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Details
: Allow displaying multiple categories at once
Bug#: 25682
: QuickFolders
: General
Status: ASSIGNED
Resolution:
: PC
: Windows 7
: unspecified
: P3
: enhancement
: ---

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People
Reporter: John Davis <jspeak.d@aol.com>
Assigned To: Axel Grude <axel.grude@gmail.com>
:

Attachments
Illustration (27.05 KB, image/png)
2014-01-08 03:10, John Davis
no flags Details
Catageroy manager (20.97 KB, image/png)
2014-01-28 11:19, John Davis
no flags Details
4.3 prerelease 36 (662.34 KB, application/x-xpinstall)
2015-11-06 05:51, Axel Grude
no flags Details
4.3 prerelease 97 (659.54 KB, application/x-xpinstall)
2015-12-02 04:22, Axel Grude
no flags Details
4.3 prerelease 103 (659.55 KB, application/x-xpinstall)
2015-12-02 05:31, Axel Grude
no flags Details


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Description:   Opened: 2014-01-08 03:10
Created an attachment (id=7765) [details]
Illustration

When one is sorting out his/her emails it would be very helpful to have custom
multiple quickfolders categories shown in multiple lines in the quickfolders
top bar (new line for each category) instead of having to switch categories
manually mutiple times - allowing smarter and faster sorting.

For that I would suggest the creation of a new menu to create custom view
displaying the quickfolders of certain chosen categories at once in multiple
lines.
One would create via a new menu custom views by selecting the categories he
wants to show at once when selecting this view in the scrolling views menu.

It would be different from the normal display (one category) and the "show all"
display in the sense that:
-some chosen categories would be display at once versus one or all
-they would be separated by a new line for better display vs concatenated for
"show all" view

Moreover maybe should "show all" view works the same by adding a new line for
each category instead of concatenating them (confusing).

That would be great!
Many thanks
------- Comment #1 From Axel Grude 2014-01-08 03:26:44 -------
(In reply to comment #0)
> Created an attachment (id=7765) [details] [details]
> Illustration
> 
> When one is sorting out his/her emails it would be very helpful to have custom
> multiple quickfolders categories shown in multiple lines in the quickfolders
> top bar (new line for each category) instead of having to switch categories
> manually mutiple times - allowing smarter and faster sorting.

I understand what you are trying to achieve, but it is not going to be easy to
implement and also understand for the users. You would basically turn the
categories drop down menu into a list with checkboxes. To be
backwards-compatible and cover the majority of use cases (single category view)
the default behavior would have to be to single select on normal click and
maybe selecting an additional Category using CTRL+click.

Views would then add another layer of complexity, which an even smaller number
of users would appreciate.

As regards achieving what you want you could also use existing categories and
create new "meta" categories which contain all buttons of 2 individual
categories, but it would be cumbersome as you currently have to do it "Per
button". Further you could append a line break to each first button in a
category, which also would be cumbersome. One thing I would need to add is the
omission of the line break for the "first button [in a group]" - I will
probably file a separate bug for this one.

> For that I would suggest the creation of a new menu to create custom view
> displaying the quickfolders of certain chosen categories at once in multiple
> lines.
> One would create via a new menu custom views by selecting the categories he
> wants to show at once when selecting this view in the scrolling views menu.

The biggest challenge with requests like this is to create a intuitive UI that
most users understand, so this would have to be done here (in this bug) before
I even consider implementing it. It would also have to create a benefit for a
sizeable number of users, which is hard to prove. We will see...


