IDEA steals focus from other apps - Issue was labeled "do not fix"

Hello.

I wanted to get a discussion going over here on why the following issue was marked "Do not fix":
http://www.intellij.net/tracker/idea/viewSCR?publicId=8181

As you can see I posted a reply to this to ask for a reason this is not supposed to be fixed but I've gotten no reply. I don't know if it's lost in the system so I wanted to address this in the forum.

Kind regards,
Stefan Freyr.

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+1 on that. This has been a pain to deal with since it's nice to be able to start a compile or run of tests then go work on something else. IDEA however will continue to steal focus at the end of it's task.

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I agree.

If someone from IntelliJ could just say why they don't see this as a problem, we'd (all?) probably shut up and stop complaining about it.

It is really annoying when IDEA steals the focus.

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Hi,

They can never offer any reasonable explanation since stealing focus
voilates accepted usability design rules! NEVER interrupt the user in
his/her work. It's counter-productive and not in line with IDEA, which is in
so many other ways streamlining the daily work.

What they could do instead was to place a slowly blinking and discretely
colores lightbulb on the screen in a place configered by the user, which
tells us that a background process has finished. That is reusing a concept,
which is firmly understood and easily recognized by almost every IDEA user.

Regards,
Lars Ugleberg


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They can never offer any reasonable explanation


Don't put to much theory behind their motives. The simple explanation should
be right: they don't know why idea/swing is doing this.

From what I remember of some ancient threads, they have put some effort (not
too much :) into resolving this and come to no conclusion.

FWIW, I prefer that they spend their time resolving other problems (bugs,
features and usability issues) rather than spending a lot of time trying
to catch this elusive problem.


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If you run win32 go download the tweakui and select the option "Prevent windows from stealing focus". If you are on unix look at your window manager settings

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Stefan Freyr Stefansson wrote:

Hello.

I wanted to get a discussion going over here on why the following issue was marked "Do not fix":
http://www.intellij.net/tracker/idea/viewSCR?publicId=8181

As you can see I posted a reply to this to ask for a reason this is not supposed to be fixed but I've gotten no reply. I don't know if it's lost in the system so I wanted to address this in the forum.

Kind regards,
Stefan Freyr.


This problem was discussed many time here in EAP. To focus windows IDEA
performs to Window.toFront in some case. This is the reason why IDEA
"steals" focus. Under Windows XP such problem should not exist because
application's launcher at taskbar starts to blink rather then
application's window goes to front. I think that many Unix WMs have
options to reach similar behaviour.

Best regards,
Vladimir Kondratyev
_____________________
JetBrains

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Lars, you are right. I started to report this problem two years ago
(we are still using WinNT).

But I also agree with Carlos, that there are more important bugs.

BTW, I think it's a Swing/AWT issue. When a dialog is closed, it looks
like Swing/AWT activates the parent dialog/frame which causes IDEA to
come to front. The simplest solution I see is to not close the
dialog, when IDEA has detected, that it was deactivated. Close the
dialog not until it was activated again (== switched back to IDEA).

Tom

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This only works with >= Windows 2000. But unfortunately there is some
software (e.g. FinePrint, PdfFactory), that always deactivates this
option.

Tom

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But does IDEA neccessarily need to call Window.toFront?

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I run on WinXP and IDEA still stills focus after running ANT or a set of JUnit tests. It there a way IDEA can be made not to call .toFront() or at the very lest give us an option to turn it off. It seems it's the automatic file sync that actually causes the focus to be stolen.

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Stefan Freyr Stefansson wrote:

But does IDEA neccessarily need to call Window.toFront?


Currently it's not possible due to many AWT issues. But we are thinking
under this problem. Perhaps upcoming 1.4.2 allows us to change something.

Best regards,
Vladimir Kondratyev
_____________________
JetBrains

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I run on WinXP and IDEA still stills focus after running ANT or a set of JUnit tests.
It there a way IDEA can be made not to call .toFront() or at the very lest give us
an option to turn it off. It seems it's the automatic file sync that actually causes
the focus to be stolen.


As already said, it's not IDEA but AWT, that calls window.toFront().
BTW, in Windows 2000/XP only the taskbar should flash 3 times by
default. If IDEA comes to front, you either have the option disabled
(take a look at MS TweakUI) or an installed application switches this
setting off (e.g. FinePrint, PdfFactory).

