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Some bits about the Vertabelo user interface

I'd like to write something about the Vertabelo user interface. Don't really know what to cover in this article. A user manual for a rich GUI application is an oxymoron to me. No one reads it and no one should write it. On the other hand, it is too early to write about the libraries that we used. The time is needed to sum up the experience. So, I gotta share with you some inspirations how they affect Vertabelo.

A few years ago I was interested in music production. Making EDM to be specific. I tried some grooveboxes as well as software solutions (DAWs). I really liked one application - Ableton Live.

Why was Ableton so special? It was totally different from any IDE that I had experience with. All IDEs are mostly the same. They still implement an "edit-compile-run" cycle. Some days, it is an "edit-pray-curse" cycle. Using Eclipse with JRebel is not a real solution. In Ableton, everything could be done live. Yes, I'm aware of the fact that Ableton is for music and Eclipse is for programming and that these activities have totally different natures. I believe it is possible to make programming more and more interactive.

Here are some major differences between Ableton and a typical IDE:

  • focus on workflow against focus on editing
  • rather stiff, fixed UI against (over)flexible and (over)customizable
  • live, instant changes against a long period between change and observable effect

To be short: "potter's wheel against punch card machine". You've got the idea.

So. What ideas have we incorporated into Vertabelo?

  • Non-intrusive UI - editing is in a place, no more modal windows that hide a context
  • changes are applied on the fly - no need to click apply/save
  • errare humanum est - undo/redo every change - it eliminates "confirmation" alert boxes
  • saving is done automatically - don't worry, nothing will be lost
  • keyboard short cuts - ability to work with both hands

So. What ideas have we not incorporated into Vertabelo:

  • live changes on the production database
Sounds like rocket science, but I'm not sure if anyone really needs it. Maybe I'm wrong.

What do you think about the Vertablo user interface? Do you find it comfortable to navigate? What observations do you have?

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