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JGD

Make toolbar and toolbox dockable in Separated Mode; force windows out from under said docked UI elements so that UI chrome is accessible; make titlebar Zoom [+] button (Option+Green Button)/Window>Zoom command adhere to HIG

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Hi guys. Once again, I'm sorry for overusing my “CRITICAL & OVERDUE” “tag” of sorts, but… until the end of the v.1.x cycle, better get used and pay attention to it. I'm reserving it only for the most glaring omissions, especially those which damage Affinity apps' reputation the most as professional tools.

Anyway, I digress; what I'm asking is: please make Affinity apps (especially Photo, where it makes the most sense) under Separated Mode behave like all Adobe apps when the Application Frame is disabled, FontLab 5.x, Microsoft Office X/2004/2008 for Mac, AppleWorks, and pretty much every classic Mac app with floating UI elements since 1984. Nineteen-freaking-eighty-four; those are thirty+ years of muscle memory for some users (in my case, it's only a respectable 16, but still).

Floating palettes and other UI elements have a reason to exist, but they also should work in a sensible and intuitive fashion, otherwise you might as well not have them at all. If you decided to implement a “Separated Mode”, at least take the time to fully learn, understand and respect Apple's Human Interface Guidelines (and, by extension, Mac users). Don't make the same mistakes Microsoft did with their infamous, universally-hated Microsoft Word 6 for Mac (source: https://blogs.msdn.microsoft.com/rick_schaut/2004/02/26/mac-word-6-0/ ).

As it stands, the Separated Mode is very cumbersome, forcing users to painstakingly resize windows by hand, one by one, so that they fit on the screen and fit their content, aren't obscured by the floating UI elements (which forces them to switch to another app or toggling the Studio just so they can grab their titlebars), etc. Making them dockable and properly coding the document windows and Zoom behaviour to prevent those scenarios would allow one to open several windows in cascade, side by side, tiled, etc.

I should add that the Window>Zoom command/green “+” titlebar button is not MS Windows' “Maximize”!!! We all know that Serif devs come from a Windows background, and this is a common misconception former Windows devs have, and a common error they commit, when porting their apps to the Mac. To make matters worse, the Affinity apps actually started out as Mac-only but never even behaved properly as such, ever. Please make that button behave precisely like in Photoshop, Preview, TextEdit, Pages, etc. Will it be inconsistent with the Windows version? Maybe, yes. But it should, first and foremost, be coherent with the host OS. On the Mac, that command/button should be a toggle between a default/custom size and a “fit-to-content” size (which can be very useful in Affinity Photo, and which I constantly use in Photoshop, Preview, etc.), and not a “maximise button”; for that, we have the default Fullscreen behaviour.

Better yet: under Separated Mode please disable Fullscreen for the green button and make it Zoom (properly, please) by default. Seriously, try activating Separated Mode and opening a document window in Fullscreen; it's not very useful and doesn't bring much to the table, functionality-wise, over opening the app in regular mode and making it Fullscreen am I right? I'm willing to bet that maybe 0,0001% of your users ever turn to that particular combo… At least, please allow the user to set the default behaviour under Preferences.

Yes, I know this is no longer the default “green button” behaviour in macOS, and that Apple is pushing us heavily towards Fullscreen mode. But seriously, until Apple disables it altogether (and I reckon they never will, as they keep selling huge iMacs and now will start selling the even bigger Pro Display XDR, which will be a massive hit with pro photographers), please implement it correctly for the users who still use the Window>Zoom command. It's the least you can do as a self-respecting Mac developer.

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12 minutes ago, JGD said:

Better yet: under Separated Mode please disable Fullscreen for the green button and make it Zoom (properly, please) by default.

Hold down the Option key and it doesn't go to Full Screen mode. and this disabled green button turned into Zoom would go against the Apple guidelines.


MacBook Pro (13-inch, Mid 2012) Mac OS 10.12.6 || Mac Pro (Late 2013) Mac OS 10.14.5

Affinity Designer 1.7.2 | Affinity Photo 1.7.2 | Affinity Publisher 1.7.2 | Affinity Designer Beta 1.7.2.2 | Affinity Photo Beta 1.7.2.151 | Affinity Publisher Beta 1.7.2.458

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1 hour ago, Old Bruce said:

Hold down the Option key and it doesn't go to Full Screen mode. and this disabled green button turned into Zoom would go against the Apple guidelines.

