Sunday, February 12, 2017

i3 training wheels: help on a scratchpad

[I have had a looksee at Manjaro i3 edition, and it's way beyond this.  It has a built in help screen for i3.  With the plethora of keybindings and tweaks to i3, this help file is a bit over much.  Maybe I'll still need a quick cheat sheet.  Notice, though, important keybindings are displayed as a conky]

i3 is a fast and simple tiling window manager for GNU/Linux that really does work.  I have a penchant for trying new window managers.  Each of them has it's pitfalls, the pitfalls where I just say, No More!  That might happen sooner, or later, with i3.  For now, it's an interesting new interface, and it's incredibly lightweight ... and fast! 

I'm going simple for now, grabbing keybindings and tweaks from several online sources.  The key bindings are not altogether intuitive.  They are not many, at least the ordinary ones.  I need some training wheels.

I generated a simple PDF with a table of sorts of keybindings.  It doesn't matter whether it's a PDF: it just needs to be a viewable file.  Now start the viewing app, and send it to a scratchpad.

Scratchpads in i3 are really useful, especially for this application.  Since i3 is not yet overburdened with all kinds of tutorials and forums and mailing lists---that I have seen---one isn't overwhelmed with advice.  Some useful documentation will be helpful at some point.  (I have been using mostly Ubuntu in this experiment.  Arch Linux has a relatively large number of packages, so a full exploration of those resources might lead to some things I would find useful.

I have found that some of the tweaks online do not work for me.  Probably I just don't understand them.  In particular, marking, tagging, and some other interesting ideas are not yet clear to me.

My Training Wheels

I used these keybindings for the scratchpad.  If I understand correctly, this is just any application in a window that can be buried and remains invisible until it is called up.  In which case, for my training wheels, the window becomes tantamount to a Pop-Up.

## scratchpad
To make the currently focused window a scratchpad:
       bindsym $mod+Shift+minus move scratchpad

To show the first scratchpad window: 
               bindsym $Mod+minus scratchpad show

The window is shrunk when invoked as a scratchpad, and it can be converted from floating mode to fullscreen mode with $mod+f.  I have my setup tweaked so that if I repeat this command.  I warn, though, that toggling the window back and forth between floating and tiling mode and back to floating mode again will erase the previous custom sizing, and the window will no  longer be a scratchpad.  

I also found it useful to use the resize commands on the scratchpad to adjust the size for comfortable viewing over an open window on the workspace.   I didn't see an explicit example or instruction for using the resize commands with a scratchpad.  They do work.  In resize mode ($mod+r) puts us into the mode):

            downarrow:   lengthen the window from the bottom
            uparrow    :   shorten the window from the bottom.
            rightarrow:    widen the window from the right.
            leftarrow  :    narrow the window

In normal mode

            $mod+Shift+<arrow>  :  Move the floating window around


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