End User Capabilities
Dock Panels are used to display context information about the chosen object on the main form.
There are three types of Dock Panels: Detail, Master, and Independent.
Detail Dock Panels contain additional/detailed information about the chosen object. See the real life example in the figure below: the main form that displays the “Orders” document is accompanied with three panels where useful data (such as customer statistics or detailed info on the sales history, and so on) are shown.
The panels can be located in different positions. In the demo picture, the "Popular Product" Detail Panel is floating partially out of the main window (it can even be dragged completely out of this dialog window and placed somewhere else if needed; the same statement is true for any Dock Panel in the application), the "Customer Statistics" Detail Panel is floating over several other UI elements (the Arms panel, the "Categories" Master Panel, and the Main View), and the "Sales History" Detail Panel is locked under the main form.
In the given example, the Detail Panel that displays Sales History is customized to provide the user with the opportunity of switching to different contexts. When choosing one of the tabs in the bottom of the panel, the content is replaced with the data to Order Details or Customer Info, while the place of the panel remains the same. The picture below demonstrates different tabs of this customized panel. Each tab is independent from the others and displays only the part of data relevant to the chosen characteristic(s) on the Main View.
There are also Master Dock Panels used to filter the objects on the main form. For instance, in the image below, the chosen Employee (being a Detail Dock Panel itself) is used to filter the main Sales Order list form. The employee is selected in the "Categories" Master Panel, and the data in the Main View is immediately filtered to display only the facts related to a particular employee.
Independent Dock Panel displays the data not associated with the objects on the main form. For example, it may be a list of user tasks, a list of notifications, etc.
Independent Dock Panel is displayed regardless of other forms opening or closing. It is very convenient to provide permanent access to certain information, no matter what forms are displayed at a particular moment. The picture below demonstrates the same demo example as the previous image; however, the "Operations" Independent Dock Panel is now added to the main window (it can be seen locked at the bottom of the screen).
One of the typical Dock Panel use cases is a very useful feature allowing to implement filters for list forms. But the main advantage of Dock Panels is evident when designing Detail Views. For the manager, such diversity of available panels means less effort and more speed in determination of order parameters, penalties, discounts, etc.