I'm obviously not 100% sure, but I reckon it wouldn't. Is there anything forcing developers to implement it by default? There are many apps which, to this day, still don't support fullscreen mode as a design and UX decision, and Apple hasn't ceased promoting them. Besides Illustrator and, more importantly, Photoshop (duh… and there's a reason for that, so users can do precisely what I described above and compare images, drag layers and other stuff across documents, etc.), I can name a few other examples, if you wish. And it's not like Apple is enforcing the HIG with a stick and eschewing apps and developers if they fail to comply at every step of the way (Affinity being the most glaring example; it suffers from a lot of un-Mac-like decisions and behaviours and, yet, it's consistently put by Apple high up on a pedestal at every opportunity – like, say, WWDC, their app stores, etc.… As long as a developer takes advantage of their latest tech and SDKs, Apple really doesn't care if they veer off of conventions slightly, especially if it makes sense and doesn't break something else, and that really doesn't seem to be the case here).

As for the workaround you suggested, I already addressed it in my first comment. It doesn't work properly. When you Option+Click the now mostly “Fullscreen” button, the window indeed doesn't go into Fullscreen mode, yes, but the button still behaves as a MS Windows “maximize” button (something which, on the Mac, should only ever happen with single-window apps just like Affinity apps themselves while on single-window mode, iTunes, Calendar, etc.), and not as Window>Zoom should behave as per the HIG. When performing Window>Zoom on a floating document window, the chrome should always toggle between default/custom (it starts out as a default size and once you resize it, the coordinates and size are saved somewhere) and fit-to-content sizes (I'm not even sure how that would work on Designer and Publisher, but if you were at such a small zoom level that all your artboards/objects/pages fit on your screen, I suppose the window could shrink to fit them; as for Photo, make it behave the same as in Photoshop, period).

I didn't want to go there, but you forced my hand; I'm sorry if I come across as rude or something, but please don't argue with a veteran Mac user who studied UX in higher education, or if you do at least take the time to properly decode what I've said. I know my comments are long, but the information, albeit a bit drowned in fluff and asides, is all there and it's entirely factual and correct. As I've said before, I'm no expert, in the sense that I didn't take a full degree like the postgraduate one some former colleagues of mine are now teaching, but I'm a bit of a UI history buff myself (all the way back to Douglas Engelbart's famous mouse demo and the Xerox Alto) and I know without a doubt a badly implemented Mac app, professional or otherwise, when I see one. I've strongly, persistently and informedly complained about this and other issues (which you've recently saw me rehash on the forums as well) more than four years ago, and they all went unaddressed. As I've said before, I'm unabashedly sticking to a bit of a program here: not giving Serif devs a moment of respite until I'm no longer available to badger them with these requests or until they do indeed address them (whichever comes first, and right now I'll have to go offline so I can prepare for my viva voce on the 24th; after that, it's a complete blank, and maybe you'll still see me around, or maybe I'll be gone to work full-time somewhere, pursue further research opportunities, whatever).

To recap: Serif's implementation of Separated Mode seems to be completely lifted off of other “lite” apps such as Pixelmator, and, thus, suffers from the same glaring limitations and “un-Mac-like behaviour”, instead of going full-on against the 800lb-gorilla-beast-thing like its marketing seems to imply. It feels like an afterthought, like something which the devs themselves don't really use daily and, as such, never got to become frustrated with, and it's not nearly as useful or practical if it had been done right in the first place. And for examples on how it can be done right, it's not like there aren't hundreds of apps, both old and recent, an official Apple HIG and nagging veteran users like myself to learn from. At this moment, Serif devs have zero excuse not to get this right by at least, say, version 2 or 3 of the suite (yes, I'm indeed giving them some leeway here, as I remember Adobe CS' palette implementation, for instance, being a complete, all-over-the-place “flustercuck” until CS3, with internally inconsistent implementations such as those weird InDesign's CS/CS2 sliding tabs). Huge screens, floaty UI bits – some of which could and should be dockable, even in separate mode – and pro photographers and designers wishing to tile their stuff, automatically or by hand, on their Macs aren't going anywhere, no matter how many million iPadOS-powered iPad Pros Apple ships, so these features should at least be tucked into some internal roadmap of theirs somewhere.

