Re: [dwm] Purpose of Monocle Layout

From: Anselm R Garbe <>
Date: Sun, 3 Aug 2008 10:43:13 +0100

2008/8/2 Ian Daniher <>:
> BTW, a friend and I came up with the idea, that it would be useful to
> have some visual hint of how many windows you are actually viewing in
> monocle. Say, there are five windows with currently viewed tag and
> you're viewing the third window in the stack; then there could be an
> indicator like: [3/5] or [..*..]. What do you guys think about that?

This idea is rather old and it was implemented once in some official
version of dwm. However, because it is only interesting for 1
particular layout, namely monocle, it has been removed again. AFAIR
the solution to the problem was a change to the Layout struct, instead
of defining a simple symbol string for the layout, I used some
function pointer which returned the layout symbol string.

When using this indicator for some time, I concluded that it wasn't
obvious enough to be useful, especially because the information "nth
client of X clients" doesn't give you much -- you rarely remember the
client order anyways.

Because of the fact that dwm is a dynamic window manager, my
recommended solution is to switch to some appropriate layout before
you focus the particular client you are looking for, and then
switching to monocle again.

So, the way I use monocle is usually only on a client basis or on very
few clients -- there is the powerful tagging concept for grouping the
clients you work on.

With this in mind, this idea won't go mainstream again ;)

> Also, implementing the alt-tab to switch between the windows on that tab
> would seem to make sense.

The philosophy behind dwm and all other less suckish projects I'm
involved in follows the idea that there should be only 1 distinct
operation to perform a certain function. If any feature of some
software can only and always be performed in using 1 distinct
operation (which never changes), then it is easier to remember and to
use. Hence one indicator of bad software design is if there are plenty
ways performing the same operation (e.g. having an icon to click on, a
shortcut, a menu entry, a context menu entry, another shortcut, etc).
This indication applies to vim unfortunately -- there is :wq and ZZ
and what not for instance -- it basically performs the same
operations, polluting your command space unnecessarily and making you
think a lot which is the fastest way to perform a certain operation in
a certain situation, that sucks).

The only exception regarding the 1 distinct operation paradigm is to
allow only 1 distinct different way in performing it, if there is a
different input device, like the mouse.

Having two key bindings for the same thing also makes the usage less
consistent, because Mod1-Tab (in default setup) has a totally
different meaning. So IMHO Mod1-j/Mod1-k are the navigation shortcuts
in all layouts (at least in default setup).

And if you are unhappy with this, feel free to change it in config.h.

Kind regards,
Received on Sun Aug 03 2008 - 09:43:13 UTC

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