Linked by Thom Holwerda on Sun 18th Nov 2007 15:46 UTC
Graphics, User Interfaces This is the sixth article in a series on common usability and graphical user interface related terms [part I | part II | part III | part IV | part V]. On the internet, and especially in forum discussions like we all have here on OSNews, it is almost certain that in any given discussion, someone will most likely bring up usability and GUI related terms - things like spatial memory, widgets, consistency, Fitts' Law, and more. The aim of this series is to explain these terms, learn something about their origins, and finally rate their importance in the field of usability and (graphical) user interface design. In part VI, we focus on the dock.
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Dock vs. Launcher
by PowerMacX on Sun 18th Nov 2007 16:10 UTC
PowerMacX
Member since:
2005-11-06

I never used RISC OS, so I have to ask, did that "dock" show:
1. Installed applications
2. Running applications
3. Both?

That is, can I launch an application from somewhere else and it would automatically show up on the Dock? Otherwise it's just an app launcher, no different to a "desktop" but limited to the bottom of the screen.

Reply Score: 2

RE: Dock vs. Launcher
by Thom_Holwerda on Sun 18th Nov 2007 16:14 UTC in reply to "Dock vs. Launcher"
Thom_Holwerda Member since:
2005-06-29

It shows running applications too.

Reply Score: 1

RE[2]: Dock vs. Launcher
by PowerMacX on Mon 19th Nov 2007 18:44 UTC in reply to "RE: Dock vs. Launcher"
PowerMacX Member since:
2005-11-06

OK, so then:

1. I click an app in the RISC OS dock, and it opens
2. I click on another app in the dock, and that one opens
3. I click back in the first icon and it switches to the first app (instead of launching another instance)
4. I open an app by some other means, and it appears in the dock as you confirmed
5. I close said app and it disappears from the dock
6. I can add non-running apps to the dock

Are all of those assertions true? Because that is not completely clear from the article or the wikipedia page. I guess I'll have to try the emulator to find out for sure ;)

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: Dock vs. Launcher
by ChrisG on Tue 20th Nov 2007 09:08 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Dock vs. Launcher"
ChrisG Member since:
2005-07-09

1. I click an app in the RISC OS dock, and it opens
yes - and an icon for the running app appears on the right hand side of the iconbar.

2. I click on another app in the dock, and that one opens
yes - and its "running" icon appears on the right hand side of the iconbar.

3. I click back in the first icon and it switches to the first app (instead of launching another instance)
Not exactly. It would open a second instance of the application. To access the already running instance, you would use the right-hand icon. some applications would only allow you to run one instance of themselves at a time of course.

4. I open an app by some other means, and it appears in the dock as you confirmed
Yes - as another instance on the right hand side.

5. I close said app and it disappears from the dock
The right hand icon would disappear. The launcher icon you mentioned in (1) would remain.

6. I can add non-running apps to the dock
Yes.

It should also be noted that the iconbar supports full drag and drop (both to and from the bar). For instance, dragging a file to an app icon (either a launcher or a running app) on the bar would launch that app and open the file.

The iconbar was one of the huge strengths of RISC OS in my opinion - and it was a lot clearer what each icon weas for than it is on OSX, because of the seperation of left and right - launchers were on the left (disks, applications), and running apps were on the right. The two icons on the far right were always there and were for OS settings.

Reply Score: 1

Top 9 reasons the dock still sucks
by google_ninja on Sun 18th Nov 2007 16:27 UTC
google_ninja
Member since:
2006-02-05

The Tog (Bruce Tognazzini, one of the early usability czars at Apple) wrote this up a few years ago
http://www.asktog.com/columns/044top10docksucks.html

Personally, I think the Dock is great. It takes a bit of getting used to, but when you do you quickly learn to love it. On gutsy, I use awn (http://code.google.com/p/avant-window-navigator/) and am quite happy with it.

Reply Score: 3

Thom_Holwerda Member since:
2005-06-29

Test.

Reply Score: 1

malept Member since:
2007-11-18

FYI, Awn is now at Launchpad: https://launchpad.net/awn/

Reply Score: 1

AmigaOS 3.1, well...
by DevL on Sun 18th Nov 2007 18:11 UTC
DevL
Member since:
2005-07-06

"Other operating systems also received a dock, such as Amiga OS 3.1".

Only late on as a third party addon. You might have been thiking of 3.5, 3.9 or even possibly 4.0.

Reply Score: 2

RE: AmigaOS 3.1, well...
by Thom_Holwerda on Sun 18th Nov 2007 18:13 UTC in reply to "AmigaOS 3.1, well..."
Thom_Holwerda Member since:
2005-06-29

Only late on as a third party addon. You might have been thiking of 3.5, 3.9 or even possibly 4.0.


I must admit that am not sure on the 3.1 version when it comes to the Amiga. I am fairly sure though, and Wikipedia seems to agree with me (not that that says anything but still).

If anyone can give me a conclusive answer on this one I'll be sure to update the article.

Edited 2007-11-18 18:27 UTC

Reply Score: 1

RE[2]: AmigaOS 3.1, well...
by s_groening on Mon 19th Nov 2007 08:12 UTC in reply to "RE: AmigaOS 3.1, well..."
s_groening Member since:
2005-12-13

The 'Dock (computing)' article found on WikiPedia and cited in the article by Thom, states that the Dock application had been present since AmigaOS 3.x.

This, however, might be imprecise according to this WikiPedia article on the various AmigaOS versions, which seems to suggest that the Dock application wasn't added until AmigaOS 3.9.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/AmigaOS_versions#AmigaOS_3.5.2C_3.9

Reply Score: 1

RE: AmigaOS 3.1, well...
by Pixie on Mon 19th Nov 2007 10:16 UTC in reply to "AmigaOS 3.1, well..."
Pixie Member since:
2005-09-30

"Only late on as a third party addon. You might have been thiking of 3.5, 3.9 or even possibly 4.0."
Not quite, you add it since at least 1991 since ToolManager advent.

Reply Score: 1

Desktop space is a scarce resource
by irbis on Sun 18th Nov 2007 19:14 UTC
irbis
Member since:
2005-07-08

One problem related to pretty looking docks, huge wide panels & other supposedly helpful desktop desktop accessories (a bit like the notorious MS Office paper clip assistant) is that (especially if they are meant to look nice and pretty with big icons etc.) such apps tend to take quite a lot of desktop space and eat a lot of system resources that might be more useful for actual applications. Ok, maybe you can hide the dock when you don't want to see it, but often that may be rather troublesome too. Personally I tend to prefer very narrow panels with essential shortcuts that are always visible but do not distract or take much desktop space away from actual apps that I want to use.

An off-topic joke related to the article image: http://www.osnews.com/img/18941/arthur.gif
See, Ubuntu is not the first desktop environment that has preferred orange and other warm colors instead of blue and gray... ;)

Edited 2007-11-18 19:28 UTC

Reply Score: 2

google_ninja Member since:
2006-02-05

Sorry if it seems like an attack, but I have something to say on virtually every point you bring up ;)

other supposedly helpful desktop desktop accessories (a bit like the notorious MS Office paper clip assistant)


Something to keep in mind about the notoriously awful clippy, is that it was the implementation, not the idea that blew.

First off, there was a 10 second animation before and after EVERY event. That is an eternity when it comes to UI elements. Secondly, it was a large floating element that was constantly obscuring some element you wanted to access. Thirdly, it was next to impossible to get rid of, every time you thought you did, it just came back.

All that being said, a contextual help area that is constantly being updated based on what the user is doing is a fantastic idea. The horrible implementation in Office has unfortunately soured people to it. If someone could come with an implementation similar to tooltips (there when you want it, invisible if you dont need it), IMHO it could be a fantastic way of doing inline help.

such apps tend to take quite a lot of desktop space and eat a lot of system resources that might be more useful for actual applications. Ok, maybe you can hide the dock when you don't want to see it, but often that may be rather troublesome too.


The problem with hiding the dock (or panels of any sort on other operating systems) is that the trigger area for showing it is WAY to large. If (for example), the trigger was in the lower left hand corner, and as soon as your mouse hit it, the dock would expand out, anchored from the left side of the screen, you would get the desired functionality, while very rarely triggering it accidentally. When the bottom five pixels of the entire monitor triggers the show operation, you will trigger it accidentally far more often then on purpose.

As for it taking space, as can be seen from the Fitts' Law article, the larger the hit area, the easier it is to aquire the target. 4x4 icons may be really pro, but it is exponentially easier to hit 16x16. It really comes down to a tradeoff between work area chewed up, and difficulty in hitting the target. I am a big fan of the quicklaunch in windows (I hate, hate, hate the start menu, and always have), but even with that I will semi-regularily launch the wrong app by mistake, due to the small size of the icons.

Reply Score: 3

phoenix Member since:
2005-07-11

All that being said, a contextual help area that is constantly being updated based on what the user is doing is a fantastic idea. The horrible implementation in Office has unfortunately soured people to it. If someone could come with an implementation similar to tooltips (there when you want it, invisible if you dont need it), IMHO it could be a fantastic way of doing inline help.

Newer versions of Word, most versions of WordPerfect since 8 or 9, and a few KDE apps do this. They put a ~2" column along one side of the screen (right for Word, left for WordPerfect). This area is used for displaying contect-sensitive help links, useful hints, and similar stuff. On low-resolution setups (< 1024x768) it's more annoying than anything as it takes up ~ 33% of the horizontal screen space. But on higher resolution setups, it's not that bad.

The WordPerfect implementation is a lot nicer than the Word implementation. It's actually useful. Especially when it's part of their wizards or perfectexpert projects or whatever they call it.

The problem with hiding the dock (or panels of any sort on other operating systems) is that the trigger area for showing it is WAY to large. If (for example), the trigger was in the lower left hand corner, and as soon as your mouse hit it, the dock would expand out, anchored from the left side of the screen, you would get the desired functionality, while very rarely triggering it accidentally. When the bottom five pixels of the entire monitor triggers the show operation, you will trigger it accidentally far more often then on purpose.

Not sure about GNOME or XFce, but the KDE external taskbar and kpanel can be configured like that. Enable the left or right hide buttons and auto-hide. 3 seconds (or so) after your mouse leaves the panel, it will zip off to the side appearing as thin bar with an arrow down in one corner. Pop the mouse down to that corner and click to bring it back.

