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Topic: «an early review , features, bugs, and a big woo hoo! » on forum: Feature Requests   Views: 23222
 
Michael Roper
Registered user
 
Posts: 8
Joined: 09.05.2005
Posted: 09.05.2005 07:26:09
 
 
After years of just being annoyed, I finally did a search and found your Window Manager.  I've spent the last few hours setting up and otherwise playing around with an unregistered copy and you've got yourself a customer.  Very nicely done.

I have a few suggestions and bug reports.  Features I'd love to see in the future:

1) Ability to save and load arbitrary configuration files.  This also implies a "New..." menu option.  It didn't take me long to muck up the rules in the provided configuration.  It would be nice to be able to load and learn from it independently of my 'working' configuration.

2) I'd like to be able to create a single rule that applies to (possibly) multiple cases of any or all of the three identification methods.  That is, given a separator character of some sort, I could specify multiple classes, window titles, and/or paths for a rule.  It would essentially be a shorthand for the user, and would be converted internally by the app into i*j*k individual rules (where i, j, and k are the number of classes, titles, and paths specified respectively).

3) Having deleted or otherwise mangled the original configuration, I could find no way using either window identification method (Select or Find) to determine the attributes of say, a menu.  I'd like to see the Select Window From List feature expanded to include an option to show a directory of standard Windows windows and their attributes.  These could be selected just like the regular list of existing windows.  This directory could include a 'description' field indicating common usage of the window.

4) When creating a new rule via the "Create window rule" command of an existing window, it would be better if the default name was taken from the window title.  That's generally going to be more meaningful than "Rule 17."  Barring (or in addition to) that, the text in the name field should be selected so the user can immediately overwrite it if desired.

5) I'd really like to be able to set (in Options), the default settings for a new rule.  As it is, I always have to go in and make the same changes to get to my preferred base settings every time.

6) On the Window Placement property sheet, please consider adding both size and position by percentage.  I almost never specify absolute pixel settings.  If configuration files could be saved (and thereby shared), with percentages I could use the same settings for both my laptop and desktop machines with different display resolutions.

7) I like the way the user can specify their own set of sizes in Options.  Related to (6), I'd like to be able to specify my own set of positions as well (both absolute and percentage).

8) The Delete key should be enabled for use in deleting rules, and I'd like to see an option to disable delete confirmation.

9) The "Flash Window" command in the "Select Window" dialog would be more useful if it activated apps and windows as necessary.  As it is, I don't see a lot of flashing!

10) I'm sure you've looked at this, but it would be sweet if any Window Manager size/position adjustments made during app launch occured before ShowWindow (or at least before the window is actually shown).  It would give an overall cleaner feel to not see windows bouncing around.  Might be hard, I don't know.

11) I'd like an option to specify the order of the tabs (property sheets) and even whether or not they are displayed.  The default order doubtless suits many, but I mostly care (for the time being) about Window Placement and would put it first.  Others I wouldn't show at all since I don't use them.

12) Last one!  This is fairly substantial I think and may not fit into your product plans but I thought I'd mention it.  Many years ago I worked on a product called hDC Windows Manager.  It did much of what your Window Manager does (but for Windows 3.0!) and one of its coolest features was something called "Work Sets."  It allowed the user to take an "application snapshot" of the desktop and save it using an arbitrary name.  Then this snapshot could be restored at any time.  Of course, all window sizes and placements were part of the work set.  You could restore in additon to, or as a replacement of, the current desktop.  I'd use it. :)

Bugs (mostly minor):

1) If you save a rule while "Minimize to tray" apps are minimized, they will all be restored in a flurry.  It's jarring, and of course they then have to be minimized again.

2) I have on several occasions attempted to create a new rule from the system menu item of an active app and the Window Manager will come up but without a new rule.  This may be a problem if the WM is minimized, but I haven't tracked it down.

