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Navigation & Window Management

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The "Navigation & Window Management" Lesson is part of the full, Developer Productivity course featured in this preview video. Here's what you'd learn in this lesson:

ThePrimeagen discusses using window managers to assist in speeding up navigation between desktops. The window managers discussed allow for setting windows to hotkeys, window tiling, and more custom configurations.

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Transcript from the "Navigation & Window Management" Lesson

[00:00:00]
>> All right, so let's just do a little bit of section 2. I think section 2 is really exciting. So section 2 I feel like is more exciting because section 2 influences everything you do in your day to day. So we just kinda got done talking about the longer term, the more thoughtful kinda approaches to systems.

[00:00:18] Now we're narrowing it in. We're onto the best part. I think it's like the best part, okay? And so the first thing I wanna talk about is our window managers. If you're not familiar like window managers, I don't use Windows. I use Mac OS X. Okay, well, we will talk about two different things here.

[00:00:33] For those that are not familiar with window managers, they simply are things that will literally manage your windows. Now, I've put a few of them up here. I have one for what I use for you bun to I3. There's also Yubie for Mac and Bug n for Windows.

[00:00:47] And they all seem to do about the same thing, or at least as close as possible to the same thing. At this point, you're probably wondering because I've been sharing my screen and going through it. Though when I'm saying, hey, I'm gonna start coding now. It just seems like it goes to where I'm going, right?

[00:01:02] And obviously, normally my Zoom window would be over here. This is where we have the chat, right? Normally I have slack open up my goodness, I have slack open now. Normally I'm not supposed to like docs, my goodness Jim, look at that. Jim Young's advertising his front end masters class in my email.

[00:01:20] Jim, I mean I found your Jim but this is a little inappropriate here. I'm gonna have to talk to him. I'm gonna have to talk to his manager, No, he's a manager now, gosh, no. All right, anyways, then I have like GIMP over here number six, right? So and then I have whatever this is called, my work window on number two.

[00:01:39] My private one this summer I did my little discord notification for doing the front end masters, right? I did that over here right? I can quickly jump between all these things without having to think about it. They're just all hotkey doubt. Now a lot of people do have that thing where they have like that little exploded view It shows all your windows.

[00:01:55] And then you play a game of where's waldo for your Chrome or Firefox or brave if you're super awesome. And you're like, okay, I gotta use all these different things, right? It's such a painful experience really, that we do that over and over again. If you've never really thought about it, how often do you manage your windows?

[00:02:13] I don't really like the size of this one. I want to split this one in half. I can split that one in half. This one's on number three. I wanna move it to desktop two. Okay, we can move it to desktop two. There we go. Okay, we can move back to desktop three, right?

[00:02:25] You have this really smooth, really creamy feel that is available. But most people don't even realise that is even a thing. It's not something I ever thought about. Eventually I got really tired of just having to use a Mac back then. And that's when I started using better touch tools.

[00:02:42] And that's what set me down this long path of what the heck is a window manager. And I'm so sick of having to like manually size everything in my life. And so I kinda wanna just talk about in general my navigation theory. Is what I like to call it navigation theory.

[00:02:57] I call it my harpoon lifestyle. Harpoons library, but I try to model everything after this certain type of workflow. Meaning that I always have everything effectively separated out. And I do wanna take a quick moment to pause here. Did you just see that freehand line I just drew?

[00:03:15] Look how straight that line, like that's look how straight that freehand. My goodness, I should be an artist. Anyways, so I have this whole notion that everything kinda hangs off keys that I can go to. All right, and so I'm gonna want to put everything off individual keys if I can.

[00:03:31] If I cannot put things off of individual keys, I want to then put things off of fuzzy finders, right? That's like my life. I don't want to ever have to do anything manual. All right. I just find that to be so annoying when I have to go. Okay, I want to find this thing.

[00:03:51] Let me pretend like I'm a computer and go through things individually until I find the thing I'm looking for. It's just super inefficient. And it just feels like it's just a drain of brainpower. And so this in general is my navigation theory for everything. That line was not straight.

[00:04:03] Please let's not talk about it. And that box kinda sucks. But that's how I decided to start using window managers. And the ones that I suggested they all have very similar features. So this one comes with ten independent Individual desktops that you can go to. So, like I said, two is always where we're going to go for work.

[00:04:23] So when I'm wondering, hey, I need to go back to my site and start going through my presentation. I just simply press mode two. You get a set, your mode key, can be control, super windows. Whatever you want it to be, right? And if I wanna go to coding, I just go mod three, I'm back into my coding side.

[00:04:40] I can do these things really fast. If you use VS code, put VS code on its own window, right? So you can jump in between these two. If you need them onto the same page, you can then swap them and move them. But you no longer spend just needless energy thinking about where to go.

[00:04:57] You just simply have the same setup all the time. It always goes where it goes. You just have to think where you wanna go, and you go there, right? It really just makes life feel a lot better honestly. And I didn't want to prescribe anything like super specific.

[00:05:11] Notice that I'm not bringing up an config. Or talking about how do you configure the one for Mac or for windows? It's because there's a lot of windows managers out there. Some of them let you break, right? So if you use DWM you get the break because you have the right C to make it work.

[00:05:27] I have kids once again, I don't have time for this type of lifestyle. But I feel like this it's just like kind of like a tipping point. And I wanted to make sure that you even know that this thing is available. Because a lot of people they just don't know that these things are even available to invest their time into.

[00:05:46] And so that's why I'm not going into any specifics. There's just two specific for each operating system. But they are all available. So please check one of those out, it'll make one of the biggest indents into just waste of time in your life.