Squib of the Day: Show size during resizing

Scale a chiocciola GNOME bug 130821 suggests that all windows should have the current dimensions shown in the middle while they’re being resized.  Everyone seems to agree this is a good idea, and I’m not sure why we haven’t just committed it yet.  Any naysayers?

Photo © Bruno Peck, cc-by-nc-sa.

16 Comments

  1. Posted March 6, 2009 at 12:38 am | Permalink

    who needs that ? who cares about knowing its windows dimensions ?

  2. Simon
    Posted March 6, 2009 at 1:11 am | Permalink

    No need for it personally, but it seems like a pretty harmless change – it’s a feature supported by a lot of WMs over the years.

    One thought though – as the bug notes, this already seems to be supported for programs like gvim or gnome-terminal, but measuring the size of the window contents in characters, not the pixel size of the window itself. How will these two features interact? For such applications, will you display both character and pixel sizes? And if the new feature is tied to a modifier key as the bug suggests, will this become the case for the existing feature as well? I can’t follow the patch well enough to see how it’s doing things…

  3. Posted March 6, 2009 at 1:13 am | Permalink

    I liked the idea of using a modifier for that.

  4. Posted March 6, 2009 at 1:15 am | Permalink

    “No need for it personally, but it seems like a pretty harmless change”

    great : maybe we could also add some music while resizing, it should be a pretty harmless change i guess :-)

  5. Screwtape
    Posted March 6, 2009 at 3:25 am | Permalink

    @Simon: It seems there’s a way for a window to ask to be resized in ‘jumps’ – terminals want multiples of the character-cell size, GIMP’s toolbox wants multiples of the button-size, etc. I believe that most window-managers that display dimensions will display multiples of the resizing unit for windows that define such a unit, and fall back to pixels otherwise.

    It’s an occasionally useful feature for developers and OCD-types, and would make sense if it only showed up during Alt-Drag resizing – another feature popular among developers and OCD-types.

  6. bkor
    Posted March 6, 2009 at 8:00 am | Permalink

    If you do this by default it will just distract. For default stuff, best to avoid things which aren’t relevant for most users. Wanting to size some window to some specific size is really nitty gritty IMO. For most use cases the application already provides good control for that (e.g. within video players you can often select a 1:1 option / size).

  7. Posted March 6, 2009 at 8:03 am | Permalink

    I can see no reason _not_ to do this. I’m an old avid fan of *box style WM’s, and it’s one of those nice things to have. It certainly helps a lot when you do web development and other layout work.

    Think “I have dual widescreen monitors. How does this change look in 1024×768 resolution?” and the feature becomes very nice.

    And please for the love of eff, do not make it different depending on how I resize the window. Consistency puh-lease.

  8. orontee
    Posted March 6, 2009 at 9:26 am | Permalink

    @antistress: maybe we could also add some music while resizing

    +1

    Please add the window position in cartesian and polar coordinates. All those measurement should be available both in linear and logarithmic scale. By the way could be useful to give the user the choice of the origin location; Why should we stick to that dusty left upper corner??

    More seriously, is the information given by xwininfo not enough??

  9. John
    Posted March 6, 2009 at 10:30 am | Permalink

    Would this be an off-by-default option (setting in GConf)? Because it seems to me to be a pretty “techie” kind of thing – or OCD, as someone else says, which may have a pretty high overlap with the former type. :-)

    Really, “we are not our users”. Does the typical user really care if it’s 999 pixels or an even 1000? Seems more like a distraction. There’s already a beautifully elegant snap-to action that allows (among other things) to make widows exactly the space available next to a neighboring window, or to set two windows from different apps (if you overlap them) to the exact same size. I’d think that more than sufficient – and a serendipitous discovery, rather than displaying numbers.

  10. John
    Posted March 6, 2009 at 10:32 am | Permalink

    “rather than displaying numbers” -> i.e. rather than pushing raw numbers at the user. How many of us use a ruler to arrange our real-world desktops?

  11. John
    Posted March 6, 2009 at 10:38 am | Permalink

    OK, should have read TFB first.

    My comments largely stand if this is default behavior, without a modifier key.

  12. Aji
    Posted March 6, 2009 at 11:27 am | Permalink

    Well, my point is probably not the common case, this week I had needed to resize Evince and Firefox (I’m not a web dev) to 800×600 (no matter the border stuff and co) for a quick presentation test, sigh, that feature was missing me.

    I don’t remember every case (sorry), but I want often (yes, not every day) to know the size of a window ; but for a terminal the number of column/line, gnome-terminal do that well.

    There are a lot of case we/I can’t imagine, please include this one you will make a lot of people really happy.

  13. Simone
    Posted March 6, 2009 at 9:15 pm | Permalink

    The whole idea is useless. Is useless for “pro” user because no one need to know the dimension of the windows. For normal user is probably annoying and uncanny, how can they know what that numbers mean?

  14. Posted March 6, 2009 at 9:56 pm | Permalink

    Seems like extra noise and only useful in rare situations.

    Maybe off by default but let applications toggle it? (So each application would have a preference to turn it on/off if it really cared.)

    Add a GConf key for people who want it on all the time?

  15. Posted March 8, 2009 at 12:52 am | Permalink

    Definitely useful to web developers. Testing browsers of various specific widths is common.

  16. Posted March 8, 2009 at 8:09 am | Permalink

    @Aredridel: But there are web developer tools that do that for you. To do it by default just seems noisy and cluttered to me. I really don’t care how big my vlc, banshee, nautilus, openoffice, pidgin, etc. windows are.

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