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Reshapeable Windows

Triangles, octogons, pentagons, circles.....
  (+13, -3)(+13, -3)
(+13, -3)
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against]

I just think it would be neat to be able to reshape your program window into something other than a rectangle.

Maybe you could hold control and click to drag a corner and stretch it out, hold alt to add new corners or delete them, and maybe another option on the drop-down box to save your favorite shape or choose a pre-made one.

People would probably start trading window-shapes, and scroll bars would certainly be interesting.

DesertFox, Jan 26 2005

The "Do it yourself" version http://www.thecodep...arp/CustomForms.asp
provided that "yourself" is a programming geek [half, Jan 26 2005]

Another way of messing with windows - rotate them Rotating_20Windows
Combine rotating with reshaping for the ultimate in flexibility. [robinism, Jan 28 2005]

an artist http://jevbratt.com/projects.html
[beanangel, Jun 16 2008]

[link]






       [half], that example does not make this idea very appealing.
tiromancer, Jan 26 2005
  

       Yeah, it's ugly.   

       I can see how this idea would have appeal for a freeform mind, but shoehorning myself in to the rectangular world for a moment, what would the proposed window reshaping do to the contents of the window? For example, a word processor in the shape of a triangle: it would be quite difficult to reshape the environment to fit within a triangular work space. If any absolute positioning of controls is used in the original application "window", where would they go when the controls assigned coordinates don't exist?   

       Scrolling the contents of an overflowed circular window would indeed become a different animal than it is today. You might be left, as an intuitive interface, only the ability to click-n-drag to reposition the viewed "document" within the viewport. Interesting to think about.   

       I can see this as being doable as some sort of "viewport" or "mask" over an existing window, but I'm not able to grasp how the functionality would translate to the new window shape. Unless you mean to say that something would be added outside of a normal rectangular window to change the shape, but I don't think that's what you're getting at.   

       Some applications do facilitate something similar in the form of a "skin". The unusual shapes are a natural fit for applications such as a media player that doesn't require a lot of interaction with data. Those "skinnable" applications are programmed to know what to do with the various controls, graphical and functional elements encapsulated within the skin definition.
half, Jan 26 2005
  

       If you could set your desktop windows to different shapes, you could more easily tell them apart. (I.e. windows that just have icons in them, not excel or word-processing text).
phundug, Jan 26 2005
  

       From what I've read about Avalon (the new presentation system they are building for Windows Longhorn), something like this might be fairly practical to do. Not sure what the benefit is other than novelty, but it could be interesting.
krelnik, Jan 26 2005
  

       What is the difficulty of scrolling non-rectangular windows? If the data to be shown occupy a rectangular space, showing all of the data may require showing emptiness beyond, but that situation often exists with rectangular windows that are sized larger than the data being viewed.   

       The only slight trickiness I could see would be in deciding which direction to scroll if the 'cursor' went into a non-displayed area. Even this, however, shouldn't be too hard. If the viewing region boundary that the cursor passed was less than 45 degrees from horizontal, the content should generally scroll vertically; if greater than 45 degrees, it should scroll horizontally.   

       What's the big difficulty?
supercat, Jan 27 2005
  

       I suppose that once the viewport becomes non oblong, the whole 'metaphor' under which scrollbars work mentally collapses into the pile of emperor's new clothes that they are. In fact, the more I come to think of it, how on earth did we ever get suckered into believing in scrollbars in the first place? It's such a weak model. I'm surprised it works at all. The requirement to pan/zoom/tilt (or whatever) a canvas through the letterbox of whatever viewport it's being presented through, must be able to be satisfied in a whole raft of ways, all infinitely better than the 'scrollbar' model. In the future, we'll look back at scrollbars and laugh.
Ian Tindale, Jan 27 2005
  

       [supercat]:
"If the data to be shown occupy a rectangular space..." then there is no difficulty as you'd still be scrolling a rectangular space using the existing scroll bar paradigm. In that case, I think that this idea would be reduced to wrapping some non-rectangular space around the rectangular window, which I stated might be one possible intent of the idea. I don't, however, think that is the spirit of this idea.
  

       "If the viewing region boundary that the cursor passed was less than 45 degrees from horizontal...", in this scenario, what mechanism do you envision as a UI element by which the user would scroll the data? I can see what you mean in terms of a text editor/word processor. Are you meaning that the mouse pointer or text insertion point would control the scrolling of what's on the screen as opposed to having a separate element on which the user can click and drag to essentially redefine the parameters of a viewport?
half, Jan 27 2005
  

       //in this scenario, what mechanism do you envision as a UI element by which the user would scroll the data?//   

       Either changing the selection via cursor keys or other means (and having the system scroll the new selection onto the screen), or clicking the scroll button and moving the mouse to accellerate scrolling in the proper direction.   

       Does anyone actually use scroll bars these days (other than on programs where scrolly-mouse thingies don't work?)   

       //I can see what you mean in terms of a text editor/word processor. Are you meaning that the mouse pointer or text insertion point would control the scrolling of what's on the screen as opposed to having a separate element on which the user can click and drag to essentially redefine the parameters of a viewport?//   

       Whatever means of selection one uses. For text-based objects, it would be the insertion pointer. If one has a grid of objects that are selectable via arrow keys or other means, the window would scroll to that.
supercat, Jan 27 2005
  

       A mask is partly what I was thinking of.   

       But I would like to be able to change the shape anytime.
DesertFox, Jan 27 2005
  

       Ugh. Please no. I can only see this as obscuring things, requiring more scrolling and screwing with true visualization. If you want this, you can just put blinders/masks on your spectacles and enjoy thinking outside the box.
sophocles, Jan 27 2005
  

       I'd be interested in reshapable screens.
Ian Tindale, Jan 28 2005
  

       It strikes me that this could be implemented well in html. With many applications a window would automatically lend itself to a rectangular shape, just think of running Word or Excel within polygons. Websites however, can be designed to fit whatever shape you like. Html could easily be exended to include the commands for opening polygonal or vector-based windows. This would have to be backwards compatible with current versions of windows that think rectangularly so that shaped sites display as shapes within a rectangular window. Scrolling could be left to the cursor keys without much problem. I like this very much.
wagster, Jan 28 2005
  

       Google "Lizard's Toys" and you will see some partially-baked versions of this.
submitinkmonkey, Mar 18 2005
  

       <droll laugh> Very funny   

       Didn't see ANYTHING to do with this.
DesertFox, Mar 19 2005
  

       computer magic
beanangel, Jun 16 2008
  

       This would be a tech support nightmare.
Jscotty, Jun 17 2008
  
      
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