On Mar 28, 2007, at 11:44 AM, Thorsten Wilms wrote:

Thanks for the list. It's actually a bit outdated, especially for MS Windows users.

* Many child windows do not fill up the OS task management interface, as they 

are hierarchically organized. Users simply switch applications.

As of Windows XP this is no longer an issue. Windows automatically collapses documents from the same app so that the management interface does not get filled up. Also, users usually want to switch to a *document*, not an *application*, so switching applications is actually a negative.

* With MDI (and also TDI), a single menu bar and/or toolbar is shared between 

all child windows, reducing clutter and increasing efficient use of screen 


The extent of benefit depends on the application and if windows are tiled or worked with individually. Most applications have more efficient screen use and customizable toolbars, so the base clutter is far less than it used to be. Additionally, unless the windows are tiled, there is no net gain, since switching from App A window A to App A Window B will bring forward and use the same screen pixel locations.

* All child windows for an application can be hidden/shown/minimized/maximized 

as a whole.

Again, questionable if it is an actual "advantage". It is a property/behavior of MDI, but most studies indicate this is a negative for most users. People most often think of "documents" and tend to work "on documents" instead of "in applications".

* Without an MDI frame window, floating toolbars from one application can 

clutter the workspace of other applications, potentially confusing users with 

the jumble of interfaces.

True. But this advantage is also gained by not having floating toolbars and does not require MDI to gain. SDI also has this advantage, so it really shouldn't be a factor here.

* Features such as "Tile" and "Cascade" can be implemented for the child windows.

A decent advantage. However, it is also a disadvantage in that it means all documents of a given application are tiled, not of a given set. The work-around in MDI to make this point an advantage is to only open documents for client A. However, that also then is the same thing to give SDI the same advantage.