Panel Autohide

Jasper Huijsmans jasper at
Tue Mar 18 20:39:23 CET 2003

On Tue, 18 Mar 2003 09:28:59 -0600 (GMT)
Erik Touve <etouve at> wrote:

> I had trouble posting this earlier....
> > Autohide in the same way as the taskbar is out of the question for
> > the panel. The panel is based on an entirely different design, most
> > importantly it is freely moveable around the screen; autohide only
> > works on a panel that is always on the edge.
> Ok.  Shouldn't be a huge problem here.  I should be able to test for
> location... x == 0 or x == SCREEN_WIDTH.... y ==0 or y ==

Well, almost (x == screen_with - panel_width) ;-), but I really don't
like special casing of such an important feature. Image this in the
settings dialog: 

[ ] Autohide, but only when the panel is on one of the screen edges


> >
> > The only autohide behaviour that I can think of for a the xfce panel
> > is to 'collapse' the contents to only show one or two move handles.
> > I'm not sure if this is useful and/or desirable, but I wouldn't be
> > against it on principle.
> >
> Are the handles the far left and far right
> dotted area on the panel?  I'm not sure what this would solve by
> making this like a 'kicker' in Gnome.  The problem I want to solve is
> not giving up my real estate...  most importantly if I have a maxed
> app. (currently have to set up margins if panel is at the bottom).

Well, you could have this small button on top of everything, expanding
to the full panel on mouse over, but as I said, I don't know if this
would work.

BTW, you can quickly get the panel back by middle-clicking on the
maximized window's title bar, to send it to the background. This only
works with panel layer set to normal. Not very intuitive perhaps.

> I've seen a previous post (Feb.) about the problem that the panel
> autohide would be compilcated due to it not being the entire
> width/height of the screen. That hiding the panel wouldn't work
> properly.  Can't I just show the panel when moused over the hidden
> panel area?  Does it really need to be activated when you move
> anywhere along the border of the screen?  

I don't recall this, and I certainly don't think that it is required.

> I'm sure there are some usability issues with something like this. 
> I'll see what the 'Human Interface Guidelines' are.  I believe they
> can be found somewhere on the Gnome site.

They call the behaviour of the xfce panel a floating panel, I think. Do
you know if they allow autohiding for floating panels? 

> > On an implementation note, the logic of hiding is complicated by the
> > fact that subpanels are separate windows, so the panel will lose
> > focus when you are accessing a subpanel, but obviously it shouldn't
> > hide.
> >
> Here I think I could trigger a flag for 'entering' a menu.  Don't hide
> until you're done.  Currently you can't escape a submenu.  I think you
> need to click on the activator to close a menu if you don't make a
> selection.  This would signal the exit and allow autohide if not
> moused over.  I need to think about keyboard input.

This was just a comment on your statement that the logic in xftaskbar
looked simple. I agree we should be able to solve this without too
much effort ;-)

> I'm not trying to 'force' bad design or introduce something that
> the group doesn't want/need.  I feel that the autohide function is
> really needed. Most users feel very comfortable with the way autohide
> works on other OSes and WMs.  Sure this panel is a bit different in
> that it doesn't stretch full width/height. If it did, I would surely
> expect it to have autohide functionality - most users would expect it.
>  Currently I feel that the panel is nice, useful, but at times it gets
>  in the
> way (setting margins takes up a lot of space, setting zorder below app
> makes it hard to get back to).
> I'd like to work on the problem without upsetting anyone here.  Maybe
> I can find a good way to do this.

The problem is not the width of the panel, it's the free movement. You
can't be sure of the location of the panel.

I do see the problem you are trying to solve, I'm just not sure what is
the best way to solve it, yet. Your ideas are very much appreciated
(look at my answer to Joakim's post for some more ideas I had).


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