Personally, I can't stand the dock concept, and prefer to put a taskbar at the bottom of the screen that only shows running apps. And an app launcher at the top of the screen with just the apps menu, some quick launch shortcuts, the system tray, and clock. Set to auto-hide. Since it's only used to launch apps, it doesn't need to be visible all the time. And since the taskbar only shows running tasks, it doesn't need to be very tall (32px is plenty). It's a beautiful setup in KDE; GNOME and XFce are a little more difficult to get working right, but once it's configured, it works the same.

Separate running apps from non-running shortcuts/repositories/launchers/etc. Only show the info that is needed. Hide everything else until it's needed.

Edit: Why doesn't the quote feature [ q ][ /q ] work on the the v4 setup???

Edited 2007-11-18 22:08 UTC

Reply Score: 3

irbis Member since:
2005-07-08

Well, my comment about MS Clippy help app may not have been a very good one anyway, as it is not so much related to the subject here. My point in mentioning it was only to give some kind of an example about looks vs. real usability. So putting emphasis on aesthetics does not always improve usability.

"4x4 icons may be really pro, but it is exponentially easier to hit 16x16."

Of course you're right about that. And there's absolutely nothing pro about too tiny 4x4 icons IMHO... ;-) Anyway, in Gnome I make my top and bottom panels 21 pixels high (possible with certain fonts like Free Sans) which is plenty enough in order for them to remain both clear to see, easy to use, and narrow enough so that they take minimum amount of space and can contain maximum amount of shortcuts or applets if I prefer to have them there.

"I am a big fan of the quicklaunch in windows (I hate, hate, hate the start menu, and always have)"

But start menus are - for a very good reason - found in almost all desktop environments. You tell that you hate them but fail to explain why? Care to elaborate?

I still wait to see a better way than a handy start menu to show, browse and get access to all the available applications? A start menu - of some sorts - seems like a necessity as far as I can tell. Running commands would be another way to browse, find and open apps - but not very newbie-friendly. The place where the start menu is located or can be opened is not essential. Some window managers have a "start menu" that can be opened by right-clicking the desktop background, but that is still the same start menu, and is also more difficult to reach if the desktop background is hidden under open windows.

Still about docks in general:
Mac OS X dock (and maybe many of its "copies" too) looks really nice. In aesthetics Mac OS X may be a clear winner. But what comes to functionality I prefer the old though maybe a bit dull looking taskbar. Not only does taskbar take much less desktop space but textual shortcuts of the taskbar show much more clearly than mere graphical icons what each shortcut represents. If you have, say, 10 open folders, and you can see only 10 similar looking folder icons side by side on the dock, which is which?

Mac OS X dock has some really nice features, though, like docklings and the availability of extended menus that control applications without making them visible on screen - but that could be implemented with a taskbars too.

Edited 2007-11-18 23:50 UTC

Reply Score: 3

Savior Member since:
2006-09-02

"I am a big fan of the quicklaunch in windows (I hate, hate, hate the start menu, and always have)"

But start menus are - for a very good reason - found in almost all desktop environments. You tell that you hate them but fail to explain why? Care to elaborate?


I don't know why he hates it, but here is why I do: there is just so much information in them to easily find the application you are looking for. Especially in Windows, where each installed application puts its entries by default to the Programs root. I have seen such start menus all too often. And if you arrange it to folders (like Games, Utilities, etc), it will take a lot of time to go through the folder structure. Under Linux, it is a bit more sane, but it is much more difficult to edit the menu than in Windows, making it again a bit uncomfortable.

Of course, it is absolutely necessary to have something like that. But for programs I use every day, quicklaunch is much faster and more convenient. That was on Windows, though; on Linux, katapult beats every other solution for me. I do not even have a quick launcher anymore, just alt-space, type the first 2-3 characters, and there is the app I want. Brilliant.

Reply Score: 2

gustl Member since:
2006-01-19

I did not yet try out katapult, but it seems to be a very good app launcher interface. For people who know what they are looking for (know the name of the app), that is.

On the other hand, give a Windows user (or a complete newbie) the task of burning some data on a CD with a KDE desktop. What does he do? Right: Launch the "start" menue, look for "archiving" or "CD/DVD", or maybe even "multimedia", all sane places where you could find a CD burning application. It will take him some time, but he will be able to complete the task without having to ask for help.
But set him in front of katapult, and he will try to type "CD", "DVD", "Nero", ... . none of which will bring him closer to "k3b". Or did I miss some ability of katapult there?

Reply Score: 2

google_ninja Member since:
2006-02-05

But start menus are - for a very good reason - found in almost all desktop environments. You tell that you hate them but fail to explain why? Care to elaborate?

I still wait to see a better way than a handy start menu to show, browse and get access to all the available applications? A start menu - of some sorts - seems like a necessity as far as I can tell. Running commands would be another way to browse, find and open apps - but not very newbie-friendly. The place where the start menu is located or can be opened is not essential. Some window managers have a "start menu" that can be opened by right-clicking the desktop background, but that is still the same start menu, and is also more difficult to reach if the desktop background is hidden under open windows.


I dont have a problem with the start menu as sort of an installed software directory, but I don't like it as a main application launcher. On OSX i used quicksilver (now i use spotlight), on linux I use an embedded run dialog (which has been replaced by deskbar in gnome which I don't like at all), and on windows it always bugged me that there was nothing similar (until WDS on Vista).

Currently, I do all my work on vista. I have 7 shortcuts in the quicklaunch that I use several times daily. These require one click.

I have 20 items "pinned" to the start menu (or panel, I guess you would call it now). These are apps I use semi-regularly. It consists of the Office apps, some adobe apps, terminal, powershell, Safari and Opera (for website testing), torrent software, IM software, etc. These take me two clicks. Usually I will use several, but not all of these every day.

So far so good, but what about the hundred or so small apps I use infrequently? Stuff like regedit, defrag software, server config utils, backup software, dvd authoring software, calculator, virtualization software, burning software, etc. That is what most people use the start menu for. These I will use a few of every day, but always different, and not frequently enough to put it in an easy access location.

Start menu requires up to four clicks with a lot of sifting through folder names to get to what I want. Considering the size of the items in the list, the amount of items there are, and the bad organization (ESPECIALLY in windows), it is significantly more of a pain to find what I want. Some people just litter their desktop with hundreds of launchers, so they can quickly find what they need. This is a symptom of the start menu problem.

Nowadays, the only time I open the start menu (or application menu on linux, or the applications folder on OSX), is to see what is installed on a computer I am unfamiliar with. I know this may seem like nit-picking, but IMHO it is a badly designed UI element and I find it frustrating to work with as long as any alternative exists. The fact that so many exist kind of points that I am not the only one to feel this way.

Sorry for the huge response, I figured I may as well be thorough, as it is a hard thing to articulate ;)

Reply Score: 4

hobgoblin Member since:
2005-07-06

there was plenty of third party type and run apps for windows.

here is one i have used before:
http://www.donationcoder.com/Software/Mouser/findrun/index.html

Reply Score: 2

hobgoblin Member since:
2005-07-06

i think that more recent office versions (or maybe its works versions) have a help bar on the right, so that one can look at work at the same time.

dont know if its context sensitive tho...
(i use openoffice in windows and koffice in linux)

Reply Score: 2

Yet another thing not invented by Jobs/Apple.
by tupp on Sun 18th Nov 2007 20:20 UTC
tupp
Member since:
2006-11-12

Thank you for officially debunking the myth that Steve Jobs and/or Apple invented the dock/task-bar. Over the years, in this forum and elsewhere, I have maintained that the RISC OS Icon Bar preceded the NeXTSTEP and OSX docks and that all three had the same basic features. I hope that your article will end all contention on the matter.

However, the idea of an interactive dock/task-bar actually first appeared in Windows 1.01 in 1985: http://toastytech.com/guis/bigw101.gif This first dock/task-bar was interactive in that one could click on an icon to open a minimized program. Icons of inactive programs were not included in this task-bar.

The notion that an interactive dock/task-bar must have icons of both inactive and running programs is merely a subjective opinion, and it certainly would not have been a major intellectual leap to put permanent icons on the early Windows dock/task-bar. In fact, it is baffling that Microsoft did not offer such an obvious feature and that Microsoft immediately abandoned the dock/task-bar until Windows 95, ten years later.

I am not sure as to why you give so much weight specifically to the the OSX dock (in the second half of this article), but, before the OSX dock, there where many *nix window manager docks/wharfs/task-bars. In addition, I take issue with your assertion that "the Mac OSX dock has singlehandedly popularised the dock concept, and brought it to the masses." The task-bar on Windows 95 and on Windows 98 had the same basic function as the OSX dock, and both Windows OSs were used by millions.

Reply Score: 6

Thom_Holwerda Member since:
2005-06-29

The task-bar on Windows 95 and on Windows 98 had the same basic function as the OSX dock, and both Windows OSs were used by millions.


Yes, but that's a taskbar. Not a dock.

Reply Score: 1

hobgoblin Member since:
2005-07-06

thats one blurry line imo...

Reply Score: 2

google_ninja Member since:
2006-02-05

The dock is more tailored to the Apple UI ideas. In windows/linux, you launch an app and it runs fullscreen. At that point, you want as little OS interference as possible. This effectively embraces the idea that applications are Modes. The taskbar provides a way to switch modes.

The Apple way says that applications arent modes, they are operating system objects. The traditional mac approach is you never run windows fullscreen, you run them as large as they need to be. Transitions between one application and another are more seamless, they all look and act the same, have the same menubar, you can often see the work you are doing in one even if you are in another. It is a concept that is very hard to explain to someone who has never really worked with it, but anyone who grew up on mac classic not only gets it, but finds the fullscreen approach kludgy.

Reply Score: 6

hobgoblin Member since:
2005-07-06

in linux you can work the way you want to, there is no set desktop in linux.

but gnome and kde use a lot of windows elements as that is what most potential users are used to.

btw, did you just call non-apple users stupid without being direct about it?

anyways, i would say both ways have its issues, and its related to using windows the way they do. i wonder if not one should take a step back to the days before apple introduced free-floating windows.

some of those wm's on *nix seems interesting in that regard.

