Drag launchers to move their window to another workspace

Reported by David Prieto on 2010-10-27
36
This bug affects 7 people
Affects Status Importance Assigned to Milestone
Ayatana Design
Undecided
Unassigned
Unity
Undecided
Unassigned
unity (Ubuntu)
Undecided
Unassigned

Bug Description

I think an easy way to move windows between workspaces, and switch workspaces, would be to use colored areas in the launcher. Please see the attached mockup.

There are four violet areas on the launcher, each corresponding to a workspace: the first one is the biggest because it contains three launchers (meaning there are three windows in that workspace); the second one is smaller because it only has one launcher (that is, there is one window in that launcher) and the other two are very small because there are no windows on those workspaces.

Dragging a launcher inside each of them would move their window to that workspace, and clicking an empty area would switch to that workspace.

Also, moving a favourite launcher to a workspace would mean that everytime you open that app, it opens on the workspace where you left it. It would also be easy to launch apps directly on a given workspace by dragging it from the dash to the corresponding workspace on the launcher.

Didier Roche (didrocks) wrote :

Needs some designer input, adding the relevant task. Thanks for the proposal :)

Changed in unity:
status: New → Incomplete

There is one shortcoming I can see here: what happens if an application has windows open in more than one workspace? Where would the launcher appear?

If that can be solved, I think it would be an interesting proposal and something I would definitely love to see.

I have done some additional mockups based on feedback from the Ayatana mailing list. The first mockup, attached here, represents what you see when you first turn on your computer. The workspace is empty, so there is only one purple space on the sidebar. Also, there is no way of creating an additional workspace. Not that you need one anyway, since you have an empty workspace right there.

This second mockup represents what you see as soon as you open a window: a second empty mockup (represented in the sidebar by a second purple space) appears.

In the mockup, a Firefox window is open and a Hamster launcher is pinned to the workspace.

This third mockup represents what you see when you navigate to the second workspace and open a window: a third empty mockup (represented in the sidebar by a third purple space) appears.

In the mockup, I navigated to the second workspace and opened a GIMP window. I might as well have opened it in the first workspace and dragged the launcher to the second purple space. If I then close the GIMP window, we would revert to the second screenshot: the third, empty workspace would disappear.

The advantages of this approach are:

- You can easily move windows between workspaces by dragging their launchers up or down.

- You can easily (and visually) keep windows thematically grouped by workspace, e.g. office apps on the first workspace, media apps on the second workspace.

- You can easily switch to a workspace by clicking it, since they show an empty space above the launchers.

- You can easily open expose for a single workspace if you click again in that empty space.

- You can easily reorder workspaces by dragging them up or down in the sidebar.

- You can easily open an app in a certain workspace by dragging it from the dash to a particular empty space.

- You can easily set in which workspace you want "favourite" apps to open by dragging their "pinned" launcher to a purple space.

- It allows you to visually separate apps on the active workspace from apps on other workspaces, thus saving you time to find e.g. a particular app you want to restore.

There is another advantage to this approach:

When there are too many launchers, some of them will shrink to make space. The problem now is that they don't take into account whether they are apps you may want to return to, they only take into account their position in the dock.

With my proposal, docks could be shrunk according to the workspace they're in: that way, launchers in the active workspace would keep their normal size, while those in inactive workspace would shrink first if needed. I'm attaching a mockup showing what I mean.

Robert Y (rob2687-gmail) wrote :

The downside as I mentioned in thread on the forums is that having a lot of workspaces and applications will result in the workspaces taking up the majority of the side bar. Now my suggestion to that was to minimise the workspaces which I see you've incorporated into the mockups. The minimised mode involves stacking application icons prevent unfocused workspaces from using space unnecessarily. This would leave the workspaces except the one in focus in a minimised mode. Hovering over the workspace with your mouse expands the workspace icon stack.

Some users on the forums have pointed out that not everyone uses multiple workspaces which I agree with. I think this workspace manager or "purple space" should be an activated by clicking on an icon. i.e. It would extend/modify the functionality of the current workspace switcher icon in Unity.
Here is what I suggested from the forums which was not added above:

Activating the workspace switcher will expand from the icon to show the workspace manager (a.k.a. purple spaces, the mock ups above). The workspace manager has two activation modes:

Double click icon: Expose all workspaces. (i.e. Existing behaviour of Unity by clicking workspace switcher icon)
Single click icon: Expand workspace manager. With primary focus being your current workspace.
- Default mode - Expose on current workspace.
- Expose all the windows of a specific app on the workspace by clicking it's icon in the workspace manager. (Compiz can already do this)
- Single click another workspace (purple space) to switch focus of workspace manager to that one.
- Double click a workspace to switch to it and close workspace manager.

Now here are some reasoning behind the above proposals.

