Dragging windows is useless - X

This is a discussion on Dragging windows is useless - X ; Is dragging windows a function of X or a window manager? I think there could be a better way to manage window positions and sizes than usual dragging. I can't think of situation where you need a window to be ...

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Thread: Dragging windows is useless

  1. Dragging windows is useless

    Is dragging windows a function of X or a window manager? I think there
    could be a better way to manage window positions and sizes than usual
    dragging. I can't think of situation where you need a window to be
    partially visible, but that kind of situation is easy to run into when
    you move or resize windows by dragging.

    --
    Jarno Suni - http://iki.fi/8/
    Ole hyvä ja käytä XHTML-yhteensopivaa WWW-selainta
    Please use a XHTML compliant web browser.


  2. Re: Dragging windows is useless

    Jarno Suni wrote:
    > Is dragging windows a function of X or a window manager? I think there
    > could be a better way to manage window positions and sizes than usual
    > dragging. I can't think of situation where you need a window to be
    > partially visible, but that kind of situation is easy to run into when
    > you move or resize windows by dragging.


    I'm not sure you are trying to say here, however I have found that dragging
    does provide a problem for some users (eg accessibility users, users with
    limited dexterity, and users of touchscreen devices). However, a drag facility
    could be provided to replicate other alternative actions.

    Here is a related page on the Accessibility Users' Wiki:

    http://markhobley.yi.org:9088/drag

    Regards,

    Mark.

    --
    Mark Hobley,
    393 Quinton Road West,
    Quinton, BIRMINGHAM.
    B32 1QE.

  3. Re: Dragging windows is useless

    Jarno Suni wrote:

    > Is dragging windows a function of X or a window manager? I think there


    X just draws the windows, any window handling is done by the window
    manager.


    > could be a better way to manage window positions and sizes than usual
    > dragging. I can't think of situation where you need a window to be
    > partially visible,


    I often have windows only partially visible, e.g. because I only need
    a small part of the window (like if I'm waiting for something to
    finish) or I regularly need to switch between a few windows on the
    same virtual desktop using the mouse.

    > but that kind of situation is easy to run into when you move or
    > resize windows by dragging.


    Some window managers support "tiled mode", i.e no overlapping windows,
    like ion or awesome


    Florian
    --

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  4. Re: Dragging windows is useless

    Mark Hobley staggered into the Black Sun and said:
    > Jarno Suni wrote:
    >> Is dragging windows a function of X or a window manager?


    The WM allows you to move and resize windows. X just defines a way to
    draw pixels on a Screen, a way for X clients to receive keyboard and
    mouse events, and protocols for transmitting that info over local
    sockets or TCP sockets or shared memory.

    >> there could be a better way to manage window positions and sizes than
    >> dragging.


    OK, go ahead and invent one.

    >> I can't think of [a] situation where you need a window to be
    >> partially visible


    Wow. You've *never* run into a situation where you want overlapping
    windows? That's pretty atypical. I want partially visible windows all
    the time, usually because I'm doing something in an xterm or Firefox or
    kmail window and waiting for something to happen in one of those 2
    inactive windows. You know, you're composing a Usenet article in the
    xterm, then you see in the partially-visible kmail window that 3 new
    messages have showed up in the "local LUG" mail folder. Or you're
    composing a message in kmail, and you see in the partially visible xterm
    that the compile for kdelibs-3.5.9 has finally finished.

    Basically, partially visible windows = more information available.

    > I'm not sure you are trying to say here, however I have found that
    > dragging does [present] a problem for some users (eg accessibility
    > users, users with limited dexterity, and users of touchscreen
    > devices).


    Hm. If lack of dexterity prevents a user from dragging, how is that
    user going to type?

    > http://markhobley.yi.org:9088/drag


    Dragging is useful enough that I think it'll be impossible to eliminate
    it in the general case. I don't know what good alternatives to dragging
    might be. I suppose an alternative mouse device that had a button which
    locked down might be useful in some cases. (First click = button 1 press,
    second click = button 1 release, etcetera.)

    --
    "Bother," said Pooh. "Eeyore, ready two photon torpedoes and lock
    phasers on the Heffalump; Piglet, meet me in transporter room three."
    My blog and resume: http://crow202.dyndns.org:8080/wordpress/
    Matt G|There is no Darkness in Eternity/But only Light too dim for us to see

  5. Re: Dragging windows is useless

    Jarno Suni writes:

    > Is dragging windows a function of X or a window manager?


    Window manager. There are window managers (typically for small-screen
    devices) like matchbox that just put one big window up to cover the
    whole screen.

