Keeping windows together on Windows XP

Richard Gaskin ambassador at
Thu Mar 23 13:49:18 EST 2006

Graham Samuel wrote:
> On Wed, 22 Mar 2006 18:40:06 -0800,  Jim Ault <JimAultWins at>
>> Actually, I use the F10 key... tap it twice and Expose will show/ 
>> bring to
>> the front all the windows in the frontmost app.
>> Also, tab-switching by ( cmd-tab, cmd-shift-tab ) which will show  
>> the tab
>> display, then bring you back the the left-most app.
> Thanks Jim - that's news to me! Maybe I can add it to the  
> instructions for my app... but as Ken points out, we have the problem  
> on OSX too.

There's a completely different approach which may or may not work with 
your app specifically, but maybe worth considering:

Unlike Mac Classic, OS X has interleaved windows like Windows and Linux. 
  In the past we could spread the views into the user's data across 
multiple windows, and on Mac at least we knew those windows would stay 
together in their own layer.  But now the Mac is like the rest of the 
world, suggesting new ways of thinking.

Last year at RevCon West I discussed how one of the projects I'm working 
on (HyperRESEARCH) is migrating from a multi-window interface to a 
single window that uses multiple resizable panels.

This seems consistent with Apple's direction as well:  for most of the 
Mac's history, video editing apps have had one window for previewing the 
video, another for the timeline, and another for clips.  In iMovie, 
these are all in one window, done in adjustable panes.

We see multi-pane UIs everywhere now, in Outlook (where they've been for 
years), Thunderbird, iPhoto, Adobe Lightroom, and more.  Seems I come 
across a new one every week.

In addition to saying goodbye to window interleaving issues, there are 
many other benefits.  For starters, you only need to move one control to 
resize two panes, while you'd have to adjust two separate windows to get 
the same view (and be oh so careful about how you adjust them if you 
don't want them overlapping).  It also makes a cleaner presentation if 
your app supports multiple documents, since each document is in its own 
self-contained window.  And it makes like easier for users who want your 
app to dominate their screen:  they just click one Maximize button 
rather than tinker around with adjusting window rects.

So this year at RevCon West I'll show the result of our conversion of 
the HyperRESEARH UI, and share some code to help create and manage 
multi-pane interfaces (among other things).

Being "stuck" in the beautiful French countryside I would understand if 
you don't make it to RevCon West, but fear not -- I can bring it to Euro 
RevCon in Malta this November and we'll go over it then, and if I get a 
toolkit together before then I can pass it along in the meantime.

  Richard Gaskin
  Managing Editor, revJournal
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