Taskbar Grouping In CVS

Sure to put an end to countless discussions on the ever-lively kde-look mailing list, and to cut off a stream of "wishlist" bug requests, KDE CVS (look for it in the upcoming KDE 2.2-beta1 release) now features task-grouping in Kicker, the KDE panel. As is shown in this screenshot, task grouping optionally groups all windows opened by the same application in the same task-bar button. Here, 17 Gimp windows can be seen grouped in the same taskbar button, and the same can be seen for Konqueror and Konsole windows. With no more overflowing task bars, I am a happy camper :-).

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by Rob Kaper (not verified)

> Here, 17 Gimp windows can be seen grouped in
> the same taskbar button

Yet the main Gimp window is not grouped together with those.

Makes me curious.. *enables code*

Hm, looks as if only the picture windows get grouped together, "New image" and the layers window are all still seperate. Odd.

by KDE User (not verified)

It must be matching based on the name or a window property. The first few characters of the name matches, or the window property is the same, so it is grouped together. I guess this may change (maybe it is already configurable?) as this has recently gone into CVS as part of Taskbar TNG.

by Rob Kaper (not verified)

I've checked the code, and...

QString Task::className()
XClassHint hint;
if(XGetClassHint(qt_xdisplay(), _win, &hint))
return QString(hint.res_name);
return QString::null;

... it's based on classname which is a feature of X. So I presume any application could actually choose seperate (or the same) classes for its various windows itself.

by Richard Sheldon (not verified)

This sounds pretty cool, but I hope there's a way to turn this on application/by application. I'd hate all my terminals to show up on 1 task bar button!

by dingodonkey (not verified)

Yeah, especially with Konsole, where they manage their terminals on the bottom of the window. Anybody with multiple Konsoles open clearly intends to want to shift between them. I hope it is easy (or will be) for app developers to disable this feature. I can see where it could really come in handy, especially when driven with some "ai" behind it... Something to think about.

by yoowhoo (not verified)

I only use one single Konsole.
In my mind, I view Konsole as a KUniqueApp.

Let the program do its job and open new sessions
from within Konsole.

by dingodonkey (not verified)

Right. I, on the other hand, am in the habit of having 3-4 konsoles open (no idea why), the grouping would just seem... pointless, since grouping is available in a single Konsole should you wish to use it.

This is a feature that will be more accepted by users after Windows XP is released, and seem as foreign as virtual consoles to any current Windows users. We should be devoting the most time now to making features like this more advanced, with more "smart" grouping, to ease it on new users. After all, haven't we all wanted a GUI that did what we want all the time, without telling it what to do?

For example, in that image, all of the GIMP images that were grouped had extremely similar filenames, yet were grouped so annoyingling... Perhaps listing them as:



[hi64-mime-...(RGB) 100%]

In other words: include only the areas of change, the rest is ...ed out, perhaps using transparency, so the outer dot is lighter than the inner dot. Whatever. If the icons for each are different, then just show either the most used or some default. In the button itself, include everything, ...ing out the parts listed in the menu. Multiple ...s can be used. Note the way I used ()s only in the menu around the menu items that are minimized. No place else.

This is just my own random babbling of how a feature like this (which i do like, and look foward to) should be. In addition, you should be able to configure how many similar items are needed to form a group (i think 4-6... although it could also vary based on how crowded the taskbar is... if there is plenty of room, why bother?)

by Antialias (not verified)

Hm, I think, kasbar is better, and it comes with preview windows and icons, so I can easily find what I am looking for. Too much text, especially with full path with all directories is confusing and not easy for fast navigating. When I work in Gimp I put Gimp main window, layers window, tool window and brushes window on one virtual desktop and a picture (or group of pictures if they are smaller) on another virtual desktop, and keep them opened all the time. And kasbar appears on all virtual desktops, so I use it as desktop pager.

by AC (not verified)

This is a useful feature. Good work KDE team. :-)

by Ben Meyer (not verified)

I know I am beating a dead horse here, but when will the taskbar not have to bo the full length of the screen?

by A Sad Person (not verified)

In CVS, it doesn't have to be - you can specify a percentage, and whether you want it to autoexpand beyond that..

