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RE: When do you prefer frames instead of windows?

From: Drew Adams
Subject: RE: When do you prefer frames instead of windows?
Date: Tue, 25 Nov 2014 10:09:59 -0800 (PST)

> > I would ask an opposite question: IF you could use Emacs frames
> > as easily as you can use Emacs windows, in what scenarios would
> > you prefer using Emacs windows, and why?
> The one thing I like about Emacs windows as opposed to frames is
> that they resize automatically: when you create one, another window
> is reduced in size, so that the new window doesn't cover it, and
> when you delete one, another one grows in order to occupy the space
> that becomes available.

Agreed, but in a way you are making a virtue of necessity.  From
the moment that the design is such that windows cannot overlap,
they *must* be resized, repositioned within the frame, or replaced
by another window, as the only possible adjustments for visibility.

Frames can overlap.  That is a strength, not a weakness.  It is
an additional possibility, but they need not overlap.

Nothing prevents a set of frames from having the same limited
behavior that you like in Emacs windows: tiling, replacing each
other, resizing relative to others shown, etc.  In addition
or alternatively, frames can overlap each other (by default).

Are there advantages to overlapping and arbitrary (pixel-level)
positioning?  I think so.  The analog to overlapping, for windows,
is to turn on line truncation and allow an adjacent window more
space.  IOW, when you want to see more of one and are willing to
forego seeing some of the other (but still see some of it), that's
what you do with windows.  (For the vertical case, just resize.)

> I tend to work in a single window occupying a maximised frame,
> and when I want/need to do something else, I usually switch to
> that buffer.  AFAIK this automatic resizing isn't possible or
> at least not as easy with frames. 

It is possible.  It is not provided (so no, it is not as easy).  

> I find this a definite advantage of windows over frames,


> and to be honest, I don't see what advantages frames have over
> windows.  (You mention they have more features/possibilities,
> but I'm not sure which features you mean...)

Whatever can be done with windows could be done with frames,
AFAICT.  That all of that is not easily available is another

In addition, frames can be positioned arbitrarily.  They are
not constrained to be within anything, other than your display.
And positioning is at the pixel level.  That's about it, AFAIK.

There are some other frame parameters that might not have
analogs for  windows (can't think of them, offhand), but
essentially it's about arbitrary positioning.

(There is also iconifying, but whether you look at that as a
useful feature is up to you.)

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