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32BitsOnline: Dock Applications

Sep 28, 1999, 15:39 (1 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Dustin Puryear)

"Dock Apps" occupy a curious niche in application design. A "dockable" application is a program designed to fit over a small (typically a 64 x 64 pixel) "tile" on your WindowMaker desktop. A dockable application is said to be "docked" when it is nestled up to WindowMaker's "Dock."

"There are approximately 90 usable dock apps today, with many more in development. They range in usefulness from silly to indispensable. Some dock apps provide regularly updated information that needs to be glanced at only once in a while, like the time, or how hot your CPU is getting. Others bring simple operations (such as playing a CD, or mounting a floppy disk) within easy reach of your mouse pointer."

"Dockable applications are attractive for various reasons. The most obvious is the conservation of valuable desktop "real estate," as they take up little room. They also tend to have a highly consistent "look and feel." Dock apps are also easily customized: "drag-and-drop" is used to add, remove, and change the position of the dockable apps. No editing of configuration files is needed. They are also very aesthetically pleasing - the color gradient (or optionally, picture) on a dockable application's tile is easily changeable, and typically matches the colors of the desktop's background image. Naturally, no WindowMaker user would be caught dead without a color co-ordinated desktop."

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