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Author Topic: I want to ALT-TAB between ALL apps  (Read 6772 times)

Lashiec

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I want to ALT-TAB between ALL apps
« on: February 06, 2008, 10:33:17 AM »
Since I'm a lazy guy, I was wondering if there's some ALT-TAB replacement out there that lets me switch between all running apps in the taskbar plus all the apps residing in the systray that have an actual window. I was looking at some of the replacements mentioned in the forum, but no one seems to mention that ability in their features list.

lanux128

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Re: I want to ALT-TAB between ALL apps
« Reply #1 on: February 06, 2008, 12:31:36 PM »
i'm curious too about switching to a program in the systray but currently i get on with a program called ShideWin.

Armando

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Re: I want to ALT-TAB between ALL apps
« Reply #2 on: February 06, 2008, 02:50:07 PM »
Nice one Lanux. I usually don't care too much about those in the sys tray, but an option to see them with a certain hotkey combination would be nice. Considering that the alt tab farr plugin is already built, I wonder if adding such an option would be feasible...?

(I've configured certain hotkeys to show certain hidden windows with AHK. For example, I had a problem with X1's hotkey not working anymore and not even showing in the preferences anymore... so I added these lines to one of my AHK script :

#x::
IfWinExist, X1 -
{
    WinActivate
}
else
{
    Run C:\Program Files\X1\X1.exe
    WinWait, X1 -
    WinActivate
}

Works well! Of course, you need to know the name of the hidden window, and ShideWin can help!

Lashiec

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Re: I want to ALT-TAB between ALL apps
« Reply #3 on: February 06, 2008, 03:10:21 PM »
Seems so, as ShideWin is more of an analysis tool than a utility for daily usage. But thanks for bringing it up, I was trying to remember its name to recommend it in another forum.

I envision three probable paths:

 1) Build a custom AHK script for the apps that reside in the systray. That would take a few minutes, but it has the problem that it had to be revised for new apps or changes in the current ones. Besides, it does not provide all the advanced app management functions and visual previews that TaskSwitchXP has (besides, this one looks so cool :D)

 2) Someone comes up with a suggestion.

 3) I buy Leopard. But that requires a expensive dongle, and my programs don't work under Mac OS X (unless I use Parallels, that is). The combination of virtual desktops and Expose seems perfect, as it means I don't need to have a program in the systray, only in another desktop :). I wonder if it would be possible to mix a program like VirtuaWin and TaskSwitchXP to achieve the same...

The mention of the Alt-Tab plugin for FARR has led me to try something with FARR, and it seems it works as an Alt-Tab replacement in a certain way, even without the plugin. Of course, it requires the program called to allow only one instance, but it's a workaround for now, thanks to Justice's MiniMe :)

nontroppo

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Re: I want to ALT-TAB between ALL apps
« Reply #4 on: February 06, 2008, 04:35:20 PM »
Lashiec: the awesomely great, but ever so geeky Dr Evil Desktop offers both multiple workscreens and an expose mode within work screens. It is an Explorer replacement in the bbwin tradition, but has a whole heap of productivity enhancements that rock. It also uses less resources than explorer making it great for minimal overhead installs:

http://download.chip...Desk-0.9_228673.html

It has no start menu (thank god!) and even includes a quick launcher ala FARR into the mix!

(though being biased, I'd suggest ponying up on that dongle! Nothing on Win comes close to the integration and elegance of Spaces+Exposé :P)
FARR Wishes: Performance TweaksTask ControlAdaptive History
[url=http://opera.com/]

Lashiec

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Re: I want to ALT-TAB between ALL apps
« Reply #5 on: February 06, 2008, 04:56:53 PM »
Hmmm, a shell replacement. That's something I didn't look into. If I can keep custom visual styles, it's something definitely worth considering. Thanks!

Buying a Mac for this would be one of the most expensive solutions for a tiny problem ;D

Darwin

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Re: I want to ALT-TAB between ALL apps
« Reply #6 on: February 06, 2008, 05:07:31 PM »
Buying a Mac to get this funcitonality certainly would be an expensive solution! Running a shell replacement seems a bit drastic too - I can't believe that there are no 3rd party solutions?
"Some people have a way with words, other people,... oh... have not way" - Steve Martin
« Last Edit: February 06, 2008, 05:09:14 PM by Darwin »

Lashiec

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Re: I want to ALT-TAB between ALL apps
« Reply #7 on: February 06, 2008, 05:14:47 PM »
CWuestefeld recommended Dextop in this message and for the looks of it, seems like it could be the perfect combination of Spaces + Expose this side of the Macintosh ;D. And it's free!

