[xmonad] Thoughts on the floating layer

Tobias Hommel xmonad at genoetigt.de
Sat Aug 14 02:38:15 EDT 2010

On Fri, Aug 13, 2010 at 09:58:01AM -0700, Don Stewart wrote:
> Jan.Vornberger:
> > Hi there!
> > 
> > I would like to discuss some ideas which I have been tossing
> > around regarding the floating layer.
> > 
> > In Bluetile I discourage the use of the floating layer and hope that
> > people use the stacking layout instead, because I feel that the floating
> > layer is fairly confusing to novice users. It feels pretty alien and
> > managing windows that are currently floating is somewhat cumbersome
> > (like how to bring one floating window in front of another).
> > 
> > But unfortunately I can't get by completely without it in Bluetile,
> > because things like dialog windows need to float even in a tiled layout.
> > 
> > So I'm thinking about how the floating layer can be improved. Looking at
> > the implementation, I feel that the floating layer is a little bit
> > 'bolted on'. So my proposal: how about changing the core so that it
> > allows to specify a _layout_ for managing floating windows?
> > At the same time, floating windows could be integrated properly into the
> > StackSet data structure. Each workspace should have two stacks
> > associated with them: one that contains the windows in the tiled layer
> > and the other stack contains the windows in the floating layer.
> I think it should be possible to have an elegant 2-level StackSet , with
> sensible navigation between the two layers. However, the logic for
> managing the boundary cases where focus switches from the first to the
> second layer is significantly more complicated than the current very
> clean code.
> -- Don

I don't know if 2-level is really what we want. If anybody is willing to put
effort into this, it might be wiser to make this more generic. If we take a
look back at the famous "Issue 4", we have another reason to fix this floating
thing. But Issue 4 is not only related to floating windows, I also have that
problem with my gimp layout (2 nested IMs for toolbars with Tabbed for Images),
where moving the mouse out of the image-window to the toolbar-window changes
focus in the nested tabbed layout, which is awfully annoying and makes those
toolbars nearly unusable. (It can be worked around by moving windows in the
layer with swapUp/swapDown, though.)

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