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Thinking outside the box of the screen
Thanks to Lambda for the pointer to this *remarkable* research project. The Code Bubbles project is a radical rethink of UI design -- specifically, an IDE that bears no resemblance to conventional IDEs. It implicitly asserts that it is silly to constrain everything to the boundaries of the visible window, and instead builds an IDE inside a very large, pannable workspace. The result is that it uses physical continuity in ways nothing today does -- in particular, it very casually lays large numbers of related blocks side-by-side, rather than requiring you to keep them in mind as you flip back and forth. There's an 8-minute video, which is well worth watching.

Very neat stuff. I'm sure that it will need further refinement, but my reaction is that they're on to something here, and that we'll see these ideas showing up in real systems soon...

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I want that for my Windows desktop!

For work environments that require many shifts of attention each day, this looks like it would greatly decrease the loss due to changing tasks.

Also, is it just me, or is this designing the OS for when we replace our whiteboards with projected screens with motion-sensitive interfaces?

Re: I want that for my Windows desktop!

Yes, I agree: this design looks very compatible with motion-sensitive interfaces. (Not sure how that works with the keyboard-centric code world, but it's worth playing with...)

sounds a little familiar

Back at Athena, at least one of the available window managers allowed a "root window" that could be a multiple of the visible screen space. Eg, you could specify a virtual root window that was 4 screens wide and 3 screens high. There was a small icon (usually nailed to the glass) that showed where your current view was in relation to the entire space.

When I was working on different projects during the day, I'd have separate parts of the space set up as different screens, with the needed windows in each. Moving around was by some combo of meta-key and/or mouse-button and/o drag. On a system with a 3-button mouse, there were a lot of choices. And all of it user configurable.

Let me know when they can stack a bunch of those for 2&1/2-D or have true fly-thru 3-D.

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