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In a web based LOB (Line of Business) application,I want to keep top level menu options always available for user. I want the data for a given business operation (such as customer information maintenance) visible when the user opens related information (orders, for example). Given the limited real-estate, what options have you seen in practice other than MDI (Multi Document Interface) to effectively accomplish this? I know other options exist, for instance by opening a new web page but this option can't be used, because the application is not aware of the new opened page and can't close it automatically. Splitter with docking, is another option, but business users many not be very familiar with it and may require some initial getting used to (I guess so at least). If you could provide an example of what you consider a relevant solution, I would be thankful.

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Just make sure that all links can be opened in different tabs of the browser and that this won't lead to problems (session, state, concurrency). If the "backend" of the web client allows for having multiple tabs open at various pages of the app, then users can pretty much arrange the entire application as they see fit using "just" their browser without you (and your design) having to do anything specific to cater for it. –  Marjan Venema Sep 1 '13 at 12:11
    
Could you please expand the acronyms as I, and perhaps others, do not know what they stand for. –  Brendon Sep 1 '13 at 15:31

2 Answers 2

A tabbed UI might be used to accomplish much of what MDI did. A global menu could exist above the tabbed widget, and each tab/page could have a tab specific menu.

The behavior of tabbed UIs is well understood these days and fit in the single webpage paradigm.

Of course tabs have the constraint of not showing more than one tab/page at a time, so that may be a deal breaker for you.

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MDI is very possible and usable to the same level of quality as a desktop app. Here is an example www.youtube.com/webrenovators , in this case 100% of the UI is in plain html+javascript and the backend is php (c# has also been proven), any backend technology in theory would have no issues.

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