Tom

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I run on WinXP and IDEA still stills focus after
running ANT or a set of JUnit tests. It there a way
IDEA can be made not to call .toFront() or at the
very lest give us an option to turn it off. It seems
it's the automatic file sync that actually causes the
focus to be stolen.


Hmm.. If I don't want IDEA to interrupt me after the ANT task is finished I simply hit the 'background' button in the build progress dialog.

If there's a dialog reporting that something has finished I sure hope that it pops up front and doesn't stay in the background. I don't see any problem here?!

(I'm using IDEA version 3.0.4 build 701)

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The problem is that once it does that, IDEA pops in front of other applications... even though you have another app running... for example a word processor and you're banging away at some document... IDEA pops in front and the keyboard focus moves to IDEA instead of your word processor. If you're not looking at the screen you'll keep banging, believing that you're typing in your word processor.

Believe us... it's a problem!

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If you're not looking at the screen you'll keep banging


Just learn typing without looking at keyboard. ;)

--
Best regards,
Mike Aizatsky.
-


JetBrains, Inc / IntelliJ Software
http://www.intellij.com
"Develop with pleasure!"


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>> If you're not looking at the screen you'll keep banging
>
>Just learn typing without looking at keyboard. ;)

Cool, then a part of the entered text goes to IDEA. Sorry, can't
smile.

Tom

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"Mike Aizatsky" <mike@intellij.com> wrote in message
news:bdcfkh$mq4$1@is.intellij.net...

If you're not looking at the screen you'll keep banging

>

Just learn typing without looking at keyboard. ;)


Exactly. If you churning out 200 chars/min, then you probably do not look on
the keyboard. If you type with two fingers -- I doubt that you able to lose
more than 2-3 chars.

The only problem may arise for assistants or novel writers: when they retype
from handwritten source they do not look neither at the screen, nor at
keyboard. Any good poetry you'd like to share with us, Stefan? ;))


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Stealing focus is always bad. There's no excuse; it?s poor usability. It doesn?t matter if you loose a character or two, that?s not the point. The point is that if various applications call their main window toFront() whenever they think they may have something to say to the user, the PC will soon feel like a frigging arcade game.

It reminds me of a bar here in Stockholm with a machine where you are supposed to bang out-lashing crocodiles with a wooden hammer very quickly or they?ll bite you and you?ll loose the game. It?s very funny, but that?s because you go there AFTER work to get a few laughs (and a beer!).

If I momentarily turn to another application after having initiated a lengthy rebuild in IDEA, I?d appreciate getting to finish the other task without unnecessary interrupt and return to IDEA when I?m ready. I mean it?s not like I forget all about my programming for the rest of the day just because IDEA doesn?t jump out a bite me as soon as the build is ready.

Please don?t blame AWT. Just don?t attempt to signal to the user at all if it can?t be done in a user-friendly manner. However, I would find it pleasing to have a blinking light bulb popup somewhere along the screen edge. The eye notices it but you don?t have to stop everything you?re doing to switch it off.

Best regards,
Lars Ugleberg

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I agree with your sentiments, but it is relevant whether JetBrains is able to fix it or not. You can't blame them for problems that exist in the JVM. Of course, we can ask for a bug report to Sun (so we can vote for it and Sun will know about the problem). Are the IntelliJ guys aware of an existing bug report that covers this issue or are they able to file one?

After all, "we alerted Sun" is a better answer than "Do not fix".

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Obviously JetBrains shouldn't be blamed for bugs in the JVM. I just assumed that even though it was a bug, it was still triggered by some intentional feature in IDEA, like making a screen update.

But that was somewhat ignorant of me because I haven't done my homework and read up on this matter first, actually I hadn't heard about it at all or experienced it myself. Would be good to know if there is some information somewhere on the web about this. Anyone who can suggest some sources of information?

Even though it may not have been reported to or detected by Sun, could it perhaps have been fixed in the newly released Java 1.4.2? Hopefully it won't last long before an EAP release comes along based on 1.4.2...

Best regards,
Lars Ugleberg

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Please disregard my last post. I just reread the entire thread and Tomas Singer explained it fairly detailed and suggested a reasonable solution as well (leaving the dialog on screen - it can go away when the user activates IDEA).

Hmm, now I'm talking to myself on a technical forum Friday night - gotta get a life - or go to bed...

Best regards,
Lars Ugleberg

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Sometimes IDEA pops up exactly when clicking the close button of
another application. In this case IDEA is closed.

Tom

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