3) This one is super obscure and may not even be worth a look, but you never know.  I ran into it while trying to capture a menu with the gunsight tool.  Drag the gunsight to the system menu or caption bar of a window and right click (while still holding down the left button).  The system menu is displayed and the gunsight disappears.  Now click on any menu item.  It's briefly highlighted but nothing happens and the menu is not dismissed.  Now move away from the menu and click anywhere else in the app (I was just trying to close the menu).  The menu flashes at a very high rate for about 15 seconds (during which you can't do anything with the affected app) and then closes.

That's all I've got for now. :)  I know it seems like a lot of complaining but rest assured I couldn't be more thrilled with Window Manager.  A wonderful piece of work, thanks so much!
 
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Michael Roper
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Posts: 8
Joined: 09.05.2005
Posted: 09.05.2005 16:27:01
 
 
An update on feature request (2) above.

What is really needed is a way to specify and save a rule as a template.  A template would include -all- rule specifications except for any of the three window identification settings.  That is, a template is simply a rule waiting for an arbitrary window to be specified.

Templates would be available on the system menu in the same way that "Create Window Rule" is available now.  But rather than creating a new rule from scratch, you simply assign the current window to an existing template to create the new rule (this plays directly into the feature request item 2).  An important aspect is that the (automatic) window specification for a window being added to a template would be as specific as possible (class, title, path).

A template could be viewed and all the window specifications associated with it (unlimited) could be displayed.

This approach is very similar to allowing the user to predefine sizes for use on the system menu.

I think it would make Window Manager -much- easier to use.  As it is now, creating new rules for every window is just too hard.  I would create perhaps five or six templates total that would cover 95% of all the windows I would put under Window Manager control.  Adding a new window using this approach would take a couple of seconds instead of a couple of minutes and a lot of clicking.

The user interface for this feature would include a way to specify which templates appear on the menu.  You might have some seldom-used templates that you would use from the main configuration utility only.

What do you think?
 
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Michael Tretyakov
Administrator
 
Posts: 61
Joined: 16.03.2005
Posted: 10.05.2005 04:24:14
 
 
 

Sincerely,
Michael Tretyakov
Actual Tools http://www.ActualTools.com/
Handy Tools for Windows! Make your day-to-day Windows activities easier and more productive!
 
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Michael Roper
Registered user
 
Posts: 8
Joined: 09.05.2005
Posted: 10.05.2005 12:58:57
 
 
That's excellent Michael--good to hear.  I'm already looking forward to the new version!

I've got a couple of additional suggestions, while I'm on a roll. :)

14) In the "Select Window from List" dialog, if you double-click an entry, it would be smoother to automatically select it and close the dialog.

15) In the Window Rule name edit field, if you want to replace the existing or default name ("Rule 17" or whatever), there's no simple way to select all the text.  You could have it automatically select the entire control the first time you click anywhere on it, or use the "triple click" method of selecting an entire control (or both).

These are minor interface improvements, but I run into them every time I create a rule.
 
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Michael Tretyakov
Administrator
 
Posts: 61
Joined: 16.03.2005
Posted: 11.05.2005 02:43:21
 
 
Hi again,

Quote
Michael Roper wrote:
These are minor interface improvements, but I run into them every time I create a rule.

In next version of Actual Window Manager we plan to add many improvements in user interface of the program and we will use your ideas.

Michael, how many rules did you create?

Sincerely,
Michael Tretyakov
Actual Tools http://www.ActualTools.com/
Handy Tools for Windows! Make your day-to-day Windows activities easier and more productive!
 
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Michael Roper
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Posts: 8
Joined: 09.05.2005
Posted: 11.05.2005 14:39:43
 
 
I started with a clean slate and have probably written four or five dozen total, and have discarded or aren't currently using half that many.  With templates, it would be four or five rules total (nudge, nudge!).

By the way, I've recently run into a puzzler that could probably be helped with another feature enhancement (let's call it 16 :)).  By far, most of my rules are for a variety of explorer.exe windows.  To differentiate those, I have to specify the window title of course (since the class and path are always the same).  In one case, I'm seeing unexpected behavior.  Two windows, both with the title "Search Results" but each being affected by two different rules.