    > I think there
    > could be a better way to manage window positions and sizes than usual
    > dragging.


    Like what?

    > I can't think of situation where you need a window to be
    > partially visible, but that kind of situation is easy to run into when
    > you move or resize windows by dragging.


    The question of whether windows should overlap (vs. tiling the screen)
    was pretty lively in about 1980. The consensus was that the
    flexibility of allowing overlap is a big win.

    A situation where a partially visible window is a good thing? Any
    time I want to be looking something up in a pdf while composing an
    email comes to mind -- maybe you've got a screen big enough to show
    all of both windows, but I sure don't.

  6. Re: Dragging windows is useless

    Dances With Crows wrote:

    > Hm. If lack of dexterity prevents a user from dragging, how is that
    > user going to type?


    I work with people who have specialized needs all the time, and I
    know many people who can work the keyboard, but cannot use the mouse.

    They have enough dexterity to be able to move their finger over the
    keyboard to the right key before letting their hand drop.

    A key only needs a single press for typing, but to move the mouse with
    accuracy, and click in the right place without the mouse moving is a
    problem for many people that I deal with.

    A possible way to handle this is to be able to press a key that brings
    up a prompt for the window size, or object coordinates, and allows the
    user to make adjustments using the cursor keys, or by typing new dimensions
    or coordinates, etc.

    I wrote a window manager in 1984 that allowed window resizing using the
    keyboard. It was written for the ZX spectrum computer, but it was later
    rewritten in assembly language for the MSDOS platform. Unfortunately, the
    project was abandoned. Competing developments became available, such as Ashton
    Tate Frameworks, and Gem Desktop. The advantage of my engine was that it could
    be utilized from a standard EXE file. Unfortunately a couple of years
    later, Microsoft Windows could do this, and a lot of computer shops were
    selling it. At the time there was no mention of crashes, viruses or the
    blue screen of death. If I had known at the time what Microsoft was planning,
    I would have kept up the development work on that engine.

    Mark.

    --
    Mark Hobley,
    393 Quinton Road West,
    Quinton, BIRMINGHAM.
    B32 1QE.

  7. Re: Dragging windows is useless

    On Tue, 10 Jun 2008 19:08:11 +0000, Mark Hobley wrote:



    > A possible way to handle this is to be able to press a key that brings
    > up a prompt for the window size, or object coordinates, and allows the
    > user to make adjustments using the cursor keys, or by typing new
    > dimensions or coordinates, etc.
    >


    Hmmm... Maybe I'm missing something here, but....
    ALT-F3 brings up a window menu which contains, among other items, a
    rezise function that works with the keyboard ( arrow keys ).

    My memory maynot be completely accurate, but I believe this is definded
    as a standard for window management.






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    -- Charles Dickens
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    ----------------------

  8. Re: Dragging windows is useless

    On 10 Jun 2008 15:58:49 GMT
    Dances With Crows wrote:

    > Wow. You've *never* run into a situation where you want overlapping
    > windows? That's pretty atypical. I want partially visible windows all
    > the time, usually because I'm doing something in an xterm or Firefox or
    > kmail window and waiting for something to happen in one of those 2
    > inactive windows. You know, you're composing a Usenet article in the
    > xterm, then you see in the partially-visible kmail window that 3 new
    > messages have showed up in the "local LUG" mail folder. Or you're
    > composing a message in kmail, and you see in the partially visible xterm
    > that the compile for kdelibs-3.5.9 has finally finished.


    The applications you are waiting for could have different kind of means
    to tell you when they are ready, or you could use another application to
    tell you e.g. in a panel when the previous command quited. (As for mail
    notifications, e.g. for Claws Mail there exist's a mail notification
    plugin.)

    > Basically, partially visible windows = more information available.


    Maybe so, but application's UI could be wrapped in a scrollable window
    (if it does not otherwise fit to the space reserved for it) and that
    kind of windows could be tiled (if needed) on desktop. (BTW It is
    annoying with a small display when some application have so big dialog
    window that don't fit on display at once and that window is not
    scrollable.)

    --
    Jarno Suni - http://iki.fi/8/
    Ole hyvä ja käytä XHTML-yhteensopivaa WWW-selainta.
    Please use a XHTML compliant web browser.


  9. Re: Dragging windows is useless

    On Tue, 10 Jun 2008 16:39:15 +0200
    Florian Diesch wrote:

    > Some window managers support "tiled mode", i.e no overlapping windows,
    > like ion or awesome


    Thanks for those examples.

