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Why wait for Leopard? Get a virtual desktop manager now

David Chartier

Mac publications are all taking a new eye to the apps and features that Leopard is 'killing,' and Dan's post about the 7 apps that Leopard kills inspired me to check out the current market of virtual desktop managers for Mac OS X. Since I'm on a MacBook Pro however, the only one I could really put through the ringer was VirtueDesktops, which is fine since it seems like a feature-packed and very capable virtual desktop manager. Hence, another post in an ongoing theme here at TUAW: Why wait for Leopard?

While we didn't get a full shakedown of Spaces at WWDC 2006, VirtueDesktops seems to offer the same functionality, with quite a few tricks up its sleeve. Barb blogged VirtueDesktops in February 2005, but it has certainly come a ways since then. It still offers a basic set of four desktops with the ability to add more, and it's very keyboard shortcut-friendly. Here's a quick rundown of the rest of this highly customizable desktop manger:

  • Eye candy - a wide variety of the standard Aqua transitions are available for switching between desktops. This alone is worth showing off to friends, even if you aren't into the multiple desktop thing
  • AppleScript-able
  • Extensible with plugins
  • Works with Growl to let you know which desktop you've switched to (you can name them for better organization and recognition)
  • Sticky windows and apps - you can bind apps to one desktop or another, or specify them to show on all desktops. This is handy, for example, if is 'stuck' to a 'Communication' desktop. Clicking on in the dock will automatically switch to the required desktop
There's even more to this virtual desktop utility, and since Leopard is taking a while to cook, why not check it out? VirtueDesktops is donationware and a Universal Binary.

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