I find that more often than not I tend to need to manage workspaces individually. Less often do I need cross workspace management. (i.e. expose all workspaces and windows). Also to me it is too much to going on to expose all windows and workspaces just to switch to another workspace. Funcionally, visually and performance wise it is not necessary to do a general expose the majority of the time.

This still makes available the general expose (a.k.a. current behaviour of expose on all workspaces and windows). It leaves general expose still easily available to those who need it but makes it less of a primary function. It adds functionality of managing a single workspace which I think many people would not only prefer but tend to use more often. In general it has more functionality for single and cross workspace management. If done right it is simple and intuitive. It doesn't impose any unecessary clutter to the user. The added functionality is easily accessible when needed and only when needed.

I just noticed this proposal actually removes clutter in a way, because it needs less elements on screen. Since all open apps appear inside a purple space, the little arrows to the left of all open apps are unnecessary.

Please see the attached mockup, where I removed the arrows. In it, you see:

- Pinned apps that aren't open, and thus they appear outside the purple spaces (in the mockup, EOG).
- Open apps in the first (Firefox) and second (Hamster, GIMP) workspaces.
- An empty third workspace.
- Files place, Apps place and Trash place.

I'm replying both to the bug, and to the Ayatana list, about the
suggestion exemplified in the mockup at
http://launchpadlibrarian.net/58399971/Launcher%20d.png

First, thanks David for a very interesting idea, and for expressing it
in a series of mockups that let people get a visual handle on the
suggestion, that's a good technique and facilitates discussion of the
design.

For now, we'd prefer to keep workspaces confined to a single icon on the
launcher. We do want to improve the experience folks have when they use
that icon, however:

 - by default, in Natty this will do a "desktop spread" showing all the
windows on the current workspace, rather than the Maverick behaviour of
showing all the workspaces. This is to accommodate the fact that most
people only use one workspace, and everyone starts out that way till
they activate the others.

 - you will be able to jump smoothly between workspaces in this view,
and move windows from the current workspace to any other workspace very
easily.

 - however, we will limit the number of workspaces to 4 in Natty, with
experimentation under way for more workspaces in line with the
interactions we support in Natty.

I do like the idea of being able to drag a window directly to a
workspace, and we should consider whether dragging the launcher of a
running app could be used for that. A question, though - would dragging
the launcher move ALL the windows of that app to that workspace, or just
the most recently focused window?

Mark

On 30 October 2010 11:05, Mark Shuttleworth <email address hidden> wrote:

>
> - however, we will limit the number of workspaces to 4 in Natty, with
> experimentation under way for more workspaces in line with the
> interactions we support in Natty.
>
>
Hi Mark,

Really? Only 4? I regularly use 8.

Anzan

The Gnome Shell workspace implementation looks polished to me.

What Mark is describing sounds similar and I think a good move.

IMO we could learning from how Moblin implements general navigation as
well.

On Sat, 2010-10-30 at 11:23 -0400, Anzan Hoshin Roshi wrote:

>
>
>
> On 30 October 2010 11:05, Mark Shuttleworth <email address hidden>
> wrote:
>
>
> - however, we will limit the number of workspaces to 4 in
> Natty, with
> experimentation under way for more workspaces in line with the
> interactions we support in Natty.
>
>
>
>
> Hi Mark,
>
>
> Really? Only 4? I regularly use 8.
>
>
> Anzan
>
> _______________________________________________
> Mailing list: https://launchpad.net/~ayatana
> Post to : <email address hidden>
> Unsubscribe : https://launchpad.net/~ayatana
> More help : https://help.launchpad.net/ListHelp

Hi Mark,

"First, thanks David for a very interesting idea, and for expressing it in a series of mockups that let people get a visual handle on the suggestion, that's a good technique and facilitates discussion of the design".

Thanks, that really does mean a lot coming from Mark Shuttleworth. Since my proposal has changed over time according to feedback from the mailing list, I've included one last mockup, summarizing the final idea, for easier checking if you ever want to consider it again in the future.

"For now, we'd prefer to keep workspaces confined to a single icon on the launcher".

Well, I don't like to think of the workspace representations as "icons" but rather as "spaces", since their main task is to house icons inside. So, from that point of view, that would mean managing workspaces without needing an icon. But yes, I see what you mean.

"We do want to improve the experience folks have when they use that icon, however: by default, in Natty this will do a "desktop spread" showing all the windows on the current workspace, rather than the Maverick behaviour of showing all the workspaces. This is to accommodate the fact that most people only use one workspace, and everyone starts out that way till "they activate the others.

Does that mean that the number of workspaces will change dynamically? That it will default to one until the user manually activates more workspaces?

"I do like the idea of being able to drag a window directly to a workspace, and we should consider whether dragging the launcher of a running app could be used for that. A question, though - would dragging the launcher move ALL the windows of that app to that workspace, or just the most recently focused window?"