    --
    Jarno Suni - http://iki.fi/8/
    Ole hyvä ja käytä XHTML-yhteensopivaa WWW-selainta.
    Please use a XHTML compliant web browser.


  10. Re: Dragging windows is useless

    On 10 Jun 2008 10:28:20 -0600
    Joe Pfeiffer wrote:

    > Jarno Suni writes:


    > > I think there
    > > could be a better way to manage window positions and sizes than usual
    > > dragging.

    >
    > Like what?


    I was thinking about some kind of tiling. You would choose a set of
    windows that are visible in a view. Then choose the layout and move
    windows' common borders to get wanted portion of display for each
    window. (Well, dragging could be used here.) There would be a shortcut
    to switch between active window's tiled view and full screen view, of
    course. There could be several view's, but only one is visible at once.

    > The question of whether windows should overlap (vs. tiling the screen)
    > was pretty lively in about 1980. The consensus was that the
    > flexibility of allowing overlap is a big win.


    Interesting, I was not aware of that kind of consensus. Can you point
    some kind of reference?

    > A situation where a partially visible window is a good thing? Any
    > time I want to be looking something up in a pdf while composing an
    > email comes to mind -- maybe you've got a screen big enough to show
    > all of both windows, but I sure don't.


    You can resize your pdf viewer's window. Even if you don't see the
    whole document at once, you can see the whole window at once.

    --
    Jarno Suni - http://iki.fi/8/
    Ole hyvä ja käytä XHTML-yhteensopivaa WWW-selainta.
    Please use a XHTML compliant web browser.


  11. Re: Dragging windows is useless

    Jim Whitby staggered into the Black Sun and said:
    > On Tue, 10 Jun 2008 19:08:11 +0000, Mark Hobley wrote:
    >> A possible way to handle this is to be able to press a key that
    >> brings up a prompt for the window size, or object coordinates, and
    >> allows the user to make adjustments using the cursor keys, or by
    >> typing new dimensions or coordinates, etc.

    > ALT-F3 brings up a window menu which contains, among other items, a
    > resize function that works with the keyboard ( arrow keys ). My
    > memory maynot be completely accurate, but I believe this is defined
    > as a standard for window management.


    kwin and metacity do this, at least. Also note that wmctrl works with
    all EWMH/NetWM compliant WMs (all commonly used WMs, that is) and can be
    controlled entirely with keypresses. However, doing something like

    wmctrl -r $NAME -e 0,20,20,800,600

    ....might be too much typing for a reduced-dex user, and isn't as
    interactive as the alt-F3 thing. However, wmctrl lets you move and
    resize a window at the same time, which *might* be useful in some cases.

    --
    "To avoid being eaten, the puffer fish blows itself up"
    -- Debbie Maizels
    My blog and resume: http://crow202.dyndns.org:8080/wordpress/
    Matt G|There is no Darkness in Eternity/But only Light too dim for us to see

  12. Re: Dragging windows is useless

    Jim Whitby wrote:

    > Hmmm... Maybe I'm missing something here, but....
    > ALT-F3 brings up a window menu which contains, among other items, a
    > rezise function that works with the keyboard ( arrow keys ).


    I just tried it with my Window Manager (jwm) and it did not work. Maybe
    the keys are different on different Window Managers, or some Window Managers
    do not provide this facility. I don't know.

    It would be interesting to find out which Window Manager functionality
    can be replicated via the keyboard on the various Window Managers.

    According to various documentation that I have found: icewm, stumpwm,
    and trswm all offer full keyboard replication, though I have not tested
    this myself.

    I have also found that aewm, evilwm and openbox are documented to
    provide partial keyboard replication, though I don't know which functions are
    and are not replicated.

    Regards,

    Mark.

    --
    Mark Hobley,
    393 Quinton Road West,
    Quinton, BIRMINGHAM.
    B32 1QE.

  13. Re: Dragging windows is useless

    Jarno Suni writes:

    > On 10 Jun 2008 10:28:20 -0600
    > Joe Pfeiffer wrote:
    >
    > > Jarno Suni writes:

    >
    > > > I think there
    > > > could be a better way to manage window positions and sizes than usual
    > > > dragging.

    > >
    > > Like what?

    >
    > I was thinking about some kind of tiling. You would choose a set of
    > windows that are visible in a view. Then choose the layout and move
    > windows' common borders to get wanted portion of display for each
    > window. (Well, dragging could be used here.) There would be a shortcut
    > to switch between active window's tiled view and full screen view, of
    > course. There could be several view's, but only one is visible at once.


