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August 5, 2011

Missing Spaces in Mac OS X Lion

by Andreas Schaefer

Since Lion came out I slowly moving over to it and for now my Laptop and my Development box (Mac Pro) are slowly migrating over. I like the full screen mode which I currently use with MarsEdit to write this blog entry. But I definitely miss Spaces. I know they weren’t perfect and sometimes one could loose a pop-up dialog between spaces but it helped a lot to work efficiently. Unfortunately not all Apps are support full screen mode and even the ones that do I cannot directly jump to the desired App. For example I use IntelliJ to develop Java application but that does not support full screen mode. Yes, I could move that to another desktop and blow it up to the maximum size which is similar to what I had before but that still does not solve the issue of the direct jump to my App.

So let’s have a look how this worked in Snow Leopard. I had all my developers on Space 4, my terminal on 5 and email on 6. With a simple ctrl-4 I was on the Space with my developer tools, with ctrl-5 I saw the terminals and when an email arrived ctrl-6 just moved me there. Now these shortcuts are gone. For mouse oriented users that might now be a big deal but for me this is annoying. I want to take my fingers of the keyboard as little as possible. Gestures are great but slow when typing is involved.

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t want Mission Control to go but I want to have a way to define a shortcut that automatically brings me to the full screen view or the desktop where the App is.

But there are other issues with it. For example MarsEdit supports full screen mode (with an annoying different shortcut) but it doesn’t do it well. Now MarsEdit has a Main Window where it displays the registered Blogs and the current posts. This main window does not go in full screen mode. Only the post editor can go in full screen mode. This means that when I select the MarsEdit in the context switch (Command-Tab) it either goes to the post editor or if I am in the desktop that has the main window it brings up the main window. Now I cannot use Command-Esc to go to the post editor but have to use the mouse instead or jump away from the desktop.

– Andy

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