Well, initially I thought that it would mean moving all that app's windows IN THE ORIGINAL WORKSPACE to the destination workspace.

E.g. you have two Firefox windows (A, B) in WS1, and other two (C, D) in WS2. When WS1 is active the Firefox icon appears in WS1, and when WS2 is active the Firefox icon appears in WS2. If you drag the icon from WS1 to WS3 A and B would be moved to WS3.

However, without the concept of launcher workspaces... I think that, because clicking a launcher brings the most recently focused window, dragging it should drag the most recently focused window too.

On the long run... I think the concept of a single launcher representing ALL of an app's open windows will fall short, and the quick lists will offer some finer selection over individual windows. For example, instead of getting "Firefox web browser" when you hover over the launcher, getting "Firefox window A / Firefox window B/ New Firefox window", which would allow grabbing and dragging the specific window you want to act upon.

Thanks again, Mark, for considering my proposal.

Rising Eagle (borntobesteve) wrote :

The unity concept is good. I see a few important feature issues left out of the discussion.

1) Permanence. It seems as if your workspaces are always recreated from scratch every time you log in. Some may wish to save a workspace so it behaves more like a Desktop so items stay the way you left them when you last logged out. Applications, folders, open windows of any kind should be identically as you left them.

2) Folder overlay on top of wallpaper. In gnome desktop, the Desktop folder is permanently overlaid as a transparent grid on top of the wallpaper background so that I have full visible access to all files and folders contained within in the form of desktop icons. Some may wish to choose a folder(s) to be associated with a given workspace so that its/their contents are made available as convenient desktop icons within that workspace.

3) True Unity. Is there a way to unify window selection and launching with tabs within applications. For example, in Firefox, I may have many tabs open, yet my Awn doc has windows from Openoffice, synaptic, evince, and others. While reading a web page in Firefox, I will often go to Awn doc to restore a window to get relevant info, but the info is actually in another tab in Firefox. The dichotomy of window management schemes simultaneously active (tabs vs awn) causes my mind to try to split its attention which takes me out of my workflow. Gedit and nautilus also have tabs of their own. The problem is only getting worse. Applets is a third scheme for launching. There might be others.

4) Downloads. A minor point. Some have downloads directed to the Desktop. They may wish to maintain that setting even if the workspace changes. How this behavior is defined must be considered. For example, should such items be common to all workspaces or exclusive to the workspace currently active at the time of download.

I have submitted thoughts and ideas related or similar to the above mentioned items. The links are below for the interested reader.

https://bugs.launchpad.net/nautilus-elementary/+bug/663139
http://brainstorm.ubuntu.com/idea/18275/
http://brainstorm.ubuntu.com/idea/25518/
http://brainstorm.ubuntu.com/idea/21462/

wacked_up (arianvg) wrote :

" - by default, in Natty this will do a "desktop spread" showing all the
windows on the current workspace, rather than the Maverick behaviour of
showing all the workspaces. This is to accommodate the fact that most
people only use one workspace, and everyone starts out that way till
they activate the others."

That change makes no sense at all to me. If you default to having one workspace, then you already have the behaviour you are describing (showing one workspace with all programs on it).
When an advanced user adds more, he really wants to see all of them, because otherwise you're introducing extra clicks for him and you are basically annoying him.
Therefore, I'd recommend not changing the behaviour, but simply the number of default workspaces (to just one).

" - however, we will limit the number of workspaces to 4 in Natty, with
experimentation under way for more workspaces in line with the
interactions we support in Natty."

Again, this makes no sense. Some users want 8, 9, or more workspaces. Why would you limit them in their options? It really can't be because of new or inexperienced users getting in trouble then, because you can default to one workspace anyway (see above).

I really enjoy Ubuntu, and I have high hopes for Unity on the Desktop. But seriously, don't take our freedom of configuring away without a damn good reason. New users can have sane defaults set for them, and they will be happy. Therefore, they are not a good reason.
Ubuntu is supposed to be for every one, not just new users. Also, designing for just new users is a mistake. Read About face again: perpetual intermediates are the main target for a reason. Help new users, empower experts, but optimise for intermediates.

(Hopefully, this can become a thriving and productive discussion. I look forward to playing my part in it.)

Didier Roche (didrocks) on 2011-02-21
Changed in unity (Ubuntu):
status: New → Incomplete

No, I think the best way to do this is to drag the windows themselves.

 status invalid

Mark

Changed in ayatana-design:
status: New → Invalid
Launchpad Janitor (janitor) wrote :

[Expired for unity (Ubuntu) because there has been no activity for 60 days.]

Changed in unity (Ubuntu):
status: Incomplete → Expired
Didier Roche (didrocks) on 2011-04-26
Changed in unity:
status: Incomplete → Expired
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