    That seems like you're working pretty hard to get exactly the same
    effect as overlapping windows without having overlapping windows.
    Given that you've now reached the point of using dragging to display
    your partial window, what have you gained?

    > > The question of whether windows should overlap (vs. tiling the screen)
    > > was pretty lively in about 1980. The consensus was that the
    > > flexibility of allowing overlap is a big win.

    >
    > Interesting, I was not aware of that kind of consensus. Can you point
    > some kind of reference?


    X, Macintosh, Microsoft Windows all come to mind (I don't have any
    research cites). When I was a grad student in Seattle, and a friend
    of mine had taken a job at Microsoft, he came visiting one day to show
    us an early prototype of a new product called "Windows". This
    prototype used tiling -- let me tell you, it was ugly.

    > > A situation where a partially visible window is a good thing? Any
    > > time I want to be looking something up in a pdf while composing an
    > > email comes to mind -- maybe you've got a screen big enough to show
    > > all of both windows, but I sure don't.

    >
    > You can resize your pdf viewer's window. Even if you don't see the
    > whole document at once, you can see the whole window at once.


    Why should I care whether I can see the whole window at once? I want
    to see a portion of the information: why should I go scrolling around
    inside a window instead of just moving the window, or raising and
    lowering windows?

  14. Alternative for stack of windows metaphor (Re: Dragging windows isuseless)

    On 12 Jun 2008 16:41:06 -0600
    Joe Pfeiffer wrote:

    > That seems like you're working pretty hard to get exactly the same
    > effect as overlapping windows without having overlapping windows.
    > Given that you've now reached the point of using dragging to display
    > your partial window, what have you gained?


    Hard compared to what? I have gained views that I can switch between and
    modify. When windows for a view are selected, I can change their layout
    easily: e.g. I can change portions of the windows in it by stretching
    one and shrinking other simultaneously rather than resizing them
    separately and additionally moving windows and lowering and raising
    windows.

    I admit that the subject I chose is a bit misleading: Dragging is not
    bad itself, but I want to discuss, if the common stack of windows
    metaphor is the best possible design philosophy for workstation
    computer gui.

    > Why should I care whether I can see the whole window at once? I want
    > to see a portion of the information: why should I go scrolling around
    > inside a window instead of just moving the window, or raising and
    > lowering windows?


    I think you don't have to care, if you find moving the window,
    raising and lowering windows in the usual way convenient way to manage
    windows. I think it would be easier to change the part of the
    information visible when you can isolate windows to their reserved
    territory so that it doesn't affect to the visibility of other windows.
    Scolling a window is not the only way I can think of to change visible
    part inside the windows's territory.

    What do you gain by tinkering with the windows and having a window
    partially or wholly under other windows or outside desktop compared to
    the model I featured? I can tell you having a window partially outside
    desktop does not make it easier to use.

    --
    Jarno Suni - http://iki.fi/8/
    Ole hyvä ja käytä XHTML-yhteensopivaa WWW-selainta.
    Please use a XHTML compliant web browser.


  15. Re: Alternative for stack of windows metaphor (Re: Dragging windows is useless)

    Jarno Suni writes:

    > On 12 Jun 2008 16:41:06 -0600
    > Joe Pfeiffer wrote:
    >
    >> That seems like you're working pretty hard to get exactly the same
    >> effect as overlapping windows without having overlapping windows.
    >> Given that you've now reached the point of using dragging to display
    >> your partial window, what have you gained?

    >
    > Hard compared to what? I have gained views that I can switch between and
    > modify. When windows for a view are selected, I can change their layout
    > easily: e.g. I can change portions of the windows in it by stretching
    > one and shrinking other simultaneously rather than resizing them
    > separately and additionally moving windows and lowering and raising
    > windows.


    Hard compared to not going to all that work, since I can't see how the
    metaphor you've come up with provides any advantages.

    > I admit that the subject I chose is a bit misleading: Dragging is not
    > bad itself, but I want to discuss, if the common stack of windows
    > metaphor is the best possible design philosophy for workstation
    > computer gui.
    >
    >> Why should I care whether I can see the whole window at once? I want
    >> to see a portion of the information: why should I go scrolling around
    >> inside a window instead of just moving the window, or raising and
    >> lowering windows?

