Mac OS X — Dock review

I’ve been using Mac OS X 10.5 (Leopard) for a week or two as my main desktop environment, and I’m really liking the Dock for icons and such.  For the last 20 years, I’ve wanted a window manager that combined the quick-launch buttons with the running program icons.  I’ve finally gotten my wish.  But after using it a while, I think there are some rough edges.

Here’s my version of an overview of the Mac OS X Dock:

Icons are used to represent several kinds of objects. On the left side of the dock are objects that represent applications.  On the right side of the dock are several distinct kinds of objects. 1) The trash can, 2) folders, 3) iconified windows

Application objects represent shortcuts for starting an app, if it’s not already running.  If the app is already running, there’s a small visual indicator next to the icon, and clicking it brings up one of it’s windows (the main one, the last you had focus in? I’m not sure).  But the application’s windows also show up on the right hand side of the dock.  When you click on a folder icon, you get a very nice pop-out menu with icons for each object inside, very convenient!  When you click on the icon for a running app, AND that app has more than one window, you should get a pop-out menu letting you choose which window you want to select.  It seems like a no-brainer to me, it just makes the interface more consistent.  And the dock would also quit jumping around so much and jiggling left and right as you open and close windows.

I’ll keep my fingers crossed for Snow Leopard, the next version of OS X.

2 Responses to “Mac OS X — Dock review”

  1. solaris says:

    To get a list of windows for an open application, either click and hold or control+click the dock icon of the running application…

  2. Chris Quenelle says:

    Thanks, I hadn’t noticed that yet! It’s glued to the top of the context menu. I do use a multi-button mouse, so it’s just right-click to me. But I’d still prefer to just left-click on it and get a box of thumbnails. I really like the thumbnail views that show up in the dock, I just wish they were hidden under the app icon instead of being visible in the dock all the time.