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Author Topic: bigger screen area than monitor size - with quick scroll features  (Read 25582 times)
nudone
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« on: February 15, 2008, 05:51:01 AM »

(i know of a util that is similar to what i'm about to describe but it doesn't have the same features. i can't remember the name of it at the moment.)

the general idea for this util is that it would make your desktop/screen larger than the physical output you see on your monitor.

so, if you have a monitor set to 800 x 600 resolution, the actual screen that the operating system is generating could be 1024 x 768 - you simply only see an 800 x 600 section of the larger output at any one time. as i said, i know there are utils that do this already.

the feature i'm suggesting is that the underlying larger screen would be 'draggable' in a similar way to how graphic editing software works with images that are zoomed in.

typically, graphic editing programs allow you to drag the image around the screen via a convenient key toggle. you simply hold down the 'spacebar' and then move the mouse cursor at the same time - this then moves the image in the same direction as the cursor.


what i'd like to be able to do is have a large working area that extends beyond the boundaries of my monitor. i could then arrange my open programs that i'm working with on this large working area - so that nothing overlaps - and then 'drag' the large area around when i needed to view a specific program.

you may suggest i use virtual desktops instead. i've tried but i never quite seem to get on with them. i think that having a large screen i could quickly drag or nudge back and forth would be more intuitive to use. it would require other features like 'reset to center' and 'jump to top' to make it practical but the 'draggable' idea is the important part - as it would be something instantly accessible.

to avoid conflicting with graphic editing programs that also use draggable operation the new util would have to work with certain conditions, maybe only drag if the cursor is over an empty desktop area.

i suspect that this would not be such a simple util to create because of the need to control the graphics card output.

perhaps there is something already out there that does this - any thoughts?
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jgpaiva
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« Reply #1 on: February 15, 2008, 06:17:00 AM »

This is definitelly a great idea, and i'd love to try it out.

I think it goes a bit against the concept of windows' explorer, probably it'd have to be a whole shell rather than an app to run on explorer.

I know there are quite a few "3d desktops" out there, this'd probably be similar.
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nudone
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« Reply #2 on: February 15, 2008, 07:35:56 AM »

i'm very pleased you are interested in the concept, jgpaiva.

perhaps it is not as advanced as you think. i know i've seen larger desktop area type things built into ati radeon drivers/utils (i think it was them but it was a few years ago when i saw it).

there is also a util that allows you to extend you desktop down below the visible screen area - you then have a scroll bar on the right of the screen to move down the tall screen that is available. (i know it has been mentioned on the forum somewhere.) if i remember correctly i think it does work in a smooth scrolling way as you'd expect - it just doesn't have any of the 'draggable' features i mentioned.

so, what i'm trying to say it that as the util above seems to work without really changing anything like shells then perhaps it is not that complicated to achieve. admittedly it only scrolls up and down and i can't remember if it scrolls the desktop icons, so perhaps it is a bad example.

i will try to find the util i'm talking about.

edit:
the util is called 'WinScroll' mentioned in this thread http://www.donationcoder....m/index.php?topic=11798.0

nolonger seems available to download.
« Last Edit: February 15, 2008, 07:45:15 AM by nudone » Logged
nudone
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« Reply #3 on: February 15, 2008, 07:55:09 AM »

i've found the winscroll util in my collection so i've uploaded it if anyone would like to try.

WinScroll Ver 5.6.9 by Tomoaki Nakashima.

* WinScroll_569_English.zip (93.45 KB - downloaded 374 times.)
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jgpaiva
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« Reply #4 on: February 15, 2008, 08:17:17 AM »

Ok, just gave it a go, and... I don't quite like it, it isn't really "fuild".

It did give me an idea, though.
I was thinking about moving the whole desktop, but we could only move the windows itself like winscroll does. Thus, it'd make this get in the reach of an ahk script smiley I'm sensing it'd be potentially destructible too, though (think loosing windows offscreen).

I'll give it a go, i should have something to play with in a few hours Wink
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nudone
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« Reply #5 on: February 15, 2008, 08:28:17 AM »

sounds great. i look forward to seeing the result.

your solution for just having the windows move around isn't such a bad thing. it might not look as nice as having the whole desktop scroll but there is probably little point in having a real desktop other than it would look nice.

i'm sure you could easily bring lost windows back onto screen with a hotkey or something.

however it works the main feature is the dragging idea - so it's nice to move things about and it feels intuitive to use. anything else would be a bonus.


