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Controllable Scroll Bar Application Event Focus Disclosure Number: IPCOM000012369D
Original Publication Date: 2003-May-01
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2003-May-01
Document File: 2 page(s) / 26K

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Typically, when a user is working with multiple applications, windows may overlap. In this situation, it is very easy for the user, in trying to scroll the application in front, to click the scrollbar of one of the underlying applications. This has two unintended bad side effects: 1. It brings the underlying application forward, and 2. It scrolls the underlying application. This creates a lot of screen flash, etc to user, as he was expecting the original focus application to scroll. This process can be very disconcerting to the user. This publication implements an improvement to the current art of processing scroll bars in an operating system. This improvements eliminates these problems with overlapped windows which display scrollbars.

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Controllable Scroll Bar Application Event Focus

    Figure #1 depicts several windows of a Graphical User Interface where each window contains a vertical scrollbar on the right edge of the window.

Figure 1. An example desktop, with three overlapped applications.

This publication presents a process for eliminating scroll bar miscues when the user accidentally clicks a scrollbar of an underlying application window that does not currently have application focus. The basic premise is to alter the flow of event handling so that all scrollbars that receive input from the user, forward their scroll events to the application that has focus, ie the frontmost application. In this manner only the frontmost application will scroll, and focus and z-order of the applications will not change.

The advantage of this idea is that it cuts down on inadvertent application focus changes, and keeps the user focused on the frontmost application that has the user's attention.

This invention would be implemented at the operating system level. The operating system watches all scroll events, independent of application. In today's art, the operating system just forwards the scroll event to the application that owns the scroll bar. If that application is not in focus, the operating system brings the application into focus and in front in the z-order and sends the scroll event to the application.

With this implementation the user never accidentally clicks the wrong scroll bar, as all scroll events...