Sizzling Switching

After a miserable Monday yesterday (had a lot of trouble sleeping, spent the day in a half-zombie state), today's holiday is a great opportunity to relax... And code a bit more. Yaki is going pretty well, although you wouldn't say that from the way the Bugs page keeps growing.

Markdown is still giving me a bit of trouble (the Python module I'm using for it has a couple of quirks), but Textile markup is working fine, and it is starting to grow on me...

But enough of my Wiki-to-be. I've come across a couple of Beryl videos that have a pretty bog-standard virtual desktop, Expose-like effects and an interesting take on task switching, the last of which caught my eye somewhat.

Now, I've been using Witch for ages, but the main reason for that is muscle memory acquired in Windows that has me reaching for Alt+Tab occasionally - in mostly the same way, in fact, that I use Launchy in Windows because I keep hitting Ctrl+Space to launch applications with Quicksilver.

And yes, sometimes I wish Mac OS X's default application switching behavior was a trifle more polished, not because I feel like I need more eye-candy, but mostly because Expose can make it a bit hard to discern among a dozen different shrunken terminal windows, even on a 20" screen...

Anyway, the main point is that I got to those videos via a fellow Mac user (recently arrived from Linux land) that was griping about Mac OS X's "stupid" and "limited" task switching...

After taking a couple of minutes to calm him down, I then proceeded to point out that you can switch to a specific window visually and quickly - without using Witch, and without using the mouse at all.

The way I usually do things is to hit F9 and then use Tab to switch between applications - all an application's windows will be brought to the foreground as a group, and you can then use the cursor keys to switch to a specific window.

This is nice because it allows the fonts to be larger than when showing all windows, which is why I prefer doing this two-step when looking for a specific terminal window (If I'm in Terminal I can just hit F10, of course, but the most common scenario is my switching between a browser and a specific terminal...).

But, of course, if you're in a hurry, you can also press F9 and use the cursor keys straight away to go to a specific window - so you can, in fact, switch directly to a specific window of a specific application - it just takes a different set of key-presses.

Mac OS X's windows don't wobble (and yes, there is a satisfying physicality to that, although I have always set the effect to half its usual default whenever I've used Beryl), but it's just as fast - if not faster, once you get used to it.

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