(i just tried WinScroll also. i can see why i never used it. well, on this occasion it is completely unusable - i know it kind of worked last time i tried it but now the scroll bar is in the wrong place on screen and the other features don't work.)
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jgpaiva
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« Reply #6 on: February 15, 2008, 09:29:31 AM »

Oh man, i think you'll love this one! smiley

This is just a mockup, to see if ahk could support it. Apparently, it works pretty well.

Just press F8 and move the mouse. Press F8 again to stop Wink

unless you have gridmove or something else that allows you to move windows through keyboard installed, i don't recommend you try this software! smiley
[edit]
updated: move with ctrl+lbutton. Makes things way cooler cheesy
updated: added screen contraints: the virtual screen is now 9 times larger than the "real" screen. (think like this: middle one, and 8 around it). Can be customized to something else.
updated: added "keep active window on screen" feature. Works like this: when you alt+tab/select a window that isn't completelly on screen, it moves there. If you have just moved, it waits 5 seconds for you to focus another window and then it'll move the screen back to the focused window (which might be offscreen).
updated: fixed an error in "keep active window on screen"
updated: removed the "anoyingness" of the "keep active(etc)" feature
updated: added "jump one screen" feature
updated: removed "jump one screen" "feature", was driving me nuts. Added "multiplier" feature
updated: it doesn't ignore the taskbar placement anymore
updated: added the "move the screen but keep the window under the mouse in place" feature. just press windows key and drag with the right mouse button. This is a very useful feature for moving windows around.

* DesktopScroll.ahk (5.63 KB - downloaded 293 times.)
* DesktopScroll.exe (199.93 KB - downloaded 305 times.)
« Last Edit: February 27, 2008, 12:03:38 PM by jgpaiva » Logged

nudone
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« Reply #7 on: February 15, 2008, 09:48:16 AM »

excellent. it does just as you'd expect. it updates at a pretty decent rate also.

now i've seen it in action it's not too hard to imagine it working simply in a horizontal drag direction. like turning your head side to side (or eyes moving left and right) if you have a multi monitor setup. it would be nice to have a toggle feature to restrict vertical/horizontal movement. but really, what i'm getting at now is that it could perhaps feel smoother if the directions could be constrained (as a user option). this would also make things line up and look nicer as you move them about.

i noticed that kmplayer didn't move whilst video was playing and when it was paused. i wonder if this is because it uses a skin or if it's using video.

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jgpaiva
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« Reply #8 on: February 15, 2008, 09:56:06 AM »

Ok, i just updated it so that it now uses ctrl+Lbutton drag, it's way more intuitive.

About kmplayer: that program might be in the exceptions (which i imported directly from gridmove Wink ). Could you please tell me what's its window class?

About restricting it to horizontal/vertical movement... I think that makes sense and shouldn't be very hard to do. Could you please just play around a bit more with this version to see what comes to mind?

I'm thinking about a few things: Someone talks to you on MSN and the window is out of the screen. What should happen? I think there are 2 options when you move the focus to that window:
- the window is moved to the screen
- the screen is moved to the window

Which one do you think is better?

I'm also thinking this should have some kind of "snap window" to screen when moving, my windows get all chopped of for a few pixels smiley

PS: man.. this is a fun idea! How come is it always you who comes up with the best stuff? tongue (i believe it's already the second time i say this Wink)
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nudone
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« Reply #9 on: February 15, 2008, 09:57:46 AM »

note: i've posted this before reading your above post.

i know it's early days at the moment but just a note on the hotkey feature. i'm guessing the user will have a choice in selecting which key to use but if that's not possible then it would be good to have something as easy to hit as the spacebar.

as many grahic editing programs use the spacebar already to initiate their drag feature perhaps something equally easy to hit could be used - and something that wouldn't conflict with anything else...

...something like a combination of spacebar + that key in the top left of the keyboard (under the escape key and to the left of '1'). whatever, something that would only work when held down - assuming it is to work like a graphic editor drag function.
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jgpaiva
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« Reply #10 on: February 15, 2008, 10:01:00 AM »

That's true, nudone.. Probaby ctrl+drag isn't a good idea.

