Common Desktop Environment: Style Guide and Certification Checklist

Editing and Saving Attachments

The user should be able to open an attachment, edit it, and save the changes back to the attachment. If the attachment does not have the ability to do this, then the Open action should not appear in the Actions portion of the menu when that attachment is selected and double-clicking should not open the attachment.



Double-clicking is a shortcut for selecting the attachment and choosing the Open menu item for attachments and should never be the only way to access attachments. 



When the user has one or more attachments open for editing and attempts to do any operation that would result in potentially losing the user's edits, the user should be clearly warned and given the opportunity to save changes. 

Executing Attachments

If the user tries to open or double-click on an executable attachment, then there may be times when the user should be asked to confirm this operation. Both the name of the attachment and the name of the action being taken on the attachment should be variables. An example error message follows:

"Invitation" is an executable attachment. Do you want to Run it?
 Buttons: Run, Cancel, Help

Read-Only Attachments

Read-only attachments can be opened for reading only. This state should be indicated to the user by inactivating the menus in the attachment application, inactivating the selection cursor, or some other obvious method. At a minimum, the Save menu item in the attachment application should be dimmed.

Drag Load and Attachments

Drag load can be accomplished in two ways. In applications that directly support drag load, users can drag an icon, from File Manager, over the open window for that application and drop it which loads the file represented by that icon. The same result can be accomplished by dropping an icon onto an action icon. The action starts an editor, which then loads the file represented by the icon. When an icon from File Manager is drag loaded, it is equivalent to choosing Open from the File menu. The open file can be edited and saved.

In the case of attachments, users can drag and drop an attachment onto editors or actions that support drag load but any edits made are not saved back to the attachment. Attachments, which are implemented as buffers, are loaded as read only data.

When the user tries to save changes to a loaded attachment, the editor displays a file selection dialog box and asks the user to confirm the name and to choose a place in the file system to save the file. The name used in the file selection dialog box is the same as the attachment name. If the editor (command line application) cannot bring up a file selection dialog box, then it should clearly and visibly indicate to the user that the loaded file is read-only.

If the user wants to edit the attachment directly, the user must select the attachment in the attachment list, choose Open from the Attachment menu or double-click on the attachment. This opens the attachment in a manner that allows for editing and saving changes.

Another option is to drag load an attachment, edit it, save it to a new file name, and replace the old attachment with the new one manually.