Cycling through app windows and apps themselves need improvement

Bug #739068 reported by Eric Appleman on 2011-03-21
This bug affects 15 people
Affects Status Importance Assigned to Milestone
Ayatana Design
Fix Released
unity (Ubuntu)

Bug Description

Binary package hint: unity

Switching between the main Firefox window, its download manager window, and any permitted pop-ups is a pain when using the mouse.

The same applies to instances of Nautilus or the terminal. By the end of the day, I can 5 or more open instances of each that I never bothered to close or simply forgot about.

Super hotkeys only bring up the expo of open windows.

Multiple Super+Num keypresses or mouse clicks should cycle through multiple windows of an open application.

ProblemType: Bug
DistroRelease: Ubuntu 11.04
Package: unity 3.6.6-0ubuntu1
ProcVersionSignature: Ubuntu 2.6.38-7.35lp717114v201103180831-genusername 2.6.38
Uname: Linux 2.6.38-7-generic i686
Architecture: i386
CompizPlugins: [core,bailer,detection,composite,opengl,decor,mousepoll,vpswitch,regex,animation,snap,expo,move,compiztoolbox,place,grid,imgpng,gnomecompat,wall,ezoom,workarounds,staticswitcher,resize,fade,unitymtgrabhandles,scale,session,unityshell]
Date: Sun Mar 20 20:16:54 2011
InstallationMedia: Ubuntu 11.04 "Natty Narwhal" - Alpha i386 (20101229)
SourcePackage: unity
UpgradeStatus: No upgrade log present (probably fresh install)

Eric Appleman (erappleman) wrote :
summary: - Multiple Super+Num keypresses should cycle through multiple windows of
- an open application
+ Cycling through multiple windows of an application needs improvement
description: updated

Hmm... Ctrl-TAB should do this. ANalogous to Alt-TAB, just within the app.

It should also be easy to do with a touchpad. I should be able to cycle through all of my Firefox, Nautilus, etc. windows with a series of clicks on the respective launcher icon.

The goal should be minimal cursor movement and being able to avoid fiddling with the expo'd windows of an application.

What have in mind is rather simple (implementation need not apply):

> Click Ubuntu icon
> Double/triple/quadruple/etc tap an app with n windows
> Have desired window in no more than n-1 clicks

description: updated

Scrollwheel has been suggested for this. The only issue is whether we
want to use scrollwheel for moving the launcher around (pushing the fold
around to expose other icons).

Omer Akram (om26er) on 2011-03-21
description: updated

Mind if I expand this to encompass all expo?

summary: - Cycling through multiple windows of an application needs improvement
+ Cycling through app and global expo items need improvement
Mirco Müller (macslow) on 2011-03-25
Changed in unity:
status: New → Incomplete
Didier Roche (didrocks) on 2011-03-25
Changed in unity (Ubuntu):
status: New → Incomplete
Eric Appleman (erappleman) wrote :

Didier. What does this bug still need?

Unity, as it is today, is in poor shape to deal with multiple windows of essential programs like Firefox, LibreOffice, Evince, etc.

summary: - Cycling through app and global expo items need improvement
+ Cycling through app windows and apps themselves need improvement
Eric Appleman (erappleman) wrote :

Multiple windows/instances of the above make the expo difficult to use. Readability of expo items, a lack of borders, a lack of mouse-over highlighting, and sane keyboard methods all contribute to this.

If there is one area of Unity that has been impossible to master and recommend over the panel, it is window management.

Manjul Apratim (manzdagratiano) wrote :

To this end, if an agenda is on the cards, may I suggest that upon hovering the cursor over the item in the launcher with multiple windows open - say evince, maybe a balloon could be made to pop up itemizing all the instances open, maybe with some text and an accompanying thumbnail on the side? - Not unlike what the "window switcher" applet in the top right corner of Gnome in Debian/Arch does? There is a horrible implementation of this that I have seen in Winblows 7, where clicking the icon in the new "taskbar" produces a balloon with a miniature view of all windows of that application open, though it hardly helps in recognizing which one is what.

seeker5528 (seeker5528) wrote :

If I go to 'CCSM --> Utility' and enable 'Scale Addons' , then when I double click the application icon to view the open windows I can right click those windows to zoom in/out.

Is there a reason this is not enable by default?

And would the people that have issues with the current behavior accept this as a reasonable alternative to changing how the icons on the task bar work?

Patrick Rynhart (prynhart) wrote :

Ctrl-TAB has been suggested above - however, this is already used to cycle through tabs of a particular window of an open application. For an application (which, in general, will have multiple tabs per window) wouldn't a new keyboard shortcut be required ?

I agree that there is a usability issue at present regarding this, as it seems that only effective way to switch is via expo at present (which can be tedious).

What I'm missing the most in Unity, it's the "Window list" applet of the Gnome panel.

For example, I do a lot of scientific work with Scilab or Octave; sometimes, I can plot 10 to 15 graphics for a single instance of Scilab, all of which are on a window of its own. At this point, I have not found a way yet to deal with this in Unity. It affects my flow work consistently.

Maybe the solution is not with the unity side panel. I would gladly concede a 32 pixel tick bar of my screen in order to have a permanent visual layout of the multiple windows associated with a single instance like Gimp, LibreOffice or Scilab when working.

How inconvenient would you think it would be if all your firefox tabs were merged under a single tab? In fact, what we need in unity, is a way to handle applications that to not support the tabbed windows feature.

Stephen M. Webb (bregma) wrote :

There are now so many ways to switch between windows of an application, this bug no longer applies.
  * quicklists using right-click on the launcher
  * alt-tab and alt-key-above-tab using the keyboard
  * super-number keypresses cycle through windows (as suggested in this bug)

I'd say this old bug has been fixed and the fix released long ago. Updating the paperwork to match reality.

Changed in unity:
status: Incomplete → Fix Released
Changed in unity (Ubuntu):
status: Incomplete → Fix Released
Changed in ayatana-design:
status: New → Fix Released
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