The nice things about running KDE from CVS is that you get to see all those new cool features :-)

by yg (not verified)

Another step in the right direction!

What about programs with multi configurations and icons ?

I think about Konqueror.

In the screenshot, I see that icons are in the beginning of each line, and I guess they may be different as now in the task bar (favicons). Well.

But for Konqueror it needs more, I think. It needs to have several buttons in the taskbar, one per profile (navigator, file manager, help...), a task-grouping for each-one...

by Solhell (not verified)

First of all, we need to see the big piture.
Don't implement something just because it is in winXP or it is in Gnome. And if you really need to implement it make sure to implement it correctly and in a smart way. I am not sure about the details of KDE implementation, but here are my obvious observations:
- Don't need taskbar grouping if there are only two konqueror windows are open. It just slows you down. You need two clicks instead of one click to activate windows. So put a limit (4-5) on open windows before grouping them.

- Only group windows that really can show some differentiating text to identify which is which. An example is the url of the konqueror window. A bad example is gnome xterm windows. I have three xterms open. Gnome groups them and I am really frustrated since there is no text identifying which one is which. If all of them were on the taskbar, at least mentally I know their locations on the taskbar which makes it easy to switch.

- Use the taskbar fully before switching to grouping. There is no point of grouping windows when the rest of the taskbar is empty. It just slows down the productivity.

by foobar (not verified)

I agree with the points you've made.

by David (not verified)

That is the exact KDE mentality that makes it the best desktop enviroment. I hope the developers listen to the piece of wisdom above.

by APW (not verified)

I'd definitely like to have the option to turn this feature off. I have yet to run into a situation in my use of KDE where this feature would provide an "ease of use" advantage. I'm sure that there may be other KDE users who will have occasion to use a grouping feature.

My opinion comes from use of konsole. The multiple sessions in a konsole instance was a nice feature to try out, but in practice since, I never use it. I want to have 4-6 konsoles open on a single desktop where I can view the output of each konsole. Similarly, on the taskbar, I never have more than 4-6 applications open in any single desktop.

by Tim (not verified)

I use the multiple session feature of konsole, it's fine



by Tackat (not verified)

> Don't implement something just because it is in winXP or it is in Gnome.

Actually this was on the TODO-list of Matthias since long. If you look back into the archives of kde-look in december 1999 you'll notice that I have suggested this feature way before MS or Gnome implemented it.
I think the very first OS which came up with taskbar-grouping to solve the issue of SDI cluttering up the interface was BeOS.


by naloquin (not verified)

So when do we get icons of the macos X quality in Kde?

Dont get me wrong. the current ones are good. But they are certainly not very eye pleasing.

Keep up the good work.


by Tackat (not verified)

> So when do we get icons of the macos X quality in Kde?

Oh, I don't think that Icons in KDE look much worse than those in MacOSX- especially if you switch icon-size in MacOS X down to 32x32.

If you switch on Alphablending in kcontrol -> Look & Feel -> Icons and switch your icon-size to 48x48 things might look much better already to you:


In current CVS we even already offer 64x64-icons which looks like this:


Usually I get several e-mails per day of people who tell me that they really like the KDE-icons and are very pleased with the work the kde-artist-team did.

While I'm quite happy with the current state as well there are still some icons KDE which I don't like yet (especially when it comes to application-icons) but this isn't something one could solve within a few days. KDE makes very much use of several different icons. In fact kdelibs has got around 800 icon-pixmaps.