Reply Score: 4

tupp Member since:
2006-11-12

i wonder if not one should take a step back to the days before apple introduced free-floating windows.

Apple did not invent free-floating windows -- the Xerox Alto and Xerox Star had them long before Apple: http://toastytech.com/guis/altost1.jpg
http://toastytech.com/guis/altost2.jpg The Three Rivers PERQ also had them before Apple: http://www.digibarn.com/collections/systems/perqt2/perqzoom.jpg

Edited 2007-11-18 22:30

Reply Score: 1

Almafeta Member since:
2007-02-22

He said 'introduce', not 'invent.'

Although a handful of other products had them before Apple, Apple was the company that introduced them to the public (and the industry) at large.

Reply Score: 1

tupp Member since:
2006-11-12

I said "invent," not "introduce."

However, I am not sure what you mean by "Apple was the company that introduced them [free-floating windows] to the public (and the industry) at large" Here is a page from an October, 1981 PERQ brochure, clearly showing free-floating windows: http://www.chilton-computing.org.uk/gallery/foreign/orig/f00368.jpg
Notice the headline, "The advent of the personal workstation" -- you can't have a grander "introduction" than that!

By the way, Apple finally got overlapping windows two years later.

Edited 2007-11-19 02:30

Reply Score: 2

hobgoblin Member since:
2005-07-06

well you learn something every day ;)

i thought the first gui's had non-overlapping windows because it was found to confusing for the user...

Reply Score: 2

tupp Member since:
2006-11-12

i thought the first gui's had non-overlapping windows because it was found to confusing for the user...

The first gui in the 1960s had no windows. Likewise, I think that the first Xerox Alto gui had no windows -- just a single application per screen.

Reply Score: 1

google_ninja Member since:
2006-02-05

I didn't call anyone stupid, I was talking about how it feels to work in the windows style modal paradigm vs the mac classic spatial paradigm. It has nothing to do with intelligence of the users, and everything to do with the philosophy behind the design descisions.

in linux you can work the way you want to, there is no set desktop in linux.

but gnome and kde use a lot of windows elements as that is what most potential users are used to.


I have yet to run across a really spatial WM in linux. There isn't anything that is even equivilent to OSX, and OSX is a far cry from Mac Classic in this regard. Of course, I could be wrong.

And really, I'm not trying to be insulting or anything. Mac Classic had this approach, BeOS had it, OSX has it to a degree, and even though I have never used NeXT, from what I have read it looks like it had it.

anyways, i would say both ways have its issues, and its related to using windows the way they do. i wonder if not one should take a step back to the days before apple introduced free-floating windows.

some of those wm's on *nix seems interesting in that regard.


twm and ratpoison leap to mind.

That is again, a completely different way of approaching things. I was talking about the mac and the windows approach, and how the taskbar and the dock address the space of task switching differently.

Reply Score: 3

tupp Member since:
2006-11-12

I was talking about how it feels to work in the windows style modal paradigm vs the mac classic spatial paradigm.

I have yet to run across a really spatial WM in linux.


What do you mean by "spatial?"

Reply Score: 1

google_ninja Member since:
2006-02-05

I mean where applications are treated as objects, and not as modes (as I went into in great depth in an earlier comment). Thom did a brief overview here http://osnews.com/story.php/18829/Common-Usability-Terms-pt.-I-Spat...

For something more in depth, there is an article John Siracusa did a few years ago that everyone points to as soon as the spatial metaphor comes up http://arstechnica.com/articles/paedia/finder.ars

I don't think that spatial design is the be all and end all (I REALLY like what Jef Raskin was talking about in The Humane Interface before he died), but I do think that the spatial metaphor is still a more elegant solution then what is the norm today.

Reply Score: 3

hobgoblin Member since:
2005-07-06

ok, ok, i guess i was jumping the gun there.

thing is that if your used to windows and go to mac you run into just as many gotchas as when you go from mac to windows.

different folks, different strokes. if just we could agree on file types and let people share data effortlessly then one could use whatever one wanted. but right now thats needlessly segregated thanks to attempted lock-ins, leading to people "having" to use os whatever to work with specific kinds of data.

edit:

iirc, later versions of office have gone away from the window in window (mdi?) interface and over to one window, one file.

and you can set the explorer to open each folder in its own window, and if you try to open a folder a second time, it will just highlight the existing window.

konqueror under kde have the same option. in gnome i dont know.

still, beyond that i guess its every app for it self.
recent versions of adobe acrobat have gotten a weird behavior. it mixes mdi and spatial in the most confusing way. yes there are one button on the taskbar pr opened file. but if you dont watch out you can close them all by closing one of them...

and didnt web browsers go with tabs because people got fed up with IE having a button pr open page?

some times spatial works, sometimes it dont apparently...

Edited 2007-11-19 05:32 UTC

Reply Score: 2

dbodner Member since:
2007-07-01

The dock is more tailored to the Apple UI ideas. In windows/linux, you launch an app and it runs fullscreen. At that point, you want as little OS interference as possible. This effectively embraces the idea that applications are Modes. The taskbar provides a way to switch modes.


Huh? The Xfce I'm using even has smart window placement, so if I open up 4 terminals simultaneously, not only are they not maximized, but they're automatically placed in separate corners of the screen so all 4 are fully visible at the same time.

Lumping all *nix DE's/WM's together might be a bad idea.

Reply Score: 2

joshv Member since:
2006-03-18

"This effectively embraces the idea that applications are Modes. The taskbar provides a way to switch modes. "

Well, applications are, after all, the reason we use computers. I find it amazing that so much time and energy is spent debating the relative merits of operating systems, when our interaction with the OS comprises perhaps 5% or less of the amount of time we spend working each day.

As for the idea that Windows is somehow designed around full screen applications - hogwash. Windows is designed around choice. You want fullscreen, you get fullscreen. You want to tile 4 apps and switch maniacally between them, bob's your uncle - windows will happily oblige you. On the Mac though, Steve has made all the decisions for you, how dare you try to maximize an application!

Reply Score: 4

google_ninja Member since:
2006-02-05

What happens when you launch abiword? Cause when you launch Pages, the window doesnt fill your entire monitor, only the size of your document. The "accessory" apps are corner cases, they are treated in a spatial manner, but they are one of the few classes of applications that do.

Reply Score: 3

tupp Member since:
2006-11-12

What happens when you launch abiword?

It fills about 2/3 of the screen on the far left.

If, by "spatial" you mean smart placement, lots of *nix WMs/Desktops large and small offer that feature.

Reply Score: 1

dbodner Member since:
2007-07-01

IIRC abiword does not open up full screen. open office does. in fact, oo.o is really the only one I can think of off the top of my head that does. If I open up two firefox windows, the first one goes in the top left, second one fits in at the bottom right.

Reply Score: 1

DeadFishMan Member since:
2006-01-09

IIRC abiword does not open up full screen. open office does. in fact, oo.o is really the only one I can think of off the top of my head that does. If I open up two firefox windows, the first one goes in the top left, second one fits in at the bottom right.

To be honest with you, I never noticed that OO.org opens in a fullscreen window by default as KDE allows one to set that on a per-application basis among a lot of other things. You can even specify the viewport where the applications are supposed to open when you launch them: I always set GIMP to open on its own viewport as it opens way too many windows sometimes!

Reply Score: 2

phoenix Member since:
2005-07-11

What happens when you launch abiword?


The same thing that happens when you launch any program in Windows, KDE, GNOME, etc ... it looks at the application shortcut to see what you have set for the default window size.

Some people set it to Maximised in the .lnk/.desktop file. Some people set it to Normal or Default, which means it starts at whatever size you had it set to when you closed it, or whatever default is set by the app developer, or whatever the systemwide default is. Some people set it to Minimised.

There is no "all apps will open maximised" default set in Windows, KDE, or GNOME. These are all app-specific settings that can be changed.

Is there a way, in MacOS X, to configure an application to always open maximised, and to actually take up the entire screen? ;)

Reply Score: 2

alcibiades Member since:
2005-10-12

"In windows/linux, you launch an app and it runs fullscreen"

They don't, surely? They launch at whatever size you set them to the last time you opened them. They don't even start out full screen do they? Now you have me scratching my head and trying to remember how they worked in Win 98 - someone I do work for is still running W98 on one machine, and I don't think even there the apps open full screen.

I just fired up a whole bunch in Linux, and not one opened up full screen. What is this about?

Is there any difference between MacOS and other OSs in this respect? The tiling or tabbed window managers of course, in Unix/Linux, but they are a rare breed.

Reply Score: 3

phoenix Member since:
2005-07-11

How applications open is set in the shortcut (.lnk) to that app. You can set it to Normal Window, Maximised Window, or Minimised Window.

The default is Normal Window, which starts the app with whatever window size it was set to the last time you opened it, or a default size as set by the app coders.

This has been the behaviour since Windows 95 and the birth of the .lnk file. It was also possible to do this in the Windows 3.x days by hand-editing the .pif file.

There has never been a "default to maximised" or "always start maximised" setting in Windows.

Reply Score: 2

tupp Member since:
2006-11-12

Yes, but that's a taskbar. Not a dock.

Please define the difference between a dock and a taskbar.

Edited 2007-11-18 21:14

Reply Score: 3

Almafeta Member since:
2007-02-22

Yes, but that's a taskbar. Not a dock.


If Windows 95 had used a dock instead of a taskbar, it's safe to say we'd all be using Macs today...

Reply Score: 2

phoenix Member since:
2005-07-11

Yes, but that's a taskbar. Not a dock.

With the difference being ... ?

Reply Score: 3

ChrisG Member since:
2005-07-09

They are spelt differently. I would have thought that was obvious ;P

Reply Score: 1

hobgoblin Member since:
2005-07-06

iirc, in windows 3.1 you where supposed to not run the main "window" maximized (but who didnt), as any minimized program would get a icon on the "desktop".

Reply Score: 2

phoenix Member since:
2005-07-11

Only when using the default progman.exe shell. Other shells worked differently. My favourite Windows 3.x shell was Xerox' TabWorks shell.

The "desktop" was a tabbed notebook. Down the lefthand side of the screen was a quick launch area where you could put icons for your favourite 10 apps. 80% or so of the screen on the left was the open page, where icons would appear for the apps. The other 20% or so was taken up by the tabs. Click a tab and that page became active (similar to open a program group in progman). Running apps full-screen/maximised was the best way to work with tabworks. And alt+tab to switch between running apps.