Anyway, my job here is, for now, done. I'll point whatever easily fixable bugs I find here and there (and you may have noticed I'm already doing that much more frequently, again) if I keep testing Affinity apps, but hopefully these last few posts cover my biggest, “foundational” gripes with the suite (if you put them all on one table you'll recognise the two running themes are “inconsistencies with the host OS” and “inconsistencies with sound WYSIWYG behaviours well accepted and established across the industry” which Serif looked over or, worse even, created for no good – or overall positive and justifiable – reason; those are the biggest factors which, historically, made Mac – and pro – users eschew altogether or otherwise tolerate through gritted teeth certain software packages – never forget Word 6! Ai versions in general in the eyes of former FreeHand users! QuarkXPress during the OS X transition! The list goes on… –, as I've said before, perhaps Serif would have even more happy users, right now, if they addressed those). I would indeed love to be able to make more video demos, but considering all the work I have to do over the next two weeks, you guys are on your own for now, sorry. If you want to see how proper Mac apps in “separated mode” behave, fire a an old Rosetta-compatible Snow Leopard VM (there are some pre-packaged ones lying around, I'm sure), or Basilisk II/Sheepshaver if you want to go even further back (and yes, I know that would be venturing further into Mac OS Classic/Carbon territory, but it's still possible to do those under Cocoa – Adobe CC being a prime example of that, and it works perfectly –, and it should be done if and when it makes sense), download some old abandonware and see for yourselves. Do your own research, please. That should be your job, not mine.

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I'm not sure I quite understand what you mean by your first feature request. Do you have an example of how it should work like in a video or something?

As for your second one, I am not a Mac user, but the way "New View" works on Windows (I guess that's the one you are referring to with "Separated Mode") is that it opens up a new window of your project in docked mode as a tab next to your original file that you can then just drag to the side like to a second monitor. Is it supposed to act differently on Mac? Do you have an example video of that too?

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4 hours ago, Frozen Death Knight said:

I'm not sure I quite understand what you mean by your first feature request. Do you have an example of how it should work like in a video or something?

As for your second one, I am not a Mac user, but the way "New View" works on Windows (I guess that's the one you are referring to with "Separated Mode") is that it opens up a new window of your project in docked mode as a tab next to your original file that you can then just drag to the side like to a second monitor. Is it supposed to act differently on Mac? Do you have an example video of that too?

Ok, let's address these separately:

No, I do not have a video example yet, and unfortunately I shall not be doing one of those until after the 24th, as I have a keynote presentation to make, hundreds of pages to print and annotate and a few books and papers (including my entire dissertation) to review yet again. But I'll try and do a few after that, in between sending out CVs and going on vacation.

As for the second one, it depends on the app; Safari, Finder, etc., (i.e. apps that open multiple windows, but which aren't necessarily documents) allow you to open new windows in a “old-school” way (usually cascading, though when they are full height they open side by side) by pressing Command+N, and tabbed, by pressing Command+T, whereas Photoshop allows you to set the default as a global preference. In either kind of app and default setting, you can always dock and undock windows from tabs (though in the Finder and Safari, to dock single windows to a different window you must have “Show tab bar enabled”.

Now, the entire CS suite, traditionally, worked in a Application Frame-less state, with docked/floating toolbars, toolboxes and panels, and floating document windows that, when zoomed, would automatically fit the available space, as long as the Workspace (i.e. the Studio, in Adobe's parlance) was fully docked. The intermediate step, if I am not mistaken, was the addition of tabbed windows. And the ultimate step was the addition of an Application Frame, which looked and worked precisely like all versions of Adobe apps since Illustrator v.1 on Windows, Corel on Windows, and Affinity's default mode since its inception on both OSes. But, to this day, you can still work with Adobe CC's DTP portion (the old Design Standard/Premium subset of the larger Master Collection, which equates roughly to Affinity, except for the added bonus of Acrobat Pro) in that “classic Mac” mode.

