[actualtools.com] Actual Window Manager 5.5 beta 3 is available!

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Good day, John Smith!

Hope you are still interested in the progress of Actual Window Manager 5.5 development; if so, I'm glad to tell you that our Beta Testing section has been recently updated: the 3rd beta is available there for downloading and testing. Though this beta is mostly the service release containing many fixes and improvements for the features introduced in previous versions but it also offers some new functions (such as classic Window Snapping mode).

Necessary warning: right after releasing beta 3, there has been discovered serious bug which could lead to the loss of Desktop Profiles settings. This bug has been fixed immediately after it was discovered, and the beta 3 update has been released so that if you are using the Desktop Profiles feature - I strongly recommend you to re-download and re-install this beta upon receiving this newsletter.

Download Actual Window Manager 5.5 beta 3!

In this issue:


Window Snapping feature is a de-facto standard in Unix/Linux window managers and it's been requested regularly all the time our products exist (for example, here, here or here) - finally we are happy to bring it to life! Its another name is "magnetic/sticky borders": while you drag or size a window with the mouse, its borders automatically "stick" (or "snap") for some time to such visual bounds as desktop/monitor boundaries or other windows; if you continue to drag/size - the stuck window's border will "unstick" from the bound it was stuck to and then go freely until you drag it to another bound. This feature can greatly simplify and ease the momentary allocation of windows - it frees you from the over-scrupulous mouse manipulations when you try to place some windows side-by-side without both overlapping and gaps or place a window exactly at the desktop boundary. In most cases, this is exactly what you want so that window snapping makes window dragging/sizing far more intuitive and convenient. Further advancement of this feature is moving/sizing a window not continuously but gradually with some defined step (e.g. 10 pixels, 20 pixels, etc.). And the final touch - window snapping works well together with the Easy Moving/Sizing feature added in beta 2. You can enable window snapping and adjust its properties in the Options window as shown below:

Extended Window Snapping options: snap to desktop/monitor boundaries, snap to other windows, snap to grid

As you can see, for now we have added the Classic Window Snapping as an alternative to the Aero Snap introduced in the version 5.4. Although in most cases these two modes are not mutually exclusive, in some situations (like sizing a window vertically or dragging a window to desktop's top boundary) they may cause an ambiguous behavior so that we decided to separate them in this beta. If you think you need both these modes active simultaneously - please tell us your reasons and share your thoughts on how these two approaches to window snapping should co-operate in ambiguous situations.
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As I promised in the previous newsletter issue, in this beta we present the complete implementation of the notification area for the Multi-monitor Taskbar extension: now notification area clones on secondary taskbars support the ability to hide inactive icons which is essential to keep the useful taskbar space as large as possible. Thus, you can unwrap and wrap back the icons in secondary notification areas in the same manner you do in the primary one. You can control this feature in the regular "Taskbar and Start Menu Properties" system dialog (see the "Hide inactive icons" option).
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Since we provided the Desktop Profiles Manager, we receive requests to add there the control of display orientation. In this beta we have tried to fulfill this request, at least partially, and added the ability to customize the display orientation in the Desktop Profiles properties.

Display orientation control will work only with the display adapters that explicitly report to Windows about their rotation capabilities in the form of advanced video modes added to the list of supported modes. For such adapter, the list of supported modes will contain such entries as, for example, 768x1024, 1024x1280, 1200x1600, etc. for the "portrait" orientation. If your display adapter allows such way of display rotation, you will see the additional Display Orientation group of controls in the Monitors Layout and Settings tab, as shown below:

How to specify custom display orientation: landscape, portrait, reversed landscape, reversed portrait
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As I said above - this beta is a service release: it contains so many bugfixes and improvements so that I divided them into two separate sections instead of a single combined one. First - the improvements:

  • the Multi-monitor Taskbar extension now supports the "Small icons" option for secondary taskbars in Windows 7;

  • now you can customize the modifier keys for reordering taskbar buttons;
    How to specify custom modifier keys for taskbar reordering

  • the option to select the click type (single or double) to restore a window from the tray/screen icon has been added;
    How to select the click type (single or double) to restore a window from the tray/screen icon

  • the Keep persistent option of the Change Caption action has been restored so that one might just freeze certain window caption string, without the need to specify the replacing string value;
    How to keep a window caption unchanged

  • Open as and Move to Virtual Desktop startup actions are now subject for the mode that blocks the premature window appearance until all Startup actions are applied;

  • now if the Transparent while inactive option is enabled for some window the window won't become transparent if it loses the focus because of its child window appearance (i.e. you still continue to work with the same application so that it remains active in whole).

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Second - the bugfixes:

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(Regular beta testers - skip this paragraph! :) ) If you are interested in downloading and testing Actual Window Manager 5.5 beta 3 then let me tell you the terms of our beta testing:

  • Beta versions have an expiration date which they can't be used after.

    The beta 3 of Actual Window Manager 5.5 will expire on December 31, 2009.

  • When the beta version expires you should either roll back to the last stable release, update your beta to a new one (if available), or upgrade to a new stable release (if available).

    You can check the status of beta version and see how many days remain until the beta expiration in the About dialog.

Betas are betas - they may contain bugs and glitches. That's why we include into our beta versions the internal error reporting service: if some fatal error occurs in Actual Window Manager you will see the special query asking you to send us the error report - please don't hesitate and click Yes! This report contains no private information whereas the error description may be invaluable for us. Many thanks in advance for your co-operation!


That's all, thank you for your time! Waiting for any kind of feedback from you at our Beta Testing forum section - you are always welcome!


Alex Fadeyev,
Actual Tools

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