updating name windows title

Etan Reisner pidgin at unreliablesource.net
Tue Jul 24 15:01:34 EDT 2007

On Tue, Jul 24, 2007 at 11:47:43AM -0700, Sean Egan wrote:
> What web browser does that? The two browsers I'm using both show the
> title of the active page (Firefox appends "- Mozilla FIrefox"). This
> seems better than "Webpages" or "Conversations" would be. Why do you
> hate it with a fiery passion? (Other, of course, than that you hate
> *everything* with a fiery passion ;))
> -s.

I stand corrected, browsers do tend to append the application name rather
than the type of item in the window, which I think is even less sensical
than pidgin prepending or appending the type of item (even in the generic
case of 'Conversations') for exactly the reasons we pulled 'Gaim' out of
all of our window titles years ago. It is an absolutely useless piece of
information under almost all circumstances because you really should know
what applications you are using.

Note that that the main argument I can see for appending the browser name
like that is to identify your web broswer showing 'Investigations into
Human Computer Interaction Under Water' as opposed to your pdf reader
showing the accompanying paper for that website. And also note that if the
browser was not showing the active tab page title in the window title bar
this wouldn't be an issue. Not to mention the fact that anyone using a
graphical application switcher will have application icons to be able to
distinguish between identically named windows of separate applications.

Now, to step back from the browser bit of things, I think an application
with one (or many) identical windows does in fact have no reason to
identify the contents of a window, your web browser will show nothing but
web pages so titling the dinow 'Webpages' provides no extra information.
However, in an application that has multiple disjoint window types (like
pidgin) identifying the contents of the window is in fact useful. Case in
point the 'IM/Chat' placement option and the IMs and Chats titled windows.

The compromise position here is 'Conversations - Buddyname' or 'Buddyname
- Conversations', between those two I don't (really) care as long as we
use local buddy aliases in the window title.

To explain why I hate that convention with a passion:
    It takes up space in my window listings, often doubling the length of
the entry (I go to lots of pages with short titles).

    It provides me no useful information, I never need to find my browser
window by looking in the title for 'Firefox' or 'Opera' if I need to go a
window like that my window manager lets me go to a window by class name.
(Though I never even do that because my browser windows always live in the
same workspace and I can go there directly when necessary.)

    The fact that the name is appended means that even if I wanted to look
for the browser name in a window list or taskbar or somesuch, the location
of that text string is inconsistent and I need to scan from the beginning.

Those are the reasons I can think of offhand, I feel like I must have more
but I can't come up with them at the moment.


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