* Lashiec adds another option to the list

Darwin

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Re: I want to ALT-TAB between ALL apps
« Reply #8 on: February 06, 2008, 05:24:25 PM »
Well there you go, then! A possible free solution  :Thmbsup: Let us know how you get on with it, Lashiec. I've tried in the (distant) past and couldn't see it doing much for me. However, I'd be interested in how it works for you as this does seem a useful function.
"Some people have a way with words, other people,... oh... have not way" - Steve Martin

lanux128

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Re: I want to ALT-TAB between ALL apps
« Reply #9 on: February 06, 2008, 11:16:03 PM »
1) Build a custom AHK script for the apps that reside in the systray. That would take a few minutes, but it has the problem that it had to be revised for new apps or changes in the current ones. Besides, it does not provide all the advanced app management functions and visual previews that TaskSwitchXP has (besides, this one looks so cool :D)

this is quite feasible. i'm looking into a way of enumerating the icons in the systray via AHK. if it's successful then it will be easier to add any extra code to manipulate the apps residing there.

rjbull

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Re: I want to ALT-TAB between ALL apps
« Reply #10 on: February 07, 2008, 04:07:11 AM »
PowerPro has tray support, though I haven't tried it yet.  And PowerPro is apt to mean serious commitment...

nontroppo

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Re: I want to ALT-TAB between ALL apps
« Reply #11 on: February 07, 2008, 04:47:42 AM »
Hm, I regularly use Dexpot on XP, and while it is about the best thing I've tried on Windows there are a few annoying buglets.

What I didn't realise though is Dexpot indeed has an Exposé mode, which is named "Window catalogue". And it has a full-screen preview as Spaces does. So it is indeed along the same lines. But in terms of "workflow", it is still not really close. First off, spaces+exposé work together. So you can exposé while you are previewing all desktops. Desktops are live, video keeps playing, and you can *very* quickly organise your open windows. You can drag windows from desktop to desktop.

To manage windows in Dexpot you can only use the Desktop panel, little "pictures" of the desktop where you an drag the window representations around. The Exposé mode is not live, and it cannot work in Desktop Preview mode. I'm not sure why but sometimes the exposé-alike fails to trigger, leaving you pressing the hotkey again or fumbling with the mouse. It is all a bit klunky, but it comes as close as you'll get sans dongle...

Here is a screencast of all of this working together. First I show spaces, then spaces and exposé integration, then Dexpot preview manager, the exposé-alike and the full-screen preview at work in Windows:

http://nontroppo.org...paces_and_dexpot.mov


FARR Wishes: Performance TweaksTask ControlAdaptive History
[url=http://opera.com/]

Lashiec

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Re: I want to ALT-TAB between ALL apps
« Reply #12 on: February 07, 2008, 07:22:48 AM »
Is there something PowerPro can't do? :)

I think Dexpot could be good enough for me. I don't really have many windows open at a time, but sometimes it's nice to have another taskbar (or 19 in this case ;D). Besides, I guess the workflow is much better than with Windows default Alt-Tab

Well, I suppose live previews are only possible under Vista, thanks to the new video system. But the program development seems to have stopped for now. Or maybe they're rehashing completely the program to fully support Vista.

Thanks for the video, I'll take a look at it.

Armando

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Re: I want to ALT-TAB between ALL apps
« Reply #13 on: February 07, 2008, 11:07:42 AM »
I tried dexpot and I have to agree with what nontroppo said, it's good, but I'd insist on the clunky adjective. It just lacks the grace of leopard or Compiz Fusion (Linux)... Oh well... ([off topic]in terms of smooth desktop animations, Windows XP is doomed. Even Vista's special alt tab effect is clunky if you don't have a video card of the year (in comparison, compiz effects are perfectly smooth on my almost 2 year old inspiron[/off topic]).

nontroppo

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Re: I want to ALT-TAB between ALL apps
« Reply #14 on: February 07, 2008, 11:41:58 AM »
Dexpot is klunky, but only because XP itself has klunky UI drawing. I've never understood quite why Apple can do smooth fluid UI on old hardware with such a tiny CPU hit, whereas XP on Beefy machines stutters UI drawing? And indeed Compiz flows on the identical machine XP klunks on (a freind gee-wizzed me with his Ubuntu, *very* silky smooth and sexy). Yet as XP is the gaming platform of choice the graphics drivers have to be more optimised. I read somewhere that XP does use hardware when drawing, so it is not only a hardware vs. software distinction, but XP doesn't/can't composite in hardware? Vista does, so I don't get why it uses so many more resources than Quartz/Compiz...
FARR Wishes: Performance TweaksTask ControlAdaptive History
[url=http://opera.com/]

Lashiec

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Re: I want to ALT-TAB between ALL apps
« Reply #15 on: February 07, 2008, 11:57:05 AM »
Jesus Christ! That's not workflow, but workavalanche. I had to play the video in slow motion to actually get a hold of what's happening there, but I see your point. Yes, in that regard Leopard beats Dexpot hands-on, but as I said, I ran not too many programs, and always in full screen, so I think it would not be a problem for me. Besides, I can't handle windows as such speed o_O