Kept things very neat and organised, everything was easy to get to, and it never got in your way. When we migrated to Windows 95, it took a *lot* of getting used to as we had to navigate through a hierarchical menu to find our apps instead of just "click the tab, double-click the app". Too bad the Win95 version of TabWorks was so buggy. Guessing it had something to do with the amount of internal linkage between the Windows OS and the explorer.exe shell.

Reply Score: 3

hobgoblin Member since:
2005-07-06

heh, never used windows 3.1 much. it was dos most of the time for me.

but i think you could run progman.exe as a alternate shell on win95 (maybe even 98).

Reply Score: 2

phoenix Member since:
2005-07-11

Yes, progman.exe was included in Windows 95. However, it broke a lot of built-in features like the recycle bin and network neighbourhood, as these were hooks into explorer.exe.

You could also run a lot of different shells on Windows 9x (Litestep and Darkstep being the two most popular). But, these also broke things that were hooked directly into explorer.exe.

If MS had properly separated the GUI shell from system services (like in Win3.x), then running alternate shells would have been a much smoother/easier thing to do.

Reply Score: 2

hobgoblin Member since:
2005-07-06

true that, i recall finding a replacement for the quicklaunch area of the windows taskbar. it even came with the posibility to insert a winamp controller.

http://www.truelaunchbar.com/

there is also a free version:

http://www.freelaunchbar.com/

Edited 2007-11-19 03:45 UTC

Reply Score: 2

bogomipz Member since:
2005-07-11

Regarding your last paragraph. Please take into account that the term "Dock" originates from NeXTSTEP. The docks/wharfs/harbors in fluxbox, openbox, pekwm and so on exist to make use of WindowMaker's dockapps, which became a sort of X11 "applet" standard in the old days. And the whole point of WindowMaker (and AfterStep) was of course to recreate the NeXTSTEP experience, if only at a shallow level. OS X is really the latest version of NeXTSTEP, so to have had a dock before this OS, you need to do much better than 2001, more like 1989. That's two years before Linus released version 0.01 of his kernel, by the way.

Whether something counts as a "Dock" depends on your subjective definition of the term. I don't consider Windows' taskbar with quicklaunch to be the same concept at all, for instance. You're not "docking" anything in there, really. Actually, I even think the changes Apple made to the Dock drifts it somewhat away from what the term describes.

Reply Score: 2

tupp Member since:
2006-11-12

Okay. The term "dock" relating to GUIs probably originated with NeXTSTEP, but "a rose by any other name..."

Thank you for reminding me of the term "harbor" -- I was racking my brain earlier, trying to remember it.

Yes. Many of the *nix WMs that had "docks" after 1989 were emulating NeXTSTEP.

However, if "docking" an active application means having its icon appear along one edge of the screen, you need to do much better than 1989, more like 1985. Windows 1.01 had this capability then. That's four years before NeXTSTEP's dock was released (according to your post).

In an earlier post, I made the same statement as you regarding the subjectivity of "dock" definitions.

Don't know "quicklaunch," but I don't see much functional differences between task-bars and docks.

Reply Score: 1

bogomipz Member since:
2005-07-11

As mentioned earlier, Apple did some changes to the Dock. Today, the definition seems to be; an icon bar where the same icons are used both to show running apps and to launch them.

Traditional taskbars don't fit this description. So there is at least one difference right there. All the choices of ways to launch and/or monitor applications share some similarities. It can therefore be hard to distinguish them, and maybe there's no real need to, but we humans tend to come up with words to distinguish similar but slightly different concepts.

However, if "docking" an active application means having its icon appear along one edge of the screen...

Well, in NeXTSTEP, nothing appeared in the Dock at all. You had to drag it there to dock it. See my post further down for a screenshot and some more comments on this.

By "quicklaunch" I meant the Quick Launch toolbar.

Reply Score: 2

tupp Member since:
2006-11-12

Today, the definition seems to be; an icon bar where the same icons are used both to show running apps and to launch them.

You have just described the RISC OS Icon Bar, from 1987 -- preceding NeXTSTEP by two years.


Traditional taskbars don't fit this description. So there is at least one difference right there.

My experience is that Windows 95 and Windows 98 fit this description -- I could drag application icons to the taskbar and if an application was running a rectangle with an icon and the applicatin's title would appear. The Gnome and KDE taskbars exhibit the same behaviour.


Well, in NeXTSTEP, nothing appeared in the Dock at all. You had to drag it there to dock it.

Is it an advantage to lack an indicator for an active application that one forgot to drag to the dock?


By "quicklaunch" I meant the Quick Launch toolbar.

Not familiar with the Quick Launch toolbar.

Edited 2007-11-19 09:47

Reply Score: 1

bogomipz Member since:
2005-07-11

You have just described the RISC OS Icon Bar, from 1987 -- preceding NeXTSTEP by two years.

Ok. I know RISC OS by reputation only. Thom talked about this in the article, but I wasn't entirely sure how the Icon Bar worked. I agree that Acorn had the first dock, but they used a different term for it.

The argument in my first post was that OS X and NeXTSTEP are evolutions of the same system, and that this is where the term "Dock" comes from. Claiming that WindowMaker had a dock before OS X makes no sense since wmaker is actually trying its best to copy the look and feel of NeXT.

My experience is that Windows 95 and Windows 98 fit this description -- I could drag application icons to the taskbar and if an application was running a rectangle with an icon and the applicatin's title would appear. The Gnome and KDE taskbars exhibit the same behaviour.

I don't understand any of this. Sorry.

Is it an advantage to lack an indicator for an active application that one forgot to drag to the dock?

Not "forgot", but "chose not to". Let's take a look at a screenshot, please click the preview to see the full size image;
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:NeXTSTEP_desktop.jpg

Here you see a user running approximately 10 applications. Each of these are represented with an appicon, which is by default positioned on a free spot at the bottom of the screen. The user has chosen to put some of the apps in his Dock, which means they have a completely fixed position across sessions. If he decides to "dock" another application, he can drag it either from the bottom of the screen or from a File Viewer.

Apple changed this by putting in the Dock not only the fixed elements, but also the ones that ran across the bottom edge in NeXTSTEP. This looks like a small change perhaps, but it means that the Dock now changes all by itself, while in the old system the user had 100% control. It also blurs the concept slightly since you have gone from "docking" something to selecting "Keep in dock" on stuff that is already in there.

Reply Score: 2

tupp Member since:
2006-11-12

I agree that Acorn had the first dock, but they used a different term for it.

I agree that RISC OS had a dock at least two years before NeXTSTEP, however, I say that the first dock was the strip along the bottom of the Windows 1.01 screen, in 1985. That strip contained the icons of minimized applications, and application windows could not overlap onto the strip. Of course, it would have been obvious to also include permanent icons on the strip, but, for some strange reason, the dock feature was immediately ditched by Microsoft before permanent icons were added.


Claiming that WindowMaker had a dock before OS X makes no sense since wmaker is actually trying its best to copy the look and feel of NeXT.

Okay. Let's not argue semantics. There were several *nix window managers that had docks/task-bars, before NeXTSTEP "became" OSX.


***My experience is that Windows 95 and Windows 98 fit this description -- I could drag application icons to the task-bar and if an application was running a rectangle with an icon and the application's title would appear. The Gnome and KDE task-bars exhibit the same behavior.***

I don't understand any of this. Sorry.


The task-bars in Windows 95 and 98 and in Gnome and KDE provide the same function as the docks in NeXTSTEP and OSX.


Apple changed this by putting in the Dock not only the fixed elements, but also the ones that ran across the bottom edge in NeXTSTEP. This looks like a small change perhaps, but it means that the Dock now changes all by itself, while in the old system the user had 100% control. It also blurs the concept slightly since you have gone from "docking" something to selecting "Keep in dock" on stuff that is already in there.

The task-bars just mentioned (and many not mentioned) provide both the NeXTSTEP and OSX functions you describe, and more: one can drag any icon (from both active and inactive applications) onto a reserved place on the edge of the screen, and the icons will stay there until they are manually removed. In addition, the titles and/or icons of active applications can appear on their own in this reserved space, *but the user can disable this function*. As an extra benefit, clicking on the active titles/icons one can manipulate "modes" of their applications (now I am beginning to see what google_ninja meant by "modes").

Edited 2007-11-19 18:33

Reply Score: 1

kaiwai Member since:
2005-07-06

Pardon? no one argues that Steve (personally) or Apple invented it - what they did do well is the popularisation of the said technology.

Take a look at Japanese electronic companies like Sony; very few of the ideas that came out from Sony in the early years were as a by-product of in house R&D.

LCD's for example, was an American invention, it was the fact that it took until the 1980s when american companies finally realised the link between R&D, competitive advantage and producing products - where they finally protected the technology they developed.

Nothing today is original; the vast majority of it has already been conceptualised years ago - perpendicular recording which has finally being used in hard disks today was developed over 40 years ago - for instance.

Lets not try to start a turf war over who invested who - the question should be who implemented the best - that is, reducing the number of down sides.

Reply Score: 2

tupp Member since:
2006-11-12

no one argues that Steve (personally) or Apple invented it

You're kidding, right?

In spite of seeing proof after proof over the years on this forum and elsewhere, the Mac fanboys would not accept that Jobs/Apple did not invent the dock/task-bar. Many still won't accept that fact even after seeing the proof in this article.

Mac fanboy denial is a powerful force. There is someone who just posted a couple of messages on this thread who evidently can't accept that the dock did not originate at Apple. This poster is delving into minute and rather arbitrary behavioral differences between launchers, task-bars and docks, apparently in an effort to show that the Apple dock is distinctly different than the non-Apple versions, and, thereby, bolster the idea that Apple invented the "true" dock.

Even this OSNews dock article anticipates Mac fanboy resistance, taking a roundabout, sort of apologetic path before finally declaring in the sixth paragraph, "... the fact remains that the first public appearance of the dock was the Iconbar in Arthur. Credit where it is due, please."

(However, the first dock/task-bar actually appeared in Windows 1.01, two years before Arthur.)

By the way, do you know "Steve" personally?!!


what they did do well is the popularisation of the said technology.