> 
> 
> It would be different from the normal display (one category) and the "show all"
> display in the sense that:
> -some chosen categories would be display at once versus one or all
> -they would be separated by a new line for better display vs concatenated for
> "show all" view
> 
> Moreover maybe should "show all" view works the same by adding a new line for
> each category instead of concatenating them (confusing).
it is but screen space is limited. Also, note that the order of buttons is
determined by their position in one global array (they are not stored by
category) so displaying them and sorting / dragging within such a view would be
much more difficult to program.
------- Comment #2 From John Davis 2014-01-28 11:19:21 -------
Created an attachment (id=7768) [details]
Catageroy manager
------- Comment #3 From John Davis 2014-01-28 11:38:46 -------
Hi,

sorry for being late on this one

(In reply to comment #1)
> I understand what you are trying to achieve, but it is not going to be easy to
> implement and also understand for the users. You would basically turn the
> categories drop down menu into a list with checkboxes.
>To be backwards-compatible and cover the majority of use cases (single category view)
> the default behavior would have to be to single select on normal click and
> maybe selecting an additional Category using CTRL+click.

I didn't think of that solution but yes it could be great. At first I was more
thinking about an enhancement of the category creation/modification screen
where you could create categories of categories (meaning views) just as well.
But yes it could be great the way you suggested even if checking the boxes
every time you want a particular view could be annoying.


> Views would then add another layer of complexity, which an even smaller number
> of users would appreciate.

I don't think so because views seem to be perfectly in the same productivity
aim you want to offer with quickfolders so I think many users could be
interested. Maybe you could do some polls? 
And if it would be achievable via CTRL+Clic or checkboxes I can't see how it
could be seen as complicated..

About this simplicity concen I would like to pinpoint the fact that some of the
main feature don't seem to obey that rule. For instance the way this "category
creation/modification screen" is accessed is much too complicated. I myself
found it very difficult to remember how to acces this screen nearly every time
I want to use it. The way I have to do (maybe there is another solution so in
this case please tell me) is right-clicking a quickfolder item and then
selecting "quickfolders commands" --> "define category" (screenshot:
[url=http://postimage.org/][img]http://s10.postimg.org/n486z2zyx/Category_manager.png[/img][/url]
) wich is really not straightforward if what I want to do is modify or create
categories. In the scenario this is the normal way please find an easier way.
My guess is a "manage categories" option in the category drop-down menu and in
the right-clic context menu would be much more appropriated. I could create
another request for that if you want to?

> 
> As regards achieving what you want you could also use existing categories and
> create new "meta" categories which contain all buttons of 2 individual
> categorie

Yes this is too time-consuming and complicated for me to do that. I would
rather stick to the normal way of switching each time between categories even
if I really think a proper solution should be implemented.

> > Moreover maybe should "show all" view works the same by adding a new line 
> > for each category instead of concatenating them (confusing).
> it is but screen space is limited. Also, note that the order of buttons is
> determined by their position in one global array (they are not stored by
> category) so displaying them and sorting / dragging within such a view would be
> much more difficult to program.
> 
On my computer the is no new lines for each category. Everything is
concatenated whereas I still have much screen space. I put another screenshot: 
[url=http://postimg.org/image/oxb3nel5h/full/][img]http://s10.postimg.org/4pxnv3no9/Show_All_No_new_lines.png[/img][/url].
Thus it is not very easy this way. But with new lines I could use "show all" in
the meantime.

Again, thanks for your time and skills Axel.

Best regards,
Joris
------- Comment #4 From Axel Grude 2014-01-28 11:45:53 -------
(In reply to comment #3)
> On my computer the is no new lines for each category. Everything is
> concatenated whereas I still have much screen space. I put another screenshot: 
> [url=http://postimg.org/image/oxb3nel5h/full/][img]http://s10.postimg.org/4pxnv3no9/Show_All_No_new_lines.png[/img][/url].
> Thus it is not very easy this way. But with new lines I could use "show all" in
> the meantime.
You can add new lines by right-clicking a tab and selecting QuickFolder
Commands / Insert line break
but I guess you already know this. I would need to supress the line break if
there is no tab before it - file a separate bug for this one if you like.
------- Comment #5 From John Davis 2014-01-28 12:34:17 -------
> You can add new lines by right-clicking a tab and selecting QuickFolder
> Commands / Insert line break
> but I guess you already know this.

Nope, I didn't know that! Ok so that's much better for now, thanks for the tip!
:)

> I would need to supress the line break if
> there is no tab before it - file a separate bug for this one if you like.

