Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Optimal Layout

Inspired by xmonad on linux, I tried out Optimal Layout (version 1.1.2) for more efficient window management on Mac OS X. My work setup is a MacBook Pro with an external display and Spaces enabled. An important goal is to achieve keyboard only window control.

In Optimal Layout, tiling windows in an arrangement requires

  1. explicitly selecting the windows in the Optimal Layout UI

  2. selecting a layout from a list

  3. selecting the target display

My most common use case is to arrange windows in the current space on the display with the focus, i.e. my current context. There are too many steps for this to feel efficient.

The available window layouts are predefined, including the window sizing. After arranging windows, sizing adjustments can be made using the sticky resizing feature, but this requires using the mouse. Furthermore, should you open one more window, you have to go through the whole process again.

I am disapointed with Optimal Layout and am trying out Divvy, which I will post about next.


Ben Lowndes said...

Hi Brad, I'm the developer of Optimal Layout.

Thanks for trying it out and your thoughts. I'm continuing to develop Optimal Layout and I'm exploring ways to make the layouts more flexible and adaptive to new windows, so expect to see improvements in those areas soon.
Let me know if you've got any other feedback or if you'd like to help further by participating in the beta.

Brad Clow said...

Hi Ben.

Looks like you are not far away - Sunshine Coast?

I don't think there is a great window management solution for the Mac at the moment, so looking forward to improvements.

Ben Lowndes said...

Yes, I'm just up the road from you in Doonan, which is in Noosa's hinterland.

I'll drop you a message when the next big update to Optimal Layout is available if you'd like to take a look at it again.