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TylerWM - a tiling window manager for OSX (tylerwm.com)
67 points by preek on Feb 23, 2012 | hide | past | web | favorite | 54 comments

Tyler is not ready for prime time. I saw this video a few monthes back, got excited and bought it. It took me less than 24 hours to turn it off due to various issues.

It does not work well with various OS windows, windows like the adium contact list and other 'non standard sized' windows.

If you use it with spaces, it often loses your settings if you tell it not to use on space number X.

I could go on with the variety of issues.

I would love a great tiling window manager for OS X. I use XMonad on linux all day at work and would really like to have the same joy when using OS X.

Unfortunately, the hard truth is that windowed applications in OS X aren't a well-behaved enough bunch for anything like this to work anytime soon.

In 2010, I collaborated on a project to bring some of the features of my 2009 10/GUI concept to MacOS. We got it to a point where the likes of Safari, Finder, and TextEdit worked great and could have made a nice demo video, but the moment you threw in something like Photoshop, which took its own approach to windowing (or iTunes, for that matter; it certainly wasn't just Adobe), everything broke. We never got beyond a proof-of-concept.

As I've said before, a better approach to windowing on OS X will eventually come from the full-screen API in future versions of the operating system: http://interuserface.net/2011/07/10-7gui/

I bought it based on this thread and the video; I agree. I just decided to stop using it after 30 minutes, too many things don't really work.

Now how do I get my money back from the app store?

In iTunes, when you're in the iTunes store, click on your email address in the top right corner to go into your account. Click the 'see all' for 'Purchase History' and then report a problem. If it's the last app you bought, click the button for it and then a link will display beside the price which you can click and fill out a form to ask for a refund.

Beware, however, that you can't do it often. I had a request for an expensive app refund denied because I had asked for (and been granted) a $0.99 app refund a few weeks earlier. So save it for when you need it.

I wish I'd seen you comment before I bought it. I couldn't get it to work with any of my windows. It even has problems with it's own tutorial Window!

I'm actually considering trying to get my money back, it's that bad.

It's not quite the same thing but Moom is pretty good. It doesn't try to automatically manage windows but it does let you position (inc full size) windows very quickly with the keybaord.

Ahh, thank heavens for HN comments. I clicked the link, said "hooray! finally!" and was about to buy it in the App Store. Then I figured I'd read the comments first.

I guess I'll wait.

Same here. I'll stick with my xmonad Debian VM and iTerm2 - I only use tiling WM's for terminal management anyway. I've found these work pretty well with Mission Control for me.

I bought it five minutes ago and it has now been turned off. I'll stick with Size-Up.

Damned discretionary spending.

Try to get a refund if you're that displeased with it.


Thanks for the tip, but hopefully they'll use the 75% of $9.99 and apply it towards making a better product.

This is a perfect example of the type of application where demoing before purchase is essential. I feel like I just lit $10 on fire. Additionally, I am more inclined to provide negative feedback via the MAS rather than sending the developer a helpful list of comments.

Hopefully the developer reads this thread and can comment on the possibility of publishing a demo outside the app store. A 7 day trial is trivial to implement.

Agreed. I sent the developer an email and promptly received a response:

..."I did not expect the publicity Tyler would receive after the revival - please allow for a few days for us to organize and react.

An update is under way."...

In conclusion, no need for refunds yet. I for one can't wait to see updates. It's almost there... a few more bug fixes and 1 or 2 small features and it'll be worth the €7.99 I spent on it.

There's also Moom [1], but the reliance on arrow keys for most of the key-based functionality is annoying. I've mailed the author to ask if this could be configurable (so that I could use hjkl instead), no reply as yet though.

[1] http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/moom/id419330170?mt=12

Edit: Developer replied, turns out this functionality is already there - problem solved (for me)!

You might want to take a look at Window Magnet [0], which has the key configurability you want.

As noted elsewhere, Moom, like others, is not a WM. I still like those nifty utilities though.

[0] http://itunes.apple.com/fr/app/window-magnet/id441258766?mt=...

There is also ShiftIt <https://github.com/fikovnik/ShiftIt>, although I haven't tried it yet.

The functionality of TylerWM seems quite simple. I wonder wether there is any Open Source clone of it.

