Panels are now known as screens — and other name changes

Panels have been renamed to screens to better reflect the expectations of app authors. There are other name changes, which better reflect how Calcapp is used today and how we expect it to be used tomorrow.

Our latest release changes some of the names that we use:

  • Panels are now known as screens.
  • Calculation panels are now known as form screens.
  • List panels are now known as list screens.
  • Text panels are now known as text screens.
  • Calculation panel groups are now known as form groups.
  • List screen options are now known as navigators.

Why were screens named panels?

Screens used to be called panels for historical reasons. We originally envisioned them — back in 2008 — as horizontal or vertical boxes that could be nestled inside one another, enabling flexible layouts to be built. When the Calcapp you know today was born in 2014, these panels were used to represent screens built in Calcapp Creator.

We resisted renaming panels to screens for some time, though, because a part of our original plan was to automatically put list panels to the left of calculation panels on devices with big screens, like tablets and desktop computers. (Much like the Settings app on iPadOS, in fact.)

However, that feature has been put on the back burner for so long now that we don’t know when it will happen. App authors we talk to are excited about many upcoming features, but apps that adapt better to big screens do not seem to be high on anyone’s list of priorities.

For that reason, we are now renaming panels to the one name that everyone expects them to use — screens. When we do enable apps to work better on large-screen devices, we doubt that anyone will be upset if there is an option that lets multiple “screens” be placed alongside one another on big-screen devices.

The other name changes are about the future

As for the other naming changes, we have picked names that better reflect how app authors are using these constructs today, and how we think you will use them in the future. Many calculation panels perform little in the way of calculations, they merely collect data. Calculations may happen on another screen, or they may not happen at all — perhaps all that collected data is simply sent to a Slack channel through Zapier or sent in a report.

With future versions of Calcapp, which will become better at storing, updating and visualizing data, we expect this trend to continue. Calculations will be the focus of some apps, while others will mostly collect data.

Whether or not these screens are used for calculations, they definitely house forms. Therefore, they are now form screens.

We intend to abolish the distinction between form screens, list screens and text screens in the future. That will enable you to collect data from “list screens” and to enable users to navigate forward to multiple screens from “form screens.”

In a future where you can add whatever you like to a screen, we need a better name for the options that are now only part of list screens (transporting the user to new screens). They are now known as navigators. Finally, following similar reasoning, the form screen groups that house fields are now known as form groups.

We expect a Calcapp with unified screens to ship as part of our Calcapp 4 project.

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