The only solutions I can offer to you is:

- wait until things get better (I'm working on those icons daily and they are improving that way). You should be aware though that KDE is not meant to look Geeky/Cool by default. We try to create icons which please most people and are good icons in terms of usability as well.
- submit some better icons made by yourself to [email protected] which might get into KDE-CVS then.
- Create yourself a MacOS X-icontheme. After all KDE can technically do 95% of the icon-stuff MacOS X can do (except for the bouncing icons on startup .. )


by Raphael Borg El... (not verified)

I would like to ask you a question regarding some MacOS X related eye-candy. Is there anything in KDE CVS that can emulate the minimise and maximise animations that exist in OSX ? Those animations are way too cool.


by Chris Bordeman (not verified)

Before something like that were to happen, X12 (if that's what it is called) with a new rendering engine will have to be completed. The current X is far too slow for a modern desktop. Hopefully X12 will include the ability to dynamically change desktop sizes without restarting the X server, the way MS Windows does now.

by KDE Fan (not verified)

Well I think the icons are great! Everyone that I show KDE to makes the comment that it looks so 'rich' and 'sharp'. The beauty of the icons plays the most important role in making that impression.

Plus the icons are designed as icons should be designed - clean, symbolic, and easy to interpret. None of that silly 'photo realistic' stuff..

I have watched Windows users sit at my desktop and look around and they are quickly able to figure out what the icons represent.

Excellent work! Thanks for a beautiful desktop!

by Brent Cook (not verified)

Hitting the middle button on a grouped taskbar icon toggles between the different tasks. So, if you have two Konsole windows open, you can still toggle with a single click.

I love it.

by Rob (not verified)

Hmmm, interesting points. In sawfish when toggling between windows, there is an option to warp the mouse pointer to different windows as they are selected. This is very useful for telling apart all of my terminals.

Perhaps the mouse pointer could similarly be warped to windows as the mouse traverses the list of windows?

by Anthony Moulen (not verified)

Actually on the Xterm statement, it is fairly easy to title an Xterm and have that title show up in your taskbar. I generally retitle my Xterm based on my current task. I have a little alias called xtitle and I just type xtitle [title] and I am off to the races. I also rewrote the code for konsole to allow the title to show up in the task bar for the current session active in any konsole window. But that patch never seems to get applied so it is sort of a private feature ;-).

by JPK (not verified)

I add the folowing to my .cshrc to set the window title to the current directory.

# Set the console title to CWD for xterm
if ( $TERM == xterm ) then
alias cwdcmd 'wtitle'
setenv WNAME `uname -n`
alias wtitle 'title ${WNAME}:${cwd}'
alias title 'echo -n "\033]0;"\!*"\007"'

Works for xterm and konsole!

by Chris Bordeman (not verified)

That is great!

by J. Pongilioni (not verified)

Interesting... This will unclutter the task bar a lot :-)

And I'd like another wish: add a new command to tile the open windows (in the same location that "Cascade Windows" command).

Superb KDE team :-)

by Timothy R. Butler (not verified)

Good Job KDE Team! It looks like you implemented yet another one of Microsoft's good ideas (one of the few I've heard about in XP) into KDE!


by David (not verified)

Didn't MS steal it from Gnome though?

by dingodonkey (not verified)

The fact that GNOME had it first doesn't make it stealing. Windows had a taskbar before KDE did, regardless of what each calls theirs. Does that mean KDE "stole" it from Windows?

Something to ponder...

by ac (not verified)

You do know that taskbar have existed in one form or another way before Windows did it?

by Adrian Bool (not verified)

like Acorn's RiscOS back in 1990???

by ac (not verified)

And didn't BeOS have it before Gnome?

by Adam Black (not verified)

Actually I think the taskbar started with Mac.

by Evan "JabberWok... (not verified)

It really depends on what you call a "Taskbar". The earliest example of the precise modern taskbar ("Start", "K" or "Foot" button with a foldout menu of programs, and tiled buttons containing each running program... all along a bar that is on the edge of the screen) is on the NeXTStep platform, first released (v0.8) October 1988.

