Keeping windows on-screen

Another problem with the desktop metaphor: In every window manager I’ve ever used, if you move a window out of the way, there’s a tendency to move part of it off the screen. This is fine sometimes, but if you are moving it out of the way so you can still look at it, while also looking at another window (and wouldn’t you just minimize it otherwise?), this has all the same problems as overlapping windows.

For instance, if you take a window in any normal window manager:

.--------Desktop----------.
|                         |
| .==============.        |
| |             ^|        |
| |             ||        |
| |             ||        |
| |             v|        |
| '--------------'        |
|                         |
'-------------------------'

and drag it off the screen, a lot is now hidden from view, including the scroll bars:

.--------Desktop----------.
|                         |
|                         |
|                         |
|                         |
|                .========|:::::.
|                |        |    ^:
|                |        |    ::
|                |        |    ::
'-------------------------'    v:
                 '..............'

Everything off-screen is now unreadable, and you can’t even scroll to access it.

It would be great if, when you move a window off the screen, the window would “smoosh” up against the edges of the screen, dynamically shrinking or increasing in size as you move towards or away from the edge, to keep everything visible.

In this case the bottom and right borders stop at the edge of the screen and the window resizes dynamically:

.--------Desktop----------.
|                         |
|                         |
|                         |
|                         |
|                .=======.|
|                |      ^||
|                |      v||
|                '-------'|
'-------------------------'

Then all the content in the moved window is still accessible by text wrapping and/or scrolling.

Normally, when you maximize a window to fill the whole screen, it “remembers” the previous size and position, allowing you to restore it to its original size.

Similarly, when a window is “smooshed” like this against the edges of the screen, it will remember how big the window originally was. When you drag the window back towards the center of the screen with the title bar, it will “re-inflate” to its original size.

.--------Desktop----------.
|                         |
|      .==============.   |
|      |             ^|   |
|      |             ||   |
|      |             ||   |
|      |             v|   |
|      '--------------'   |
|                         |
'-------------------------'

But this means that when the window is smooshed, the borders at the edges of the screen aren’t the same as normal borders. They should then be shown in a different style from normal borders, to differentiate them and remind the user that the window still remembers its previous state. If you resize the window inwards using these borders, it will forget the previous state and remain at the current size forever. The borders of the window will then revert to normal functionality. You could also force the window to forget its previous size just by clicking them, perhaps.

I’d say that all windows should do this by default — when would you ever want part of the window to be non-visible? — but there might be important reasons not to for some types of windows, like a program that really loads down the processor during window resize, or a window that can’t be shrunk below a certain size. Maybe the window manager could just add scroll bars in situations like this, when the window has been squished to its smallest size, which would still enable you to scroll around the window (including menu bars or whatever), though without the benefits of word wrapping, etc.

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