Created attachment 124192 [details]
Sidebar with integrated formula editor, mock-up
Right now the formula editor is separate from the main part of LibreOffice. For example, when I open Writer and insert a formula the editor appears and the sidebar disappears. I propose that the formula editor be integrated into the sidebar.
When a person inserts a formula, a new tab would appear on the sidebar which would allow the user to edit the formula.
Attached is a mock-up of what the user-interface could look like.
Not a fan of the idea. The OLE embedded frame of the formula in a document (Writer, Draw, Impress, or Calc) is awkward to work with once placed.
The canvas in Math allows very complex formula to be composed and structured, and then linked into the document as needed, while opening of Math session to edit an OLE formula is exposes all design any layout elements that would not necessarily be re-implemented in .ui to provide a Sidebar content panel.
We need to finish the experimental Visual mode editing of formula.
Also, would prefer to continue improvements to the Math module to include better interactive control over the placement of the OLE frame in the document, provide better font/symbol styling, and improve direct input support for MathML (possibly replacing StarMath ML), and ideally implement filters for direct LaTex based formula input.
Similar to editing a chart, users would prefer to not have to jump into another application in order to modify a formula, as the experience is quite strange. If it is possible to do some basic changes to the OLE (e.g. change the formula text) from within the sidebar without having to jump into Math, i think it would be a good UX, but a dev would have to give their opinion on how feasible it is, as the calc devs mentioned that it would be a major overhaul to do the same for charts.
Yes, the issue is how we interact with OLE objects, not just the Formula editor of the Math module.
For starters doing a sidebar content panel to control some facets of the frame holding an OLE element would be helpful addition to all the modules. But those controls would only be for layout, positioning and margins of the frame holding the OLE. IMHO that control of an OLE frame is overdue across the GUI.
Seems actually linking to OLE controls from a Sidebar content panel would only be possible for sources where we build the interface: so that would be for Spreadsheet, Drawing, Formula, Chart, and Text. To control from the Sidebar the OLE would have to run in the background, yet manipulate GUI commands--is that even feasible.
Even if it is, imagine implementing control to pass to OLE for use in the Sidebar would require substantial refactoring and would best be done with a common framework across the modules.
And, it should be obvious that implementing .uno controls for other OLE content exposed via the OS (e.g. Insert -> Object -> OLE Object Create New -> Further Objects) would be a loosing code maintenance proposition. Way out of scope.
We're replacing our use of the 'ux-advise' component with a keyword:
Component -> LibreOffice
Add Keyword: needsUXEval
Similar solution has been done with charts. Math left toolbar would need to go into a new sidebar deck plus the editor from bottom. Sounds not like a big deal.
(In reply to Heiko Tietze from comment #5)
> ... plus the editor from bottom.
The sidebar is not large enough as ersatz for the command window, at least not as long as there is no tree view of the commands.