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Author Topic: My experience with LBC  (Read 4750 times)

songless

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My experience with LBC
« on: August 26, 2010, 07:15:10 AM »
Hello,

  I know LBC since 2007 and I've tried it several times since then but always I had strange issues with autohiding docks so I never used it for more than one day.
 Now after looking the great screencasts I have used it for some days in two machines, PC with Windows 7 x64 and netbook with Windows 7 x32. The result is that I'm very impressed with drag&drop implementation and the flexibility to design bars with tool buttons, menus and so on, but I continue to get strange issues with bar's visibility.

I have tried to reproduce the issues in a logical and repeatable way but I can't, the more recurrent problem is that the bar I have configured to the left side of screen doesn't appear, and the other problem is that sometimes a invisible window appears in my taskbar and alt+tab list, if I click it nothing happens ( I have tray icon option marked ):


I use software like Deskpins, Dexpot or Sandboxie that probably interferes with LBC. With Dexpot is very curious, when I change active desktop and go back to the first there is an empty area in the desktop reserved to the bar but the bar is hidden so the area is empty and the other windows are aligned to that empty space. The visible launchbar is a second bar that is aligned to the space reserved for the autohiding first bar.

To solve the problem I open the LBC configuration dialog and then close, all is reconfigured.

My personal opinion ( that probably is wrong ) is that LBC uses COM to create docks that are managed by Explorer Shell, like when you create a toolbar by right click at taskbar -> toolbars -> new toolbar and select a folder path, and surely there are differences between each Windows version ( so LBC wouldn't run with BlackBox or Emerge in place of Explorer shell but I haven't tried ).
If the visibility problems come from creating 'Windows toolbars', wouldn't be possible to create normal windows like other software do ( PowerPro or bbIconBox in bbLean shell ) ?
I read this in RUnit's webpage ( btw very nice to make a help page with links to other launchers ):

http://www.magister-....at/RUNit/index.html
Quote
"how does RUNit detect the mouse click?
   
when not running in "whole screen mode", RUNit creates a window at the edge of the screen.
the window is created with the extended style WS_EX_TRANSPARENT, so you usually don't see much of it.
CreateWindowEx(WS_EX_ACCEPTFILES|WS_EX_TRANSPARENT|WS_EX_TOOLWINDOW, szAppName, szTitle, WS_POPUP, 0,0, iScreenWidth,1, NULL, NULL, hInstance, NULL);

so "detecting" the mouse click is nothing more than processing the WM_RBUTTONDOWN message in this case"

I suppose that with autohiding docks the event would be WM_MOUSEOVER or something similar. My point is that RUnit's method works perfect because it only depends on core Win32 Windows functions that work the same between all versions.

Leaving this topic usability of the program is excellent, I configured a very useful bar in minutes with drag&drop. And man I've tried many launchers ( freeware and shareware ).
If someone has some trick to maintain autohiding bar on top ( I don't like visible bars that reduce workspace ) I would be glad to hear, some hotkey that reconfigures the app, ...

mouser

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Re: My experience with LBC
« Reply #1 on: August 26, 2010, 11:30:27 AM »
Thanks for the thoughtful post.

In the past LBC used to be a bit flakey regarding autohide but it seems to be quite stable with some changes i made several months ago.

It sounds to me like the problems may be related to dexpot or other tools that mess with the desktop.. I think the first thing that would be really helpful is if you could try using LBC without these, and let me know if in fact it is the case that it's only when running with one of those that LBC acts up.  Then at least i would be able to try to reproduce it.

The other thing you could try it to configure a hotkey for your launchbar and have it show only when you hit the hotkey.


songless

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Re: My experience with LBC
« Reply #2 on: September 02, 2010, 12:25:53 PM »
I have tried in my netbook ( Windows 7 32bits ) without any relevant software running ( only the typical Windows services and Intel stuff for netbooks ) and the bar keep disappearing. I tried to save a screencast but was a failure, sorry.

My test was to open a folder in Windows explorer and open an instance of Internet Explorer and begin to maximize/restore/maximize/restore/change window/maximize/restore... until I can't see the border of autohiding bar, after some seconds the border dissapear, I put the cursor on the left and nothing appears. Then I restore both windows and the border is visible again at the desktop.
This test is very difficult to reproduce with consistency.

Another test was to open a image in full screen mode with FastStone Image Viewer and here always the bar dissapear. If I close the image and go to LBC's context menu->Fixup OnTop Status and then open again a imagen in full screen mode the bar dissapear again. I have the doubt if there is some setting for full-screen apps ( I mean, if it's the expected behavior ) but I haven't seen anything.

Last test, like you suggested I set a hotkey with "toggle dock instead of showing popup menu". Success, the bar always shows even with full-screen image.
This is interesting, probably I can associate for example a StrokeIt's mouse gesture for show the launchbar with hotkey action, I'm going to try and see if it works.

Thanks and regards !

mouser

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Re: My experience with LBC
« Reply #3 on: September 02, 2010, 12:39:52 PM »
Quote
I have tried in my netbook ( Windows 7 32bits ) without any relevant software running ( only the typical Windows services and Intel stuff for netbooks ) and the bar keep disappearing. Another test was to open a image in full screen mode with FastStone Image Viewer and here always the bar dissapear.


LBC detects full screen applications like screensavers and movies, and will completely hide itself in this case.

