Focus, Daniel-san!

I absolutely fucking *HATE* applications that steal my focus. There is no reason for it, under any circumstances, ever.

Case in point: a new software push on my work laptop. I’m typing something, it steals my focus (wasted keystrokes) to ask me to click “Okay” or “Postpone”. If by some chance I’m typing a return key when this steals my focus, I’m headed down the “Okay” path, like it or not. But I sure don’t want to be interrupted again later, so I select “Okay”. Let’s get this over with. Switch back to the app I’m working in, start typing, have focus stolen by progress bar. WTF? Switch back to app, resume typing, have focus stolen by (same? another?) progress bar. Switch back to app, have focus stolen again before I even hit a single key. Forget it. I’m out of here.

There’s also the periodic pop-up notices that steal focus too… If I’m typing anything at all, these notices invariable disappear again before I can read what they said, and I pray my keystrokes didn’t just select some disastrous option for me. So far, they never have, but there will come a day I am sure. Not to mention the sheer worthlessness of a notice so self-important that it feels the need to steal my focus and thereby be unintentionally dismissed sans reading.

Maybe I just see this more at work because I’m doing more productive things at work than at home, but I’ve never gotten this upset on my Linux box, so I have to think that Microsoft is somehow at fault for this.

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  • Craig Maloney  On May 29, 2008 at 3:17 pm

    I can 100% agree. I hate it when an application decides that it’s the most important thing I should be looking at, so it needs to take focus. Windows has an explicit “The last shall be first” rule for taking focus, which is absolutely the wrong approach. I like the way later versions of Metacity handle it, where if you’re currently in one window, it’ll pop-under the window, without stealing the focus. This is right-thinking in my book.

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