Thoughts on software and life.

Wednesday December 1

desktop layout

One of my favorite things about Mac OS X is that every window in every app can be positioned and sized via AppleEvents (aka AppleScript). This means I can create my own layouts and keep the windows I use most in the right places automatically.

For instance, when I'm programming I tend to switch between BBEdit, Firefox, Terminal, and Finder. I run one script with a keyboard shortcut to put my terminal and finder windows visible on my right-hand monitor, a big Firefox window in the center of my left-hand screen, along with my BBEdit documents in two separate columns. Since I can check the file type of each BBEdit document, I can automatically keep notes and header files in the left column, and implementation and script files on the right.

The longer I use this layout, the quicker my eye is trained to know where to look when I want to find something. Without this system, I'm too lazy to manually position all the windows in this layout and so I tend to spend a lot of time digging through windows with alt-tab and the mouse.

This system is currently a rather clunky python script. Note to self.... what I'm really wishing for is something like CSS for my desktop, so I could just write a few simple rules that dictate where things should go.

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