Common Desktop Environment: Style Guide and Certification Checklist




If your application uses a file selection dialog box, it contains the following components: 

  • A directory Text component showing the current directory path. The user can edit the directory Text component and press <Return> or <Enter> to change the current directory.

  • A group of push buttons, including a command button, and Update, Cancel, and Help buttons. The command button is typically labeled Open or Save, but if there is another label that better describes the resulting action (such as Include), that label should be used. Activating the command button carries out the corresponding action and dismisses the file selection dialog box.

  • For applications that allow saving to different formats, an option button allowing users to specify the format when saving a file.

  • A file name Text component for displaying and editing a file name. This component is optional when the file selection dialog box is used to choose an existing file or directory.

Figure 7-4 Example of an Open file selection dialog box




The file selection box displays the contents of a directory in the contents list when the file selection box is initialized, when the user presses Enter or Return in the directory text component, and when the user opens a directory in the contents list. The contents list is updated each time the contents of the directory changes. 

This specification ensures the consistent operation of a directory and file search in a file selection dialog box. 



Directory and file name lists should be presented alphabetically, case insensitive. The first item on the directory list should be the parent directory and it should be labeled "..". 



The file selection dialog box should not display hidden (dot) directories or files, unless your users depend on using these types of files. If your application does support displaying hidden files, you should supply a check box allowing users to toggle between showing and not showing hidden files, or else allow users to toggle between showing and hiding files at a global level in your application. 



The file selection dialog box should not show the full path names for files and directories, but should only show the relative names, except for the directory text field 

The global Common Desktop Environment setting should be: 

XmFileSelectionBox.fullPathMode: false

Unless your application overrides this behavior, your file selection dialog box should not show full path names in the list boxes. 



In general, the file selection dialog box should recall the directory location that was previously set by the user. 

For example, if the user brings up Save As and navigates to /users/jay/letters to save the file, the next time the user brings up Save As, the file selection box should be in the directory /users/jay/letters. This information, however, should not be recalled once the user has closed the primary window, but should resort to the default directory.

If your application supports multiple primary windows, each window should recall the directory location that was set for that window.