Is it possible to develop my own "Expose/Spaces"

Discussion in 'Mac Programming' started by klaxamazoo, Jul 20, 2011.

  1. klaxamazoo macrumors 6502

    Sep 8, 2006
    I mostly right little software programs to analyze and organize my research data. I tried Lion on my backup computer and I think there are a lot of great new APIs that developers will take advantage of.

    However, Mission Control really, really sucks at displaying content if you have more than two windows of the same application. It is worse than Vista's Flip-view thing.

    My questions are:
    How hard would it be to develop my own little Expose/Spaces application? Maybe something that mimicked 10.6 Expose, which had a pretty simple grid layout.

    How deep into OSX do you need to get in order to control and move around other applications and windows?

    Would any of you be able to roughly point me toward the correct Developer's Guides?
  2. ixthy macrumors newbie

    Apr 14, 2010
    If you could write such a program, I would buy it instantly. Else I'm not going to upgrade to Lion. Mission control is not a bad idea, but as a replacement of spaces and expose, it sucks!
  3. mrblack927 macrumors 6502a


    Aug 19, 2008
    Seconded. I would love to see this. I'm a developer but I don't have nearly enough low-level OS programming experience to pull off something like this. I would pay a healthy sum for such a feature. :)
  4. jiminaus macrumors 65816


    Dec 16, 2010
    I think this would be difficult to do from outside the window server.

    Just in case, app expose still exists in Lion. When I three-finger swipe down, I get a grid of the foreground app's open windows.
  5. klaxamazoo thread starter macrumors 6502

    Sep 8, 2006
    yeah, App Expose is fine if you only need to switch between windows of one application. I write a lot of research papers that require 10+ apps with 20-30 windows open. 10.5 and 10.6 were wonderful because they enabled me to have everything going but still quickly find what I need. Mission Control, not so much.

    I wonder how much information is available to outside programs. Would it be possible to first get a list of windows, their position in each space and a screen-swipe or image of each window? Based on that it might be possible to create an "artificial" spaces/expose that reduces the scales and arranges the images of each window.

    At least that's how I pictured it working, but I know very little.
  6. GorillaPaws macrumors 6502a


    Oct 26, 2003
    Richmond, VA
    I believe some of this functionality is exposed via Applescript, so you might need to interface through that. This sounds like a VERY ambitious project for someone who "knows very little." I know it's way out of my league.
  7. Oob, Jul 20, 2011
    Last edited: Jul 21, 2011

    Oob macrumors newbie

    Dec 16, 2009
    You guys need to explore your OS a bit more. Mission control for me is a more organized "show all windows" function aka advanced expose. If you want, you can still set your expose functions to specific keys from your system prefs.

    Step #1 - Use 3 fingers up to get to Mission control.
    Step #2 - Use CMD + ` to cycle through your programs
    Step #3 - Click on the window you want to access.
    (it will show all windows in each app while cycling in a tiled format)

    The other way to accomplish the same thing is
    Step #1 - CMD + Tab
    Step #2 - Set one of your F keys or hot corner to show all windows in a program.

    Also to the people saying spaces "isn't" working, it is working. You just need multiple spaces before you can drag programs to the edge of the screen.
  8. chown33 macrumors 604

    Aug 9, 2009
    Sailing beyond the sunset
    You could resign from the Early Adopter Club (aka the Bleeding Edge Sacrificials), and stick with Snow Leopard until at least 10.7.3, when the kinks will likely be worked.
  9. klaxamazoo thread starter macrumors 6502

    Sep 8, 2006
    I reinstalled snow leopard last night.

    Mission Control would be acceptable if it actually showed the windows instead of just slightly sliding them a couple of centimeters. Hopefully Apple will improve Mission Control in a point release.

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