DView in Look Dev mode):


SOLUTION
My proposal is to make the tabs never change size; and always stay the size of the text that is within them. Then the user can hover the mouse over that row of tabs and scroll; or grab and scroll as elsewhere in the ui.

Optional. Let the users always have the option the settings > addons: to set a title of their choosing for the tab the a given addon will appear in. (This allows grouping of addons that don’t warrant an entire panel for a single tool with hardly and ui space used.)

The fixed panel tabs would always be readable as this pic shows:

12 Likes

Indeed.

The tabs in the N-Panel should scroll, and users should have the option to organize add-ons into tabs by customizing categories in preferences.

There is code for this, a few add-ons already use it, though not enough.

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I’ll just leave this onebox here since it fits here as well.

Basically saying the same thing, I guess.

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I hadn’t seen that proposal. But yes, it’s pretty similar.

The reason I made this proposal is because I saw a long standing proposal closed on pretty much the same thing; because some people were suggesting icons for addon tabs. While that would be cool, it would require each developer of every add on to create one for their own tool. (Many of whom are graphically adverse.)

I thought this would be the simplest and quickest way to get something we can work with. Future improvements could still be made.

Well, the idea was to give an option to use an icon formed with 2-3 letters that allow creator identify the addon. I see both proposals complementary.

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I’m not adversely opposed to the other; it just seemed more involved and subject to more opinions involved to make it happen.

I’m trying to just make a clear and immediate path to an improvement for the next release. (2.82; or 2.81 if it’s easily done by that time.)

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I doubt that improvement near. Because we have asked a lot of thing for that tabs and I supose that developers will change the complete solution instead of little steps.

Other examples is that we cannot change the outline alpha of that tabs. That could be necesary

This is just a major CON with vertival tabs, its hard to read and they get long really fast. I doubt they can make that list scroll, its connect to the UI panel.

Perhaps a better solution, dont let usrs allow to make panels. Its seems the issue with the old left panel is starting all over again. Just make one panel with all addons. Yes this means scrolling, but a user could order them to his/her preferences. But this would get rid of the vertical tabs

Sorry, I can’t agree with this, Add-ons must have the ability to go into Tabs, it’s just not practical to have all of them crammed into one massive scroll list…

I also agree that they should be limited to a few characters, 4 would be my suggestion, that allows a great deal of combinations, which should not be detrimental to add-on developers.

Cheers, Clock.

2 Likes

I agree clock mender. I am not suggesting that all adding be in one tab; I’m suggesting that the tabs be scrollable without effecting the currently open tab/panel. Go open firefox and keep hitting new tab until it goes beyond the screens space. It then has small arrows indicating the tabs continue. You put your mouse over the tabs and scroll; and they move. Very simple.

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Yes fully I agree with that.

The problem with tabs if they are scrolling or getting smaller is always the same, if you have too many of them then all their benefits are gone. So what is needed is an automatism that closes old tabs and lets you easily reopen them. That way your layout adapts to what you are currently doing. Thats is a quite common problem for simultaneously opened files in programming IDEs. Users tend to not close them and loose the overview. Jetbrains handles them in a very cool way. I’d suggest to adapt and extend that for addons like this:

  • The vertical tab list would be limited to eg. 15 tabs ( perhaps adjustable in the prefs) .
  • The tabs displayed in the tab list are always the most recently used tabs.
  • Opening new tabs would be done through a search field and an additional menu with subfolders where all installed addons can be found.
  • Tabs can be pinned to prevent being closed, otherwise they get replaced when they are the oldest tab
  • Addons could have a default but editable tab group they get added to, that gets stored permanently.
4 Likes

I like this; though the 15 tab limit still needs to be adjustable by the user. The problem is that I may have room for 15 tabs on my large screen @ home; but perhaps not on my laptop. And to make it even more incongruent; some workspaces have REALLY small 3Dview windows. So those might only accommodate say, 5 tabs.

All this sounds great; though the purpose of this proposal was not to burden developers with a complete re-structure of the system on multiple levels; but to suggest a simple fix until those things could be tackled.

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Yes, I agree that it causes more changes than your proposal. But beside the menu (what is also supported in blenders ui) all elements are already in place. Just the behaviour changes and has to be programmed. Think of how intuitive it would be if the search function would be embedded in the standard blender search. The entry could have tag displayed next like “Addon Tab”. Choosing it would switch to it if its already opened or open if it has been closed.

That’s fair. I just don’t want to see this age old problem not reach any improvement because we aim to high instead of implementing a simple fix in the meantime.

I do like your thoughts though; and if the developers are up for it; I’ll back it.

Thats also true indeed, horizontal scroll of long list isnt perfect. Look at most panel now due to everything righ aligning and each setting on a single row like particle settings is currently. Its endless scrolling.

By limit them to a few chracters, do you mean show just 4 characters? Im not sure thats perfect idea. Perhaps the scrolling is actually the best case. First i thought its impossible to scroll such a single element. But after checking, more elements in the UI are able to do so.

Perhaps another idea is some sort of dropdown. You simple select the panel from a menu. It could perhaps show on hover so you can easily select the panel you need. A horizontal list of names is way shorter than a vertical list of names.

See example of the object enum. The height of this menu isnt not that big. But with search and scroll you can easily find items. Though this could also be anoying perhaps. So perhaps a combination of this. Allow 3-5 of your favorites to show and the rest will go into such menu. A user can setup his/her favorites “must haves”. the other will be available from the list.

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I tend to disable Add-ons I am not using in a particular session, just have the ones I want enabled, it’s quick and easy do, less clutter in the UI also…

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I never really tried that option, perhaps that is something indeed to properly manage those tabs.
You can do it per workspace right?

I have this easy navigate addon called QuickSwitch. It allows me to switch beween workspaces super faster. Ive also added some minor extra like remembering the object interaction mode so in wont go back to its default all the time. Im still figuring out how to also add viewport view, so on switch each workspace will have same camera view.

I use quickswitch as well; and have 16 different optimized workspaces. I still find that this is not enough to make all the tabs readable in some workspaces. My workspaces are created based on workflows; and include any given addon that would possibly used in that given workflow.

If you want to align views in multiple workspaces; use ‘Stored Views’. It ships with Blender; but you have to enable it in the Addons tab in settings.

There are really enhanced ways to scroll through tabs in some software. I can’t remember where I’ve seen it; but there are some instances I’ve seen tabs resemble a ‘stacked’ look; and allowed quick rapid scrolling to get through them.

Regardless; I still think scrollable tabs is the simplest short path forward.

Well, T-panel, previously used for lots of addons, was removed for an unknown reason, so now everything is compressed in N-panel, so user have to switch between used addon and properties, and there is still no any kind of default tabs management.

That’s strange.
Maybe, it is supposed, that 2.9 will never require addons?

Wow, that solution will be painful, especially if to take to account that it also have a limit anyway.
We use 2 characters for “1D”, it already doesn’t help.