I've since stopped working in that mode in Illustrator and InDesign, mostly because of the advent of Affinity (so I would get used to the Application Frame, because Affinity's Separated Mode was and still is suboptimal), and also because I get spoiled with my 27'' iMac with 40 GB of memory and open too many windows for Exposé/Mission Control to be useful (though I usually work around that by using a dedicated desktop just for DTP apps) but I keep working in that mode in Photoshop. There's no other way to easily move entire layers across documents, period. And there's no split document view/automatic tiling on Affinity Photo, either, so… Yeah, things look a bit bleak. I tested Affinity Photo the other day for a pro bono project (basically I was recreating a vaporwave filter a friend of mine used on some Android app, except on a proper photo editor and with the original, full-res image), and I did have to compare two files side by side, which forced me to fidget with window resizing operations to get my views just right, something which, on Photoshop, would've been a breeze. Now imagine if I had to an operation across four different files at the same time or something? Imagine if I had to do that every day, for 8 hours?

So, in a nutshell – and, unfortunately, only in screenshot form, and not video screen capture –, this is what I wish for. I would like to see toolbars docking to the edges of the screen, and windows not sliding behind them (whether when performing the Window>Zoom/Option+Green button command, or when manually dragging the title bar behind them), just like in Adobe CC and other old school Mac apps. Seriously, try it out on any Adobe app on a Mac (you have to turn off the Application frame first, though; it's akin to Separated Mode, except… it's functional, useful and most definitely intuitive and not frustrating in the least): when the viewport zoom level is small, the windows will neatly wrap around the content, when it's high and makes the canvas exceed your screen size the windows will neatly snap to the docked UI elements, and then you try and drag the windows behind them, no matter how far you push them, their titlebars will always snap back into full view. And this is good, well-researched UX. Is it too much to ask?

389848662_Captura-de-ecr-2019-06-05-s-17_46.03-.thumb.png.67600e95329ccedb738b2eba301a7a73.png

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@JGDOkay, I think I understand then. Yeah, that does sound a bit tedious. Doesn't personally affect me in my workflow, so I would not have noticed.

One workaround I would use is to open each project inside Photo, Designer, and/or Publisher separately, since they all share file formats, or maybe use Artboards in Designer and use Embedded Document for one of those Artboards to import the other document for comparison (would have to throw that stuff away afterwards however). However, Serif should improve that feature, I agree.

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Yep. It could definitely be improved… Your workaround will also work, but only as a one-off for the odd project, not as a workflow to be used daily (that would drive any heavy pro user crazy). By the way, here are some examples of that feature on older software… It's not as good as full-blown video, but you can see how all of these apps respect the window chrome and force it from under any docked floaty bits:

FreeHand MX 2004 with invisible toolbars (because I had Stuffit selected as the active app):

427163616_freehandstuffit.thumb.png.9ce69ba4f9ad63c69324b0efb36763ae.png

FreeHand MX 2004 with visible toolbars (and also a nice example of a very old multiple-artboard document with universal layers – *wink-wink* *nudge-nudge* – which I did back when I was still a designer foetus, in my third year at the uni):

456133404_ScreenshotFreehand.thumb.png.2cb8185f6266b24c9aefa0c0bc293db6.png

I didn't have to do anything to avoid the window chrome from going behind the toolbars; when pressing the Zoom button, it would just snap to their left edge. As for the panels, the only thing I missed was the vertical scrollbar and all the scrollbar buttons and resize handles, but as I had, like most people, a scroll wheel mouse (actually, I already had an Apple Mighty Mouse by then) that was no biggie. In any case, Illustrator CS3 solved that for good, as docked panels automatically resized windows to fit along their left edge, too.

Office X for Mac, taken from this article, which also explains the whole earlier Word 6 for Mac debacle, which, if I'm not mistaken, didn't include floating toolbars and irked Mac users to no end also because of that):

office-2008-intro-18.jpg.cc11a1dee7ecc7459b1a8333511a69a4.jpg

Again, the toolbars, when snapped to the edge and to one another, wouldn't allow the title bar to go under them, no matter how hard you tried. I can't absolutely recall if that was the case, but I'm guessing that that floating panel on the side also stopped the Zoom command on its tracks along its right edge, too.

