SecondShell – window manipulation app

The site and software seem to have died since.

secondshell_icon I got email from long time reader and commenter Andras Szekely (szekelya) about freeware app SecondShell he developed. Unbelievable but it managed to get from email to post in record time. :)

It is hotkey app that specializes in windows manipulation for low resolution screens (such as netbooks).

What it does

App sits in the tray and has no interface, except brief help on available hotkeys.

secondshell_interface

It performs number of actions that simplify:

  • changing window size;
  • closing and minimizing window;
  • emulating middle click.

My personal favorite is probably right click title bar to minimize. I have this function binded to hardware button in drivers of my MX500 at home. Lack of it drives me crazy at every other computer.

Strong features

App is minimalistic, responsive and hotkeys are well thought-out. Doesn’t do much, but does it well.

It is also compact and natively portable.

Needs and wants

App clearly lacks control over window position in addition to size. Things like making window fit exactly half or quarter of screen would be perfect here. Like Sizer does that, but that one lacks hotkey part.

Downsides

Any configuration that can be done must be done in INI file. Not a usability bliss. It also requires basic understanding of AutoHotkey (sister language to AutoIt) concepts.

You don’t actually need to tweak anything for basic functionality alone, but still it could use proper settings dialog. FAQ gives lengthy explanation for how to make it auto-start and I see zero reasons for that to not be single-click option.

Overall

At moment app is exactly as good as its hotkeys fit your personal needs. With some polish and more functions it can easily become more universally useful. Will see how it goes.

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5 Comments

  • Thanks for the great review!

    I’ll fire up a forum on the site for both bugreports and feature requests (filling in myself with your ideas).
    The plan is to fix 1-2 minor bugs first, then prioritize and implement new features.

    Probably the configuration gui will be one of the first things to add, introducing enable/disable toggle switches for each of the features.
    The snap to right/left/top/bottom half screen idea is so good that I don’t even really understand why haven’t I did it in the first release. :) It will be definitely there.

    What I probably won’t be able to do, and actually don’t really think it would be a feature for everyone is the Win7-like behavior, when you can move a window to a screen edge to trigger this half-screen resize.

    So feature requests are more than welcome, as long as I can implement them, and think that won’t be too confusing, I’ll add them.

    BTW, what do you think about transparency? Earlier I made a script to make all but the active window transparent (transparency level can be customized) by a friends request. I found that a bit out of context here, but maybe if it’s optional, (I imagine less than 10 users worldwide for this feature :) ) could be added too.

  • A forum is up and running. If you come and leave me some comments, likes, dislikes, bugreports, feature requests, you’d make my day.

  • @szekelya

    I think Win7 snap is nice eye-candy, but such function would work just fine with functionality alone, without SFX.

    Personally I hate transparency in interfaces. I dislike how it looks and how it breaks my concentration. Sharp and solid forms for the win. :)

  • New release is out, and some snapping is introduced. :)

  • @szekelya

    Yeah, caught that in RSS and already pushed to Appnews. :)

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