Workspace-session [ Metacity Proposal: Grouping Windows]

On Wed, 2004-03-03 at 01:40, Ryan McDougall wrote:
> Proposal to Add Grouping to Metacity, and some Rationale
> 0. Abstract
> Solution presented for solving problems associated with window
> management by allowing users to categorically organize windows by
> defining custom window groups, and performing window transformations on
> the objects that they represent in "desktop space".

lots of ideas cut

> 2. Proposal and Implementation
> 2.1. Solution to Managing Windows
> My proposal is two-step, and as far as I can tell, presents no major
> technical hurdles: 
> First, users need a way to more intuitively group their windows, and
> groups of windows, into user-meaningful categories. Human understanding
> heavily uses hierarchical categorization, and virtual desktops and task
> bars show that we like to organize our windows into groups that hold
> meaning to us as individuals. Allowing users to "grab" a set of windows
> or set of groups of windows, and form them into a semantic group will
> help us do so in a spatially consistent way
> Second, users need a way to specify transformations on those groups of
> windows. Expose provides such transformations, but they are limited to
> three kinds, and have no concept of application groupings, nor any
> understanding of the irregular grouping that make sense to us. Using the
> arbitrary conceptual groups defined above, and arbitrary transformations
> on said groups, we can mimic in desktop space the behaviour our hands,
> arms, or other tools might have in real space.

I put forth an alternate solution to a similar problem on the usability
list a few years ago.  

I see this as a session/project/task problem.  I want to create a new
session that is displayed as a workspace desktop.  Saving a
workspace-session will save the application and document states. 
closing the session closes the windows, possibly the applications, and
removes the virtual desktop.  Opening a session will restore a workspace
desktop, i's applications and documents.

OS/2 had a similar concept of desktop folders that grouped applications
and documents and managed their state.  While the user could have
several session open at once, it was difficult to switch between them. 
The Workspace Switcher is the natural way to switch between desktops, to
open new ones, and to close the existing ones within GNOME. 

Users must get out the materials and find a space to work with a project
in the real world.  Employees in my workplace have two or three desks in
their cubes, with 2 to 4 storage areas.  Workers already understand that
need to allocate space, gather materials, and will alternate between the
spaces during the day.

So I don't think the window manager needs to be involved in a solution,
so much as we should extend the concept of session and Workspace.  

__C U R T I S  C.  H O V E Y____________________
sinzui cox net
Guilty of stealing everything I am.

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