With the release of Leopard comes the integration of a workspaces program into the operating system. With this feature being bundled with Leopard it will have many people asking the question, “What do I need this for?” a question I asked myself before I began using a pre-Leopard workspaces program called Desktop Manager. I fell in love with it to the point where I had to get the Google Desktop on my PC just so I could take advantage of Workspaces.
The benefit is especially powerful on a Macbook, where the screen resolution has a maximum limit of 1280 x 800. This resolution proves to be a powerful disadvantage when compared to the normal resolution on my desktop of 1600 x 1200. I was limited on the Macbook and it drove me insane. Desktop Manager solved that problem, and now Spaces will solve the problem for the millions who have and will upgrade their systems to Leopard.
I want to start off by saying that Spaces is vastly more powerful than Desktop Manager because of the way it is integration with the Operating System. The main improvement being that you can map a program to a certain space. For example when I got ready to write this I was in Space 1, where I keep Firefox, Apple Mail, Adium, and Twitterific. I hit the Pages icon in the top and the program opened itself in Space 4.
In order to map programs to spaces all you need to do is enter system preferences and go into the Spaces menu. Hitting the plus under the “Applications Assignments” menu gives you the option to open any application on your Mac in the space of your choice.
A Word processor doesn’t take up too much screen space, but the real power of mapping applications to a specific workspace comes when using Applications that use the whole screen by default. The first two applications I mapped to specific spaces were GarageBand and Photoshop. These are applications where I want to be separated from distraction when I’m working, and both Applications are designed to fill the whole screen. By setting these applications in their own space I can, for example, be recording a podcast with GarageBand in space 3 and quickly switch back to Space 1 to check a bit of information on the Internet without having to minimize GarageBand. This not only saves time but also allows you to move between completely different tasks seamlessly. In fact, if I needed to get back to GarageBand in space 3 quickly and didn’t wanna use the keyboard shortcuts just by clicking on GarageBand in the Dock brings to into the space where the application is sitting. This is another huge advantage over workspace programs that were designed for Tiger.
There is room for improvement, as with anything, the one thing I miss from Desktop Manager is the ability to give your spaces custom names. But those small features are things that Apple, or third party developers, could easily add as Leopard becomes more mature. As it stands now, I couldn’t live without spaces and recommend it to anyone using Leopard. Just try it for a day and I guarantee that you won’t be able to live without it.
You can find more of Scott’s at personal blog; The Wonderful World of the Gundampilotspaz , as well as Time Travel is Awesome a Blog and Podcast that covers Video Games; Anime; and Science Fiction, and My Tubes are Clogged a fun tumblelog that I update regularly.