Workspace grid for Cinnamon

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I usually work with many windows open at the same time. Say, writing something in means having editor and a couple of PDF-viewer windows open; throw in browser, reference manager, a terminal or two, and you easily end up at 8-10 windows. Unfortunately, switching between as many as 5 on a single workspace is already rather tedious, be it by clicking and dragging, or by Alt-Tabbing your way around. One would think that a good window manager, Cinnamon being an example of such, should allow to fix this.

For some reason though, Cinnamon only provides left/right inter-workspace motions out of the box; I find it more natural to think of the workspaces as sitting on a 2d grid. Apparently, there are people sharing this sentiment: a quick search reveals a discussion on unix stackexchange, where somebody mentions using 16(!) workspaces. Besides, there already is an applet that purports to do precisely what I want; the fact that it conflicts with Expo and does not allow to move windows around makes it somewhat suboptimal.

The suitable solution hack was to write a basic wrapper around wmctrl in Python and to tie shortcuts to it using the Cinnamon config. There is also xdotool, which would probably do the trick as well.

Enabling the “grid” option in Expo further means being able to get an overview of all the windows like so:

Expo view

I must add that my default config only includes 4 workspaces; nothing outrageous like shown here. The wmctrl allows to both jump between workspaces and move windows around:

wspacetorus.py -d up

wspacetorus.py -t left

etc., with “-d” for “desktop” and “-t” for “to (desktop)” performing jumping and moving the active window in the specified direction. The script is below and in the repo. I imagine it would run on any WM compatible with wmctrl so, according to the manpage, any “EWMH/NetWM compatible X Window Manager”.

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#!/usr/bin/env python

# This program is free software: you can redistribute it and/or modify
# it under the terms of the GNU General Public License as published by
# the Free Software Foundation, either version 3 of the License, or
# (at your option) any later version.
#
# This program is distributed in the hope that it will be useful,
# but WITHOUT ANY WARRANTY; without even the implied warranty of
# MERCHANTABILITY or FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE.  See the
# GNU General Public License for more details.
#
# You should have received a copy of the GNU General Public License
# along with this program.  If not, see <https://www.gnu.org/licenses/>.
#

import os
import re
import sys
from optparse import OptionParser

help_text = """
Adapts inter-workspace motions in any wmctrl-compatible window manager as if the
workspaces are positioned on a X_WORKSPACESxY_WORKSPACES flat torus: periodic in
x- and y-coordinate. Indexing is row-major. Defaults to 2x2 workspaces.

Usage:
    Install wmctrl;
    to jump to an adjacent workspace, do
>   wspacetorus.py -d DIRECTION
    with DIRECTION in ['left', 'right', 'top', 'bottom']; to move the current
    window to such workspace, do
>   wspacetorus.py -t DIRECTION
    to use with 3x2 (columns-rows) grid, do
>   wspacetorus.py -t DIRECTION -x 3 -y 2

To see more options, call
>   wpacetorus.py -h

Check https://github.com/OVlasiuk/snippets for updates.
You may also want to look at the plugin
https://cinnamon-spices.linuxmint.com/applets/view/116
"""

if len(sys.argv) < 2:
    print(help_text)
    exit()


def get_current_desktop():
    desktopstring = os.popen('wmctrl -d').read()
    regcurrent = re.compile(r"\d+.*\*")
    regdigits = re.compile(r"\d+")
    strcurrentspan = regcurrent.search(desktopstring).span()
    strcurrent = desktopstring[strcurrentspan[0]:strcurrentspan[1]]
    strdigitsspan = regdigits.match(strcurrent).span()
    strdigits = strcurrent[strdigitsspan[0]:strdigitsspan[1]]
    return int(strdigits)


def set_current_desktop(n):
    s = str(n)
    os.system('wmctrl -s ' + s)


def move_to_desktop(n):
    s = str(n)
    os.system('wmctrl -r :ACTIVE: -t ' + s + ' && wmctrl -s ' + s)


def get_options(parser):
    """ Define command line options."""
    parser.add_option(
        "-d", "--desktop", dest="desktop", default=None,
        help="Jump to an adjacent workspace, given by 'up', 'down', 'left',\
        'right'.")
    parser.add_option(
        "-t",
        "--todesktop",
        dest="todesktop",
        default=None,
        help="Move the current window to an adjacent workspace, given by 'up',\
        'down', 'left', 'right'.")
    parser.add_option(
        "-x",
        "--xworkspaces",
        dest="xworkspaces",
        default=2,
        help="The number of columns in the workspace grid. Default: 2.")
    parser.add_option(
        "-y",
        "--yworkspaces",
        dest="yworkspaces",
        default=2,
        help="The number of rows in the workspace grid. Default: 2.")
    options, args = parser.parse_args()
    return options.desktop, options.todesktop, options.xworkspaces,\
        options.yworkspaces


def numerize(inp, X_WORKSPACES):
    return {
        'left': X_WORKSPACES-1,
        'right': 1,
        'up': -X_WORKSPACES,
        'down': X_WORKSPACES
    }.get(inp, 0)


def gridparse(cdesk, X_WORKSPACES):
    cdeskx = cdesk % X_WORKSPACES
    cdesky = (cdesk - cdeskx) // X_WORKSPACES
    return cdeskx, cdesky


def main(desktop, todesktop, X_WORKSPACES, Y_WORKSPACES):
    if desktop is not None:
        cdesk = get_current_desktop()
        cdeskx, cdesky = gridparse(cdesk, X_WORKSPACES)
        delta = numerize(desktop, X_WORKSPACES)
        deltax, deltay = gridparse(delta, X_WORKSPACES)
        cdeskx = (cdeskx + deltax) % X_WORKSPACES
        cdesky = (cdesky + deltay) % Y_WORKSPACES
        cdesk = cdesky * X_WORKSPACES + cdeskx
        set_current_desktop(cdesk)
    elif todesktop is not None:
        cdesk = get_current_desktop()
        cdeskx, cdesky = gridparse(cdesk, X_WORKSPACES)
        delta = numerize(todesktop, X_WORKSPACES)
        deltax, deltay = gridparse(delta, X_WORKSPACES)
        cdeskx = (cdeskx + deltax) % X_WORKSPACES
        cdesky = (cdesky + deltay) % Y_WORKSPACES
        cdesk = cdesky * X_WORKSPACES + cdeskx
        move_to_desktop(cdesk)

if __name__ == "__main__":
    parser = OptionParser()
    desktop, todesktop, X_WORKSPACES, Y_WORKSPACES = get_options(parser)
    main(desktop, todesktop, int(X_WORKSPACES), int(Y_WORKSPACES))

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