Do you ever navigate the Index or Table of contents using the keyboard with just a little mouse clicking? If so, you might have noticed that the only way to keep the selection focus on an item in the Index or TOC is to first give focus to the tool window. You give focus the tool window by clicking on it's title bar, or <ctrl><alt><F1> for the Table of Contents or <ctrl><alt><F2> for the Index. Navigating the items in the tool windows is another story...
If you click on an item in the Index with your mouse, one of two things happens:
If you set focus to the Index window via <ctrl><alt><f2> the following behavior occurs:
This behavior has been in place since Visual Studio .NET 2002. The designers at the time thought that while this keyboard navigation was non-standard, it made the most sense for users navigating Help via the keyboard. Now that you've had two versions to use this model, what do you think? Should we change the behavior and keep the focus and select in the Index tool window, and force you to change windows in order to change focus? Or, is the auto focus switching a good thing that makes your lives easier?
This behavior has shipped for two versions now. Do you like the current behavior? If we changed the behavior in Whidbey to be the conventional focus/selection model rather than automatically changing focus to the topic, would this make your VS experience better or worse?
As we comb through Visual Studio looking for user model inconsistencies, questions such as this become very important. There is no automatic answer. If we leave things the way they are, then the Index and TOC navigation models will not be consistent with Windows and might confuse some users. However, now that we have shipped this behavior in two versions, it could be that people like this non-standard focus shifting model and find it beneficial.
The most important opinions on questions such as this is yours - the Visual Studio user.
Tell us what you think!