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"Accept focus" key

Acknowledge change of input focus
  [vote for,

Sometimes in various operating systems, for various reasons, the input focus will unexpectedly shift from one window to another. If a user is typing into one window when the focus shifts to another, the effect may be to type arbitrary keystrokes into the other window, quite possibly corrupting a document there or inadvertently hitting "OK" on some dialog box.

I would suggest an option to have an operating system hold off on accepting input in a new window until the user hits a key to acknowledge the change of input focus. There should be a very conspicuous visual indication that the user must hit the key before typing into the new window. The restriction should not apply in cases where the focus is about to be directed to the last window to which the user has manually selected, or to the parent window of a window or dialog the user has manually dismissed. If a dialog box is automatically closed, the restriction should clear itself after about a second if there is no user activity.

supercat, Dec 09 2009

Coding Horror: Please Don't Steal My Focus http://www.codingho...rchives/001011.html
MS Windows-centric. Interesting discussion about workarounds, history, ... [jutta, Dec 12 2009]

Hendron: focus (~ theft) on MacOS X http://www.johnhend...-focus-in-mac-os-x/
With a reference to the notification manager "growl". [jutta, Dec 12 2009]

Ubuntu (Linux) not immune to this problem either. http://brainstorm.ubuntu.com/idea/400/
[jutta, Dec 12 2009]



       On more than one occasion people have sent me instant messages while I've been programming, and got half a line of code in reply.   

       I've always thought it's only a matter of time before I end up sending a critical password to someone who IMed me at exactly the right moment.
Wrongfellow, Dec 09 2009

       I was wishing for something like this on my cellphone. It pops into a new situation and accepts the next keypush before I can even blink.
baconbrain, Dec 09 2009

       I'd like there to be a sort of 'junk heap' at the bottom of the desktop screen, showing a big pile of characters which represent all the keystrokes typed when no window has the 'focus'. If you'd just typed something lengthy, you'd be able to retrieve keystrokes from this heap.
hippo, Dec 09 2009

       @hippo Get yourself a keylogger.
tactik, Dec 09 2009

       WIBNI "Make M$-Windows less unbelievably shitty"
FlyingToaster, Dec 09 2009

       Why the MFD? It is a specific proposal for a feature that could be incorporated into just about any windowed operating system (or even some non-windowed ones, if a system task may break into what the user's doing and require input). Windows is hardly alone in having the problem this idea would seek to fix.
supercat, Dec 10 2009

       [ft] //"Make M$-Windows less unbelievably shitty"// No, the problem [supercat] describes annoys me constantly, and I use a Mac.
mouseposture, Dec 10 2009

       Windows doesn't do text professionally in any manner; I'm sad to learn that Mac's don't either. MFD withdrawn, but still "WIBNI" IMHO.
FlyingToaster, Dec 10 2009

       This is something I think I remember was not so much of a problem prior to OS X. If I remember correctly, System 7, for example, never did any of this, and was just as likely to present situations such as this that could be mishandled in the way described here, but it didn't - as I say, if I remember correctly. I get the feeling that this has only become an annoyance to me since OS X onwards.
Ian Tindale, Dec 11 2009

       I remember a tweak that kept the window under the mouse cursor in focus. I'm pretty sure it kept the window in focus even if other applications opened in the background. Irritating if you then had to move down to the start menu and every window along the way jumped forward.
shudderprose, Dec 11 2009

       I've added a few links as an overview of similar complaints and various offered solutions under various versions of Microsoft, Apple, and Linux operating systems.   

       (+ ) I like this particular suggestion because it's keyboard-centric, and doesn't require me to point to the application that wants focus, something that many otherwise satisfactory current solutions still would require. It's okay to whisk me to another application if I can pick the time, I guess. I am a little bit worried about developing a nervous tic of "polling" for asynchronous interrupts - kind of like right now switching to an email browser and hitting "refresh" every once in a while.
jutta, Dec 12 2009

       What I can't stand is when I cannot change the focus away from some dialog box to one of the preceding boxes that lead to it in order to move / view some piece of informtion that was buried, without cancelling out. Drives me batty.
RayfordSteele, Dec 12 2009

       so basically you just want to decouple "active window/app" and "bring to front".   

       Windows already does this in some small manner with the Taskbar: bringing it up and highlight/blinking the app that wants attention.
FlyingToaster, Dec 12 2009


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