Once a person has finally accepted that Jobs/Apple did not invent an item, nothing in the Universe can stop that person from saying, "... well, Steve made it popular!"

First of all, just saying that Jobs/Apple "made popular" or "introduced" something doesn't make it a hard fact. Please see this response to someone's claim that Apple "introduced" free-floating, overlapping, application windows: http://osnews.com/permalink.php?news_id=18941&comment_id=285052

Also, making something popular is a dubious achievement. Perhaps we should start a televised awards show for hucksterism -- I wonder who will win this year's "Huckie" for "largest reality distortion field."

The inventor is the one who should get the credit and accolades.


LCD's for example, was an American invention, it was the fact that it took until the 1980s when american companies finally realised the link between R&D, competitive advantage and producing products - where they finally protected the technology they developed.

Not sure what you mean here, but I think that it was long before the 1980s when American companies realized the importance of R&D, "competitive advantage" and production.



Nothing today is original; the vast majority of it has already been conceptualized years ago

An optimistic view.

A famous myth has Charles H. Duell, the U.S. Commissioner of Patents in 1899, saying, "Everything that can be invented has been invented." Although he did not really make the statement, surely, a lot of people have held that sentiment before and after that fictional moment. It is a good thing that the sentiment also has never proved to be true.


Lets not try to start a turf war over who invested who - the question should be who implemented the best

Okay. If who "best implemented" or "popularized" an invention is more important to you than who invented an item, then you won't mind if I reiterate three facts proven earlier in this article and thread:
- Jobs/Apple did not invent the dock;
- Jobs/Apple did not invent free-floating, overlapping application windows;
- and, Jobs/Apple did not invent the scrollbar.

Edited 2007-11-19 21:48

Reply Score: 2

kaiwai Member since:
2005-07-06

Before we start, your post score was at 0 - I 've added a point onto it by virtue of the fact that I don't like seeing discussion and debate killed because of the 'tyranny of the masses'. I would sooner see your unpopular post and allow me to dissect it than have it buried by those who take a militant attitude to their platform.

1) Don't confuse the ranting of a few fanboys for the vast majority of Mac people who know their computer history. To claim that 'Steve invented the GUI' is as stupid as claiming that 'without Microsoft, there would be no PC revolution".

No one owes Steve Jobs or Bill Gates (or their companies) anything; they aren't prophets, they aren't special beings or organisations whom, if they suddenly went, all innovation would cease to exist. They're merely companies filled with humans using their knowledge to create things; if those specific companies didn't exist, others would pop up.

2) Learn English, I put personally in the bracket as to infer that he personally didn't sit in a lab and create it. English isn't a difficult language, please spend time learning it before butchering it or worse, asking stupid questions.

3) There are loads of things which have been invented and never attributed to the original person; take Kellogg's cereal for example - no one ever demands that John Harvey Kellogg should be venerated - its always his brother which has the kudos for creating the Kellogg's we know today.

There is no use pointing out who created it if you don't acknowledge who put the money, marketing and 'soft capital' behind it to turn it from an idea on the drawing board into a usable and marketable product.

4) I don't know where you history come from but the Europeans have a had a heck of alot greater success internationally when it comes to commercialising consumer products. Most things in the US which people rant on about never make it outside the boarders.

Heck, there have been studies after studies regarding Europe vs. America in regards to consumer products - ignore them if you want and keep living in the deluded idea of the 'star spangled banner'.

5) Name one product out there that is completely and new an innovative - that is, created in a clean room without the input of any existing ideas or technology?

Everything today is built off the ideas of years ago; its the old story of 'on the shoulders of giants we stand'.

6) You have major English issues; learn the difference between implementation and popularisation - the two are very different. Creation, implementation and popularisation can occur completely separate from each other.

Reply Score: 3

tupp Member since:
2006-11-12

Before we start, your post score was at 0 - I 've added a point onto it

Okay. I've added a point to your post.


Don't confuse the ranting of a few fanboys for the vast majority of Mac people who know their computer history.

Well, unless a few fanboys are posting under numerous usernames, a lot of them out are out there posting wildly and ignoring rationality.


To claim that 'Steve invented the GUI' is as stupid as claiming that 'without Microsoft, there would be no PC revolution".

I agree that both claims are stupid. However, there are two important distinctions between the claims:
- (1) one claim refers to invention, which can have hard meaning and a definite, unique value, while the other claim involves the acts of "popularization" and "introducing a product," which are not as unique as invention, and which are rather nebulous, conceptually, with suspect value;
- (2) one claim is definitely not true, while the other (according to the loose and dubious notions of "popularization" and "introducing") could be interpreted to have some merit.


Learn English, I put personally in the bracket as to infer that he personally didn't sit in a lab and create it. English isn't a difficult language, please spend time learning it before butchering it or worse, asking stupid questions.

Sorry. I should have added "/sarcasm."

One should probably not refer to Steve Jobs as "Steve" unless one knows him personally (or unless one is ridiculing him or his followers). It is sort of unbecoming. As you said, "Steve Jobs and Bill Gates... are merely companies," and they are out to get your money. Referring to Mr. Jobs as "Steve" suggests a delusion that he is one's altruistic, "good buddy." So, I placed the quotation marks around Mr. Jobs' first name to denote this deluded familiarity.


There are loads of things which have been invented and never attributed to the original person; take Kellogg's cereal for example - no one ever demands that John Harvey Kellogg should be venerated - its always his brother which has the kudos for creating the Kellogg's we know today.

If John Harvey Kellogg single-handedly invented breakfast cereal, then he should get the credit for it, not his brother.


There is no use pointing out who created it if you don't acknowledge who put the money, marketing and 'soft capital' behind it to turn it from an idea on the drawing board into a usable and marketable product.

As an inventor and a designer, this view is rather disturbing, especially the notion that investors and marketing people make an invention "a usable and marketable product."

There are exponentially more investors, salesmen, marketeers and hucksters than there are people with unique ideas. Business people are interchangeable, inventors are not.

In other words, an invention can exist (and be successful) without business people, but no one can have a product without the inventor.

The inventor is more important than the business, marketing and sales people.


I don't know where you history come from but the Europeans have a had a heck of alot greater success internationally when it comes to commercialising consumer products. Most things in the US which people rant on about never make it outside the boarders.

Yes. I hate it when everyone rants about US-only products, such as: Ipods, Iphones, Mac Books. etc... /sarcasm

Seriously, I am not sure why you are addressing this issue -- did someone make a statement about US products versus non-US products? Certainly, the consumer market is much bigger outside of the US.


Name one product out there that is completely and new an innovative - that is, created in a clean room without the input of any existing ideas or technology? Everything today is built off the ideas of years ago...

I guess a lot of non-inventors tend to think that invention is always an obvious progression, because, after the product has been released, it is easy to look back and understand the steps in the invention's development. They do not comprehend the depth of the challenges faced by an inventor, engineer or designer when they have to come up with something that performs a certain task, while staring at a blank sheet of paper (or a blank screen). Nor do they realize that the significant "Eureka" moments often occur unprompted, and involve innovation that has nothing to do with one's current project.

Non-inventors often seem to think that innovation is classified into only two categories -- "completely new/unique" and "not completely new/unique." However, the uniqueness of innovation is less "black & white" than this notion and is more of matter of degree, on a scale between the two extremes of very obvious and very unique.

Also, non-inventors seem to have trouble discerning a invention's position on this scale. For instance, not much ever got mentioned about the Mac Trashcan, which sits near the top of the innovation scale, as it was completely unique and innovative, but the Iphone was declared "Invention Of The Year" by Time Magazine, and it actually sits near the bottom of the scale, being completely obvious and derivative.

By the way, the Mac Trashcan is probably the only Apple-originated item that is unique enough to be even close to the top of the innovation scale.

You asked me to name one product that is completely new and innovative, and I already have with the Mac Trashcan. Here are a few more off the top of my head: the Light Field digital lens http://www.refocusimaging.com/ ; the Weedeater; the Segway; the OPT water power buoy http://www.oceanpowertechnologies.com/index.htm ; the Hover Copter toy; the Air Car engine http://www.theaircar.com/ ; etc. There are a few more that I could name and undoubtedly zillions more of which I am ignorant.


You have major English issues; learn the difference between implementation and popularisation - the two are very different. Creation, implementation and popularisation can occur completely separate from each other.

I did use "implementation" and "popularization" as separate words. However, in Jobs/Apple debunking discussions, fanboys tend to lump the two acts into the single category of worship-worthy achievements.

Edited 2007-11-20 21:54

Reply Score: 1

PowerMacX Member since:
2005-11-06

"The task-bar on Windows 95 and on Windows 98 had the same basic function as the OSX dock, and both Windows OSs were used by millions."

Not at all! You are missing the entire point. There are:
1. Launchers
2. Task bars
2. Docks

And they are all different concepts. In windows you have a "quick launch" in addition to the taskbar and that allows you to launch things, but the task bar itself only allows switching between apps. Also, the quick launch bar in Windows behaves in a completely different way than a Dock, in that clicking an icon launches an app but clicking it again launches another instance of the same app, whereas on a dock it *switches* to that app if there is an already running instance.

So:
- In a launcher, clicking an app icon opens an instance
- In a task bar, only running apps appear and clicking on a button switches to the selected app
- In a Dock, clicking an app icon switches to the selected app OR launches it if it isn't already running.

Reply Score: 2

phoenix Member since:
2005-07-11

Where would you put Kicker, in that it has a quick launch area, a taskbar area, can hold icons for programs, has a systray area, has a clock, has a trash can, and can take a hold shwack of other plugins including things like a desktop switcher. ;)

Reply Score: 2

@google_ninja
by tupp on Sun 18th Nov 2007 22:15 UTC
tupp
Member since:
2006-11-12

Firstly, for the uninitiated, full-screen is not automatic in Windows nor in Linux, unless, perhaps, one is using a Linux tiling WM with no applications open. In every version of Windows (as I recall) and in every Linux Desktop/WM that I have used, the only applications that run full-screen are the ones that that the user wants to run full-screen.

The "modes" and "the Apple way" are interesting models of what is happening, but, because I have never had all full-screen apps in Windows and Linux, those models never occurred to me at anytime I ever used a computer, including my first computer, a 1984 Mac. I would guess that most others who use both Mac and non-Mac systems also do not see things in "modes" nor in the "Apple way." The size of the window is not important until there is a reason for the size to be important -- mainly, when it is obscuring something or when something in the background is distracting.