    >
    > I think you don't have to care, if you find moving the window,
    > raising and lowering windows in the usual way convenient way to manage
    > windows. I think it would be easier to change the part of the
    > information visible when you can isolate windows to their reserved
    > territory so that it doesn't affect to the visibility of other windows.
    > Scolling a window is not the only way I can think of to change visible
    > part inside the windows's territory.
    >
    > What do you gain by tinkering with the windows and having a window
    > partially or wholly under other windows or outside desktop compared to
    > the model I featured? I can tell you having a window partially outside
    > desktop does not make it easier to use.


    And I can tell you I find it useful, and I do it frequently.

  16. Re: Alternative for stack of windows metaphor (Re: Dragging windows is useless)

    Joe Pfeiffer wrote:
    >>
    >> What do you gain by tinkering with the windows and having a window
    >> partially or wholly under other windows or outside desktop compared to
    >> the model I featured? I can tell you having a window partially outside
    >> desktop does not make it easier to use.

    >
    > And I can tell you I find it useful, and I do it frequently.


    Sometimes an application opens a window that is about twelve times the
    width of the desktop, and it is really annoying to have to try and drag
    the right hand edge across several screens.

    I have encountered another problem with applications that produce windows that
    are greater in height than the desktop. There is no way to access the bottom
    of the window in most window managers, because to drag the window upwards, the
    mouse needs to be on the title bar, but it is not possible to drag the
    titlebar upwards and off the screen in order to see the bottom of the
    window. And even if it was, how would I be able to drag them back again,
    because the titlebar is now gone, and I need this to drag.

    Mark.

    --
    Mark Hobley,
    393 Quinton Road West,
    Quinton, BIRMINGHAM.
    B32 1QE.

  17. Re: Alternative for stack of windows metaphor (Re: Dragging windowsis useless)

    On Mon, 16 Jun 2008 08:08:09 GMT
    markhobley@hotpop.donottypethisbit.com (Mark Hobley) wrote:

    > Sometimes an application opens a window that is about twelve times the
    > width of the desktop, and it is really annoying to have to try and drag
    > the right hand edge across several screens.


    Wow. Are they some giant panorama images zoomed 100%?

    > I have encountered another problem with applications that produce windowsthat
    > are greater in height than the desktop.


    I have encountered the problem with one application, namely Xfburn;
    the feature was treated as bug and later fixed:
    https://bugs.launchpad.net/ubuntu/+s...urn/+bug/46082

    --
    Jarno Suni - http://iki.fi/8/
    Ole hyvä ja käytä XHTML-yhteensopivaa WWW-selainta.
    Please use a XHTML compliant web browser.


  18. Re: Alternative for stack of windows metaphor (Re: Dragging windows is useless)

    Jarno Suni wrote:

    > Wow. Are they some giant panorama images zoomed 100%?


    I think it was output from a file manager, xdiskusage or some
    diagnostic tool. I can't remember exactly, but it does happen.

    Really, I never want a window bigger than my display area. I have a
    minor problem with applications in general. They do not take into account the
    window decorations, such as the border size, or the presence of a
    taskbar or menubar. This means that the right hand edge of my windows
    are missing a few pixels, and the cross to close the window is only
    half on the screen. Also some applications have a statusbar that appears
    underneath my menubar, and again I have a problem with not being able to
    drag the window upwards to see the contents, because of the titlebar not
    being moveable beyond the screen limit.

    Mark.

    --
    Mark Hobley,
    393 Quinton Road West,
    Quinton, BIRMINGHAM.
    B32 1QE.

  19. Re: Alternative for stack of windows metaphor (Re: Dragging windowsis useless)

    On Mon, 16 Jun 2008 10:08:10 GMT
    markhobley@hotpop.donottypethisbit.com (Mark Hobley) wrote:

    > Really, I never want a window bigger than my display area. I have a
    > minor problem with applications in general.


    Which desktop environment you are using? Do you have many screens
    (xrandr or xinerama)?

    --
    Jarno Suni - http://iki.fi/8/
    Ole hyvä ja käytä XHTML-yhteensopivaa WWW-selainta.
    Please use a XHTML compliant web browser.


  20. Re: Alternative for stack of windows metaphor (Re: Dragging windows is useless)

    Jarno Suni wrote:
    > Which desktop environment you are using? Do you have many screens
    > (xrandr or xinerama)?


    It changes from time to time. I am still evaluating window managers at
    the moment. At the moment I am using jwm, but I think icewm also had
    similar problems.

    I don't at this time know whether problems with window sizes are related
    to the window manager, the system configuration, within the application
    programs themselves, or within runtime libraries or language interpreter
    tools.

    Regards,

    Mark.

    --
    Mark Hobley,
    393 Quinton Road West,
    Quinton, BIRMINGHAM.
    B32 1QE.

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