On 05/01/2004 07:16:32 PM, Sven Neumann wrote:

There are a couple of good arguments against this "feature". Basically it is agreed that WiW is a bad concept that is being dropped by all major software companies nowadays. It was only ever introduced to work around the problem that some operating systems, namely Windows, don't handle many windows very well. So we should ask ourselves why people keep asking for it. I remember people mainly giving the following reasons:

 (1) multiple windows clutter the taskbar
 (2) the application can't be minimized/maximized as a whole

(3) the windows that are below it are not hidden by the application (4) the application can't be "shaded" (i.e. leave only the window title bar) as a whole

For me there's another reason explained below.

GIMP addresses these points by setting the same WM_CLASS attribute on all GIMP windows, including plug-in dialogs. This allows the window manager to group the GIMP windows.

Personally I find it irritating to have so many windows open at once. In WindowMaker my only choice is to guess which of the icons is the GIMP one because it doesn't provide an icon that WindowMaker likes, so in practice I can't raise all windows at once. I also find confusing that between the image and the toolbox or the layers or the info window there can be windows from different applications. Of course a solution is to dedicate a virtual desktop only for the gimp but that's not practical sometimes.

This means that GIMP only shows up as a single item in the taskbar and that all its windows can be minimized/maximized together. Most window managers on Linux support this and I heard that Windows XP does at least support the taskbar grouping. I am not sure where Mac OS X stands here.

Taskbar grouping doesn't help since when you click on the taskbar button what you get is a menu of windows to choose from. It reduces the cluttering of the taskbar but does not allow raising all windows at once.

There are a couple of technical arguments against the implementation
of a WiW user interface. First of all, there's no support from GTK+,

I'd say that first of all there's no WiW standard for window managers to comply. As a consequence, the embedded windows must be managed and decorated by the application rather than by the window manager, resulting in ugly hacks like those of kvirc and Scribus. Now this implies your argument about the lack of support from GTK+, which should act as a (sub)window manager for these reasons.

Another argument is that we would certainly not want to drop the current user interface since it works well for a lot of people. So

I seriously doubt that any user would object against having WiW in the preferences.

the WiW feature would have to implemented transparently for the rest of the application and doing this will be very difficult.

I don't think it would be so difficult actually, as it's just a matter of reparenting windows.

I am making an experiment about transient windows. It is not window-in- window but uses a background window similarly to what "Deweirdifier" does. If it works well, maybe I can make the patch available as an attachment to bug #7379. Here's the result:


(unlike http://perso.wanadoo.es/p.gimeno/temp/mdi-proposal-800.png this one is NOT a mockup but an actual screenshot)

Pedro Gimeno

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