Don't steal focus


Most every morning I sit down, start up my computer and start up all the programs I will be working with that day. I usually proceed to read my email first. Unfortunately, Intellij, like so many products, thinks it is the most important program ever and it must have my attention. So it steals focus and puts itself right in my face. However, I tend to have between 2-4 projects open in different windows. So it does this not only once but for each project.

IMO there is never a case for focus stealing. One could make a case for security software which may have a legitimate need to demand direct action. I also think such a case has never occurred in my life. I suppose any kind of alarm program could make the case. I still wouldn't agree, but I can see that some people would. However IntelliJ has no case whatsoever to steal focus. Focus should be on what I am focussed on. Just because I started the IDE does not mean I intend to work with it right now. Untill someone implements a telepathic focus algorithm programs should just start up in the background and let me continue with whatever I am doing.

Comment actions Permalink

Finally changed this, thanks JetBrains for listening to your users! :-)

Comment actions Permalink

Guys, please comment in YouTrack so that developers can see your feedback. They do not monitor this forum.

See and the linked issues.

Comment actions Permalink

While i'm another user who has no idea why i received this, I do have one thing to say on the issue.  When I open my devtools, i.e. pycharm, webstorm, or intellij, it's because I intend to use them.  Maybe I'm not quite understanding the original post correctly, but thats what I make of it.  If I don't want to see an app it gets minimized.  At least on OS X (i haven't used these products on any other system) , theres plenty of keyboard shortcuts to make switching back and forth between them painless so no complaints from me on this issue.  Feel free to tear me apart if i completely got the point of this post wrong, but I haven't come across many apps that don't 'steal focus' on startup...

This email is another story when it comes to stealing focus.  As a user of several JetBrains products, a legitimate email from them grabs my attention and makes me want to come here to check it out.    

Comment actions Permalink

I have a different kind of workflow with rubymine that solves the same kind of problem.   I have one jet brains project for all my code bases ie I root the project at the top of my code home directory ie ~/workspace/  as I use to be a eclipse guy.   Because jet brains has the sweet git integration I just expand a different folder each sub project and work from a single jet brains project window.  This all makes keyboard shortcuts work better as I do not have to switch between different jet brains project windows but always search in my current window. 

Comment actions Permalink

Hi Jasper.

Of course I'm not saying it's not possible to prevent stealing focus... Be whichever the API you use for creating your windows, you can create them minimized so they won't start focused.

I'm simply asking myself if we could consider that (the non foucs stealing mode) the correct way of creating windows and suggest to replace the old one, so many years after the invention of the GUIs and when everybody is now used to the current scheme. I want to recall that you proposal, in case of a closed program which the user wants to open to start working immediately (and in the ideal supposition of a program which lasts just a second to open), will force the user to interact twice: launch the program, and then brong to front its window. And I think that if we could make a study about it, I think that the 99% of the program executions in the computer workd everyday match this criteria, and the lasting 1% match the situation you're describing.

Of course I'm not saying youre complains are unnecessary: there's a severe usability problem here. Anyway, I don't think that inventing a new program opening logic and replacing current with new will be an interesting way to go. Make it configurable? Well, maybe it's possible - I suppose that once the porgram it's launched it won't be any technical issue, but for example as you can see splash screen ca't be managed from settings from settings (IDEA-106794). But again, here we have two problems: focus on opening program, and foucs on opening project. The first of both shouldn't be an issue because OS has already built-in ways to do that - the problem here is that IDEA doesn't handle them, so that should be the true request.

Now, please I'll ask you again that if you can, tell me if everything I said applies to other OSs, bacause if it doesn't then I should start thinking from zero about the issue.

Best regards Jasper.

Comment actions Permalink

Hi again. Hmmm... I understand what you say.
Now, I'll talk again from windows perspective (if there is something from Linux perspective I am missing, please correct me).
When I want to open a program in Window, yo may to whatever you want, launch from a console, double click its shortcut in the desktop, click its icon in Start Menu... in every case theres another application that has focus (cmd.exe, explorer.exe)... If application doesn't try to gain focus as soon as it starts, it wouldn't be visible! So it will require a second user interaction to make it ready.
Can you imagine an alternative way to work?


Please sign in to leave a comment.