And, if one wants an app full screen, there are numerous ways to make it happen in Windows and Linux, but it is not as intuitive nor as easy to get a "true" full screen on a Mac. Also, there are problems with running applications "as large as they need to be": who decides how large they need to be (Steve Jobs?); and, sometimes, one has to scroll to reach content in a window reduced from full-screen.

As a product designer and as one who has extensively used Mac, Windows and Linux, I think that the Mac menu-bar being detached from the application window is a huge usability mistake. In addition, having all applications look and act the same can also cause usability problems -- there are definitely times when a window interface needs to be different.

Anyway, it is a minor point that the Windows task-bar has an additional feature of switching "modes" -- the feature is there if one wants to use it (but I don't really see how it differs much from clicking on an icon in the OSX dock).

Edited 2007-11-18 22:20

Reply Score: 3

RE: @google_ninja
by hobgoblin on Mon 19th Nov 2007 03:28 UTC in reply to "@google_ninja "
hobgoblin Member since:
2005-07-06

i think there is a algorithm that tries to size the image so that scroll bars go away or something, and goes full screen if it happens to hit that size and still not getting rid of them bars.

but thats just me guessing.

as for full screen or not, that depends.

i usually run file manager, im and audio non-full screen, office apps, mail and browser full screen, and videos either taking over the screen or in a window resized to fit the video.

Edited 2007-11-19 03:31 UTC

Reply Score: 2

RE: @google_ninja
by Flatland_Spider on Mon 19th Nov 2007 06:07 UTC in reply to "@google_ninja "
Flatland_Spider Member since:
2006-09-01

And, if one wants an app full screen, there are numerous ways to make it happen in Windows and Linux, but it is not as intuitive nor as easy to get a "true" full screen on a Mac.


As someone who owns a 12" Powerbook, not being able to fullscreen an app is annoying at times. On larger displays it's not a problem, who wants to look at OSnews fullscreen at 1600x1200, but on screens with limited real estate, 1024x768, it's a hassle.

Anyway, it is a minor point that the Windows task-bar has an additional feature of switching "modes" -- the feature is there if one wants to use it (but I don't really see how it differs much from clicking on an icon in the OSX dock).


I'm not really sold on Mac OS X having a more modeless GUI then any other GUI out there. As far as I can tell, there aren't a lot of apps that follow the vi mentality of a command mode and an edit mode. We maybe comparing apples to oranges, but it's all fruit. There aren't any vegetables thrown in.

Reply Score: 1

RE[2]: @google_ninja
by tupp on Mon 19th Nov 2007 06:41 UTC in reply to "RE: @google_ninja "
tupp Member since:
2006-11-12

... who wants to look at OSnews fullscreen at 1600x1200...

:)


...there aren't a lot of apps that follow the vi mentality of a command mode and an edit mode

I would like to have a version of OSX that runs alternately in command mode and edit mode.


We maybe comparing apples to oranges, but it's all fruit. There aren't any vegetables thrown in.

Agreed. Clementime is a tangerine: http://clementine.sourceforge.net/

Reply Score: 1

RE: @google_ninja
by alcibiades on Mon 19th Nov 2007 08:45 UTC in reply to "@google_ninja "
alcibiades Member since:
2005-10-12

As a product designer and as one who has extensively used Mac, Windows and Linux, I think that the Mac menu-bar being detached from the application window is a huge usability mistake.

Agreed. And what is most paradoxical about it, as an error, is that exactly the point at which you need to have the menu-bar on the application window, is when you are running many apps at the same time. But this ability was always one of the strengths of the old Apple OS, and there were lots of studies showing how Mac users did use more different apps. How weird it should be that your HIG rules end up being exactly what makes the original unique selling point of the system harder rather than easier to use!

Its a classic instance of how Apple's HIGs, which started out in a different era as being rules fostering innovation and usability, as the world moved on, became a sort of dead hand of conservatism. The continued insistence on the single button mouse was exactly the same sort of thing.

The other classic instance of it is the way in which the guidelines are all designed around one non-tabbing desktop as the way to do things. Whereas in fact the right way in many cases is virtual desktops. If you wrote your HIG with multiple desktops in mind, half of it would have to be thrown out.

Well, they did finally get to multi-button mice, and they have now at last admitted virtual desktops with Spaces, so there is progress, however glacial.

Reply Score: 4

RE[2]: @google_ninja
by Pixie on Wed 21st Nov 2007 00:28 UTC in reply to "RE: @google_ninja "
Pixie Member since:
2005-09-30

Agreed. And what is most paradoxical about it, as an error, is that exactly the point at which you need to have the menu-bar on the application window, is when you are running many apps at the same time.


Which error would that be? Going on an assumption of it to be true so you could declare it a paradox?


But this ability was always one of the strengths of the old Apple OS, and there were lots of studies showing how Mac users did use more different apps


It shows that under a false premise anything can happen...


Its a classic instance of how Apple's HIGs, which started out in a different era as being rules fostering innovation and usability, as the world moved on, became a sort of dead hand of conservatism.


Very much like our hands... bounds, bounds bounds everywhere...


The continued insistence on the single button mouse was exactly the same sort of thing.


I thought that two mouse buttons were common place, sorry never used one single button mouse on a mac although I might as well use (sometimes just for fun I use it, cause you know, my two button mouse still has the left one;)), however on windows one mouse is cumbersome to use...


If you wrote your HIG with multiple desktops in mind, half of it would have to be thrown out.


Please don't tell that to those who'd made Leopard, they might get into trouble...


Well, they did finally get to multi-button mice, and they have now at last admitted virtual desktops with Spaces, so there is progress, however glacial.


Wakes me up when Linux has something worth to be called UI...

Edited 2007-11-21 00:30

Reply Score: 1

RE: @google_ninja
by Hozz on Mon 19th Nov 2007 08:57 UTC in reply to "@google_ninja "
Hozz Member since:
2007-03-19

I was quite stumped by that comment as well; I know that many windows/linux users intuitively maximise the window of the current running app, but that by no means makes it standard.
I, for one, despise maximized windows and run my apps the size I feel they should be, and so that I still have my other windows visible beneath that - and I've never owned a mac until a few weeks back when a friend gave me an obsolete powermac G4, so it's not a habit I've carried over or anything like that. I like toying around with OS X, but my main PC's still running Ubuntu, and my windows are not maximized.

Going back, even on Windows 3.11, I never ran apps maximized - I even resized the main window to make the minimized app icons visible (a crude dock/taskbar?).

Again, maximizing the window of the currently running app is left to the discretion of the user, and I think that's great. Forcing the user to not be able to do so is... not that great.

Reply Score: 2

RE: @google_ninja
by Pixie on Wed 21st Nov 2007 00:17 UTC in reply to "@google_ninja "
Pixie Member since:
2005-09-30

As a product designer and as one who has extensively used Mac, Windows and Linux, I think that the Mac menu-bar being detached from the application window is a huge usability mistake.


Mac Menu bar isn't detached from the application, the window itself isn't the window, just look at photoshop, dreamweaver, etc to look what apps looks alike, even those finder windows aren't applications by themselves why would you repeat one menu for each one?

Giving the function remain the same, it should be on the same spot so users knows where to look for when they want to perform the action they want, in the same way that once you learn how to drive you do it automatically, no need to search for the wheel because things are where expected to. Given that where better to place it then on one of the edges of the screen where you can bump right into it with mouse?

I don't want to go on your job but when invoking a title of 'product designer' without knowing even the fitt's law just makes me wonder how did that happen...


In addition, having all applications look and act the same can also cause usability problems -- there are definitely times when a window interface needs to be different.


Photoshop is still different from Cinema4d from DreamWeaver, from iDVD, Pages... Things which are the same should remain the same and not implemented in multitude of ways just for the sake of it.

Edited 2007-11-21 00:31

Reply Score: 1

RE[2]: @google_ninja
by tupp on Wed 21st Nov 2007 03:44 UTC in reply to "RE: @google_ninja "
tupp Member since:
2006-11-12

Mac Menu bar isn't detached from the application

Really?


the window itself isn't the window

If that statement were actually true, OSX might have a slightly bigger usability problem than the detached menu-bar.


just look at photoshop, dreamweaver, etc to look what apps looks alike, even those finder windows aren't applications by themselves why would you repeat one menu for each one?

With the menu-bar attached to the window, menus don't have to be repeated in multi-windowed applications -- look at how multi-windowed Photoshop is handled in Windows, look at how multi-windowed Gimp is handled in *nix. And even if a menu is repeated, there is no usability conflict, nor will the computer explode.


Giving the function remain the same, it should be on the same spot so users knows where to look for when they want to perform the action they want, in the same way that once you learn how to drive you do it automatically, no need to search for the wheel because things are where expected to.

Yes. Yes. The subject of spatial memory and conditioning has been covered ad nauseum in this thread (and elsewhere), and the Mac GUI does not have an advantage in that regard.


Given that where better to place it then on one of the edges of the screen where you can bump right into it with mouse?

Having the menu bar on the edge of its application window is better -- it prevents a lot of confusion/disorientation, which is usually more important than occasionally taking a split-second longer to hit an application menu.

Often, users interact with the content, window buttons and window borders more than the application menu. Application toolbars and palette buttons can get even more interaction. So, if you really want to take advantage of the "infinitely large" targets on the screen edge, put the toolbars and pallet buttons there (some *nix WMs/desktops allow this configuration with certain apps).

By the way, a target isn't easy to hit just because you put it on the edge of the screen -- try hitting on the edge of the screen an "infinitely large" target that is one pixel wide.


I don't want to go on your job but when invoking a title of 'product designer' without knowing even the fitt's law just makes me wonder how did that happen...

Please stop. The last thing that a forum such as OSNews needs is one more Mac fanboy incessantly barking the term "Fitts' Law" like a flipping, hyperactive Jack Russell Terrier.

Most Mac fanboys who reference Fitts' Law don't really understand usability nor the psycho-motor model postulated by Paul Fitts in 1954 (when there were no computer graphical interfaces).

