Thursday, January 9, 2020

Front and Center 1.0.1

John Siracusa (tweet):

In classic, when you click on a window that belongs to an application that’s not currently active, all the windows that belong to that application come to the front. In Mac OS X (and macOS), only the window that you click comes to the front.


Sadly, macOS Catalina’s lack of support for 32-bit apps finally killed the last of the apps that implemented this feature. I was alone in a cold, barren world where I had to click on a Dock icon to switch to an app and bring all its windows to the front.

His Front and Center app lets you choose the classic behavior or, as I prefer, choose the modern behavior and selectively override it by holding down the Shift key when you do want all the windows. There are ways to do this without the app:

But a modified click is more elegant.

Lee Fyock:

Gus knew of a deprecated API that does the process-switching much more efficiently, that doesn’t exhibit the same bug, and makes the code much simpler. Given that the impetus of writing the app was to make the 32-bit to 64-bit transition cleanly, I wasn’t a fan of using an API that had been deprecated in OS X 10.9, but it works well.

Carbon for the win. I, too, have had issues with the newer process APIs.


Update (2020-01-10): John Gruber:

So why Shift-click? There really wasn’t any choice — the other single modifier keys are all spoken for by the system.

See also: Accidental Tech Podcast.

3 Comments RSS · Twitter

Peter N Lewis

Don't get me started on the new process APIs. NSRunningApplication is buggy as all getout.

Adam Engst actually put me on to a solution to the “bring all windows to the front” which he was using with Keyboard Maestro but only for the Finder - basically, just create a macro that triggers when the Finder comes to the front and does a Bring Application Windows to Front action. Personally I always feel a Mac is broken when it doesn't have this macro, but I don't mind the mixed windows for other applications, just the Finder.

If using the cmd-tab method, I find it easier to press cmd-tab, then while keeping the cmd key pressed, holding down shift and pressing tab again. This can all be done with one hand, and very quickly.

I typically press cmd-tab twice in a row quickly.

Ironically, here is another thing I'd like: a way to cmd-tab to an app and bring only the main/key window to the front. When working on 2 apps, with one window for each app, the other windows get in the way when switching using cmd-tab (the workaround is to click on the windows instead...).

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