Guide to X11/Window Managers/Features and Facilities of Window Managers

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Features and Facilities of Window Managers[edit]

The features and facilities that are provided by various window managers include:

autohide[edit]

An autohide facility enables menubars to disappear when the pointer is moved away from the edge of the screen.

borders[edit]

A border is a window decoration component provided by some window managers, that appears around the active window. Some window managers may also provide a border around background windows.

context menu[edit]

Some window managers provide a context menu that appears when an alternative click event is applied to a window manager component or desktop application widget.

iconification[edit]

An iconification facility enables running applications to be minimized to a desktop or taskpanel icon.

joined windows[edit]

Some window managers provide a joined windows facility that enables application window frames to be joined together.

keyboard equivalents[edit]

Some window managers provide keyboard equivalents that enables functionality provided by the mouse to be replicated by a keyboard equivalent.

menubar[edit]

Some window managers provide a menubar that gives the facility to launch programs using a menu. The menubar may contain additional facilities including a startbutton, a taskbar, and a systemtray.

menupanel[edit]

A menupanel is a component of some window manager systems that provides the facility to launch programs using a menu. The menupanel may contain additional facilities including a startbutton, a taskpanel, and a systemtray.

mouse focus[edit]

The mouse focus model determines how the pointing device affects the input focus within the window manager. A windowmanager can use various focus models to determine which component of the graphical user interface is currently selected to receive input as the pointer is moved around the screen.

mouse warping[edit]

A mouse warping facility centres the mouse pointer on the current application as it is made active.

multiple desktops[edit]

A reparenting window manager may provide a multiple desktop facility. This enables several rootwindows to be used, and a facility to switch between desktops. This prevents clutter of the rootwindow, because applications can be run from different desktops.

pager[edit]

Some window managers provide a pager tool that provides the facility to switch between multiple desktops. The pager may appear as an onscreen window or as a gadget in the taskbar or taskpanel.

plugins[edit]

Some window managers have a modular construction, enabling plugin modules to be used to provide features as required.

root menu[edit]

The root menu appears when the root window or desktop background is touched.

rollup[edit]

A rollup facility enables windows to appear as just a titlebar on the desktop.

shortcuts[edit]

A shortcut facility, enables icons to be placed on the rootwindow, which can be used to access specific programs or facilities.

start button[edit]

A start button is a desktop widget that provides a launch facility via a menu of programs. The start button is typically placed on a menubar at the bottom of the screen.

system tray[edit]

A system tray is used to displays icons for system and program features that have no window on the desktop. It contains mainly icons to indicate status information and notifications such as arrival of a new mail message. Some systems may also show a clock in the system tray.

tabbed windows[edit]

A tabbed windows facility enables applications to be grouped together to share common frames.

task switching[edit]

The window manager may provide various task switching facilities , to enable selection of the currently focused application, including:

  • mousefocus
  • keyboard shortcuts
  • taskbar
  • taskpanel

taskbar[edit]

A taskbar shows running applications. The taskbar may show all applications that are running including those that have been minimized, and may provide the facility to switch focus between them. The taskbar may be incorporated into a menubar on some window managers.

taskpanel[edit]

A taskpanel is similar to a taskbar, but appears as a floating panel, rather than a horizontal or vertical bar.

title bar[edit]

A titlebar is a window decoration component provided by some window managers which appears at the top of each window. The titlebar is typically used to display the name of the application, or the name of the open document.

title bar buttons[edit]

Some window managers provide title bar buttons which provide the facility to minimize, maximize, rollup or close application windows. Some window managers may display the titlebar buttons in the taskbar or taskpanel, rather than in the titlebars.

virtual desktop[edit]

A virtual desktop (also called a scrolling desktop ) is a facility that enables the desktop to be larger than the actual screen.

wallpaper[edit]

A wallpaper facility enables a background picture to be displayed in the root window.