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Why the gigantic buttons on home screen?

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  • Why the gigantic buttons on home screen?

    Beyond Compare 4 has been out for a while now, but the main thing preventing be from upgrading is the change to the home screen.

    The old one (BC3) was perfect, for me at least, and I can't even imagine how it would be a problem for others.
    It had new session buttons down the left side, all visible and easy to access.
    Then it had sessions in the middle, including saves sessions and previous (auto-saved) sessions.
    Then on the right was all the settings for the session, which I could edit if needed.

    Now, the session buttons take up most of the screen, with a whole lot of empty unused space around them. What's worse is that I have to click a "next" arrow to see more. Why can't they all just be laid out vertically as regular-sized buttons like before?
    Also, the session settings pane cannot be resized due to the large buttons pane.

    Can you please make it like it used to be, with the "new session" buttons on the left and laid out vertically? Or at least provide an option to show it like this.

    thanks

  • #2
    The icons scale to fill up the space available. If you want all of the icons displayed at once without needing the next arrow, click it to go to the second set of icons. Then drag icons onto the left arrow to move them into the first group. Instead of dragging, you can also right click on an icon and select "Move session icon to other page".

    To edit a session in BC4's Home screen, select it from the list on the left, then click the Edit button. To always display session settings like BC3, click the "Pin Session Managment Panel" button (thumbtack/push pin icon) at the top right of the session settings panel.

    As an alternative method to clicking the buttons on the right to launch a new session, you can also expand "New" in the saved session list, then double click on Folder Compare, Folder Merge, etc.
    Chris K Scooter Software

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    • #3
      Originally posted by Chris View Post
      The icons scale to fill up the space available.
      Yeah, but they leave a huge amount of whitespace all around them. You could easily fit all icons on the one page when the window is maximised on a 1920x1080 display. It just seems you are succumbing to the "everything is a phone" philosophy of design, which everyone seems to be doing today (e.g. Windows 8 start screen). There is no need to have such large buttons on a desktop screen.
      Besides, as I said before, that panel is not resizable, so it takes up space that could instead be utilised by the session settings panel.

      Originally posted by Chris View Post
      If you want all of the icons displayed at once without needing the next arrow, click it to go to the second set of icons. Then drag icons onto the left arrow to move them into the first group. Instead of dragging, you can also right click on an icon and select "Move session icon to other page".
      Ah, I see. I didn't realise they were movable.
      Well that's rather pointless anyway. I can only move them between the two pages - I cannot reorder them and I cannot have more than two pages.

      I really don't understand the motivation for changing this home screen layout from how it was in BC3.

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      • #4
        I have never seen any useful purpose for the huge icons except perhaps for brand-new users of BC. Just maximise the 'session management panel' in the middle (using the icon in its top right corner) and you need never see them again! If you actually have a need to click something to open a new session, you can always keep 'New' expanded in the tree on the left, but I don't even do that. I find it easier to create new sessions either by opening a similar one, editing it, and using Save As, or by right-clicking the relevant group and selecting New.

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        • #5
          Beyond Compare can be a little overwhelming to novice users. The most common session types default to the first section, and the less common session types were moved to the second section to simplify the number of icons for BC beginners.

          If you want the session settings panel to be larger, click the Maximize button on the top right corner of that panel.
          Chris K Scooter Software

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Chris View Post
            Beyond Compare can be a little overwhelming to novice users.
            I thought that might have been the reason. But then I ask you, what kind of users are using Beyond Compare? It's not something that my mother would use.

            Besides, don't you think the buttons in BC3 are big enough? They are clearly visible, grouped by common actions ("Compare", "Synchronize", "Merge") and the most often used were at the top. If a novice user is "overwhelmed" by this layout, then they are going to have a heart attack when they see the folder compare screen!

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            • #7
              BC has a surprisingly wide range of users. Although many of our customers are software developers or system administrators, we also have customers outside that group that use it for basic comparison of Microsoft Word, PDF, or Excel files or syncing backups to external hard drives.
              Chris K Scooter Software

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              • #8
                It still seems like a poorly thought-out change to me. Might be ok for new users or beginners, but not very nice for everyone else.

                Here are some suggestions for improvement:
                • Make that panel resizable, i.e. have a drag handle between session settings panel and large buttons panel.
                • Allow the buttons to be re-ordered, by dragging and dropping them.

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                • #9
                  The Home interface is actually somewhat similar to Microsoft Office 2013. When you open Microsoft Word 2013, it displays a list of recent files along the left side, the rest of the interface is large icons showing templates for new document types.
                  Chris K Scooter Software

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