And now, for a more modern app, FontLab VI, in both full “single window” and “separated” mode (they're not really called as such, but you can reproduce both by manually docking the toolbars to the sides of the screen or to the main window):

757712538_Captura-de-ecr-2019-06-09-s-04_09_09.thumb.png.4ca440e776e74ad6629440d111a0e878.png

72028053_Captura-de-ecr-2019-06-09-s-04_08_59.thumb.png.2f57d005aea38401c00eb51147f6a048.png

For a bit of context, FontLab VI is based, of all frameworks, on Qt, for crying out loud! The very same framework used to produce that Soulseek Qt abomination. The difference here being that Adam Twardoch and his buddies have been working on a cross-platform (i.e. Mac+Windows) suite of apps for decades now, and fully respect the expectations of Mac users because they have all that prior knowledge and do care. IMHO, and no offense, but Serif devs seem to suffer a bit from the Dunning-Kruger effect when it comes to Mac-specific UX and UI; sure, they are excellent coders, and they indeed managed to produce a miraculously fast and smooth render engine and a boatload of tools to go with it. But for all their expertise, there are probably no first and foremost Mac devs/product managers over there a day older than 35 (i.e. who started coding for the Mac before 2005-ish); otherwise they would probably know just how important these details are for Mac users, and sweat them with nary a thought because they would know the good ol' Apple HIG by heart, too.

I would strongly advise Serif to interact more, and compare notes with the guys from Panic, the Omni Group, John Gruber from the blog Daring Fireball, these guys from FontLab Inc. who I've just mentioned, Georg Seifert and Rainer Erich Scheichelbauer from Glyphs.app who I also mention on occasion, etc. Indy Mac devs – both Mac-centric and cross-platform but with a strong Mac tradition – who aren't even their competitors and who really show they care in whatever piece of software they put out there. I, for one, feel a bit betrayed sometimes; Affinity started out as Mac-only, but never really felt 100% like it, and that perception hasn't changed one bit.

The preferences window still looks odd through and through, as do the gradient transitions on titlebars because of the custom UI gamma thing and dark/light UI before that was even a system-wide thing – I'm guessing Serif eschewed native interface elements and conventions so they could implement those features, which would also explain why the window borders and titlebar corners looked a bit off during the transition to Mojave; on the other hand, Adobe CS/CC has always looked weird for similar reasons, so… meh –, but you know what? I've already let that kind of nit-picky UI stuff slide and am willing to live with it – again, see my comments regarding CS/CC; I really stopped caring a long time ago, and as long as apps aren't broken by design to the point they use crappy Flash-based panels (yeah, Adobe really did that a lot at one point) and don't react properly to a keyboard (Affinity apps had, and maybe still do, some issues with tabbing between panel fields, by the way… and then there are all those modifier key inconsistencies with bundled or otherwise first-party macOS apps I keep harping on about) and a multi-touch mouse, I'm good.

I've been focusing mostly on UX instead because, at the end of the day, that's what really counts and affects one's daily grind, and this incomplete and cumbersome Separated Mode is, accordingly, yet another hill I'm willing to die on. If FontLab Inc. devs managed to do it properly – and on version 6.0.x and using a completely different framework than the Carbon-based one, probably some arcane Metrowerks CodeWarrior nonsense or something, they were were used to, no less –, so will Serif's team, eventually.

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8 hours ago, JGD said:

As it stands, the Separated Mode is very cumbersome, forcing users to painstakingly resize windows by hand, one by one, so that they fit on the screen and fit their content, aren't obscured by the floating UI elements (which forces them to switch to another app or toggling the Studio just so they can grab their titlebars), etc. Making them dockable and properly coding the document windows and Zoom behaviour to prevent those scenarios would allow one to open several windows in cascade, side by side, tiled, etc.

JGD , I get you.

I also use Affinity Photo in separate mode and its a waste of time moving windows every time you open a new document and it's hidden by the toolbars...

Zooming in and out of photos you have to manually resize the windows ( the window frames keep the original size) And when you have 10, 15 images open at the same time you can imagine the waste of clicks and drags just to start working...

These little things are not buzz words  sellers like :  OpenEXR and Radiance HDR support / Import OpenColorIO configurations /  HDR / EDR monitor support

but we need them for the daily use of the software ... 

Little things that Photoshop has (and now  you miss)  and appreciate them more  when you don't have them. Photoshop veterans will notice this when they are trying to make the switch and notice the software is not "polished" 

I've seen posts asking things like this in this couple of years but I guess they don't get much track... A 1.7.1 update would be great to address interface adjustments in the Mac. 

An example post (9 months old): 

 

 

 


------------------------

Fernando Velarde

www.velarde.com

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11 hours ago, velarde said:

JGD , I get you.

I also use Affinity Photo in separate mode and its a waste of time moving windows every time you open a new document and it's hidden by the toolbars...

