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Slate - The Hacker's Window Manager - Panda Blog

Slateis one of those applications that I came across while looking forwhat I now consider to be a necessitya window manager on OS X. I had found otherssuch as Spectacleand Divvybut Slate is a Window Manager (WM) that really stuck out. It offers a very good amount of customizability as opposed to others in the increasingly saturated space of WMs.

Slate’s javascript config files gives you enormous control.

A quick explanation of what a window manager is, pulled from the Spectaclereview:

For those of you who are unfamiliar with what a window manager is, its a way to snap individual windows into sections on your screen. Say, for example, you have Chrome and Sublime Text open and you want to view both at the same time on the same screen. With a window manager, it facilitates that request by using keyboard shortcuts. Instead of manually dragging the corner of each application until it looks like its split evenly, the window manager will take care of that for you.

An example of the way I use a WM is when Im working on my laptop and dont have a second or third monitor available to me. If Im writing an article, I can easily have half my screen be a Google Doc of what Im writing, while the other half is for doing quick searches to check my facts. It may not sound like much, but the time you save hunting for your research window adds up, fast.

What its got going for it

The hackers window manager. The highlight of Slates feature set in my eyes, is the configurability. Through the magic of a .slate file. Or, if youd like to have a bit more power, through the use of a .slate.js file. Yes, youve read that right, you can use JavaScript to augment Slates behaviour.

Slates regular dotfile offers quite a bit of functionality as well.

One of the many benefits ofhaving a dotfile is the sheer amount of uniqueness in your config compared to others. The way you set your window manager up might be totally different than someone elses, which is exactly the purpose of a WMto fit your personal workflow, not only the creators.

It aint no hungry, hungry hippo. Like most WMs, its not overly resource hungry; which means leaving it running at all times wont eat up your precious RAM and get in your way. With most systems coming packed with 4GBs of RAM by default nowadays, its not the biggest concern to have, but its still nice to see it hovering around the 15MB mark.

What might turn you off

Its a hackers window managerYes, this is both a pro and a con. If youre not a tinkerer / hacker chances are, this isnt the window manager for you. If youre just looking for something you can set and forget without too much time investment, youd be better off with Divvyor Spectacle. The initial time investment in setting it up will, without a doubt, will turn some of you off.

There honestly isnt much else that I can think of as far as words of caution go. Which takes us to the final section…

Closing thoughts

Slate is undoubtedly the hackers WM, it has all the things to make Vim and Emacs users jump for joy. If youre coming from a Linux heavy background, youll feel very at home opening up your Terminal or iTerm, locating the .slate file and editing it to your hearts content. Making sure you have it exactly the way you want it.

If youre not satisfied with just being able to change the .slate file and want even more application bending customization, you can fork the Git repository and get to hacking away.

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