While it's not quite the same as TylerWM, ShiftIt works great and I've been using it for years.

I am actually using my own fork of ShiftIt, where I added being the ability to resize windows to various percentages of the screen: https://github.com/nileshk/shiftit Though my fork is off of an older version of ShiftIt (the original from Google Code), and also pretty specific to my preferences, so I'd recommend checking out the official one first. I really need to update my fork with the latest changes from the official fork, because they added things like definable keyboard shortcuts.

TylerWM looks more like what I really want, as it appears to be more like the tiling window managers you see in Linux, where it dynamically rearranges all the windows on the screen.

Also, I've tried Divvy (not open source) and like it, and you can accomplish the "percentages" thing really easily with it, but ShiftIt has been more reliable for me, so I've stuck with it.

Edit: This was also mentioned in this thread and looks pretty compelling: https://github.com/jigish/slate

Hi, I use your fork of ShiftIt. It's great. So, thanks!

I keep meaning to spend some time making it a little more automatic ala XMonad/TylerWM. One of these days...

From what I can see, ShiftIt is like divvy, a tiling application: you open the application then manually tile it to the screen (and if you have no space left, you have to make it… again manually).

TylerWM is a "true" window manager, it takes care of laying out the windows automatically on its own (based on your settings).

ShiftIt is no WM. See my previous answer: http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=3624771

I tried ShiftIt a long time ago but ended up using BetterTouchTool instead. I could definitely go for a good automatic tiler, though. I miss Awesome.

I use shiftit because I miss awesomewm since my work machine is a Mac now. Shiftit is fantastic.

ShifIt does not currently support multiple monitors, as far as I know.

BetterTouchTool does this. For me, new terminal -> move to next monitor -> tile on left half of screen is cmd+N alt+B alt+left.

wow, the quicktime plugin installation routine in chrome is pretty horrible, then it hung for about 10 seconds. arg!

to detail:

    visit website, get yellow bar for missing plugin  
    install plugin  
    reload tab  
    browser hung for a bit  
    told plugin was out of date, clicked update  
    got sent to apple site to download new version  
    downloaded binary, uac checks etc  
    update went ahead, then asked to close all my quicktime  applications, of which chrome is now one, nope, clicked cancel.  
    advised that installation would continue but a reboot would be required  
    gave up, clicked cancel  
    informed installation was complete.
that was rather unpleasant.

Agree. Won't even play for me when I got the plugin started.

I obviously havent rebooted, but visiting the website and hitting "run anyway" now causes the same hang, then the tab closes with no further notification.

needless to say that plugin is being removed,

to the author: check out <video> elements, and a quick nod to sublime video

This looks great but after browsing their twitter feed [1] I can see that they have troubles getting updates approved in the app store because of the sandboxing.

[1] https://twitter.com/#!/reflareapps

Feeble excuse, you can easily get temporary entitlements from sandboxing in order to continue maintaining the product during the transition process. We've done this for a number of apps.

I've been using BetterSnapTool[1]. While it's just a window resizing utility and not a manager I've found it very useful for quickly assigning windows to specific screens and specific locations especially since it has very flexible hot-key preferences. Divvy[3] is very similar to BetterSpanTool though it's more flexible with the sizing but requires more slightly configuration to setup shortcuts. Divvy also seems to lack the hot-corner feature of BetterSnapTool.

Still, it doesn't solve the problem of maintaining specific screen states or remembering positions across sessions. For example while working without a second monitor I'd really like one set of window configurations to automatically take effect and as soon as I plug in a monitor I'd like all the windows to automatically assume another configuration. I gave Breeze[1] a try, but I found it very finicky and it rarely actually remembers my window configurations and it didn't play well at all with spaces.

Tyler seemed promising because it would eliminate the manual configuration, window organization, and window state problems. I'm a bit disappointed to see it isn't ready yet but excited to try it when it is.

[1] http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/bettersnaptool/id417375580?mt... [2] http://www.autumnapps.com/breeze/ [3] http://mizage.com/divvy/

If your window tiling needs are simple, check out Spectacle ( http://spectacleapp.com/ ). Its open source as well.

Spectacle is nice, but it is no Window Manager. You still have to manage the windows yourself, which is a pain.

