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I have a situation that I'm not sure how to handle, UI wise.

Our program initiates several parallel and threaded operations. Each of these operations can fail thus requiring an error dialog. The dialog will require three choices, "abort this operation", "abort all operations" and "cancel". Perhaps cancel is redundant, dont know yet. Point is: The user must be able to give feedback related to each operation.

Since this can be any number of operations that can occur at any time, just creating an error dialog for each operation will be easy, but very very ugly.

So the dialog would ideally be able to contain any number of messages, be updated dynamically, and each message item should be able to contain buttons.

Is there a dialog like this? How would You handle this?

The program is in Eclipse if that makes a difference.

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“So the dialog would ideally be able to contain any number of messages, be updated dynamically, and each message item should be able to contain buttons.” I agree that this is one of the options, but I do not think that that window would be called “dialog box.” – Tsuyoshi Ito Nov 25 '10 at 16:20
Slightly unrelated but as this sounds kind of complex you might want to look at how Xcode displays stuff in context via the timeline visualization in Instruments. It´s nice to be able to see what went wrong where and what else was going on. – fluxd Nov 26 '10 at 9:31
Not sure, but you might want to think about the caption for the "Cancel" button. What does it do, cancelling the cancelling of the operations currently in progress? Maybe something like "Continue" may be clearer. – onnodb Nov 28 '10 at 8:37

Eclipse already provides similar functionality in the form of Progress panel for parallel tasks:

Eclipse progress panel

It has the abort/cancel button (red square), and the also the abort all (XX on top bar). Not sure if it supports additional task control buttons.

Are your needs substantially different from this, and in which way?

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Usually a dialogue box just allows users to do one of two things, like confirm or cancel. However, you also want feedback enabled.

Not clear whether you're talking about just the messages being updated dynamically or the actual operations they are based on then triggering several of many messages. Seems like a little more information is needed.

And, I'd agree with Tsuyoshi, that you're not really talking about a dialogue box in the true sense of the term. The way you've described them, they are a combination of confirmation and feedback and would likely need to be an interstitial or overlay.

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