Do you know anything that uses win+drag?
I like your idea about using backslash, maybe that's a good solution.
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jgpaiva
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« Reply #11 on: February 15, 2008, 10:05:45 AM »

Now that i'm playing around with this, i think a "move everything but active window" feature is needed. (to organize the windows on screen)

[edit] and a way to limit the screen area, to make it easier to size windows [/edit]
« Last Edit: February 15, 2008, 10:07:18 AM by jgpaiva » Logged

nudone
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« Reply #12 on: February 15, 2008, 10:18:43 AM »

well, i obviously come up with brilliant ideas because i'm so lazy and hate having to do even slightly bothersome tasks on the pc  cheesy and i clearly love presenting you with a challenge that i know you will feel compelled to master  Thmbsup

the 'ctrl' key method is far better than the F8 key BUT as it will conflict with graphic editing programs i still suggest some strange key combination like 'spacebar' plus '¬' as these are not going to conflict with any software i know of.


things like messenger i'd not thought about. i'm not sure which i'd prefer to happen with that kind of program. these are my thoughts:

1. the window moves to the screen - sometimes i'd want this to happen. perhaps always, as it would be the quickest method. but what happens after you've finished with messenger - where does it go. perhaps it is just a case of making allowances for this kind of program when you are laying out the window positions on screen - so you'd just have to be ready to drag to the right area.

2. the screen is moved to the window - hmm, i see this could be fast also and it would avoid the problem of the messenger window moving about. but what makes the screen move to the window - is it another hotkey that makes the screen jump to the window that wants your attention. that doesn't sound too bad to me.

3. more hotkey features could perhaps be used to provide 'jump' zones. like jumping to a virtual desktop but you simply move the screen to a zone you've placed messenger in. zones could be 1 to 9 as in a square or 1 to 3 as in a strip.

4. er. are there other methods?
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nudone
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« Reply #13 on: February 15, 2008, 10:22:26 AM »

Now that i'm playing around with this, i think a "move everything but active window" feature is needed. (to organize the windows on screen)

[edit] and a way to limit the screen area, to make it easier to size windows [/edit]

they sound like good features. and the snap feature also.
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« Reply #14 on: February 15, 2008, 10:41:17 AM »

Like the sound of this tool and I am quite sure I'll use it once it is a bit more polished.

On the "out-of-view" part I think it would be easiest if the screen moved to the window as then it would stay in its place, just where you want it. If it moved into view on the screen you would have to place it back where it was before (unless that can be done automaticly once it looses focus again...then that option seems like the better to me.

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jgpaiva
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« Reply #15 on: February 15, 2008, 10:49:25 AM »

Updated again, check above post for the new version.

Now i'm thinking: I think the best way to avoid the problem of focusing windows off screen is to make the screen move to them. Thus, next thing i'm going to try is something like "keep the focused window on screen". This means: then you focus a window that isn't on screen (may it be by selecting it from the taskbar or with alt+tab), the screen is moved to make that window appear. (might get annoying, i think.. Let's give it a try)
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nudone
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« Reply #16 on: February 15, 2008, 11:00:19 AM »

these are just cosmetic suggestions so if they reduce the smoothness then i wouldn't bother with them - something to perhaps try at the end of everything else anyway...

how about a border being visible so that you know you've reached the end of the container, something just like a 5px thick line or something.

something probably way too advanced: how about a little diagram graphic thingy that indicates where you are within the big grid. i've seen virtual desktop programs use this type of graphic helper widget type thing. it might be nice to have but would it be worth the trouble involved.
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jgpaiva
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« Reply #17 on: February 15, 2008, 11:03:08 AM »

Yes, i've already thought of stuff around those lines. The "placer" might be something quite hard to do, but the border sure is possible, i'll add it later.
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nudone
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« Reply #18 on: February 15, 2008, 11:08:58 AM »

That's true, nudone.. Probaby ctrl+drag isn't a good idea.