Zooming in and out of photos you have to manually resize the windows ( the window frames keep the original size) And when you have 10, 15 images open at the same time you can imagine the waste of clicks and drags just to start working...

These little things are not buzz words  sellers like :  OpenEXR and Radiance HDR support / Import OpenColorIO configurations /  HDR / EDR monitor support

but we need them for the daily use of the software ... 

Little things that Photoshop has (and now  you miss)  and appreciate them more  when you don't have them. Photoshop veterans will notice this when they are trying to make the switch and notice the software is not "polished" 

I've seen posts asking things like this in this couple of years but I guess they don't get much track... A 1.7.1 update would be great to address interface adjustments in the Mac.

Precisely. That's the kind of workflow I was talking about. I know I'm not the only one who [sometimes] works like that (and many people do that almost on a daily basis). And I'm dead sure than even some people who are now perfectly used to and happy with working, one photo at a time, on Affinity Photo running on a small 13'' MacBook Pro (I also happen to own one, so it's not like I don't know just how limited it is) may, if they ever get their hands on a 27'' iMac or an otherwise large external display (guess what, I'm using both at the same time and have my palettes on the secondary display, that's why they're always missing from my screenshots), feel completely trapped in Single-window mode. And as soon as they venture into Separated mode, well… the lack of polish starts showing and the whole thing falls apart. Off to Photoshop they go, then, because they do the math and realize the CC subscription is, perhaps, easily paid for by the extra work they can cram through their workday as they no longer have to work around a certain limitation which completely throws off their workflow.

I keep warning Serif about this kind of stuff; just because users are happy now with all the bells and whistles and the default (and arguably polished and perfectly serviceable… for small screens, that is) UX model, that doesn't mean they always will regardless of their future needs. Devs beware.

I know there are many different target demographics to hit with Affinity Photo, but… are photographers working on 27'' iMacs with multiple images open at the same time a niche? Surely there must be a lot of those around, even if they are in the minority. They need a workable, seamless, delightful floating window model, not an app making weird, un-Mac-like decisions for them and which they have to fight at every corner.

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1 hour ago, velarde said:

Zooming in and out of photos you have to manually resize the windows ( the window frames keep the original size) And when you have 10, 15 images open at the same time you can imagine the waste of clicks and drags just to start working...

I also wanted to focus on this detail in particular and remind Serif devs of another essential UX trait:

Photoshop, while a bit cumbersome itself in its implementation, gets this right, because it gives us some choice. When zooming in and out with the keyboard shortcuts, Command+[+] and Command+[-], the document window automatically resizes, as if the Window>Zoom command was issued concomitantly, thus eschewing the need for that extra user action; when zooming in and out with the Zoom [magnifying glass] tool or with a multitouch gesture like pinch or a Option+two-finger scroll combo, the window maintains its size. That way, managing windows in Photoshop is extremely easy and quick, even if it may appear a bit convoluted to a bystander.

If we want to tile a few, we just have to hit Command+[-] a few times until they are small enough to fit; if we want to fill the screen with one image or even a few and still be able to select them with Application Mission Control (which isn't enabled by default in macOS, but should, and most self-respecting pros take care of that whenever they set up a new Mac), we can just zoom on the image with the trackpad, if it's small, and perform the Window>Zoom command to make it “maximize” (without going under the docked UI items as stated before, obviously).

Alternatively, when we wish to work in only one window at a time, pressing F does the trick without having to activate the Application frame. And this is crucial, for a very important reason: activating the equivalent in Affinity Photo automatically renders Application Exposé/Mission Control completely useless, and even though you could undock file tabs from Photoshop's main window, when toggling the Application frame Photoshop sucks all files into said window, thus resulting in the very same scenario.

If Affinity apps had a proper Separated mode, they would work nicely by default with Application Exposé/Mission Control. If they also offered a “Fullscreen without going fullscreen” mode, weird as that Adobe holdover from back when there wasn't a proper, OS-wide fullscreen mode may be, they would allow you to work on one document at a time and still work nicely with Application Exposé/Mission Control.

