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I have an MFC Windows application and I'm doing some research to see whether the software can be ported to a web app. Currently the MFC app uses quite a few CPropertySheet / CPropertyPage (also known as tab dialog boxes) windows to manage properties. What would be the best way to present these properties to the user in a browser?

A little more info - the app is a canvas-based editor, and properties windows are often displayed when the user double-clicks on a canvas object. But there are other cases when properties for non-visual components need to be displayed and updated as well (e.g. if/when the user selects an item displayed in a list).

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Hi @Kevin, can you give specific examples of what UX challenges you are experiencing with your transition? Without examples, specifics and context it would be problematic to answer "How do a translate a Windows' tabbed dialog box to the web?" There are simply too many possibilities. –  Evil Closet Monkey Dec 12 '13 at 19:35
Hi ECM, I'm just getting started, so I guess my most basic question is whether I can/should continue to use pop-up windows in the browser? Or should I plan to move all properties into a dynamically-updated accordion-style sidebar (see for an example). Sorry for being a little vague, I'm still trying to get my head around this. –  Kevin Dec 12 '13 at 20:03
Do you need the property pages to be modal i.e "bring them up, make changes, click OK"? Or are they more like floating windows for info and properties? –  metacubed Jul 4 '14 at 21:03

1 Answer 1

  1. I would advise you not to "port", but to migrate or rewrite. What I mean is the MFC desktop app's paradigm is different than a web app's. Your main goal should be giving the end-user a simple, usable app. Not a one-for-one replacement of your MFC controls.

  2. Take a look at modern web apps, such as: Windows 8 MyCompany demo applications [Microsoft Visual Studio 2013 - .NET 4.5.1] and DevExpress ASP.NET Demos. Also search for "Beautiful HTML5 Apps".

  3. You might want a SPA (Single Page App). Or maybe AngularJS. The look-and-feel, layout, navigation, etc. all depend on your end-users and what they need to do.

  4. Properties are oftentimes shown in panels using progressive disclosures (accordions). The panels can be stationary or slide-ins.

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