OT - Squeak and the Broader Software Community
lists at dcorking.com
Thu Jul 13 10:25:00 UTC 2006
On 7/13/06, Damien Cassou <damien.cassou at laposte.net> wrote:
> > Then there's Squeak's keyboard focus behavior when moving the mouse
> > around, which is sort of a combination of Mac/Windows "click to focus"
> > and X11 "mouse over focus" behavior. In Squeak, you have "click to
> > focus" behavior between windows (you have to click on a window to type
> > in it), but between panes within a window, you have to mouse over to
> > that pane. After using all three UIs over the years, I'd say having a
> > mix is probably the worst option... it might be worth converting Squeak
> > to just one or the other. (I'd lean toward "click to focus".) I'm
> > guessing this behavior originated with Smalltalk-80.
> This is something that really annoys me every day. If somebody has a
> fix, I would greatly appreciate it. I would like the mouse position not
> to decide about what is focused. I click somewhere in a window and then
> I can throw my mouse cursor away and forget about it. Currently, I often
> loose the focus when I throw my mouse.
> Moreover, the option in the preference browser
> 'mouseOverForKeyboardFocus' only works for windows, and not for pane. If
> I move the mouse between panes, the focus change even the option is set
> to false.
I agree with Damien and Doug. However Doug implies a common
misconception (perhaps accidentally.) Though in Windows 'click to
focus' is the default, it can be quickly switched to 'focus follows
mouse'. It is really a matter of personal preference. In either
platform, it is configured globally, and individual objects/apps don't
really get a say in the matter. I suspect that a mainstream Squeak
would succeed by following the 'click to focus' fashion, but an ideal
would be to provide some sort of global switch to the other behaviour.
There should remain plenty of leeway for UI research, allowing
alternative models to be installed and easily shared. (An example of
an alternative models would be the portal model in Croquet.
Different Squeak images having different mouse button bindings is, in
my opinion, not research but merely accidental randomness, with
unforeseen effects on those kind volunteers who write beginner
By the way - I found the 'focus follows mouse' behaviour in the
Croquet HedgeHacks spreadsheet somewhat disorientating.
I noticed that on my X desktop, keyboard focus follows mouse between
applications (which I like) but I have to click (or use tab etc.) to
move focus between text entry widgets inside a window. This works
fine, and it is the mirror image of the mixed behaviour that Doug
describes in Squeak. That Squeak behaviour is very hard for me as I
normally use a ThinkPad Trackpoint that suffers from pointer drift.
>From what little I know of Smalltalk, either mix is contrary to the ST
philosophy of 'everything is an object', which is, in any case,
utterly disorienting to those of us used to platforms where the
application GUI and the desktop/window manger have an arms length
relationship with each other.
Anyway, now the 'cool' UI research funding is going into 3D and
virtual reality, I don't expect anyone to tell us scientifically how
to improve 2D apps. I suspect 2D state-of-the-art will remain the
state-of-the-art as found in PARC in 1979. Vista/Aqua/GNOME/KDE will
continue to look and, more importantly, feel, basically the same (and
basically the same as Squeak.)
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