Do you know anything that uses win+drag?
I like your idea about using backslash, maybe that's a good solution.

didn't see this earlier. i don't know of anything that uses the win key plus mouse dragging.

now, this might just be me but the beauty of using the spacebar is that it sits right under your thumb - this is obviously why they use it with graphics editing programs. it's very quick and easy to hit and use.

the win key is not so easy to hit. perhaps the combination of spacebar plus ¬ (or whatever that key is in the top left on your keyboard) isn't too easy to hit either.

i'm just thinking of keys that are best suited when you have your left hand resting over the keys in a touch-typing position. AND that don't conflict with stuff like photoshop where many key combinations are already in use.

perhaps just the ¬ key on it's own without the spacbar is enough (or whatever the top left key is under the escape key). it's easier than hitting the win key and PROBABLY doesn't conflict with anything else.
« Last Edit: February 15, 2008, 11:12:35 AM by nudone » Logged
nudone
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« Reply #19 on: February 15, 2008, 11:20:39 AM »

these are the results i have for kmplayers window. i've posted three screengrabs because i noticed the classNN changed depending on where i put the cursor over the window and i didn't know if the result was important.





« Last Edit: February 15, 2008, 11:22:47 AM by nudone » Logged
jgpaiva
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« Reply #20 on: February 15, 2008, 11:21:04 AM »

I see your idea with spacebar.

The big problem about using spacebar for this, is that then the auto-repeat for spacebar would go away. So, anything that relied on you keeping spacebar pressed (flash games, for example) wouldn't work.
The auto-repeat would go away because the script would not pass the spacebar press to the OS until the spacebar was released, because it'd have to wait for you to press left button (or not).

I'm now thinking win+drag or that key you mentioned might be the best solution. (curiously, the key in my keyboard is backslash, thus the earlier confusion Wink ). Notice that i didn't mean spacebar+\ (or something else), but \+lbutton.

Ok, so i just tried the "keep window on screen" feature and it works terribly bad. It conflicts with the whole idea of the program in a few times.
How about a hotkey to move the screen to the active window? Any suggestions? (maybe win+lclick?).
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jgpaiva
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« Reply #21 on: February 15, 2008, 11:21:41 AM »

Yeah, KMplayer uses winamp's class name. Now that's a new one. I'll remove it from the exclusions Wink
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nudone
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« Reply #22 on: February 15, 2008, 11:39:52 AM »

could the usual 'click on taskbar' or 'alt+tab' be used to make the screen jump to the program. if not then a win + click sounds okay.

one thing that might also be worth considering - and this might be good to have as a user setting - is the ability to 'drag' or 'jump'.

what i mean is, at the moment, things move as you'd expect by dragging objects about. what would probably be more practical is if you still 'dragged' the screen about but it jumped or snapped to the next area.

so, if i began dragging from top to bottom, even though i've only dragged about 50 pixels down, the screen would jump the full length of what is currently viewable and 'snap' to the area that was hidden above out of screen.

this would make the whole process super quick and would mean less messing about positioning the screen after you've dragged it. it would be similar to using virtual desktops but instead of using an 'alt+tab' kind of swap you are using the direction of the 'drag' to indicate which screen area you wan to go to.

it would nice if there were TWO drag methods:

1. very short quick drag means 'jump' a whole viewable screen/zone so the next zone come into view. (perhaps a whole 'zone' jump is too much and just half a zone or a third would be okay - perhaps this would be incorporated anyway when the 'snap' feature is implemented.)

2. long drags (eg. at least twice the length of the short drag setting ) makes the drag movement work as it currently does - with the screen moving along with the mouse cursor.
« Last Edit: February 15, 2008, 11:43:41 AM by nudone » Logged
jgpaiva
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« Reply #23 on: February 15, 2008, 12:03:30 PM »

Ok..Another update:

updated: added "keep active window on screen" feature. Works like this: when you alt+tab/select a window that isn't completelly on screen, it moves there. If you have just moved, it waits 5 seconds for you to focus another window and then it'll move the screen back to the focused window (which might be offscreen).

Right now, looks like that works fairly well. I'm thinking that the best solution to this problem isn't this one, though.
I'll make so that it'll set the Desktop to the active window after moving (actually i thought of this when i wrote the above phrase, it's the perfect solution smiley) which will solve the problem of it going back to the previous place Wink.

Your idea about moving by whole screens makes much sense. I'll add something allong those lines.
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jgpaiva
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« Reply #24 on: February 15, 2008, 12:04:45 PM »

Right now, i'm finding another problem: everytime you close the app or restart it, it thinks it's in the middle of the screen (while you may have closed it when it wasn't at that position), and everything gets confused. I won't solve this right away, but it's easy to solve through ini files.
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