Selectable preview windows when hovering over application icons

Asked by Craig Hewetson on 2010-03-29

If you look at windows 7, it has a feature that if you hover over an application icon with multiple instances you get a preview of those applications shown just above the taskbar. Each preview is small and selectable. i.e if you click on it it opens that application instance.

Would the Docky project want to move in this direction? Is there already similar features planned/in progress?
If there is interest then maybe i can create a bug and link a blueprint to it, and start the ball rolling.

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Robert Dyer
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Chris S. (cszikszoy) said : #1

You should confirm with DanRabbit, but this is definitely something I would like to see.

I'll leave the question open until confirmed.

michael (michael-anderson) said : #3

This is already possible, if you run Compiz and enable the Window Previews plugin. It works with Docky too, and not just the taskbar/window list.

Thank you Michael I didn't know about it.
Since you told me about this I tried to use it but it lacks too many features, to the point that I don't see the point of it.
For example:
I can't select a preview to open the window of choice.
It only shows a single preview.
It doesn't show a preview if the application instances have been minimized.
The previews are very small .... etc

My question is: Should docky think about implementing a solution to this? or should someone (like me) try and contribute to compiz to get it done?
BTW: I haven't got a clue on where to start :)

Best Robert Dyer (psybers) said : #5

Ideally I think this needs to be in Compiz. That way things like the panel tasklist can also use it.

Thanks Robert Dyer, that solved my question.

deanm (cubeist) said : #7

Craig, your concerns can be almost completely addressed by using the window preview (and other) plugins in compiz.

--- I can't select a preview to open the window of choice.
perhaps you can elaborate on this? you want to be able to click on the preview, why not just click on the actual icon in docky... did you know, if you have multiple windows open you can scroll through them by scrolling on the icon. Or you can alt-tab between windows, or using compiz, the scale plugin should work for you.

--- It only shows a single preview.
that is because there are other plugins (like scale in compiz) that do this better.

---It doesn't show a preview if the application instances have been minimized.
not many workarounds for this in any app, it somewhat defeats the purpose of minimizing.

The previews are very small .... etc
Completely configurable in compiz... it is called "thumbnail preview size"

I am assuming you are using CCSM, there are a ton of configuration settings available.

In windows 7, one can hover over a taskbar item and it will create previews of all the windows that it represents both maximized and minimized. The previews are then laid out across the bottom of the screen (with "live" rendering of each window's contents), the user can then use his mouse to select any of these previews to open it. The advantage of this is that the user doesn't need to scroll through N items before reaching the window he is looking for. (more "useable".)

I think its important to show all windows of that particular application whether they are minimized or not... In fact its important that i can gain access to the minimized windows in this way, so that I can maximize them.

I'm sure I can find a way to run through the compiz settings manager and tweak the settings so that atleast some of these features will work for me, but really if this is deemed to be an important useful feature, then I think the average user should get it out the box rather than having to do tweaking. (eg: enable scale plugin, increase thumbnail size etc)

But I'm 100% happy if docky doesn't want to go this route and leave it up to compiz.

deanm (cubeist) said : #9

huh, windows actually has a feature that a *nix person wants, this is a first! :)

I get what your saying about the previews now, saw a youtube video, and it does look like it would integrate well with docky. Unfortunately, that kind of in-depth preview is a lot of code, not just a small plugin. I will keep my eyes out for a similar project, and/or look at the code for the existing compiz preview plugin to see how complex it is.

Artyom Zorin (azorin) said : #10

DockbarX has pretty much what Craig is looking for, it uses the "KDE Compatibility" plugin in Compiz for the window previews. It's worth taking a look at (although there is a bug with the new Compiz "KDE Compatibility" plugin shows the previews under the frame which is supposed to be underneath the preview):