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RE: Modernize frame-title-format: "%b - GNU Emacs"

From: Drew Adams
Subject: RE: Modernize frame-title-format: "%b - GNU Emacs"
Date: Fri, 28 Aug 2020 13:36:33 -0700 (PDT)

> > > The name of the application in the title is useful. It helps you pick
> > > the Emacs window out of multiple applications operating on the same
> > > file. For example, a Dired buffer showing a directory and Thunar
> > > showing the same directory.
> > >
> > > This is important in contexts where the window contents are not
> > > visible, e.g. a taskbar showing minimized windows, or a
> > > tiling/tabbing/stacking window manager such as i3 showing a single
> > > window in the stack and the titles of all other windows in the same
> > > stack.
> >
> > The discussion is about the _default_ frame title.
> > Users can define their own title formatting.
> Users should not have to customize the title for the common case.

100% agreement.

> Which I believe to be multiple applications on the desktop.

Sure.  But see below (you quoted, but didn't address).
Even if someone agrees that the app name should be
present, should it really be leftmost?  And how often
is the app name really helpful?

> > How common is the use of multiple applications
> > (in separate window-mgr windows) for the same
> > file or directory (or other argument)?

? How often, for the same file?  If you see only the
file or dir name, is it hard to know that the app is
Emacs?  Most of the time?

> > (Not a rhetorical question - that's never been my
> > experience.)
> >
> > Wrt your examples of a file or dir, showing the
> > buffer name should be even more specific, and
> > even better distinguish from some other app
> > window for the same file or dir, no?  Especially
> > if the other app puts its app name first in the
> > title.
> All well-behaved applications in many desktops (Windows, XFCE, GNOME,
> KDE) show the document name and their own application name in the
> title bar.

I haven't argued that the app name shouldn't be included.
(But see the discussion about whether the app icon might
sometimes suffice.)

I argued to put the more specific info first, i.e.,
leftmost.  The app name is less specific than the file
name etc.

Imagine if every one of your browser windows had "Google
Chrome" or "Firefox" or "Internet Explorer" or "Brave"
as its leftmost text.  Imagine how useful/useless that
would be for picking a window out of a task-bar list,
a set of tabs, or any other list.  Imagine if every
mail-client window had the client name at the far left:
"Outlook" or whatever.

And in fact, at least in my environment (MS Windows),
it is NOT the case that "all well-behaved apps show...
the app name in the title bar".  Not if web browsers and
mail clients (and lots more) count as well-behaved, at

The app name is totally missing from such window-mgr
windows.  And thank goodness, as that's the least
interesting info to show, especially when the full info
might get truncated (which happens for tabs etc.).

I do pick out an app by its icon.  I don't know, but
I'm guessing, that someone with specific accessibility
needs has an alternative for this, other than a
requirement that the app names appear as text.

What I see in the title bar for a Chrome or Brave or
Firefox or IE browser is this, from the left:

1. A site icon.  E.g. fancy "T" for New York Times site.
2. A page title, possibly with a subtitle.  E.g.
   "Opinion | Kenosha Tells Us More About Where the Right
    Is Headed Than the R.N.C. Did".

That means I can easily pick out that web page by its
app icon and page title.  Would you really prefer that
the frame title be something like this?

"Google Chrome <NYT icon> Opinion | Kenosha Tells Us More
About Where the Right Is Headed Than the R.N.C. Did"

Maybe I'm just misunderstanding you.  I hope so.

> It’s a convention, 

Maybe some places, i.e., for some apps.  I don't see
it for most apps, including web browsers and mail
client, on MS Windows.  (And you did mention "Windows.)

I do see it for some apps, but typically for apps that
have only one window.

> and it’s useful because this way
> application authors do not have to consider whether a document name
> alone is enough for the user to distinguish the window. Somebody has
> already thought this through and decided that both components are
> useful.

I take your point.  I don't consider it to override
all other considerations, but I guess it's one thing
to consider when rethinking what the default behavior
might be.  I'm glad you brought it up.

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