For the last couple of months I had the pleasure of working with JavaFX 8 in order to implement a sophisticated user interface for a planning and scheduling application. One of the features needed was a way to perform “in-place” editing, meaning a way to quickly edit some basic attributes of a user selected object.

Following the principle “if you can’t innovate, imitate” I took a look at how Apple is doing these kinds of things and surely enough iCal showed me everything I needed to know.

iCal – The Role Model

In iCal, when the user double clicks on an event, the following “pop over” appears.

ical-1

At this point in time the pop over shows summaries of the various setting groups. The first group covers anything related to the event time, alarm settings, all-day flag. The second group deals with participants, the third group with notes, attachments and web links.

Once the user clicks on one of the three summaries the pop over will reveal controls to change the settings. This approach reduces the complexity of the UI and makes it easier for the user to