To explain what I mean by the terms:
Tool based UX: select a tool from a tool bar, and use the tool on some part of the resource. Examples: Photoshop, Minecraft.
Button based UX: select a resource, and then click a button on the button ribbon to apply that button's action to the selected resource. Examples: Microsoft Word, Google Sheets.
What types of user intentions are suited to each type of interaction paradigm?
Edit: A more specific use case
We're building a metadata-aware spreadsheet program, and we've looked at a whole bunch of UX from early Lotus 123 right up to Google Sheets. It seems there's a range of UX, even if some things haven't changed since the early days. Why does that matter to us?
We just want to make it as simple as possible for the user to make their spreadsheet with metadata.
Our program is just a normal spreadsheet, except:
Each cell can be 'tagged' with various pieces of data, such as the:
field it belongs to.
record a group of fields belong to.
semantic data that forms a connection between fields that are labeled with different names (even different names in different human languages).
We use a forked version of a standard semantic vocabulary as the basis for our semantic tags.
I hope this gives a bit of context, and is not too much detail. We could go either way, either tool-based or button-based. I wonder if it's clear to someone here which is going to work better for people building metadata-aware spreadsheets.
(I apologize if this question is ill-posed, too detailed, or not a good fit for this site. Please downvote with gusto if that is the case!)