Say you have a browser and two terminals to the left, that's easily done with Spectacle or Divvy. But open a third terminal and now you have to manually rearrange three windows. With TylerWM, the tiling is done automatically.

I love slate but it does take some configuring...


I use Optimal Layout http://most-advantageous.com/optimal-layout/ and it works pretty well. It's no Awesome WM, but the combination of Optimal Layout, Alfred and spaces (or is it called mission control now?) is "good enough".

I used various tiling window managers on Linux, and really admired Awesome (probably because I was writing a lot of Lua at the time), but I ended up settling on Compiz (standalone) as my favorite environment.

In standalone Compiz, I had window decoration disabled and quick shortcuts to maximize vertically, horizontally, or both, and back. Most of the time I kept windows maximized and switched between them with a shortcut. It was simple, fast, and nicely animated.

I really wish this kind of thing could be done in OSX. 86 the title bar and it's cute little buttons. Set quick key combos to resize windows. ⌘-click anywhere in a window and drag to move it.

Make fullscreen apps work properly with multiple monitors. Hide the menu bar whenever you want to, like the dock.

Why does window management suck on OSX? Even Windows has it beat in that area.

Divvy's a great alternative - http://mizage.com/divvy/. I've been using it for nearly a year now and very happy with it.

Divvy is no WM. See my previous answer: http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=3624771

I've been using Divvy for a good year now, though. It's a great product.

Oh god please include the screenshots. The video won't load on my machine, because I have no QuickTime installed. Or atleast some fallback on youtube video.

Not much to show, sadly, since it's a window manager the interesting part is seeing it… manage windows.

You can see some screenshots on the MAS page: http://itunes.apple.com/app/tyler-window-manager/id446759787... but the behavioral difference with e.g. Divvy or other tiling applications can not be expressed through screenshots.

There are screenshots on the MAS (itunes.apple.com, really) page, linked at the top.

I was just going to install a VirtualBox with XMonad, because Divvy, SizeUp and all the other window helpers in OSX just aren't enough for me anymore. While downloading Debian netinst, I stumbled upon TylerWM.

I'm trying it now and am already pretty convinced that this is close to a perfect setup. Could use a couple more shortcuts, though - like "use tyler in this workspace" and "manually manage this window".

Has the site developer never heard of Youtube? Why should I have to install the cancer that is Quicktime on my Windows machine at work?

who uses QuickTime these days? jeez

This website should probably have more than just a video of the application; right now I'm on a wireless network that gets less than desirable speed, so watching the video would take a lot more time than I would care to spend. If I could scroll down and see some screenshots, and I see none, then I might have tried out this app.

Is there a good tiling wm for Windows too?

Normally I use i3 on linux, but the few times I have to use Windows I really miss it.

There's bug.n[1], I haven't used it (I mostly use WIndows for gaming, where the WM is mostly irrelevant), but some people say they like it.

[1]: http://www.autohotkey.net/~joten/bug.n.html

It doesn't work for me - always freezes when I start it.

Ditto. Like a few others here I prefer xmonad though, but there are certain things that I use Windows for and it is fairly disappointing to not have the wm functionality.

As for the tyler wm video...I absolutely abhor quicktime. Never have a good experience with it.

As for tyler...a few questions:

are there keyboard shortcuts for resizing the main window, switching the active window to the main, switching active window to another workspace (in OSXs case another monitor)?

how does it handle popups (like download dialogs, or update dialogs)?

can you set it to float certain applications or application types like you can with xmonad?

While it's not quite the same as what you expect from tiling WMs in Linux, there is Divvy for Windows: http://mizage.com/divvy/

I love Divvy - it allows me to set sizes for my windows really easily (opposite approach of automatically tiling them), but it works much better for me than anything else I've seen

I've looked around a bit, but I didn't find how do you configure the layouts. Is it with a config in a particular language, a la XMonad, or something else?

Although more manual, Moom achieves the same effect. Manual means more flexible in this case, for me anyway.

Note for 10.8 users: doesn't work yet

What's hilarious to me about this is that I just spent a week writing a whole dock/draggable windowing system into a web platform that had resizable tiled windows, because of an overwhelming number of customer complaints that they couldn't put large windows on top of each other and everything was too small or required too much scrolling.

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