Minimized Window Thumbnails in the Switcher

Yesterday I merged in my branch to support minimized window thumbnails in the upcoming alt-tab experience for Unity. I originally intended for this code to go inside of compiz in a neater fashion so it would be available to all plugins, however we are past feature freeze in our release schedule and ABI breaks are no longer allowed unless there’s a good reason for them.

In order to do this, we have to use some interesting hacks to ensure that windows are not completely unmapped when they are minimized, mainly using XShape to remove their input and inhibiting paint with the compositor. This means that some applications aren’t going to play nice with it, and we need to know what they are, so that we can either blacklist them or decide whether or not we want to ship with this functionality. So please report bugs if you get oddities like input not working in your applications, or your cursor being grabbed while an application is “minimized”!

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9 thoughts on “Minimized Window Thumbnails in the Switcher

  1. I like the concept and I appreciate the technical coolness, but I’ve always found window thumbnails to be kind of unusable. All my windows kind of start to look alike at that size, and I would rather have icons for switching between apps (or maybe thumbnails with icons in the corner, like some Compiz plugins do). Please, regardless of technical feasibility, do usability testing to find out if thumbnails are actually better for application switching before committing to this by default, and no matter what, please make it optional.

    On the other hand, thumbnails are probably great for switching windows within an application, a feature that is reportedly coming to the Unity Alt+Tab switcher. (Incidentally, this is how Windows 7 uses them.)

  2. This looks great, what I would really love is if we could also incorporate this into the Scale feature (default super+w in 11.04). I’ve set it to a hot corner and love the functionality – an incredibly speedy way to switch windows via mouse. All it needs is to include minimized windows

    1. Indeed, however, like I said earlier this will require an API break to get 100% correct, and it is not something that I will do for the 0.9.5x release series

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