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PostPosted: Thu Feb 16, 2006 4:55 pm 
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Joined: Fri Nov 11, 2005 8:10 pm
Posts: 15
Location: Norwich, UK
Hello,

Introduction

for several years I have opted for portable Macs, my current being an iBook. I like the portability, especially at home with a wireless network which allows me to use my iBook anywhere.

There are many great applications which require (or have an option) for interaction by using a menu bar icon. iClip is an example, which I use all the time. using the menu bar for applications seems to be increasingly common. The flaw is that we users are running out of menu bar space. My little iBook could soon do with a 30 inch screen.... not very practicle.


Suggestion

My suggestion is to look at the feasibility of a drop down second menubar that could accomodate these applications. The menubar could be activated by keys much like Launch Bar 4. This would mean an additional step to get to ones applications but would free up space in the main menubar and allow more appliction menubar to be accessed and used.

Compare

MenuStrip3 (http://www.macpoweruser.com/menustrip/index.html) offers a second menubar but 3rd party applications can't be placed in it.

Amnesty Widget Browser (http://www.mesadynamics.com/amnesty.htm) manages and displays widgets on the desktop. could a second user definable /activated menubar manage menubar applications?

Your views on the feasibility of this suggestion for new software will be most welcome.

Regards

hardcat

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PostPosted: Fri Feb 17, 2006 12:08 am 
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Joined: Wed May 18, 2005 11:19 pm
Posts: 535
Location: Here and There
It's a good idea that would be really helpful for users with lower display resolutions. However, there are some serious gotchas.

The system for inserting application-specific menu items, which are known as status items, is a bit "tacked onto" Mac OS X as it is, with noticeable behavioral differences between "regular" menu items on the left side of the menubar, menu extras (time & date, user switching, displays, etc.) on the right, and status items sandwiched in between. The public documentation for status items doesn't describe any way to manipulate the placement of the area they live in, which is known as the status bar, though it appears this is a special window placed above the menubar whose length is recalculated as necessary to accommodate regular menu items on the left and menu extras on the right. We could explore the undocumented parts of the status bar class and ways of modifying it in a haxie style but that takes a time investment that could be nullified if Apple changes the way status bars work in a future release of Mac OS X. It sounds like a fun project but I'll bet you'd probably rather we spend that time on CheckBook, ;).

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