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Window Management in OSX with Spark
Dec 6, 2017
2 minutes read

I am a big fan of deterministic access to applications windows. That is, to be able to open them without needing any visual feedback from the screen. Tiling window managers do this well. On OSX, this can be tricky.

For a long time, I used a two windows workflow i.e. all the applications I need should run in just two windows (applications): the browser (mail, slack etc.) or the terminal (emacs, tmux, bash). This works, but is restrictive.

I have switched to an alternative approach now. I have a global shortcut for each application I use frequently. For example: Cmd-Ctrl-E is emacs, Cmd-Ctrl-C is chrome. Now, wherever I may be, I can deterministically open Emacs. I do this with Spark and an AppleScript per application.

I had to write AppleScripts instead of simply pointing to the application because I need the window to be resized to the maximum as well. This is what the AppleScript to open (and resize) Emacs looks like:

tell application "Emacs"
	-- Get bounds from the desktop.
	tell application "Finder" to bounds of window of desktop
	-- Set the window bounds to the ones we just fetched.
	set bounds of window 1 to result
	-- Focus the editor window.
end tell

This way of resizing cannot be used with multiple screens because the bounds provided by Finder will span all of them and so will the application window.

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