This Article 
 Bibliographic References 
 Add to: 
Constraint-Based Tiled Windows
May 1986 (vol. 6 no. 5)
pp. 35-45
Ellis Cohen, Siemens Research&Technology Laboratories
Edward Smith, Carnegie-Mellon University
Lee Iverson, Siemens Research&Technology Laboratories
Typical computer workstations employ window managers for creating, destroying, and arranging windows on the screen. Window managers generally follow either a desktop metaphor, allowing windows to overlap each other like sheets of paper on a desk, or they use a tiling model, arranging each window with a specific size and location that avoids overlap. Desktop models allow for the most layout freedom, but can be frustrating to use when dealing with a large number of windows that must all be visible at once. Tiling models guarantee that each window will be completely visible on the screen, but thus far have provided relatively poor mechanisms for controlling layout decisions. This article describes work in tiled window management featuring a constraint-based layout mechanism. With it the user can specify the appearance of individual windows and constrain relationships between windows, thus exercising necessary control over the tiling process. We discuss our constraint model and then detail an implementation approach that would make use of those constraints.

1. C. M.Eastman, "Preliminary Report on a System for General Space Planning," Comm. ACM Vol. 15, No. 2, Feb. 1972
2. C. E.Pfefferkorn, "A Heuristic Problem Solving Design System for Equipment or Furniture Layouts," Comm. ACM Vol. 18, No. 5, May 1975
3. C.Kingsley, Earl: A Language for Integrated Circuit Design 1981
4. C.Kingsley, "A Hierarchical Error-Tolerant Compactor," Proc. 21st Design Automation Conf. June 1984
5. J. K.Ousterhout, G. T.Hamachi, R. N.Mayo, W. S.Scott, and G. S.Taylor, "Magic: A VLSI Layout System," Proc. 21st Design Automation Conf. June 1984
6. User's Manual for Release 1 of the Information Technology Center Prototype Workstation 1984 Information Technology Center, Carnegie-Mellon University, Pittsburgh, Pa.
7. D. C.Smith, C.Irby, R.Kimball, and B.Verplank, "Designing the Star User Interface," Byte Vol. 7, No. 4, Apr. 1982
8. R.Levin, 1985 private communication summer
9. S.McGregor, 1985 private communication summer
10. K.Lantz and R.Rashid, "Virtual Terminal Management in a Multiple Process Environment," Proc. 7th ACM Symposium on Operating Systems Principles Dec. 1979
11. W.Teitelman, "A Tour Through Cedar," IEEE Software Vol. 1, No. 2, Apr. 1984
12. B.Myers, "The User Interface for Sapphire," IEEE CG&A Vol. 4, No. 12, Dec. 1984
13. L.Tesler, "The SmallTalk Environment," Byte Vol. 6, No. 8, Aug. 1981
14. C. J.Van Wyk, "A Graphics Typesetting Language," Proc. ACM Sigplan Symposium on Text Manipulation June 1981
15. J. A.Roach, "The Rectangle Placement Language," Proc. 21st Design Automation Conf. June 1984
16. J.Grason, G. J.Moore, Emerging Methods of Environmental Design and Planning , The MIT Press 1970
17. P.Galle, "An Algorithm for Exhaustive Generation of Building Floor Plans,' Comm. ACM Vol. 24, No. 12, Dec. 1981
18. K.Kozminski and E.Kinnen, "An Algorithm for Finding the Rectangular Dual of a Planar Graph for Use in Area Planning for VLSI Integrated Circuits," Proc. 21st Design Automation Conf. June 1984
19. S. M.Leinwand and T. T.Lai, "An Algorithm for Building Rectangular Floor Plans," Proc. 21st Design Automation Conf. June 1984
20. J.Gosling, Algebraic Constraints May 1983
21. A.Borning, THINGLAB-A Constraint Oriented Simulation Laboratory July 1979

Ellis Cohen, Edward Smith, Lee Iverson, "Constraint-Based Tiled Windows," IEEE Computer Graphics and Applications, vol. 6, no. 5, pp. 35-45, May 1986, doi:10.1109/MCG.1986.276790
Usage of this product signifies your acceptance of the Terms of Use.