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The Mac Dock Blows

Sat Aug 21, 2010, 7:57 PM



The Mac dock blows. There, I said it. And I bet many of you avid Mac tweakers have been thinking this very same thing ever since fav.me/d2uz6h7 (Chinese Table by ~zurbaua) hit the idock.deviantart.com/ (iDock Project). I want something like the mock-ups above!  And the new and growing breed of Windows docks are getting better looking and more customizable everyday!  I am talking about the Mac dock versus xwdock.aqua-soft.org/ (XWindows Dock), rocketdock.com/ (RocketDock), and home.cogeco.ca/~rklauncher/ (RKLauncher).  These are great looking and more flexible dock utilities.  And they're for Windows.  The funny thing is, many of the Windows dock utilities sort of came into existence because a lot of people felt like the Mac dock was a great idea and the Windows crowd wanted in on the fun.  Now they are surpassing their originator in usability, extensibility, and visual appeal.  Sure there are a lot of skins out there for the Mac docks and there are some great ones too like thvg.deviantart.com/art/Eclips… (Eclipse by =Thvg) or art-styles.deviantart.com/art/… (AlumaDOCK by ~art-styles) or the new vangenie.deviantart.com/art/Os… (Ossom Dock by *vanGenie) but the Mac dock is way too limited in what you can do visually.  The list of what you can't do goes on and on.  For instance you can't have ropes holding your dock up, you can't have legs underneath you dock, you can have bolts run through your dock, you can have nails sticking out of your dock, you can't really have grass growing on your dock, you can barely have a pattern on your dock!  All of these and more are becoming possible with the new Windows dock utilities.  What we need is a Mac dock replacement.  I don't mean a whiz-bang app launcher either like stuntsoftware.com/overflow/ (Overflow), docs.blacktree.com/quicksilve/… (Quicksilver) or www.donelleschi.com/sapiens/ (Sapiens), we have plenty of those.  I'm talking about a program that hides the Mac dock and replaces it with a Mac version of something like RKLauncher or XWD.  The dock images in the mock-ups are care of the fav.me/d2tuh1o (Icon Container Pack by ~artbees) which are absolutely beautiful shelves and would make breathtaking docks in my book.  Come on Mac modder community, how about it?

skin by LeMex
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:iconxkit:
xkit Featured By Owner Dec 16, 2010  Professional Interface Designer
I prefer the way Windows 7 implements the dock to be honest. Maybe I'm just boring.
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:iconbalderoine:
balderoine Featured By Owner Aug 26, 2010  Professional Interface Designer
I have been making x windows dock skins for a while and I thought it would be possible to make these for OSX until I actually tried it. However, I think that it may be achieved with this app called drag thing. I have no idea how to make a skin for drag thing though but I configured it (used a similar default skin) and it looks like all it needs is a background image. (reflection can be disabled btw I just have it for demonstration purposes)

here's my attempts [link]

The second dock is an obvious fail but I was thinking of making the table with some tricks on the table legs and then to make a front line with the shadow but the refection is still shown even with my dummy transparent frontline as you can see there. Unless there's a way to disable the reflections..... But for other skins such as those in the journal, maybe/probably can be made with dragthing. Thoughts?
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:iconhotiron:
hotiron Featured By Owner Aug 27, 2010  Hobbyist Interface Designer
I love the "box" dock. That has a ton of potential.
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:iconfernandolins:
fernandolins Featured By Owner Aug 25, 2010
(I got here from a link twitted by a common friend, but I'm leaving my 2 cents anyway, hope you don't mind…)

In Windows, all docks are system mods or completely new apps that run integrated to the system. In Mac OS X, we're just replacing PNGs in a system feature, which explains the lack of customization. However, creating a Dock replacement means integrating it with the system in a way that allows users to have the current set of features PLUS the theming goodness is not an easy task.

Things like stacks are not easy to recreate and keep synced with the system. The way things are displayed, etc. I'm not saying it's impossible, just that it's hard work. I probably couldn't code it, but I know it can be done if a couple of developers experienced in custom drawing and daemons worked together.

MOST of the code you'd need would be for accepting the many different kinds of drops a dock accepts (folders, shortcuts, apps, files), displaying the icon for those and creating views that represent these apps. Now, how do you get them to bounce while the app is being launched? How would you display badges that actually represent the unseen information? Keeping a running loop to figure out which apps are and are not running to display the markers under each icon is not recommended, etc. As I said, I'm no developer, but this is not easy. It's basically a hack at the deeper levels.

Is a feature-less dock worth having grass on your Dock?
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:icongor0n:
Gor0n Featured By Owner Aug 25, 2010  Professional Interface Designer
I agree and, of course Mac docks are a lot better. Yes, usability and functionality are more important than customization possibilities. But its frustrating to see these "clones" being more customizable than the original one. I mean, we can't have front rounded corners or opacity below the dock (like Chinese Table). I'd love to have more options when I create a dock skin.

Btw it's funny because most of the time, Windows docks are Mac port, I guess we have the best designers. :p

I think the solution is not to create a dock replacement but maybe modding the current one (like Mirage dock does to have a clear dock) to have more customization possibilities.
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:iconhotiron:
hotiron Featured By Owner Aug 26, 2010  Hobbyist Interface Designer
Maybe "extending" the Mac dock is possible (or will become possible) like the way Finder is now extend-able because Apple re-wrote it on Cocoa for Snow Leopard or how Safari 5.0.1 now supports "extensions" which change the look and behavior of the app and web pages. Is there a way to keep the basic core functionality of the Mac dock yet intervene when it comes to background, frontline, separator, and indicator PNGs?
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:icongor0n:
Gor0n Featured By Owner Aug 27, 2010  Professional Interface Designer
I hope so!
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:iconfernandolins:
fernandolins Featured By Owner Aug 25, 2010
Also forgot to mention that the Dock hosts the Dashboard and a few other system stuff and that you wouldn't be able to "hook" the apps into the new dock to display their own Dock Menus, progress bars (Photoshop, anyone?), badges (Adium, Transmission, etc)… all in all, it's a useless dock, but it's a dock with the ability to display grass and ropes, right?
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:iconemey87:
emey87 Featured By Owner Aug 24, 2010  Hobbyist Interface Designer
yeah, maybe mac dock software is more limited, as far as I know all the mac docks keep the same style, not too much variation on it, and that limited the creativity at the time of designing a new dock. In most of the windows software you have that freedom in design... but those softwares are not very implemented to the OS like the mac dock is. You could have a better looking dock in windows, but not functionally as a MAC dock.
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:iconsmartrams:
SmarTramS Featured By Owner Aug 23, 2010
Good thoughts!
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:iconeditorraymon:
editorraymon Featured By Owner Aug 21, 2010
If I just have the psd of that pic on that above, I can port it to xwd5.6. :D
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:iconhotiron:
hotiron Featured By Owner Aug 22, 2010  Hobbyist Interface Designer
The mocks-ups are the Icon Container Pack by ~artbees the PNGs are there.
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:iconbogo-d:
bogo-d Featured By Owner Aug 21, 2010  Hobbyist Interface Designer
The Mac dock is far less customizable than Windows docks, but Windows docks are usually buggy and unstable.
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:iconhotiron:
hotiron Featured By Owner Aug 21, 2010  Hobbyist Interface Designer
Yeah, I've had my share of trouble with RKLauncher (one of my favorites) but I'd give up a little stability for a lot more visual freedom.
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