What's new, what's cool?
Tuesday, November 14, 2006 by Frogboy | Discussion: ObjectDock
ObjectDock is a program that enables users to organize their programs and running tasks into a dock. ObjectDock enables users to have more control over how they organize their desktop. Rather than have a bunch of icons on the desktop, these icons can be put into docks. ObjectDock can also be used to replace the Windows Start bar entirely freeing up valuable screen real-estate.
ObjectDock comes in two forms:
- ObjectDock Freeware, which is a free download for all users.
- ObjectDock Plus, which adds additional features such as tabbed docks, system tray support, taskbar grouping, multiple dock support, multiplemonitor support, fly-out menus and more. ObjectDock Plus is $19.95.
ObjectDock Plus adds tabbed dock support too
Users can download ObjectDock at http://www.objectdock.com.
ObjectDock 1.5: What's new
A ton of new features have been added to ObjectDock 1.5. This includes:
- Windows Vista support
- Vista-like searching in the image browser
- Users can reserve the edge of the screen for ObjectDock
- BRAND NEW zooming algorithm that is faster and smoother than before!
- Smarter resizing of docks
- .DockZip support
- All kinds of new window dragging features
- Users can now drag and drop data onto programs in a dock
- Tabbed docks will now auto-rotate when you drag them to a different edge of the screen!
- Smarter acquisition of images from short cuts (shortcuts won't have ugly icons anymore)
- Auto-hidden docks show themselves for a specified time when they're loaded in order for users not to forget they exist
- The config dialog for applications (taskbar items) now allow you to drop an image file onto them to set their image, like the rest of the config dialogs in the program.
- Always on bottom docks will now come to the front when click-activated.
- Always on bottom docks will now no longer steal focus from the foreground application unless clicked on.
- Fixed issue where if user put a registry path (e.g. ".html") as a shortcut link the link wouldn't work properly when some browsers e.g. firefox were set as the default.
- Fixed issue where separators on tabbed docks could not be dragged (and thus moved or removed)
- Fixed major issue involving dragging existing items, in which animations would begin to heavily lag and ObjectDock would become temporarily unresponsive on drag and drop operations that are not completely quickly.
- Fixed issue with the top 64 pixels of fully-zoomed icons not being clickable when zoomed to a full 192 pixels.
- Fixed issue with Always-On-Bottom zooming docks, where the dock would flicker some when moving to the front and back again.
- The Calendar docklet for ObjectDock has a grey outline around it (as if the bounding box of the docklet were not transparentized)
- Fixed issue where some rare tray icons who have active popups as their main window, would become inaccessible when you open them via the tray.
- Fixed issue with always on bottom docks where configuring some items would be a challenge as the dialogs would keep going into the background once the mouse left the dock. Instead, the dock is not allowed to move to the back when config dialogs are open.
- Fixed issue with the background-skinning of zooming docks attached to the left or right side of the screen. The caps on the top and bottom would not always be the proper size.
- Fixed issue where if there were no items on a zooming dock, its background would have a strange behavior and not display properly
- Fixed dock issue where if it were set to be always-on-bottom, when you did a drag-and-drop it would snap back to the background on release.
- Fixed issue of authiding zooming docks not immediately re-hiding after you configure them and close the config dialog.
- Fixed issue where systray would exhibit a "shift right" graphical glitch when a program is exited that existed in the tray.
- Fixed rock/swing/glow alternate mouseover effects not working properly when no background is in use by the dock
- Fixed issue where if you were using a tile background and using a rock/swing/glow effect, the tiles could sometimes quickly disappear during a mouse-over
- Modified some option text for hopefully improved clarity
Full list can be found here.
ObjectDock Features: Standard Dock
ObjectDock has two types of docks. The standard dock is essentially a single "tray" or "wharf" that can hold short-cuts, running tasks, docklets, and system tray items. The other type of dock, the "Plus" type, is the tabbed dock. The following section discusses the standard dock.
Highly flexible visual appearance
At a basic level, ObjectDock is simply a container for desktop items. It's been designed to be as flexible as possible to enable users to easily drag and drop their programs and documents onto it. It is also very flexible in enabling users customize the way it looks and feels.
ObjectDock supports more than just programs and running tasks, it also supports "docklets". These are mini-applications that reside on the dock and are created by third parties. There are docklets for telling you the weather, your email status, network traffic, CPU usage, memory usage, clock, Wi-Fi connection strength, calendar, and much more. Docklets let users add useful information to their docks.
Docks can be vertical (such as in this screenshot) or horizontal, on the top or bottom of the screen. They can be aligned to the middle of the screen or to the left or right. Version 1.3 also adds the ability to have the dock offset from the edge of the screen (both free and Plus versions). The background (skin) of the dock can easily be changed with hundreds of additional skins available on-line to make your dock appear as anything you'd like it to be.
Mouse-Over Zoom effects
Another popular feature of ObjectDock is the ability to have the icons grow on mouse-over. When the mouse is moved over a given icon on the dock, it starts to grow.
This effect can be a "narrow" effect or a "wide" effect to determine how many near-by icons are affected by the mouse over.
Easy replacement of icon images
A minor but key feature of ObjectDock is its ability to allow you to change the icons of items on the dock. Since many icons don't look good when enlarged, ObjectDock enables users to replace those icons with either other icon files or .PNG files. The popular customization site, WinCustomize.com, includes thousands of replacement icons for virtually every program out there.
Optional Start Bar replacement
ObjectDock can hide the Windows Start bar if the user chooses and take over all of its functionality. (ObjectDock Plus supports taskbar grouping and system tray items as well.)
ObjectDock Plus feature: System tray (see on the right of the dock). Hold down the mouse button on a system tray item for a few seconds to change the appearance of its icon.
ObjectDock Features: ObjectDock Plus
ObjectDock Plus includes all of the features of the free dock, but adds other features including the ability to have customizable tabs on your dock, which allows for even greater organization and control over your desktop.
Two customized docks
Different docks can be organized in different ways, and tabbed docks can be docked to an edge of the screen to display just the tabbed dock. When the tabs are docked to the edge you can choose to have them show up on top or activate with a hotspot. What can't be shown in a mere screenshot is just how good the usability of ObjectDock is. Drag a dock to the edge and it'll automatically dock. Move it off and it'll undock. It works intuitively and easily.
When used properly, tabbed docks can enable users to organize their desktops in truly remarkable ways.
Because the tabs can be made any size the user wants, the user could have color coded tabs that have no text. Or they could simply have hot spots that activate various docks on mouse-over. The hot spots are intelligent enough that the user can set how long the mouse must linger on that hotspot before activating the dock. This is a major usability feature that ObjectDock Plus has going for it.
The tabbed docks are incredibly powerful when combined with the ability to have multiple docks on the desktop.
Free vs. Plus
|Mouse-Over Zoom effect||
|Minimized Programs displayed as thumbnail|
|Image short-cuts displayed as a thumbnail|
|Custom Graphics Engine|
|GDI+ Graphics Engine|
|Replace icons with other images|
|Can hide Windows Start Bar|
|Start menu support|
|System Tray Support||
|Multiple Monitor Support||
|Tabs docked to screen edges||
|Control of Tab Sizes||
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