The CTRL+M break-me option

A comment at the Calligra Words blog-entry asked about re-adding the CTRL+M "Hide Menubar" option back to Calligra Words (and the KDEPim-applications).

That is a *very* bad idea.

The "Hide Menubar" option, known from many KDE3 applications, is the typical example of a break-me option. The user can hit it by accident and will have a hard time to restore the previous state. More so if you add a 2-letter shortcut like CTRL+M to that option which is easy to hit by mistake and not so easy to discover if you did not know about it before.

Our rather detailed KDE Human Interface Guidelines even explicit name the problem:

Don't make the menubar 'hideable', users may not easily be able to make the menubar viewable again

As cool as it may to hide the applications menubar it can be a rather destructive action if done by accident without an easy way to undo and restore how it was before.

Ask yourself why you like to add such an action to your application? If the target is to just remove the menubar from all the applications cause you do not need or like them then why should that be done for every single application manually? Why should there not be a global way that allows to disable (or enable) them all in one go? Maybe even with a possibility to display the applications menubar somewhere else outside of the application like in the Panel (OSX-like) or only on hover or only with a certain shortcut like CTRL+M... This is what widget-styles like QtCurve or Bespin allow already today. If your preferred style (e.g. Oxygen) does not allow that yet, then you can still create a bug-report for that or provide a patch. In any case it will work out-of-the-box for all our applications and does not require you do add and later enable such an option at every single application.


I think that hiding a menu bar is a good option to have. My reasons are the following:

1. When I write in Words i open it in full screen mode hide the dockers with Ctrl+H to concentrate on text. And it is not only me who loves concentating on formulating text and only later turns on instruments to format it. Otherwise there would be no instruments like this:

2. So, If I hide dockers why I can not hide the menu? Some users may also hide the dockers and be unable to recover them, isn`t it? But the Ctrl+H option is still there. So, the

3. I understand Your concerns on user experience of novice users, but saying that hiding menubar is a bad idea is more of emotional attitude, not thinking. The idea per se is good, since hiding menu saves us from visual clutter, allowing to concentrate. The implemebntation of the idea might be bad. So, let`s just look at good ways of implementing it.

4. Personall I would be happy if KDE would supply users with global options on menus: whether to have them as traditional menu, firefox/opera-style menu, MacOS-style menu. And of course, an option to hide menu by default. Of course, some applications like Kexi need to have an option to avoid this global setting.

5. A good solution for the problem is implemented in Dolphin: as long as You hit Ctrl+M, a new button arrives in a toolbar, allowing You to use any of the menu options or toggle the menu back on? Why there can not be an option like thin in Calligra?

By dingothe at Mon, 12/12/2011 - 12:01