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Under review

Enhancement to Keep Sidebar Visible

dsl101 7 years ago updated by Joel Thornton 7 years ago 6

I use XMouse on Windows - so that focus follows mouse. This allows me to have a window which isn't the topmost to have the focus - very handy sometimes when referring to info in a separate app. However, it doesn't play nicely with Keep Sidebar Visible - as soon as the Chrome app gets focus, it seems that the sidebar thinks it must be topmost, and brings it and Chrome to the top.


Is there any way of making the sidebar do this ONLY if Chrome moves to the top, rather than just gets focus? Those two things are certainly not the same for me - although I can see in 'normal' windows, they probably would be.

Answer

Answer
Under review

Unfortunately Chrome gives us no way to differentiate between window-focus and window-raise occurrences; there is a "chrome.windows.onFocusChanged" event and that's it.

Similarly, Chrome gives us no way to just raise a window without also focusing it. I've submitted a Chrome bug to fix this specific issue. If Chrome implemented this, then if I understand your problem correctly, I believe the problem would be fixed -- when Sidewise needed to make the sidebar visible it could just raise the sidebar instead of raise+focusing it. This would also alleviate a few other issues related to the fact we can't raise the sidebar without also focusing it.

So for now your best bet is probably to go star that issue for a little more visibility :) 

For what it's worth, on my system I am using an Autohotkey script that you might call "XScroll": it allows the mouse wheel to scroll whatever window/control the pointer is over without switching focus. I used XMouse for a long time but have found the XScroll behavior more to my liking. Let me know if you are interested in this.

Answer
Under review

Unfortunately Chrome gives us no way to differentiate between window-focus and window-raise occurrences; there is a "chrome.windows.onFocusChanged" event and that's it.

Similarly, Chrome gives us no way to just raise a window without also focusing it. I've submitted a Chrome bug to fix this specific issue. If Chrome implemented this, then if I understand your problem correctly, I believe the problem would be fixed -- when Sidewise needed to make the sidebar visible it could just raise the sidebar instead of raise+focusing it. This would also alleviate a few other issues related to the fact we can't raise the sidebar without also focusing it.

So for now your best bet is probably to go star that issue for a little more visibility :) 

For what it's worth, on my system I am using an Autohotkey script that you might call "XScroll": it allows the mouse wheel to scroll whatever window/control the pointer is over without switching focus. I used XMouse for a long time but have found the XScroll behavior more to my liking. Let me know if you are interested in this.

Well, I do use more than scrolling on non-top windows, so I don't think that would quite work for me - I'm often cutting and pasting text, typing, etc..


Perhaps it's hidden in your description of what happens, but the main problem is that the Chrome window itself comes to the top when it gets focus - I could cope with Sidewise popping up, but the Chrome window is usually maximised, and so obliterates everything else. I checked that Chrome doesn't do this when Sidewise is turned off, so I presume it's some interaction between them that's causing it.

Basically this is how "keep sidebar visible" works:


  • Chrome loses focus
  • Chrome receives focus again
  • Sidewise focuses sidebar in order to raise it
  • Sidewise focuses main (dock) window again so that it has focus rather than the sidebar having focus, and is also raised

Do you think an option to disable that last step would correct the issue for you?

Hmm. I'm not sure - it would be annoying if the main Chrome window didn't end up with focus, as I'd end up having to click on it, defeating the whole purpose.


I suppose the best solution would be when Chrome receives focus, Sidewise finds out where in the z-stack the Chrome window is, and sets itself to the same position. But perhaps that's too far into the Windows messaging to be possible in an extension...


I can live with it for now (I have several other apps which do this, and although irritating, it's not the end of the world). If I work something else out, I'll post back. But I suspect the only real solution is a Chrome sidebar api so the Sidewise window can be a real part of the Chrome window - here's hoping...


I also use ActualTools software for managing windows - I'm going to post there to see if they have a way of making windows 'stick together' in the stack. I already use AWM to remove the Sidewise taskbar entry for example.

Can you explain what you do to remove the Sidewise taskbar entry? Folks have been looking for a solution for that on another Sidewise issue http://sidewise.userecho.com/topic/126505-clicks-and-icons/


I use a utility called AWM from www.actualtools.com. It's pretty sophisticated, but can do what that thread was referring to - although I don't think it solves the Alt+Tab problem. I don't use Alt-Tab myself, so don't really notice that side of things. 

If I added an option to Sidewise that would do focus-on-hover of the sidebar and/or dock window (basically 'XMouse by Sidewise'), do you think this would correct the problem you're having? Probably with "keep sidebar visible" turned off, or modified in some way to work better with this XMouse style behavior.

If implemented, this would still have to actually raise+focus the sidebar/dock window on mouseover, due to the lack of a "just raise it" mechanism in Chrome.