 Didn't really get what you meant at first but now I think I understand : with
these line break in the "show all" view, I now find them again at the biginning
of my categories when I select them individually like in this screenshot
http://s1.postimg.org/u3yij7in3/Line_Break.png.
Is that what you meant?
Yes I can fill a request for that
------- Comment #6 From John Davis 2014-01-28 12:41:33 -------
New bug 25683 added:
"Supress the line break if there is no tab before it"
https://www.mozdev.org/bugs/show_bug.cgi?id=25683
------- Comment #7 From Axel Grude 2014-01-28 12:44:59 -------
Here is an important reason why the multiple categories paradigm will break:
tabs can be in multiple categories - also they are sorted in one array. Example

Assume we have 11 Tabs, these are sorted in this order:

A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K

2 Categories are defined, as follows:

1:  ABCD    I J
2:   B   FGH  J

At the moment if each Category is displayed on its own you see the tabs as
listed above, when you select "All Categories", you see

All: ABCD FGHIJ

How would you display 1+2 (with 2 separate rows)? you would have to duplicate
everything that is in multiple categories, like this:
ABCDIJ
BFGHJ

Also, sorting (drag & drop) will pretty surely be broken by this.
------- Comment #8 From John Davis 2014-01-28 13:16:11 -------
(In reply to comment #7)
> Here is an important reason why the multiple categories paradigm will break:
> tabs can be in multiple categories - also they are sorted in one array. Example
> 
> Assume we have 11 Tabs, these are sorted in this order:
> 
> A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K
> 
> 2 Categories are defined, as follows:
> 
> 1:  ABCD    I J
> 2:   B   FGH  J
> 
> At the moment if each Category is displayed on its own you see the tabs as
> listed above, when you select "All Categories", you see
> 
> All: ABCD FGHIJ
> 
> How would you display 1+2 (with 2 separate rows)? you would have to duplicate
> everything that is in multiple categories, like this:
> ABCDIJ
> BFGHJ
> 
> Also, sorting (drag & drop) will pretty surely be broken by this.
> 

I don't really know the underlying mechanism, that is. However I just tell what
for me - as an user - I would like it to be able to and I'm sorry if this would
be complicated.
But let me try to break it down further.

Yes if the 2 categories are defined as:
> 1:  ABCD    I J
> 2:   B   FGH  J
Then - if they were both selected in a special view - yes they would be
displayed as follow:
> ABCDIJ
> BFGHJ
Which is exactly what would be expected of this multiple categories view.
To show multiple categories in separate rows EXACTLY as they are because the
aim is to avoid switching between them all the time.

That should answer your second point as in this aim there is no reason we
should still be able to sort/drag in a view. Every modification should be done
in its relevant category.
> Also, sorting (drag & drop) will pretty surely be broken by this.

Further more I would say that show all with result of:
> All: ABCD FGHIJ
and even more having duplicate quickfolders in different categories have much
sense to me as I tend to use this as a way to separate activities, and thus
folders along with specific and separate interest of concern. I can see why you
allow it but it seems to me more of an advanced feature than the one I'm
suggesting.
------- Comment #9 From Axel Grude 2014-01-28 15:06:19 -------
(In reply to comment #8)
> (In reply to comment #7)
> > 
> > Also, sorting (drag & drop) will pretty surely be broken by this.
> > 
> 
> I don't really know the underlying mechanism, that is. However I just tell what
> for me - as an user - I would like it to be able to and I'm sorry if this would
> be complicated.
Actually I base drag + drop on the "drop target" (which is actually _another_
tab and _not_ the space between the tabs as that is technically too
complicated). If you drag B onto C, this means B will be before C. This
reordering will affect _all_ Categories as there is only one singular Array
that stores all tabs and their order. This is the simplest implementation
possible and doesn't require much management by the users.

The relationship between Tabs and Categories is Many-to-Many (not Many-to-One);
in this sense, Categories act like labels on emails (if you remove all "xyz"
labels from all emails, then the "xyz" label is effectively deleted; likewise
if no tab has the "work" category anymore, consequently the  "work" category
ceases to exist). 

