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Author Topic: Feature Request V2 — Task Control  (Read 8842 times)
nontroppo
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« on: September 04, 2005, 05:09:33 AM »

It would be very neat if FARR could (optionally) include the running applications in the Search list. Sometimes ALT+TAB is quite slow as it is a linear task switcher (and task bar requires a mouse move). FARR could be used to easily switch to any running app by progressive find of its title...
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mouser
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« Reply #1 on: September 04, 2005, 05:14:38 AM »

that's an interesting idea..
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jdmarch
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« Reply #2 on: January 27, 2006, 04:31:38 PM »

I'm not sure if I'm posting in the right thread. I thought there was a more recent dialog between nontroppo and mouser on this subject, but I'm not finding it now. Anyway, here's a post of mine earlier today on the subject in bugtrak, followed by mouser's response, followed (soon) by my response.

====

I strongly support nontroppo's suggestion, in the forum, that FARR be able to switch to already running tasks.

One other point: please include tasks which are only in the system tray, as well as those which are in the taskbar. More and more programs are offering minimize to tray as an option for uncluttering the taskbar, which is visually helpful, but AFAIK there's no way at all to open them except with the mouse, which is a pain.

Mouser, I like your idea to switch to a program if it is already running, otherwise start it. You mention it in the context of aliases, which I can't comment on because I haven't used aliases enough yet.

But surely in basic (non-alias) use, this would happen automatically, if there were a new heuristic to give already-running tasks a high score. Then how about yet another new heuristic (presumably with a somewhat lower score), for any application on disk which already has an instance running in the task list?

So if the specified application is already running, the user would quickly see two relevant entries on the selection list. At the top of the list, instantly, would be the already running task, then as the disk search proceeded we would see the same application from disk. Of course they should be appropriately labelled or iconned to easily distinguish them.

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jdmarch
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« Reply #3 on: January 27, 2006, 04:33:18 PM »

And here's mouser's reply to me in bugtrack:

=====

it seems to me this is a very nice idea and we should try to think how to maximize the usefullness of it.

i'm not sure the best way to offer this feature. maybe we should discuss in the forum.

essentially im thinking it would be nice to be able to have farr search from a list of running processes and then let you specify an operation to execute on one you select.

so you could type "running" "thebat" "kill" and it would find the bat and kill it. something like that.. but im still not sure the best interface..
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jdmarch
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« Reply #4 on: January 27, 2006, 04:44:16 PM »

I may be misunderstanding you, mouser, but I don't want to have to type "running" in order to switch to a running process. I want to type "F" and see a list which includes, at or toward the top, both the running instance of Firefox, and the start menu (or whatever) link to it.

From my perspective, by far the priority is easily being able to switch to / open / restore a running process. Any other functionality is gravy (albeit excellent gravy I'm sure!), and could be added later.

So the default (press Enter, or the #) would be to open/restore/show.

FYI, of the 15 programs presently in my system tray, 13 of them have popup menus that include Open, restore, or show. I don't know if FARR would have access to the contents of these menus without actually opening them.

« Last Edit: January 27, 2006, 05:14:24 PM by jdmarch » Logged
mouser
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« Reply #5 on: January 27, 2006, 04:48:10 PM »

i am more than happy to add functions for switchingto, closing, minimizing, changing priority of, etc. running processes.

i'm just thinking aloud about the kind of user interface that would be most efficient for the user to tell the program what they are wanting.

it seems to me that that this idea and some other related ideas we have discussed both sort of are asking for a way to first identify a file or command and THEN identify a subsequent operation or file.

for example:
first typing CLOSE to choose the close command from a Β list and then typing THEBAT to choose thebat program from a list of running processes.

the problem is.. how could we implement such a system? Β it's an interesting user interface challenge..
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jdmarch
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« Reply #6 on: January 27, 2006, 05:13:22 PM »

Oops, finger slipped and I posted last msg accidentally; will clean up that previous post. But to continue, with reference also to mouser's latest:

How about this?: The user types the partial name of a running process, same as with application names. Presses Enter to open/switch/restore. Or presses Ctrl+Enter to see a menu of relevant actions for that process. User could also reach this menu via the right-click context menu on the desired process's listing in the FARR window.

With regard to tray icons:
If FARR was able to gain access to the commands in a tray-icon's popup menus (both left and right), then the FARR process menu (just proposed) could incorporate those app-specific commands. Or, if that's not feasible, FARR's Ctrl+Enter popup menu could include the following choices
 Open
 Left click
 Double click
 Right click
and FARR would send the corresponding message to the process.

I'm not at all opposed to your idea of using commands as well, especially for the most common operations (open, kill, minimize), but I think that menus could be easier for seldom-used or application-specific commands. Also I'm a little uneasy about intruding on the namespace of the first token in the FARR command line. Also, I would prefer the consistency of always beginning with the application name, as now. So rather than "kill TheBat", I would incline toward "TheBat kill".
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Amadawn
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« Reply #7 on: January 27, 2006, 05:16:17 PM »

Have you seen quicksilver? the way it does it is as follows. You select the item on the search results and you click the right arrow. Then it shows you a list of things that you can do (like close, copy, and others). You select the option, type enter and the action is performed.