What I think is happening is that in one case (selecting the "Search...For files and folders..." from the Start menu, the window title isn't yet "Search Results" when WM is examining it.  That is, it gets changed to "Search Results" after WM has already decided which rule to use based on the window title.

This isn't WM's fault, of course, but it does make it difficult on the user to determine the best corrective action.  (It's not just explorer.exe windows either, I've seen this come up fairly often with last-second title changes as a document is loaded, e.g.).

What would be an effective tool in this case would be a simple log (enabled from Options, but opened with a button or menu item from the main window).

The log doesn't need a lot of detail, but if it showed for each window inspected by WM the three window ID attributes (class, title, path) and the rule chosen (could be "none") it would allow the user to easily see what needs to be done to get their desired results.

The log would always show all three window id attributes for each window, but would indicate which were actually used for the selected rule (a checkmark perhaps?).

A corollary to this feature would be an option to include a system menu or title button command that would show the name of the rule applied to the window.

Together these would be very helpful in sorting out the behavior of a stubborn window.
 
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Michael Roper
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Posts: 8
Joined: 09.05.2005
Posted: 11.05.2005 14:51:29
 
 
Michael, I've got a question and depending on the answer, another feature suggestion. :)

At the level WM operates (involving various hooks presumably), is it possible to glean -how- a particular executable is launched?

Let's say I've got two -identical- shortcuts to explorer.exe--one in C:\ and another in C:\Documents.  Is it possible to know at the moment explorer.exe is executed, which shortcut was responsible?

If so, that would be a very powerful addition to the three existing window ID methods.  It would allow for super easy differentiation (for the user) that isn't otherwise possible right now.
 
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Michael Roper
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Posts: 8
Joined: 09.05.2005
Posted: 11.05.2005 20:15:17
 
 
Got another one.  (Just tell me when to stop!)

I'd like an option for a rule that it only be applied for one active instance (I suppose there might be some value in making that number adjustable, but for me 'one' is the magic number).

That is, if WM is searching for a match in the list of rules for a window, and that rule is already being applied to another (live) window, then that rule is skipped (but the search for a rule match could (optionally) continue).

This would make management of certain apps much easier and provide another nice level of control over rule application.  
 
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Michael Tretyakov
Administrator
 
Posts: 61
Joined: 16.03.2005
Posted: 12.05.2005 01:27:47
 
 
Quote
Michael Roper wrote:
Let's say I've got two -identical- shortcuts to explorer.exe--one in C:\ and another in C:\Documents. Is it possible to know at the moment explorer.exe is executed, which shortcut was responsible?

If I right understand, in this case explorer windows will have two different captions. Did you try to use the window caption option to create two window rules and differentiate these explorer windows?

Quote
Michael Roper wrote:
What I think is happening is that in one case (selecting the "Search...For files and folders..." from the Start menu, the window title isn't yet "Search Results" when WM is examining it. That is, it gets changed to "Search Results" after WM has already decided which rule to use based on the window title.

Thanks for information. You was right about this "Search Results" window.

Quote
Michael Roper wrote:
That is, if WM is searching for a match in the list of rules for a window, and that rule is already being applied to another (live) window, then that rule is skipped (but the search for a rule match could (optionally) continue).

This would make management of certain apps much easier and provide another nice level of control over rule application.
Michael, can you tell me in what situations you want to use this option?

Sincerely,
Michael Tretyakov
Actual Tools http://www.ActualTools.com/
Handy Tools for Windows! Make your day-to-day Windows activities easier and more productive!
 
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Andre Tenente
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Posts: 3
Joined: 05.06.2005
Posted: 05.06.2005 13:36:21
 
 
I think i can with a good example of this option, let's say that a want to compare 4 folders, then i start with windows explorer on folder one and the rule n.01 says it goes to top left at 640x480, then a open de 2nd windows explorer, but now WM sees that's rule n.01 was used, and the uses a n.02 rule and put de 2nd window at top right with 640x480 and so on... it really would be nice see something like this... better then cascade windows... or tile from Windows.

Cheers
Tech
 
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