Notes (weeks 27-28) – Designing new UI system

I spent last week in designing a new UI system for CE. I’ve hated the current docking system (JVCL Docking) from the very beginning. It has some bugs but because it’s coded to be terribly complex web of objects, it’s almost impossible to find the cause without spending weeks in studying how the damn thing works. So I thought, why not give it a go and try to write my own system. As always, plans changed on the way and I ended up with a sketch for complete UI system.

It’s still at a design level, very little code has been written. Designing it turned out to be a good lesson. I usually jump to coding very quickly and don’t do much planning. It works fine for small things but with big concepts, it usually means many wasted hours. If there’s no proper plan, it’s very easy to get lost or end up in a dead end. In those situations, you start to make compromises. It’s difficult to backtrack and delete the code you’ve spent days to write. So you try to find ways to make the broken code work, even if it’s not the best solution.

So I started from the user end and wrote an XML file that is used to create a UI for simple text editor. It was pretty easy to write and I was able to do major design changes on the fly without losing much time. Although, there were some struggles on the way. Right after I wrote a simple XML document for the docking system, I wanted to open Delphi and start coding. But I kept fighting against that urge and kept tweaking the XML. Few days later the simple docking system had been turned into a complete application framework.

I guess I should always start my work from the user’s point of view. I know it’s pretty self-evident but when your mind is a chaos like mine, it’s easy to be blind to the most obvious things.


Here’s the XML file if anyone is interested. It’s still a sketch but you can see the idea I’m after.


CE Snapshot

I did do few changes in CE too. Mainly bug fixes. QuickView panel now shows the selected file from search tab. I added Copy- and Move Selected Here items in the tab right click menu (be careful with them, they aren’t that well tested). I also fixed few issues that might cause CE to hang. If you have experienced hanging issues, let me know if this snapshot fixes them.


Change Log

  • Added "Copy/Move Selected Here" items in tab’s right click menu.
  • QuickView panel now works with search results.
  • QuickView now updates on tab change.
  • Changed UI updating as a possible fix for hanging issues.
  • Fixed "Zip extensions not showing in Filters panel" bug.
  • Fixed "CE hangs if F5 is pressed while copying file" bug.
  • Fixed crash on start if tab bar has a stretcher item.
  • Fixed "manage wireless networks" Opens "My Documents" bug.

CubicExplorer (SVN Snapshot)
Installer (3.1MB)
Portable (3.6MB)


Thanks for the update. The work on the new UI sytem is looking good :)

So far the Copy/Move arent showing when a file/foder is highlighted, least not for me.

As the only thing I use on this right click menu is the Add Tab and Undo Closed Tab, is there a way you could disable te others?

Good work, as always :)


In my opinion, if it’s easier for the programmer it will be better for the user.


I see the Copy/Move if it helps any…hehe…probably not! I am now using CE as a full replacement to WE and I love it. Thanks for all the hard work ya do on this Marko…I would love to be able to code, but I don’t think I have the genetics to do it :D Thanks again!




Hi Marko!!

CE work fine with this bugs fixed, thanks again, but in see other bug in my ce, i use the files finder to find in a network drive (folder in a server as drive), ce find the files very good, but not select the folder in the tree folder view (left side), not show the physical path to mapped folder, greetings.


sample address to find files
\\(someipnumbers)\vol1\Datos\Residencia de Contratos\Contratos UOPR

ce not show the pysical path to these folder in the folders panel (left side), should show some similar to:

Residencia de Contratos
Contratos UOPR

And select Contratos UOPR folder


update: in the finder view not select folder to local paths too


Marko, as always, your work is very much appreciated – this is by far the best File manager available, and I certainly don’t use _all_ of the features.

I was having occasional crashes on 1565 and after updating, it just crashed on me again. Not sure, but it seems to be after I open a file or run a program. However, it certainly doesn’t happen all the time.

Hope it’s not too painful to track down!



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