Over a year ago I switched machines for work. For design needs I felt like I had to start using a Mac. Back then OS X Snow Leopard was the OS shipped with Macs and still many was new to me, from the App Switcher to the close buttons.
The Fullscreen Apps
Before there was OS X Lion, there was no Full-Screen Apps. This was unpleasant for me because the only way I knew how to make my screen looked clean and organized is by having my current app in full screen mode1. It made me focus on the task at hand for the active app.
You had the green button with the plus symbol, but I wanted the window to snap on all sides.
But as I use my Mac more and more and actually do real work, I realized that I’m not filling the screen with only one app as often as I do when I was on a PC.
Most of the Mac apps work best for me when not in full-screen mode.
So even now, with Lion offering the Full-Screen feature for apps, I don’t really use it. I think on a 27 inch display – and in fullscreen mode – a certain app can be harder to work with. The extra screen estate doesn’t necesarilly increase functionality of an app compared to when its on a window state2.
Going back to the PC with a new habit
In the office where I work, I use a PC – I know right? Even though I know that on a 22 inch display the fullscreen view for windows works better most of the time, I still don’t use it anymore – even if I’m on a PC where this works best for most cases (atleast for me before). The result, a not-so tidy desktop.
It’s not just in me anymore to make all my apps in full-screen and view them one at a time. I find it as a waste of screen estate.
I found it more productive to have several apps/windows open in one screen and just click on them (the visible areas of the window) to activate the app if ever I want it to be the active app/window. The CTRL + TAB on Windows isn’t really useful to get to a specific window.
Its useful if you’re doing CSS where you have your coding app and a browser open side by side3. I usually get the job done faster this way.
This contradicts my minimalist taste
I know that being messy and disorganized while working contradicts my minimalist taste.
I’ve linked to an article by Trent Walton before about having a lot of windows open can be more distracting than helping. And what I’m liking now is the complete opposite. Not because I’m going against it; currently, the way I do things (for me) just works.
I’ll Leave it to my Display
If I had a smaller screen resolution with limited amount of space to work with, it would be a challenge for me. But lets say I do have a Mac Book Air, probably I will still have more than one window open and keep pressing CMD + TAB just to get the whole view for the window/s I’m referring to.
Since I mostly work4 on screens with a minimum of 1920 by 1080 resolution, I’m just making use of what I have at any given situation.
It looks so messy and disorganized when you look at it. But thats how I roll now and I love it.
- Alteast on a PC, thats how I did it and I got used to this practice before. ↩
- This depends entirely on what app and how you use the app. ↩
- This is even more useful if you’re using something like LiveReload, where you don’t even have to press CMD + TAB to switch to your browser just to reload the page and hit CMD + TAB again to go back to your coding app ↩
- Either at home and at the office. ↩