I've only seen this once in a friend of miens mac mini, but it seemed really easy to use.

Cheers,

Angel
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mouser
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« Reply #8 on: January 27, 2006, 05:18:55 PM »

yes we could require pressing an arrow button or something..  like when you right click on an item now.
i was just wondering if there wasnt a more keyboard centric way to do it..
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jdmarch
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« Reply #9 on: January 27, 2006, 06:13:34 PM »

I'm not sure what this "arrow button" would be, but if it's a mouse-click button, then it's not keyboard-oriented enough for my workstyle. My proposal, while not command-centric, was totally keyboard centric. Press Ctrl+Enter and you're in a menu which you can navigate with arrow keys or by pressing a menu-specific accelerator key. Press Enter and the command is executed. Your hands never leave the keyboard.

OTOH, if we're talking about the right arrow key on the keyboard, then that sounds good to me.

Of course it should also have mouse support, just should not require a mouse.
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mouser
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« Reply #10 on: January 27, 2006, 06:20:08 PM »

well we also have ctrl and alt available..
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jdmarch
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« Reply #11 on: January 27, 2006, 06:24:52 PM »

I'm not worried about which keys, I'll trust you to choose the one which is most consistent with overall FARR design. Just as long as it's accessible with a small number of keystrokes smiley
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Amadawn
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« Reply #12 on: January 27, 2006, 06:43:29 PM »

I meant the arrow _keys_ of course  smiley
I think they also use Tab, which also makes a lot of sense.

Check this description that I found on the Quicksilver forum about performing a task with normal mouse/keyboard commands versus QuickSilver:

example: to email the current file i have selected in finder to a friend in my address book:

1. normal mode

copy the file (Cmd+C)
open email application (mouse to dock + click)
open new email (cmd+n)
select to field (mouse move + click)
type in name (several keystrokes -- apple mail does auto complete)
select body (mouse move + click / or tab-tab-tab)
paste copied file (Cmd+V)
send (shortcut key or mouse move + click)

2. quicksilver mode

hotkey (cmd+space)
type (F I N -- auto completes to finder)
press right arrow to get selected file
press tab
type (E M A -- auto completes to "email to ..")
press tab
type friend's name (looks up in address book)
press Enter


By the way, for those who don't know, the "Finder" is Mac OSX's version of the Windows Explorer.

For more info on QuickSilver you might want to look at http://docs.blacktree.com/quicksilver/what_is_quicksilver. However, I don't think that FRR needs to be able to do such complex things or even to imitate QuickSilver (FRR has its own purpose), but the general idea of using the arrow keys to select actions is quite good in my opinion.

Cheers,

Angel
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jdmarch
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« Reply #13 on: January 27, 2006, 06:48:10 PM »

I'm convinced, Angel. Right arrow is intuitive, does not require chording (multiple keys), and will be pleasing to Quicksilver fans.
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mouser
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« Reply #14 on: January 27, 2006, 06:57:38 PM »

yes it sounds like quicksilver has the kind of thing i was trying to get at -
the idea that you could do incremental search for BOTH the command AND the file to operate on..
would be interesting to hear more ideas on how this kind of workflow could be presented in the best way..
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jgpaiva
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« Reply #15 on: January 27, 2006, 08:36:41 PM »

Today, i used colibri for the second time to test the way the setting were accessed.
It actually does some sense, and i think it could be the answer to this problem.
I'm not a big fan of "right arrow" or something like that, i prefer "tab".
To access colibri's settings, you type:
"colibri" (only the first letters are necessary)
press "tab"
and the options bellow change, and the options over that app become available, then, you type:
"settings" (again, only first letters needed)
"tab"
and the settings appear bellow.you type:
"hotkey" (blabla)
and enter
and you have accessed the hotkey settings.
For any other program, you'd do: (example: screenshot captor)
"screenshot captor"
'tab'
"close"
'enter'
To close it. For me, this makes sense. (to go back one level, you can press shift + tab, or use the arrow keys, i think)
IMO, this would be a great way to handle the interface to manage open processes, the only problem would be for those of us that use tab to cycle through the various results.Although i think that when farr has the ability to search for various not-contiguous words, there might not be any need to select another result other than the first.
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Amadawn
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« Reply #16 on: January 28, 2006, 03:21:43 AM »

Actually I also prefer tab, but I think QuickSilver allows both.

Colibri's objective is to be a QuickSilver replacement for windows. Even its look is quite similar to QuickSilver. Thus the way it functions is very similar to QuickSilver. The problem with it is that it is not easy to discover (mainly because Colibri does not put an arrow or some visual indication that you can access a set of commands for each item that it finds), but once you know it it can become quite powerful.
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