Mouse Rant

Tiling window managers just make sense for a keyboard oriented workflow. Switching between apps becomes faster, and arranging windows are easier.

Recently though, I’ve explored Eclipse to try out the new functionalities of the ADT plugin. I use the Emacs+ plugin, but you really can’t get away with Eclipse’s mouse oriented workflow. Some functionalities like switching perspectives have keyboard shortcuts which makes transitioning from text editing to viewing DDMS output a lot smoother, but navigating through most of the panes and tabs are painful without using the mouse. For instance, Eclipse will spawn floating window dialogs for some events, and a mouse is more efficient for these kinds of things. My WM of choice doesn’t have the standard window gui controls for closing a window, which makes closing floating windows a pain. I’ll have to do one mouse roundtrip to move the focus to the window I’d like to close, and then back to the keyboard to do the actual kill-window command. Because of this, I have decided to give Gnome 3 a try. The first thing I did is to rebind the workspace and window control commands to something like what I’m used to.

This led me to the realization that I’m not really using the tiling feature of tiling WMs to their full potential. Most of the time, I configure the tiling WM to put certain apps to their own workspace because I prefer to jump to a particular workspace number rather than navigating a stack of unrelated window tiles. In fact, ever since I used emacs, I rarely even tile windows because emacs itself can do split buffers, and most of the apps that I use are inside emacs. The good thing is, emacs doesn’t force me to use the mouse.

For a couple of years now, I’ve tried to maintain a keyboard oriented workflow. Firefox, another app that I heavily use, usually breaks this workflow until I have discovered the Vimperator plugin. Eclipse seems to break this workflow more often though. It’s not like I regularly use Eclipse, but I’m considering the fact that some app might take away take away the fun out of my tiling WM. Oh well, C’est la vie.


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