This recent discussion about the UI nodes got me thinking again about some things I'd like to see happen with them in the future. I've used UI elements in my own projects quite extensively, mostly with apps I've exported but there have definitely been some things I've found to be tedious when designing with them. Before I go any farther I want to say how much I really do like and appreciate what the Vuo Team has done with them so far, I intend my suggestions simply be for taking away the tediousness of designing with them and to speed up workflow.
The difficulty I've experienced has always revolved around easily making visual changes to how UI elements appear in the render window. I've found if I don't have a very clear layout or mockup pre-made before I start a composition it is painfully slow to create UI elements that have a professional looking layout. If I find myself needing to add a new UI element this often means manually editing one-by-one every other UI element to make room for the new button.
So what I am proposing is some type of visual Render Window editor mode that supports a drag-and-drop method for adding and editing UI Elements, layers and Images right in the render window while a composition is running. Also providing simple floating tool bar for maintaining alignment, position, size and changing a UIs theme and appearance would be amazing and really speed up a compositions development time. The Visual Window Editor would intelligently create the required nodes and connections in the composition like attaching them to the Render Window node automatically. Even better would be to have a feature available from the composition window where a user could publish ports to the Visual Window Editor so they were available to connect to when adding a UI element.
Thoughts and/or ideas?