Panther’s Finder: Dragging metal windows

Posted by Pierre Igot in: Macintosh
November 30th, 2003 • 10:55 pm

Another example of Panther’s “rough edges”… One of the benefits of brushed-metal windows as opposed to regular windows is that they provide more areas where you can click-and-drag with your mouse pointer in order to move the window around.

One of the issues with this is what happens when you click in the toolbar area, i.e. the customizable area below the window title. If you click on a button itself, obviously the button will respond. But what if you click in the brushed-metal area between buttons? Is that part of the window’s “draggable” area, or just dead space?

Out of curiosity, I experimented with this for a few minutes this morning. And it turns out that things are not quite as logical as they should be. Depending on the shape of the toolbar buttons themselves, there is of course a small area of brushed metal around each icon that is still part of the button, i.e. highlights the button when you click on it. Then at each end of the toolbar, along the edges of the window, there is an area that’s thicker than the edge of the window in other places and is draggable.

The brushed-metal area immediately below the toolbar buttons, i.e. between the buttons themselves and the top edge of the window’s inside area wher files and folders are displayed is “dead” space if the buttons are part of the “round rectangle” kind, i.e. the Backward and Forward button, the Action button, the three view mode buttons and the Path button. I suppose this makes sense visually as these round rectangle buttons have clearly defined edges (as opposed to the buttons made of icons, such as the Information, Delete, Eject, and Search buttons).

What makes little sense, however, is the fact that there is a tiny area between each toolbar button that is “draggable”, i.e. that causes the window to move around if you click and drag on it. Here are two examples:



In both these screen shots, the mouse pointer is exactly where the “draggable” area is. It looks like this area is only one-pixel wide, but it’s definitely there — and when you click and drag precisely on that area, the window moves around.

I don’t think it should do this. This area between two buttons should either be part of one button or the other, or be a “dead” area where nothing happens when you click and drag. Otherwise user errors might lead to unpredictable behaviour.

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