The notion that the Mac menu-bars are detached at the top of the screen to "comply" with Fitts' Law is "BS." According to Fitts' law, distance to the target is also a direct function of the aiming precision required. So, with the Mac menu-bar always at the top of the screen, the targets are always the furthest distance away from the work -- an OSX detriment.

And if Apple was really concerned with making it easier to click on targets, it would enlarge the clicking area of more of its widgets, for instance, the click-able area of the "jelly-blobs" should encompass the full window border outside of the "jelly-blob."

Unlike OSX, some OSs/desktops/window-managers are actually designed to take advantage of the screen edge/corners, such as SymphonyOS's Mezzo desktop (note the corner and edge widgets in this screenshot): http://www.symphonyos.com/ss/sos-2007b.jpg


Photoshop is still different from Cinema4d from DreamWeaver, from iDVD, Pages... Things which are the same should remain the same and not implemented in multitude of ways just for the sake of it.

Okay.

Edited 2007-11-21 03:51

Reply Score: 1

RE[3]: @google_ninja
by Pixie on Wed 21st Nov 2007 11:11 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: @google_ninja "
Pixie Member since:
2005-09-30

Where it reads:

the window itself isn't the window

should instead be read:
the window itself isn't the app.

With the menu-bar attached to the window, menus don't have to be repeated in multi-windowed applications -- look at how multi-windowed Photoshop is handled in Windows, look at how multi-windowed Gimp is handled in *nix. And even if a menu is repeated, there is no usability conflict, nor will the computer explode.

Of course, it emulates the behavior of Mac...
BTW GIMP and usability even if at the same paragraph doesn't mix...

Often, users interact with the content, window buttons and window borders more than the application menu. Application toolbars and palette buttons can get even more interaction. So, if you really want to take advantage of the "infinitely large" targets on the screen edge, put the toolbars and pallet buttons there (some *nix WMs/desktops allow this configuration with certain apps).


You know, Menu happens to be there already...


[/q]By the way, a target isn't easy to hit just because you put it on the edge of the screen -- try hitting on the edge of the screen an "infinitely large" target that is one pixel wide. [/q]

How do you know, you obviously doesn't use it.


Please stop. The last thing that a forum such as OSNews needs is one more Mac fanboy incessantly barking the term "Fitts' Law" like a flipping, hyperactive Jack Russell Terrier.

No Mac fan boy, altough I've been using the menu system system since the dawn of the times (ie- Amiga) I know what feels better and Fitt's law just happen to show I'm right.

[p] So, with the Mac menu-bar always at the top of the screen, the targets are always the furthest distance away from the work -- an OSX detriment. [/q]

Although far it is reached faster, and it's not even me saying it, usability tests are...


Unlike OSX, some OSs/desktops/window-managers are actually designed to take advantage of the screen edge/corners, such as SymphonyOS's Mezzo desktop (note the corner and edge widgets in this screenshot): http://www.symphonyos.com/ss/sos-2007b.jpg

My corners are working fine thank you very much, it only seems that you haven't work with all MacOSX has to offer...

cheers

Reply Score: 1

RE[4]: @google_ninja
by tupp on Wed 21st Nov 2007 20:19 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: @google_ninja "
tupp Member since:
2006-11-12

No Mac fan boy

Sure you aren't. Nobody is a Mac fanboy.


Of course, it emulates the behavior of Mac...

Perhaps you would care to be specific on exactly how the window configurations of Windows Photoshop and the Gimp emulate the Mac.


BTW GIMP and usability even if at the same paragraph doesn't mix...

Not really. The Gimp just gets a bad rap because a lot of people who try it are already conditioned to Photoshop, and, perhaps, because it lacks a few features. Often, one assumes that a new application has inferior usability, because that application doesn't work like the one with which they are familiar.


So, if you really want to take advantage of the "infinitely large" targets on the screen edge, put the toolbars and pallet buttons there (some *nix WMs/desktops allow this configuration with certain apps).
You know, Menu happens to be there already...


In OSX, you are correct -- almost everything has already been decided for you and you cannot change it. However, with *nix and Windows, one has many more choices.


I've been using the menu system system since the dawn of the times (ie- Amiga) I know what feels better and Fitt's law just happen to show I'm right.

What are you right about? You never seem to make any specific claims.

By the way, GUI menus appeared in the Xerox Alto over a decade before the Amiga. I am not going to bother linking another screenshot -- look at the ones posted earlier in this thread.


So, with the Mac menu-bar always at the top of the screen, the targets are always the furthest distance away from the work -- an OSX detriment.
Although far it is reached faster, and it's not even me saying it, usability tests are...


Perhaps you could reference these tests. Did they test varying distances between the starting position and the targets on the screen edge?


By the way, a target isn't easy to hit just because you put it on the edge of the screen -- try hitting on the edge of the screen an "infinitely large" target that is one pixel wide.
How do you know, you obviously doesn't use it.


Well, how about if I put it another way:

I will bet you US$1000.00 that nine out of ten random people cannot, in a single attempt, click on a white, 1-pixel target centered on the top edge of a black, 1024x768 screen, given a standard pointer positioned on the bottom edge of the screen and two seconds (a usability eternity) to accomplish the task.

Care to put your money where your mouth is?

Edited 2007-11-21 20:22

Reply Score: 1

RE[5]: @google_ninja
by Pixie on Thu 22nd Nov 2007 20:15 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: @google_ninja "
Pixie Member since:
2005-09-30

"Sure you aren't. Nobody is a Mac fanboy. "
I have a bachelor in webdesign it's quite different. I had to learn about usability issues... as for using a Mac, only have one since January, don't have the time needed for being a fanboy.

"Perhaps you would care to be specific on exactly how the window configurations of Windows Photoshop and the Gimp emulate the Mac."
Who cares about Gimp, photoshop has a menu in top of the window of which when magnified has its menu on top, as mac does.

"In OSX, you are correct -- almost everything has already been decided for you and you cannot change it. However, with *nix and Windows, one has many more choices. "
OSX is *unix if you do not know. As for having more choices, do you know... consistency is a good thing, thinks shouldn't run amok, you don't have to learn different tools for the same job, you can have choice as long as it keeps being the same. If you open a file requester you should be able to choose what kind of file requester is, but it should be transversal along the system, that's what explorer and finder are...

"By the way, GUI menus appeared in the Xerox Alto over a decade before the Amiga. I am not going to bother linking another screenshot -- look at the ones posted earlier in this thread."
Joe User wise? Who cares if some special cult had used/developed it before, they came up with a concept, Amiga (and Apple) actually had apps that used that concept, there's a difference between knowing the path and walking the path...

"Perhaps you could reference these tests. Did they test varying distances between the starting position and the targets on the screen edge? "
You know that mouse pointer has acceleration or can be made to... as for the tests, please find them yourself, they will enlighten you.

"I will bet you US$1000.00 that nine out of ten random people cannot, in a single attempt, click on a white, 1-pixel target centered on the top edge of a black, 1024x768 screen, given a standard pointer positioned on the bottom edge of the screen and two seconds (a usability eternity) to accomplish the task. "
I don't giva a damn with fairy 'use cases' tales, I care with real world real use cases, if you came up with one which belongs to it be my guest otherwise you're talking to the wrong guy and failing to make a point altogether...

Reply Score: 1

RE[6]: @google_ninja
by tupp on Fri 23rd Nov 2007 05:33 UTC in reply to "RE[5]: @google_ninja "
tupp Member since:
2006-11-12

as for using a Mac, only have one since January, don't have the time needed for being a fanboy.

Because of the permeating Apple/Jobs hype and the rabid Mac user-base, many are Mac fanboys before their first purchase of an Apple product.

Even if most Mac fanboys became so after their first Mac purchase, it doesn't take long before they become frothing-at-the-mouth, Apple-slogan-spewing zombies.

Here is a quote made by a Mac user immediately following a keynote speech by Steve Jobs: "I've had a Macintosh now for a total of 35 days, and I'm really excited to be part of the Mac community." Keep in mind that this gushing mac user merely bought a computer one month prior.

By the way, this quote can be found in this ABC News article: http://abcnews.go.com/Technology/Story?id=2782509&page=2


Who cares about Gimp

Uh, perhaps the 1000s of Gimp users and the hundreds of post-production people in the movie industry who use Cinepaint (a fork of the Gimp) and not Photoshop.


photoshop has a menu in top of the window of which when magnified has its menu on top, as mac does.

Of course, when Photoshop is not maximized the menu is not at the top of the screen -- which is not as Mac does and which is often the case when one has a large monitor.


OSX is *unix if you do not know.

SHAZAM!


As for having more choices, do you know... consistency is a good thing, thinks shouldn't run amok, you don't have to learn different tools for the same job, you can have choice as long as it keeps being the same. If you open a file requester you should be able to choose what kind of file requester is, but it should be transversal along the system, that's what explorer and finder are...

Yes. Consistency is important but not always imperative, and, sometimes, it is advantageous to have certain inconsistencies. Consistency comes under the usability heading of "conditioning" which, as I have said, has been thoroughly covered in this thread.

However, before a user gets conditioned to his gui, the user can make a lot of choices about the configuration of the GUI, without detriment. Also, after the conditioning process, users can often make choices about their gui which are improvements.

The Mac gui does not allow a lot of choice, while most other guis do.


"By the way, GUI menus appeared in the Xerox Alto over a decade before the Amiga. I am not going to bother linking another screenshot -- look at the ones posted earlier in this thread."
Joe User wise? Who cares if some special cult had used/developed it before...


Okay. So, you are saying that Xerox is a special, multi-national-corporation-who-revolutionized-the-gui cult.

In regards to "Joe User," he doesn't care about the Amiga nor the Mac -- he is using Windows (and, soon, probably, Linux: http://www.desktoplinux.com/news/NS8642294935.html).


they came up with a concept [gui menus], Amiga (and Apple) actually had apps that used that concept

The insidious Xerox cult must have fabricated these screenshots of pre-Mac/pre-Amiga applications showing hierarchical, gui menus, just to fool Joe User:
http://toastytech.com/guis/altorainbow.jpg
http://www.digibarn.com/friends/curbow/star/2/p4-lg.jpg


there's a difference between knowing the path and walking the path...

And I am beginning to realize that point more and more, with each one of your posts.


I have a bachelor in webdesign

Congratulations on that.


