I don't think it was a good idea to rearrange the tab bar elements when it's integrated in the caption bar. There is no good reason to force users to learn a new layout and fight old habits if they decide to switch.
The reason given for moving the search box was that it would be aligned with main panel because that's where it applies, and i get that it makes some sense, but surely it's more important to keep the search box in top right corner where everyone expects it to be, even if it's not exactly aligned with the main panel (which i don't expect would confuse anyone).
I agree. I've been keeping quiet about this because the last time I disagreed with a change, I was accused of being "too negative".
Why does the search box become larger in the caption bar view. Surely just having it the same, smaller size would help reduce the clutter in the caption bar.
"(optional) changes for simplified layout
" was the proposal. Having the icons and elements moving about with each different view would be counterproductive to this.
The reason for moving the configuration layout and toolbar buttons was that it looked cluttered on the right side. So now they are changing their position constantly. But it's true that the clutter on the right side is gone. It's one the left side now. I think there are better ways to deal with clutter without shuffling things around.
I think it was scampbll who proposed that instead of a search box in caption we could just have the magnifying glass icon that when clicked would expand to become a search box (which would already have focus so it would still take one click to enter a search query).
For the toolbar buttons my solution is to combine them into a single dropdown button (maybe with a toolbox icon) that would show a list of user's commands. This would be optional because i don't think everyone is bothered with clutter and they might not appreciate the extra click it would take to execute commands
I think using the smaller search box in all views would be a better solution than the expanding search box, but with the toolbar buttons, maybe a combination of showing only the first five or six (or what shows in a set space) with the rest expandable across the bar or in a dropdown menu.
I also don't like the changes made to the status bar. First we lost the panel toggles which were quite useful and i don't recall any pleas to remove them. So it seems the only problem with them was again "visual clutter". But why not try to deal with that in some other way than removing the toggles entirely.
The centered file info imo doesn't look that great. On the right side it was always aligned with main panel. Now it is centered with respect to the whole window, but can be off-center with respect to the main panel depending on the layout.
I thought that one of the main aims of this change was to increase vertical display area in the left and right panels. We've lost internet browsing (presumably because it was to hard to integrate into the smaller header space) and we've lost the panel toggles (even though the status panel remains) for a gain of (approx) 30 pixels.
IMO these are big losses for such a small gain.
As always, these are just my opinions and observations. Steven is the creator and distributor of MusicBee and it's his decision (and right) to make the changes he sees fit to do.