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UI: Proposed Split Operator Change

Authored by Harley Acheson (harley) on Fri, Oct 25, 1:16 AM.
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For advanced users the area operations invoked at the corner action zones are (an obscure but) efficient way to manage areas. But I propose a small change that can make it a bit better...

Currently if you drag out of an area a join is proposed. It is not done immediately, but waits for your confirmation. And before this confirmation you can change your mind and even join in the opposite direction if desired. However, when you drag into the area a split is completed almost immediately. The only interaction is after the fact in that you can continue to drag and set the new edge location where you like.

This means that these two operations do not have equal chances of success and failure. While learning, a new user is far more likely to create multiple unwanted splits since this happens without confirmation.

This patch adds that confirmation, and with it more features. And does so without changing the existing mouse operation. It still starts with a mouse down, drag, and ends with a mouse up. But simply changes the moment the split happens to the mouse up time. Instead of the split happening immediately you instead see a highlight line showing you a proposed split location.

Because the mouse operation does not change at all it still feels quick and natural. But the timing change instructs the user a bit better since nothing happens without confirmation.

And there are side-benefits....

This is more consistent with how it works when invoking with the edge context menus.

While dragging the mouse (and showing the proposed split line) you can actually move your mouse to ANY area and therefore split ANY editor, not just the one you started from.

While dragging your mouse you can press TAB and change the direction of the split.

So, for example, you can start with a downward drag from the Properties action zone. You will see a proposed horizontal split of that editor. Then drag to the 3DView and see that you could split there instead. Hit TAB and you can now split the 3D view vertically. Or just hit ESC to cancel and do nothing...

Not sure what others might think of this, but I find it only a positive change without any negative impact. Doesn't describe well though, so has to be actually tried in order to evaluate it properly.

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Harley Acheson (harley) edited the summary of this revision. (Show Details)

Tested and prefer this over the current behavior, it's nice to be able to cancel.

It's a little odd you can move the split to any other view, but no big deal either and could be disabled if we want.

Note, someone could make the argument that redrawing while splitting is more *user-friendly* (most window managers now do this), however in this case the split tends to start out with one view very squashed and it's not especially useful to see it's contents.

(Accepting but should run this by @William Reynish (billreynish) before committing).

This revision is now accepted and ready to land.Tue, Oct 29, 3:24 PM

@Campbell Barton (campbellbarton) - Tested and prefer this over the current behavior, it's nice to be able to cancel.

Yes, the cancel and switch direction are both nice.

It's a little odd you can move the split to any other view, but no big deal either and could be disabled if we want.

I LOVE that part! True could could be disabled if people think its strange. But for me it is like the operation has expanded its scope and suddenly you split anything. LOL

(Accepting but should run this by @William Reynish (billreynish) before committing).

For sure! Assuming that he does use the corner zones for area management. If not I'll also run it by someone else as well.

Checking around, @William Reynish (billreynish) "does not have strong opinion" and @Pablo Vazquez (pablovazquez) "wasn't too keen"

I think that is a vote to keep things the same for now. Corner action zone usage is a fairly obscure and advanced feature so would rather the decision be made by people who use them far more that I do. I am not a frequent user of Blender.

This is a clip of a new Blender user I watched the other day on Twitch ,struggling with this. Long time Blender users may not have this problem anymore but I still I hope Devs can reconsider the inclusion of this patch .

Hey @Lucas (xorrito) !

I struggle with my thoughts on corner action zones. My gut feeling is that it will remain an obscure feature that is wonderful and quick for advanced users and torture for anyone new. Which is why I have been trying to flesh out the items on the context menu we can get from right-clicking on an edge with the hope that can be easier for newbies.

I do have a feeling this patch might result in less accidental splits while learning. But since this feature is primarily used well by experienced users I wouldn't want to make changes that negatively affect them. But I will keep trying to find ways of making it better.

Yes, a problem I see with right click to split is that it is really difficult to hit the line with a tablet since we are clicking with the pen in the air. The detection zone is really small. With a mouse is fine. Maybe that can be improved as well? Thanks @Harley Acheson (harley)

@Lucas (xorrito) - really difficult to hit the line with a tablet...detection zone is really small. With a mouse is fine. Maybe that can be improved as well?

Why yes, there is! The problem there is that the gaps between editors do not match the black lines you see. So it might appear that you have three pixels in there but you must hit a single one.

Please test the following patch. It not only makes the gaps exactly the same size as the lines, but also allows you to make the gaps WIDER if you want.

I also have a build for Windows (only) here:

Lucas (xorrito) added a comment.EditedTue, Oct 29, 10:31 PM

Thanks, I'll test it, as for the windows split operation is a meme by now on how difficult it is to use for newcomers, just read the comments below this video
Edit: I think a wider border helps a lot with manipulation, only thing I wish for, is for the border to remain the same size, while having only a wider invisible detection area for aesthetic reasons. Good job!

As an advanced user who doesn't use workspaces because lazy, and I do create and remove panels all the time, I tested this patch and really like it! Having the instant feedback of seeing what's in the duplicated window, which is what we lose with this patch... was never useful. If anything, this is better, because it doesn't squash your existing panel(which also represents your new panel) while you're creating the new one. I'm usually switching the new panel to a different type anyway, so I don't care about its content at all.

I don't see a downside here, and it fixes one of the most infamous noob pitfalls. Hell, it's almost a shame how much better this is, since as Lucas I think accurately put it, creating a bunch of panels as a noob is a classic Blender meme. :)

Which I prefer Houdini operation, use keyboard shortcuts to quickly, the default is the middle cut, Just a suggestion or idea.