Yep, XP desktop is hardware-accelerated, using DirectDraw, but that's extremely slow for everything, compared with what graphic cards can do with Direct3D (or OpenGL). Vista takes advantage of that, so it's natural the desktop is much breezy than XP. Both Compiz and Quartz use OpenGL if I'm correct, so Microsoft is more or less playing in the same camp now. IIRC such differences between XP and Vista video systems are explained in detail in the first part of Vista's review in Ars Technica (I hope they finish it some day...)
« Last Edit: February 07, 2008, 12:04:55 PM by Lashiec »

wreckedcarzz

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Re: I want to ALT-TAB between ALL apps
« Reply #16 on: February 07, 2008, 02:01:29 PM »
Lashiec, I was reading above that you were thinking about using Mac OS X to be able to switch via all apps, and I remembered that I use ObjectDock Plus to do that - it is only available in the Plus version, but you can make a dock that shows either

A) your tray icons (main area)
B) your notification icons (clock area)

As well as hide the Windows taskbar (it has a Start button docklet, too)

It is well worth the cash, I bought it just for its tabbed dock system (to separate game types, and Folders/Apps/Programming/Maintenance stuff).

See screenshots below if your interested (I have mine skinned to look like the AERO of Vista)

-Brandon

(Screenshot info)
#1: Shows All docks - left bottom is Main Taskbar, right bottom is Nofitication Area, right side is my clock/calendar/weather info, top left is games and top right is main dock

#2: Shows Start Menu docklet

#3: Shows "drawer" tabbed docks @ top

Lashiec

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Re: I want to ALT-TAB between ALL apps
« Reply #17 on: February 07, 2008, 02:14:31 PM »
Well, I joked about Mac OS X because of its combination of Spaces + Expose, not because of the dock (which it's a bit confusing, even more with the changes in Leopard IMO).

For what I'm seeing in the shots, I don't get nothing else than a glorified taskbar + system tray. Or is there a way to map key combinations to access the icons in the "system tray"?
« Last Edit: February 07, 2008, 02:47:28 PM by Lashiec »

wreckedcarzz

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Re: I want to ALT-TAB between ALL apps
« Reply #18 on: February 07, 2008, 02:26:25 PM »
As far as I know of, no. It might be possible, but I don't think so. :-\

wreckedcarzz

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Re: I want to ALT-TAB between ALL apps
« Reply #19 on: February 07, 2008, 02:29:24 PM »
IDEA: It would be possible to use AHK to have a program Show when you hit a key combo. You would have to manually enter all the programs and hotkeys, though...

Lashiec

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Re: I want to ALT-TAB between ALL apps
« Reply #20 on: February 07, 2008, 02:46:43 PM »
Which is not that different from the AHK-only solution, and it costs $20 more ;D

Thanks for the suggestion anyway, Brandon. But I think I'm sold on the Dextop idea, which seems more appealing that what I originally wanted. If it works like I expect :)

Darwin

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Re: I want to ALT-TAB between ALL apps
« Reply #21 on: February 07, 2008, 04:28:28 PM »
I'm anxiously awaiting the results of your experimentation with Dextop, Lashiec! Of course, I'll probably cave in the next 12 hours and install it myself... but I'd still be interested in hearing how you get on with it!
"Some people have a way with words, other people,... oh... have not way" - Steve Martin

nontroppo

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Re: I want to ALT-TAB between ALL apps
« Reply #22 on: February 07, 2008, 07:34:25 PM »
Jesus Christ! That's not workflow, but workavalanche.

;D Indeed it is so fast to switch apps it looks dizzying, but you can do it at any speed you want... 8)

Dexpot is great for Windows users and I do recommend it still. The shortcomings are really workflow issues. It sometimes forces you to use mouse, and sometimes keyboard which is most frustrating. And it is a bit buggy (keyboard triggers don't always trigger). But do give Wez's shell a thought too, as its more of a rethink of the desktop than Explorer+dexpot...
FARR Wishes: Performance TweaksTask ControlAdaptive History
[url=http://opera.com/]

Lashiec

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Re: I want to ALT-TAB between ALL apps
« Reply #23 on: February 08, 2008, 09:04:16 AM »
Yep, don't worry, I'll try both apps once I have some free time to test them extensively. So, Darwin, if you want to go ahead... ;D

Darwin

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Re: I want to ALT-TAB between ALL apps
« Reply #24 on: February 08, 2008, 04:07:19 PM »
Done - not too bad WRT resource "hit"... I don't know if I'm going to wind up using it much or not, but it's something to play with for now  :Thmbsup:
"Some people have a way with words, other people,... oh... have not way" - Steve Martin