Enable quick alt-tab to switch between last windows of the 2 recent applications

Bug #1716921 reported by Didier Roche on 2017-09-13
This bug affects 1 person
Affects Status Importance Assigned to Milestone
gnome-shell (Ubuntu)

Bug Description

Alt-tab is generally showing up the switcher and give people the ability to switch between applications, raising all windows of an application if you don't enter into the window thumbnail subview to select a particular window.

Alt + key above tab enables switching between the last 2 windows of the current focused applications.

A case that happens to more advanced user is to switch between 2 windows of the last 2 applications. You can see a documentation browser in the background for instance and a terminal overlapping it. (the terminal has more than one window on this workspace).

The issue is that you are fine with the terminal on top of the browser. However, if you alt-tab to the browser and alt-tab back (even without the switcher displayed), you will end up with all windows from your terminal raising, and so, covering your browser.

This is clearly for advanced users, and that's why I think we can achieve a smarter/more advanced alt-tab behavior without breaking the paradigm:

In case of a quick alt-tab (before the switcher UI shows up), we can cover the power user use-case, which is to switch quickly between the last focused window of the last 2 applications.

To sum that up in a simple case:
- you have an application with one instance, maximized
- you have another application with multiple instances, like multiple
  terminals, not maximized.
If you press alt-tab, even quickly, the whole second application would be
raised (as no window has been selected). The consequence is that you have
all terminal in front of, for instance, your browser or documentation viewer
you are using.
The behavior we implement enables this. However, as soon as the switcher ui
is displayed to the user, not selecting a particular window instance will
raise the whole applications. Consequently only "quick alt-tab" flow is impacted.

Here is a video of the current upstream behavior: https://youtu.be/D32VEP0sFk4
Here is a video of the proposal: https://youtu.be/k-IBk-Fibj4

Changed in gnome-shell:
importance: Unknown → Wishlist
status: Unknown → Confirmed
Launchpad Janitor (janitor) wrote :

This bug was fixed in the package gnome-shell - 3.25.91-0ubuntu5

gnome-shell (3.25.91-0ubuntu5) artful; urgency=medium

  Changes for ubuntu session:
  * 71_smarter_alt_tab.patch
    - quick alt-tab (without showing up the switcher) switch only between
      the last window of the last 2 applications to be focused instead of
      raising all windows of those apps. (LP: #1716921)
  * 72_consistent_alt_key_above_tab_behavior.patch:
    - ensure alt + key above tab, when the switcher is opened, focus the first
      window and not directly the second one of an application. This is
      relevant as the select window part of the switcher is only raising the
      selected window, not the whole application. (LP: #1716872)

 -- Didier Roche <email address hidden> Tue, 12 Sep 2017 09:40:45 +0200

Changed in gnome-shell (Ubuntu):
status: New → Fix Released
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