Ben Laurie blathering

GUI Paradigms

As the fifth dialog of the day popped up and disappeared in response to whatever I was typing at the time, I suddenly wondered:

a) WTF did that dialog say?

b) How bad will it be that I missed it?

c) Why doesn’t anyone use the trick that my timetracker uses?

Its dialog comes up on top, but without focus. It is totally trivial to do. Why does no-one do it? Are they all mad?


  1. It’s my most hated peeve of today’s GUI. I’m typing along in whatever document/project that I’m working on and something pops up and I’ve (usually) just taken the default because I’ve just had my space that I just made taken away from me.

    For me, it’s

    A) What brought about that dialog box, let alone what did it say?

    B) Was the keyboard character that it stole from me the right one?

    C) How dare any program steal focus away from my current program when I’m typing!

    Comment by Bryan Price — 16 Oct 2005 @ 16:39

  2. I got bitten by that one yesterday – quite badly. The font modification tool popped up, stole focus – and got random data typed into it, resulting in a font too tiny to read…

    Comment by xeger — 19 Oct 2005 @ 13:49

  3. What time tracker *do* you use?

    Comment by paul — 29 Nov 2005 @ 13:00

  4. A custom one. It used to be an Access database, now its an Excel spreadsheet. The magic to make the window on top but unfocussed is trivial:

    SetWindowPos HW, HWND_TOPMOST, 0, 0, 0, 0, SWP_NOMOVE Or SWP_NOSIZE

    Comment by ben — 29 Nov 2005 @ 13:11

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