In this post I want to give you a general overview of the logbook window changes in version 5.0. In later postings I’ll go more deeply into details like profile display and photo management. The following screenshots show an early state, so the GUI, the icons and the layout may change over time.
The first thing you will recognize is the ribbon at the top of the window. I know the ribbon, first introduced in Office 2007, is a very controversial GUI element. There are users who like it, and there are users who hate it. You can believe me, I was thinking a long time about using it or not. I have not added the ribbon because it is looking “modern” or “stylish”. I’ve added it because I think it’s the only control which makes sense in this place. And here is the reason:
Everything below the ribbon is now customizable. The whole layout can be rearranged by the user, even the dive list and the tabs. You can save any amount of layouts and restore them at any time. You can even share these layouts with other users. It’s the same as the print designer, just for the logbook window itself. You can have one layout on your big 22″ widescreen desktop monitor and another layout on your small netbook display.
So if you don’t like the dive list on the left, simply drag it to the right – or to the top. You want the profile on the main tab? You can do so. And because of this flexibility I cannot add the 2nd level toolbars (above comments, photos and the profile) to the tab pages anymore. Because you can even entirely remove the tabs. I have to merge all toolbars into a single place above the customizable area. And this can be done best in a ribbon control. It offers all the needed space and flexibility. The ribbon layout in the screenshots is not final, I’m still searching for the best number of ribbon tabs, icon size and layout so you need as little clicks as possible.
You can also see a splitter control which makes it possible to resize the dive list. The columns displayed in the dive list are also customizable. Here are some screenshots how you can customize the layout using drag and drop and the customize toolbox window:
You can see from the above screenshots that you have a lot of options – you can create tab pages, expandable areas, group or hide items you don’t use. I’ll dive deeper into the other improvements soon. In the meantime please post your comments and write what you think (especially about the ribbon).