Linked by Thom Holwerda on Wed 17th Jun 2015 13:51 UTC
Windows Windows is an old and complex operating system. It's been around for a very long time, and while it's been continuously updated and altered, and parts are removed or replaced all the time, the operating system still houses quite a few tools, utilities, and assets that haven't been updated or replaced in a long, long time. Most of these are hidden in deep nooks and crannies, and you rarely encounter them, unless you start hunting for them.

Most. But not all.

There's one utility that I need to use quite often that, seemingly, hasn't been updated - at least, not considerably - since at least Windows 95, or possibly even Windows 3.x. Using this utility is an exercise in pure frustration, riddled as it is with terrible user interface design and behaviour that never should have shipped as part of any serious software product.

This is the story of the dreaded Character Map. I'll first explain just how bad it really is, after which I'll dive into the little application's history, to try and find out why, exactly, it is as bad as it is. It turns out that the Character Map - or charmap.exe - seems to exist in a sort-of Windows build limbo, and has been stuck there since the days Microsoft scrapped Longhorn, and started over.

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Comment by ssokolow
by ssokolow on Wed 17th Jun 2015 15:52 UTC
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However, this is not possible. Even if you click inside the grid to activate it, it simply does not accept scroll wheel input. Instead, the font dropdown menu at the top of the window always has scroll focus. To this day, even after countless years of using the Character Map, I still instinctively start scrolling with my scroll wheel, only to have it jump from font to font.

As I see it, the whole "scroll input goes to the focused element" paradigm is broken.

I much prefer the X11 approach where mouse clicks (the scroll wheel is buttons 4 and 5 internally) go direct to the window under the cursor unless intercepted via XGrabButton() and the window manager can choose whether or not to shift focus as a side-effect.

Having "mouse input goes to the window under the cursor and focus may or may not follow" just feels much more intuitive as a default and it's definitely more streamlined.

(eg. I've got it set up so buttons 1 through 3 switch focus, the scroll wheel doesn't switch focus, and the back/forward buttons on my Logitech G3 are prevented from reaching apps and instead switch workspaces.)

Reply Score: 4

RE: Comment by ssokolow
by PieterGen on Thu 18th Jun 2015 09:42 in reply to "Comment by ssokolow"
PieterGen Member since:

Agreed. This is window managers behaviour. I too much prefer the usual Linux behaviour. Tweaking this behaviour in Linux window managers is easy, in Windows is it very hard

Reply Parent Score: 3