The advantage of this feature, especially on bigger screens – and in particular with Adobe's implementation, which resizes any inactive windows back to their original size (and here Serif could try and one-up them by resizing all windows to their original size while App Exposé was toggled, including the current one) –, over the regular fullscreen windows mixed with virtual desktops on Mission Control, is that document windows can be huge if you only have a few of them open, whereas the latter are tiny no matter how few you have open. For photographers working with many photos, even in “pseudo-fullscreen mode”, in Photoshop, this is extremely useful. I'm not even kidding, they are a four-finger swipe – or, in my case, active corner – away, whereas in Affinity Photo you have to go and pick at a tiny tab and can never see them tiled when in proper Single-window or Fullscreen mode. You just can't have your cake and eat it too, and must either keep your desktop über-tidy, or get some desktop-obscuring app (and you would still have to deal with all the other Separated mode shortcomings, of course).

This is one of those rare cases where I say: screw Apple and their official HIG implementation and current dictums. Yes, fullscreen/single-window apps and simple, all-windows-in-a-jumbled-mess-or-grouped-into-smaller-jumbled-messes Mission Control work great in small laptop screens, and should absolutely be embraced. But good old App Exposé and Adobe's arcane methods, for all their own quirkiness, are absolutely key for larger screens. They are holdovers from a nearly bygone era, yes, but there's a reason why they haven't killed them off yet, and probably never will (if anything, that Pro Display XDR beast is absolute proof that computer displays are still growing, not shrinking… 32'' 6K iMac Pro in 5 years' time when that panel – and maybe even that crazy backlighting system – drops a bit in price, anyone? And why wouldn't they add to the product range or fill its slot with a bigger, 8K Pro Display XDR? OLED-based? Who knows, really…). And, once again, Serif could add similar advanced UX tricks which might even be disabled by default so as not to confuse less demanding users. Make it a subset of Separated mode called “Concentration/Focus mode” (in a nod to Microsoft, ha), which is greyed out until the former is activated, or something.

Maybe one day (soon?), when Marzipan/Catalyst gets mature enough and macOS converges further with the other two touchscreen platforms, Apple will allow “intra-window Application Exposé” (“Window Exposé”? It's a sensible name, from a strictly hierarchical standpoint) for single-window applications with a proper, public and documented API; It's not much of a stretch to assume that, since Safari on iPadOS (it's weird calling it that, but I'm sure we'll all get used to it in no time) already does this with its tabs (in fact, that feature appeared at least in iOS 9, because I'm still running it on my iPad 3 and it does that), and Safari on macOS has also been doing this for a while (since… Sierra? High Sierra? Earlier still?). Maybe those who are working with a desktop and a mouse/el cheapo pen-digitiser-only tablet can get a system-wide keyboard shortcut (hopefully a better one than Safari's weird, right-hand-friendly Command+Shift+\) instead of the predictable pinch gesture (maybe adjusted with some extra fingers, 4 or 5 in total, to distinguish it from the two-finger pinch-to-zoom gesture, possibly a back-port to the Mac of the newfangled three-finger pinch-to-cut/copy gesture and definitely the pinch-to-open-Launchpad one) which may activate it, or whatever. But, until then (and I would strongly discourage Serif devs from rushing and trying to implement such a specific feature before Apple makes it available as a prepackaged solution; variable UI gamma does indeed offer more than Apple's own binary dark mode/light mode implementation and absolutely equals Adobe's own, which made it a smart move, but going crazy with aping Safari tabs because maybe it will become a new standard UX model would be just wasting resources, and it's been already long enough since it's been available on iOS/iPadOS for it to maybe not be a priority for them), their photographer users' needs will go unaddressed, and that's a shame. For now, they should take what macOS already offers and users are already accustomed to, and adapt accordingly. I.e., be a good macOS citizen.

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Signed up for an account just to cosign this request. Separated Mode is irritating to use, my document always has it's top bar area (title/Mac buttons to minimize, maximize, close) behind the top toolbar, nothing snaps to the edges, maximizing the window goes behind panels instead.

This tedium, along with there not being some list as far as I can tell of keyboard shortcut mappings to be more in line with Adobe are basically the two major things keeping me from using Affinity products in the long term. The keyboard shortcuts is not really poor experience per se, Affinity does it's thing which is fine, but some of us have been stuck in the Adobe ecosystem for decades and those shortcuts are ingrained muscle memory…however, the thing with Separated mode is really lousy UX. Please fix. 

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I am very concerned at being completely unable to pull a window tab free so I could put two pictures side by side. Conversely separated mode is a battle to try and get everything sitting where it needs to be in order to work.  I'm no UI expert but I can tell you having recently transitioned from Photoshop, it doesn't feel good.  

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