(This assumes that it ever was, so please feel free to comment if you disagree!)

For years, our development team have designed data-centric desktop applications where the main window has an Outlook bar on the left, and clicking one of the tabs shows the associated list in the rest of the window...

Common (for us) main window UI layout

Double-clicking an item (or single-clicking and then clicking the Edit button) would open a child window with details for the customer, product, etc.

We're just about to start a new application, and it made me wonder if we are behind the times. UIs have changed a lot over the years, and maybe people don't do it this way any more.

As we have a licence for their controls, I had a look at Telerik's demo applications, and they seem to be variations on the same theme, using treeviews and the like on the left...

Telerik sample UI

Anyone any comments? Do I carry on doing pretty much the same, or is there a more modern way to do it?


  • 1
    Basically, this is the same master-details UI pattern. You can google it for inspiration. It works pretty good for data-heavy enterprise apps. A tree or flat list on the left is defined by the hierarchy of your data. Keep in mind, the flat list is more simple if you have limited number of items. – Alexey Kolchenko Nov 4 at 19:24
  • @AlexeyKolchenko Thanks, now I know what it's called, it's easy to search for it. This app will be data-heavy, but with a fairly shallow hierarchy, so a flat list would be fine. Thanks again. – Avrohom Yisroel Nov 4 at 20:32

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