(A) Tabs are not "contained" within Categories.


> That should answer your second point as in this aim there is no reason we
> should still be able to sort/drag in a view. Every modification should be done
> in its relevant category.
This is impossible, due to (A). Categories are not stored separately they are
just an attribute of Tabs. This is also the reason I do not allow having all
tabs of one Category in a user defined color. (It is an individual attribute of
the Tab)


> > All: ABCD FGHIJ
> and even more having duplicate quickfolders in different categories have much
> sense to me as I tend to use this as a way to separate activities, and thus
> folders along with specific and separate interest of concern. I can see why you
> allow it but it seems to me more of an advanced feature than the one I'm
> suggesting.
It was requested first, and independently, from multiple users. And it is
already implemented, so I won't break it. It also makes sense as you might have
different grouping systems, e.g. "Customer X", "Work" and "Receipts", a single
tab can easily be member of these 3 groups without any contradiction. As a
workaround you can always open 2 mail tabs (each one with its own Category
active). I actually programmed Categories to be restored by Thunderbird Tabs
when you restart Thunderbird. 


------- Comment #10 From John Davis 2014-01-29 19:14:07 -------
> (A) Tabs are not "contained" within Categories.
> 

Ok, I understand that, but you can cycle through the tabs looking for
categories attributes and then display every tabs of each category in a
separate line, which is what happens when you select a single category right?

So why wouldn't it be possible to have selected lines showing up (by maybe not
using the same array if this is a problem). It is just a concatenation of these
lines when selected individually.

Anyway I understand it seems difficult but this feature makes sense so maybe
you could think of a solution in the middle term, nope?
I mean the current scheme works great if you don't have that much categories
but if you would use that intensively, then I'm just saying there should be an
intermediate solution between one line and all lines showing up (especially if
duplicates are not displayed because this breaks categories logics).
As far as I'm concerned I don't have that many but still I find it annoying to
witch between them. Hopefully I don't have duplicates and with this line break 
tip I should be able to work quite the way I want using the "show all" feature.
But I just went further on this thought and figured out it would be very
helpfull for big-time users.



> > and even more having duplicate quickfolders in different categories have much
> > sense to me as I tend to use this as a way to separate activities, and thus
> > folders along with specific and separate interest of concern. I can see why you
> > allow it but it seems to me more of an advanced feature than the one I'm
> > suggesting.
> It was requested first, and independently, from multiple users. And it is
> already implemented, so I won't break it. It also makes sense as you might have
> different grouping systems, e.g. "Customer X", "Work" and "Receipts", a single
> tab can easily be member of these 3 groups without any contradiction. 


Yes I can understand that well.

As a
> workaround you can always open 2 mail tabs (each one with its own Category
> active). I actually programmed Categories to be restored by Thunderbird Tabs
> when you restart Thunderbird. 

I don't really see myself working with one tab for each category but as I said
in the meantime the "show all" feature will do

I guess you can close the topic if you want to.

Regards,
J.
------- Comment #11 From Axel Grude 2014-01-29 20:46:00 -------
(In reply to comment #10)
> > (A) Tabs are not "contained" within Categories.
> > 
> 
> Ok, I understand that, but you can cycle through the tabs looking for
> categories attributes and then display every tabs of each category in a
> separate line, which is what happens when you select a single category right?

Well, I am showing _one_ toolbar container with one set of tabs by filtering
out whatever does not fit the category. And you select "all categories" and
"without category" as well, so these are in fact "views" that show Tabs that
are not all of the same category. Technically it would be easy to show Tabs
from more than one category, in their natural order, but much harder to show
them in separate lines.


> So why wouldn't it be possible to have selected lines showing up (by maybe not
> using the same array if this is a problem). 

I have to use the same Array, just parse it multiple times if I want to show
more than one Category in separate row. The Algorithm isn't rocket science
either it is just a different way of displaying the tabs (at the moment there
is one loop going through the array exactly one time). Instead I would have to
loop through once per (selected) Category, and insert a line break in between.

