Saturday, September 12, 2009

Duh! It's About the Document

The thing about computers is that, at the end of the day, they are really all about the documents. Clearly, I'm a bit obsessed with operating systems and software. But really, none of it would matter if it wasn't for the workbooks, the essays, the musical scores, the web pages and videos that computers enable us to view, edit, etc. Hopefully, I'm stating the obvious, here.

So, why is it then, that on a Mac, when you use Command + Tab to toggle to an application, it doesn't automatically restore minimized document windows? Instead, it toggles to the application in the application's previous state. So, if I've minimized the applications so that I can see something on my desktop, and then I want to flip back to Firefox, after toggling, I also need to separately restore the document window. This strikes me as odd, and it's definitely an issue that I never had with Windows.

In Windows, when you toggle to a previously minimized application, it automatically restores the application to the screen space that it was occupying before being minimized. Since life is all about the documents, this makes infinitely more sense to me. What are the odds that my desire is to switch to the application's top menu and not the document that I was formerly viewing/editing?

Similarly, Windows 7 has a portion of the taskbar reserved for quickly miminizing/restoring all windows. You just roll over to the bottom right corner and your desktop appears instantly. Clicking in the space minimizes all your apps so you can work in the desktop. Clicking there again restores all the documents.

If there's an equivalent Mac short cut or Dock function, I haven't found it yet.

1 comment:

  1. Update: Actually, I did find it as a feature of something. What was it called, "Envoy"? Something like that.