Computer Science Department
School of Computer Science, Carnegie Mellon University
Constraint-Based Tiled Windows
Ellis S. Cohen oot Siemens Research & Technology Laboratory, Princeton, NJ , Edward T. Smith, Lee A. Iverson Computer Vision and Graphics Laboratory, Department of Electrical Engineering, McGill University
Typical computer workstations feature large graphical display screens filled with windows that each show information about a user's processes and data. Window managers implemented on these systems provide mechanisms for creating, destroying, and arranging windows on the screen. Window managers generally follow either a "desktop" metaphor, allowing windows to overlap each other like sheets of paper piled up on a physical desk, or they use a "tiling" model, arranging each window with a specific size and location on the screen such that no overlap occurs between windows.
Desktop models allow for the most freedom in arranging windows, but can become quite frustrating to use when faced with a large number of windows "coming and going" over a short period of time that must be visible on the screen simultaneously. Tiling models save the user from having to specify every window location and guarantee that each window will be completely visible on the screen, but thus far, such systems have provided relatively poor mechanisms for the user to control layout decisions.
This paper describes work in progress on tiled window management featuring a constraint-based layout mechanism. With this mechanism the user can specify the appearance of individual windows and constrain relationships between windows, thus providing necessary control over the tiling process. We discuss our constraint model as well as detail an implementation approach that would make use of those constraints to arrange windows on a screen.