[xmonad] Project to make tiling window managers more accessible to newcomers

Wirt Wolff wirtwolff at gmail.com
Thu Apr 9 00:22:39 EDT 2009

Excerpts from Gwern Branwen's message of Wed Apr 08 11:43:46 -0600 2009:
> One idea I've always wondered about is a menubar based tiling WM. The user,
> say, middle-clicks (hardly anyone uses middle-click), and then a geometrical
> menu pops up along the lines of XMonad.Actions.GridSelect. In it are all the
> default operations - 'kill', 'refresh',  'sendMessage NextLayout', etc. The
> user left-clicks on one and voila.
> Further refinements: the menu could be shaped like some of the funky HCI
> designs (such as the pie ones, or using hyperbolic shrinking); could be sorted
> by frequency of use; each item could have in very small text the keybound
> equivalent ('M-Space') - kind of like how Emacs will echo the keybinding of a
> menu-item if you select it the hard way.

Indeed, it seems to me that there are two "power" interface modes
each better for certain tasks or apps:

* nearly always keyboard + very little mouse
* one hand keyboard + one hand mouse/pen/puck

(Laptop touchpads and "eraser nub" pointers complicate matters, too.)

Pie menus combined with mouse gestures, while nothing new, could
be fun and sleek for tasks that already require lots of "mouse" usage.

A precursor to the Maya modelling and animation program had a mouse
gesture combined with pie menu system that was extremely powerful and
efficient. (Probably Maya still has it but I'm no longer in the
rendering biz.)

Each mouse button modifier keys combination had its own set of
configurable (N,S,E,W,NE,SW,SE,NW) actions which could optionally
be another pie menu, iirc, (although some combinations were reserved
when engaging in a certain operation.)

For example, a stroke with button1 button3 ctrl and alt all held
down gave sculpting operations. The action or mode got selected
on button release, so running the interface became a quick series
of mouse strokes with occasional forays back to the keyboard or numpad.

While discussing recombinant GridSelect, yeganesh, Prompt and
interface creativity, figured I'd mention there's also a
MouseGestures module in contrib -- may as well throw it into
the soup, too.


(p.s. Ismael, hope you don't take offense, not ignoring you, this was
quick to respond to, will get around to responding to the many ideas
in your threads soon.)

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