> Anyway I understand it seems difficult but this feature makes sense so maybe
> you could think of a solution in the middle term, nope?

It may make sense to you, but it might be of little benefit to 99% of the
users, and it might be harder to use than just having multiple folder tabs, so
currently I am sitting on the fence with this one. I might however decide one
day to write a prototype, which I would attach to this bug - you will be
automatically notified by Bugzilla and able to try it out.

> I mean the current scheme works great if you don't have that much categories

I have 14 :-) (granted, three of them are for testing)

> but if you would use that intensively, then I'm just saying there should be an
> intermediate solution between one line and all lines showing up (especially if
> duplicates are not displayed because this breaks categories logics).

Without the requirement of separation into lines (grouping by category), this
would indeed be much easier as I wouldn't have to rewrite the logic that
displays the tabs, and duplicates would be avoided. But it might not be useful
to you that way. Still, with this minimal solution, you _could_ achieve
separate lines if you made sure not to have the same Tab in 2 Categories and
simply dragged them around to be sorted by Category and then added line breaks
to the first in each group.

The only other major change here would be rewriting the Category dropdown to
allow multi-selection (I still like SHIFT-click to add a Category, and single
click for selecting just one)

> Hopefully I don't have duplicates and with this line break 
> tip I should be able to work quite the way I want using the "show all" feature.
> But I just went further on this thought and figured out it would be very
> helpful for big-time users.
this is good because (as I suggested above) we could have a hidden "half way"
feature that allows multiple category selection without doing the heavy lifting
(regroup and add line breaks).


> As a
> > workaround you can always open 2 mail tabs (each one with its own Category
> > active). I actually programmed Categories to be restored by Thunderbird Tabs
> > when you restart Thunderbird. 
> 
> I don't really see myself working with one tab for each category but as I said
> in the meantime the "show all" feature will do
> 
> I guess you can close the topic if you want to.
John, its not a mailing list, so no need to treat these like emails :)

I have several options for setting the status
ASSIGNED: means that I will likely be working on it
LATER: for putting it on the long finger
WONTFIX: if I decide it is not worth it on behalf of the majority of users, or
I don't have time to do it
FIXED: That would be if we come to an agreement on how this works and I decide
to implement it and am happy that it is sufficiently addressed.
------- Comment #12 From Axel Grude 2015-10-31 04:03:16 -------
I am working on this today. In the first pass I am probably going to add
checkboxes and some special logic so that a click on the label (not checkbox)
will just do a single select.
------- Comment #13 From Axel Grude 2015-11-06 05:51:29 -------
Created an attachment (id=8123) [details]
4.3 prerelease 36

Test version - you can enable multiple categories at the bottom of the
QuickFolders Pro settings (last tab of options dialog)

if you do not have QuickFolders pro, you can still enable multiple categories
by going to about:config and manually toggle

extensions.quickfolders.premium.categories.multiSelect = true

multiple categories can be selected by holding down the SHIFT key when
selecting.
------- Comment #14 From Axel Grude 2015-12-02 04:22:46 -------
Created an attachment (id=8131) [details]
4.3 prerelease 97

This version persists the (multiple) categories corretlty when Thunderbird is
restarted. Each category selection is stored per Thunderbird (Folder) Tab.

Single Message Tabs will retain the currently categories (they will not change
the selection) as this allows keeping an eye on changes in the last categories.

To do: 
# UI: checkboxes are currently inconsistent; they often don't show up if there
is only one Category selected. Also they are not correctly initialized when we
change to another Thunderbird tab.
# when a category is already selected and clicked with SHIFT it should be
removed. this currently appears to have the opposite effect (other categories
are removed)
------- Comment #15 From Axel Grude 2015-12-02 05:31:59 -------
Created an attachment (id=8132) [details]
4.3 prerelease 103

Fixed UI issues of checkboxes and restoring correct categories when Thunderbird
starts up.

The only thing left at the moment (apart from testing with a setup that has no
categories) is a proper display on the text field of the menu (value) when
multiple categories are selected. Currently it shows an empty string in that
case.

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