I had to learn about usability issues...

Judging from your ignorance of Xerox, the program didn't exactly stress gui usability history. I wonder if there were any other gaps in the curriculum.


"Perhaps you could reference these tests. Did they test varying distances between the starting position and the targets on the screen edge? "
You know that mouse pointer has acceleration or can be made to... as for the tests, please find them yourself, they will enlighten you.


Who said anything about mouse acceleration?

By the way, I read the studies that you have chosen not to reference, and they found that distance affects time/accuracy in reaching pointer targets positioned on the top of the screen, according to Fitts law.


I don't giva a damn with fairy 'use cases' tales, I care with real world real use cases, if you came up with one which belongs to it be my guest otherwise you're talking to the wrong guy and failing to make a point altogether...

I see. You only give credence to real world cases, such as your usability "tests."

I think that most will agree that things get sobering and "real world" almost instantly when one is wagering a serious chunk of money. If you don't believe me, go into Las Vegas casino and try to snatch back a lost US$1000 table bet with your argument that the bet was a "fairy 'use case'" -- you will very quickly find yourself in a real world jail.

So, how about it? As I said earlier in my bet, just because a target is on the screen edge, it doesn't mean that it can be hit within two seconds. If you think that I am wrong, then you could win an easy US$1000, otherwise, you are admitting that I am right and that you are wrong.

Edited 2007-11-23 05:42

Reply Score: 1

RE[7]: @google_ninja
by Pixie on Fri 23rd Nov 2007 09:35 UTC in reply to "RE[6]: @google_ninja "
Pixie Member since:
2005-09-30

"Judging from your ignorance of Xerox, the program didn't exactly stress gui usability history. I wonder if there were any other gaps in the curriculum. "
My Ignorance? Since when Xerox had went mainstream? I was talking about implementations that real people used along with tons of apps And I DO know Xerox, and I do know that either Mac and Amiga GUIs were way ahead functionality wise then of Xerox that were mainly Primitives of GUI, concepts...

"I see. You only give credence to real world cases, such as your usability "tests." "
Pay the money and I might trouble seeking them again, otherwise why bother? It's you loosing anyway...

(as it was a 2s search I will give you it freely: http://www.asktog.com/columns/022DesignedToGiveFitts.html )

"I think that most will agree that things get sobering and "real world" almost instantly when one is wagering a serious chunk of money."
It would win against a single pixel randomly placed on the center of the screen.

"If you don't believe me, go into Las Vegas casino and try to snatch back a lost US$1000 table bet with your argument that the bet was a "fairy 'use case'" -- you will very quickly find yourself in a real world jail. "
Who said i was going on silly bets?

"So, how about it? As I said earlier in my bet, just because a target is on the screen edge, it doesn't mean that it can be hit within two seconds. "
Your bet is much worth as most of what you say. What relevance has one pixel whatsoever on the screen when there's NO implementation relying on it? It has no relevance whatsoever, by being right what exactly is your point? Is it actually easier to pick a random placed dot in the middle of the screen then a random dot placed on the edge of the screen? Now that would be something willing to bet, but I'm not into bets, I prefer to let you keep with you money.

Edited 2007-11-23 09:44

Reply Score: 1

RE[2]: @google_ninja
by phoenix on Thu 22nd Nov 2007 04:07 UTC in reply to "RE: @google_ninja "
phoenix Member since:
2005-07-11

If you have a high resolution monitor, and a bunch of applications open all with the windows sized such that you can see and interact with a bunch of them, don't you get annoyed at having to go to the top of the screen to do things in the menus? I know I've been annoyed when playing with the demo Macs at the Apple stores here in town.

Having a nice, smallish window open in the bottom-right of a 1600x1200 or larger screen, wanting to activate something in the menu, and having to move both my eyes and my cursor out of the window to get to the menu is a royal PITA.

Put the menus in the window, right close by where the cursor is.

If you run all your windows/apps full-screen-ish, then it makes sense to put the menu bar at the top. But if you have many smallish windows all over the screen, it makes a lot more sense to put the menus in the window.

The Mac menu bar made sense on 9" screens when it first came out. It doesn't make as much sense on 22" screens nowadays.

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: @google_ninja
by Pixie on Thu 22nd Nov 2007 20:19 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: @google_ninja "
Pixie Member since:
2005-09-30

"I know I've been annoyed when playing with the demo Macs at the Apple stores here in town. "

Someone tries once the system then, all suddenly they all think they'd mastered it, as always had use one... do you know acceleration is? Your mouse has it...

"The Mac menu bar made sense on 9" screens when it first came out. It doesn't make as much sense on 22" screens nowadays."
No problem on my 22"...

Reply Score: 1

Problems with the OSNews interface.
by tupp on Sun 18th Nov 2007 22:17 UTC
tupp
Member since:
2006-11-12

Is anyone else suddenly having problems posting here?

Reply Score: 1

Almafeta Member since:
2007-02-22

Like crazy. They're moving servers.

Reply Score: 1

cde
by zizban on Mon 19th Nov 2007 02:33 UTC
zizban
Member since:
2005-07-06

I like cde as well but the front panel cannot be resized. Only moved or minimized.

Reply Score: 2

RE: cde
by Doc Pain on Mon 19th Nov 2007 23:41 UTC in reply to "cde"
Doc Pain Member since:
2006-10-08

"I like cde as well but the front panel cannot be resized. Only moved or minimized."

I think this is intended. As many things in CDE are designed with a well intended background, any action that would be useless (e. g. resizing the front panel "just this way") cannot be done.

In the CDE "reimplementation" XFCE 3 you can change the size of the icons in the front panel. The panel will resize according to geometry and number of icons. I'm not sure if the original CDE has this feature, too, I've got no Solaris/CDE available at the moment, but out of curiosity I'll check next week.

Reply Score: 2

Parallel evolution
by senornoodle on Mon 19th Nov 2007 04:07 UTC
senornoodle
Member since:
2005-07-12

"Now, this whole dock thing was of course another example of similar people coming up with similar solutions to similar problems in a similar timespan (I need a term for that)"

Sound similar enough to use the term 'parallel evolution' to me.

Reply Score: 1

RE: Parallel evolution
by tupp on Mon 19th Nov 2007 04:29 UTC in reply to "Parallel evolution"
tupp Member since:
2006-11-12

"Now, this whole dock thing was of course another example of similar people coming up with similar solutions to similar problems in a similar timespan (I need a term for that)"
Sound similar enough to use the term 'parallel evolution' to me.


Yes, it is parallel evolution if "similar timespan" means 1985 (Microsoft dock/taskbar), 1987 (RISC OS icon bar) and 1988 (NeXTSTEP dock).

Reply Score: 1

RE[2]: Parallel evolution
by senornoodle on Mon 19th Nov 2007 04:56 UTC in reply to "RE: Parallel evolution"
senornoodle Member since:
2005-07-12

Oh sorry I wasn't trying to pick flaws in the article or say the people copied Microsoft or whatever, so I didn't catch that!

Reply Score: 1

LeopardDocks
by Finchwizard on Mon 19th Nov 2007 05:04 UTC
Finchwizard
Member since:
2006-02-01

Be sure to check out Leopard Docks.
http://www.leoparddocks.com/

You can change how your dock looks on Leopard.

It's still a manual way of changing it, but I'm sure there will be an App written really soon to do it automagically.

I personally love the Dock in OS X, it's very handy.

Reply Score: 2

Flatland_Spider
Member since:
2006-09-01

Since the dock expands and contracts both east and westwards, you are never quite sure where each individual icon is currently residing (spatial memory, anyone?).


Thom, not knowing where the application is going to be and destroying spatial memory is a carefully constructed design feature. ;)

If the user can't rely on muscle memory, the user has to stop and think about what needs to happen. It's like a speed bump, it slows the user down making them think about what they are doing. Since the user is going slower thinking about what they are doing, they make fewer mistakes.

Reply Score: 1

What I find kind of amusing, Thom
by bogomipz on Mon 19th Nov 2007 07:32 UTC
bogomipz
Member since:
2005-07-11

is that your three major pains with OS X's Dock were more or less solved in the days of NeXT.

Positioning issues
Nothing ever moved by itself in the NeXT Dock. Running applications and minimized windows appeared at the bottom of the screen. Each icon found a free spot, and stayed there until it either disappeared or you dragged it somewhere else. As you can see from the screenshot linked below, removing an icon would not make the others reorganize. The Dock itself contained only what you had chosen to drag there, and things stayed in the exact positions you had placed them.

Trash icon
The Recycler was by default placed in the bottom slot of the Dock, which meant in the lower right corner of the screen. That's Fit's Law kicking in, although Cmd-d is probably faster anyway.

Labels on files and folders
Here the difference becomes bigger because NeXT didn't show open files and folders in any kind of task list. Only minimized windows would have icons, and they would have a black ribbon at the top with the window title in it, except for file viewers which would have the actual folder names. Shortcuts to files and folders were not placed in the Dock, but in a file viewer's Shelf, with proper labels. Strictly speaking, the mini windows were not part of the Dock either.

Here's a screenshot Google was kind enough to come up with; http://homepage.mac.com/troy_stephens/OpenStep/screenShots/OPENSTEP...

I'm not saying the Dock in OPENSTEP was perfect. It could have allowed more than one screen height of icons, and it could have added a layers concept like in the Dock replacement known as the Fiend. But still, I do feel it had some sort of elegance to it, even if it was not spilled with eye candy.

Reply Score: 2

Hacks
by sanctus on Mon 19th Nov 2007 16:46 UTC
sanctus
Member since:
2005-08-31

You give example of hack for the Dock in OSX, do you have any links to these hacks?

Reply Score: 1

Quicksilver
by rickb on Wed 21st Nov 2007 21:30 UTC
rickb
Member since:
2007-06-25

You know after using Quicksilver for a couple of weeks, I've found I've completely lost interest in these interface debates. I've removed everything from my dock and desktop, turn on autohide and only bring it up with a keyboard shortcut for use as an occasional application switcher (although I normally use Quicksilver for that too). Down with the mouse, keyboard interface uber alles!

Anybody know how to keep the dock from popping up on mouse over? That's really my only annoyance with the dock at this point. I suppose I could just ditch it all together by removing the dock app to prevent it from launching at startup.

Reply Score: 1