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st: Re: dialogs and the USER menu

From (Alan Riley)
Subject   st: Re: dialogs and the USER menu
Date   Wed, 26 Mar 2003 08:43:56 -0600

Tom Steichen ( wrote
> From that, I presume then that the only semi-permanent way to
> install menu items is via

to which Edwin Leuven ( responded 
> this surprises me (as stata8 has surprised me in other ways...)
> i can imagine that user ado's start coming with a dialog (in fact i am
> working on a dialog for psmatch2) 
> one would like these to be added to menu->user automatically (and stay there) 
> after a net install or ssc install

This sounds good in theory, but the reason we haven't yet implemented
such a feature is that the situation is much more complicated than that.

Imagine that a user downloads 100 user-written programs (not uncommon
given the vast array of programs available via the Stata Journal,
STB archives, SSC, and elsewhere), and that each of those programs has
an associated dialog box.  Of course, right now there aren't that many
user packages which include dialog boxes, but we anticipate that the
number will grow over time.  I don't think that users would really
want all 100 dialog boxes listed on the User menu in the order in
which they were installed.  The menu would become unusable.

In addition, we have users that may write a suite of dialogs with
associated menu choices for use within a class they might be teaching
or within their company.  Such users would not want their custom suite
to be buried by the menu items for dialog boxes associated with other
user-written ado-files they might have installed.

What may be needed is a system where authors of ado-files with associated
dialog boxes could indicate a main category (Data, Graphics, or Statistics)
and perhaps a subcategory (such as "Binary outcomes") into which they
believe their dialog box should be inserted.  The end user, during the
installation via -net- of the ado-file and dialog box, could perhaps
accept the proposed menu location, input a different menu location, or
prevent the dialog box from appearing in the User menu at all.

For now, users who write ado-files with associated dialog boxes are
encouraged to link to those dialog boxes from the help files for their
programs.  End users may launch dialog boxes from those help files,
from the -db- command, or may add them to the User menu with the
-window menu- command.  For the future, we will pay attention to
how users use (and wish to use) programmable dialogs and will
likely implement a system for managing menu choices associated with
those dialogs.

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