It sounds like perhaps this is being triggered for you when it shouldn't be.

One possibly easy fix is to make this an option you can turn off.  Would you be interested in testing that if i added that option?

songless

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Re: My experience with LBC
« Reply #4 on: September 02, 2010, 01:08:43 PM »
Yes I am very interested, that fix sounds promising for my case.

I have seen that when in full-screen mode I invoke the hotkey ( now with a mouse gesture, working nicely :) ) the taskbar shows too, I mean the launchbar seems integrated with explorer shell so probably some setting I have for taskbar ( at rightclick->properties dialog ) is affecting LBC.  I have autohide disabled, small icons enabled and "block taskbar" disabled.
I'm going to play with the options a bit.

One important thing I forgot in previous message, hotkey works if "Delay on Unhiding" option is disabled.

mouser

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Re: My experience with LBC
« Reply #5 on: September 02, 2010, 01:18:05 PM »
Quote
hotkey works if "Delay on Unhiding" option is disabled.
and if "delay on unhiding" is checked, what is the behavior?

songless

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Re: My experience with LBC
« Reply #6 on: September 02, 2010, 01:39:23 PM »
Quote
hotkey works if "Delay on Unhiding" option is disabled.
and if "delay on unhiding" is checked, what is the behavior?

Bar only shows if I press the hotkey several times.

mouser

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Re: My experience with LBC
« Reply #7 on: September 02, 2010, 02:11:00 PM »
ok i'll fix that too.

superboyac

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Re: My experience with LBC
« Reply #8 on: September 02, 2010, 04:41:56 PM »
Thanks for bringing this up.  Auto-hiding is a subject that has been on my mind for years, but I've never really talked about it much.  I have never seen an auto-hide implementation that I have been completely satisfied with.  I probably mentioned something here about LBC years ago.

For me, I'm not talking about bugs or anything like that.  There's nothing that's actually broken or buggy.  What I'm going to talk about is what is the best way to do an auto-hide thing from an end-user standpoint.  So here goes:

Delay control for the user:
I feel this is a MUST before I'll even consider using any auto-hide feature.  The user needs to be able to set the delays for the thing to pop-out AND to pop back in.  There needs to be two fields somewhere in the options where the user can set these values in milliseconds or something.  Personally, I like zippy action: I don't want to wait at all.  I would set it to zero.  As soon as my mouse touches the hotspot, I want the thing to pop out instantly, no delays, no jerkiness, ideally no animations (for me, it adds delay).  And same goes for it popping back in.  As soon as my mouse leaves the area, I want it to disappear immediately.  No delay or anything.

Most of the time, when developers do an auto-hide thing, there are no additional tweakable elements to that.  The typical options provided are things like always on top, position, and dockable or no.  But to be able to fine-tune the actual popping in/out behavior is the key.  Everyone is going to like different speeds.  People like me want it fast.  Others like it to linger around a little bit to prevent accidental pop outs.  But the option needs to be there so the user isn't always frustrated.  It's one of those things where you may really love the software, but the popout is just annoying enough to not make you want to use it so much.  I know I've run into that.

In LBC's defense, mouser implemented the independant feature of having the menu activated by a hotkey and it appears right under the mouse cursor.  I love that so much, i've totally forgotten about the auto-hide.  In fact, when that feature was implemented, my use of LBC increased quite a bit.

mouser

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Re: My experience with LBC
« Reply #9 on: September 02, 2010, 04:43:14 PM »
songless can you try this beta:
http://www.donationc...arCommanderSetup.exe

and go into general options and uncheck the full screen untopmost.

hopefully this should fix the delay to unhide on hotkey trigger too.

songless

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Re: My experience with LBC
« Reply #10 on: September 03, 2010, 12:39:33 PM »
Thanks mouser,

  I have installed it in my main machine ( Windows 7 x64 with lot of software, including Dexpot ) and netbook. "OnTop" option activated and "full screen untopmost" deactivated.
 The results are consistent and repeatable in both machines:

  - The hotkey works perfect now too with delay option.
  - I can't broke the OnTop status doing maximize/restore/maximize/restore/... with a explorer window. The border keeps visible and bar shows okay.
  - When I open a image with FastStone Image Viewer as full-screen the bar dissapear, I close the image and the bar is not more on top.
     To recover the normal behavior I can:
         1.- Use the hotkey ( my favorite )
         2.- Open and close configuration dialog
         3.- Right click -> fixup OnTop status.

I tried with XnView but I get mixed results with full-screen images, sometimes bar hides and sometimes keeps on top. So there are improvements ( the hotkey working with delay option checked is BIG improvement for me ) and tests are more coherent that is very welcome :D.

Anyone that use FastStone Image Viewer get different results ?

songless

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Re: My experience with LBC
« Reply #11 on: September 03, 2010, 01:12:25 PM »
SuperBoyac:

 most programs that implement autohide have the option to popup instantly, LBC too and works okay ( apart of the minimal delay to draw the bar ). I personally prefer a delay specially if the bar occupies one whole side of the screen, for example if you have a bar at the right when you click a window's close button is very easy to show the bar by mistake.

There is another possibility, a bar that popups instantly if you reach the hotspot AND holding a special key ( CTRL ), or like RUnit hotspot ( top of the screen ) + right mouse button, I like that.
MouseExtender shows the launcher with middle mouse button click, and works nicely too.