It may well have a direct ancestor; it certainly has related UI interfaces that predate it. But it's the first taskbar that really looks like the modern taskbar with familiar "buttonized" tasks, and a program launch button that flys out a menu.


by Media left. (not verified)

have you noticed the simalirtys of XP and NeXT.

its creepy...

by Daniel Pisano (not verified)

And besides, OS/2 Warp also had it in V3.

by Rikard Anglerud (not verified)

Actually, I used this on my amiga, many years ago. MacOS has also let you select programs to activate via its task menu (I used that in os7.1, and it was probably there before that).

by stephane PETITHOMME (not verified)

What about this other way of configuring:

- There is no default grouping limits. By default, the option is not activated.
- By grading a "group" icon from the taskbar to the application I need to group, I activate the option. Other way can be :Adding the group option on the application popup menu.
- The same can apply to a "ungroup" notion.

The whole Idea is that I can dynamically control it based on my actual requirement.

Even better, Can it remimber my last setting for my next session?

Whatever, that already a nice feature.

> Adding the group option on the application popup menu

Now this is certainly a good idea.

by Chris Boyle (not verified)

Great work, this is a really nice thing to have available, but I think it should be off by default. I think it's better to have to turn it on once for apps like Konqueror and GIMP than to have to do two clicks every time.

I think it should be on the taskbar button menu like always on top. There is already a feature (with a menu item on the window, though not on the taskbar) to save settings like always on top, could it be saved like that?

Also I think there should be a menu item for "skip taskbar". Currently the only way to turn that on is with kstart and it's very useful for e.g. GKrellM, XMMS, etc...

by KDEuser (not verified)

You are missing the point here.

The point is not just so that you are saving on taskbar screen real estate, or just to group them so that you have a single point where you can swap between them. The real usability issue that hasn't been included is to kill all these open windows. Say, you have 10 konq. windows open. To close all 10 would simply be two clicks, one to click on the group listing and two to click on the option "Close all active windows" or something similar.

There is no point in grouping windows if you don't add this functionality.

by Risto Treksler (not verified)

I think this is a very good idea and I hope it is pursued.
Closing multiple windows has been a pain so far in KDE.

I haven't used the latest CVS so I don't know if this is there already, but here is another option I would like to see.

Suppose you have the taskbar set to NOT group windows together by default, but on occasion you want to group all your konqueror windows together !!

Right click on ANY Konqueror entry in the taskbar
-- ...
--group with similar !!!
-- ...

OTOH, Suppose you have the taskbar SET TO group windows together by default, but on occasion you want to UNGROUP the konqueror windows

Right click on THE Konqueror entry in the taskbar
-- ...
--UNgroup windows !!!
-- ...
--close all :))

by Alain (not verified)

Risto said :

> I think this is a very good idea and I hope it is pursued

Me too !

> Suppose you have the taskbar set to NOT group windows together by default, but on occasion you want to group all your konqueror windows together !!
> Right click on ANY Konqueror entry in the taskbar
> --restore
> --shade
> -- ...
> --group with similar !!!
> -- ...
> --close

Yes ! (or after an ungroup with parameter on group windows)

> OTOH, Suppose you have the taskbar SET TO group windows together by default, but on occasion you want to UNGROUP the konqueror windows

Or after a group with parameter on not group windows...

> Right click on THE Konqueror entry in the taskbar
> --restore

-- restore all, I think

> --shade
> -- ...
> --UNgroup windows !!!
> -- ...
> --close

No, not "close", only "close all", because the close function is above, for each window

> --close all :))

Yes, good ideas !! I hope it is easy to improve...

by Hyperchaotic (not verified)

This is great, uncluttering achieved. Now I just need to figure out how to remove window decorations for my biff client and asclock. The FAQ only tells how to do this on KDE 1.x.
Thanks to all the great KDE developers.

by Richard Moore (not verified)

Try something like kstart --type Tool xbiff for your biff client. For asclock, run the 'Dock Application Bar' from the Kicker extensions menu then it will be docked to the screen edge.


by Hyperchaotic (not verified)

Thanks, Rich. I just ran out of Needful Things.
Best regards, Hyperchaotic.