Common Desktop Environment: Style Guide and Certification Checklist

Main Window Layout



Your application should be composed of at least one main window. 

A main window contains a client area and, optionally, a menu bar, a command area, a message area, and scroll bars. The client area contains the framework of the application. The use of a main window ensures interapplication consistency. 



The default size of the application's main window must be large enough to accommodate a typical amount of data, but should not fill the entire physical display size to minimize visual conflicts with other applications. 



If your application has multiple main windows that serve the same primary function, each window closes and iconifies separately. 

For example, a text editor might allow the user to edit multiple documents, each in its own main window. Each window is then treated as a separate application and can be closed or iconified when it is not being used. 



If your application has multiple main windows that serve different primary functions, each window should be able to iconify independently of the other windows. 

For instance, a debugger might provide separate main windows for editing source code, examining data values, and viewing results. Each window can be iconified when it is not being used, but it is up to the application to decide whether each window closes separately or whether closing one window closes the entire application. 



Resize corners should be included in any main window that incorporates a scrolling data pane or list. 

Any changes to the overall size of the window should result in a corresponding increase or decrease in the size of the scrollable portion. Additionally, your application might reorganize elements within the window based on the increased or decreased amount of space (for example, it might reorganize a row of buttons into two rows).