John Gruber did a wonderful job of discussing click-through in OS X back in May. For the most part things have been fairly quiet on this topic since that time. However, I recently had my own pair of click-through incidents that caused me to revisit the issue.
The first such event was when I attempted to bring iChat AV to the front by clicking on my Buddy List. Unfortunately, my well-placed click was in the middle of Lee’s telephone button.
As soon as I released the mouse, I knew what would happen — a little window would magically appear on Lee’s computer saying first that I wanted to talk and then that I’d changed my mind. Lo and behold, when I returned to my computer a few minutes later, there was a questioning IM from Lee waiting to great me. Fortunately, Lee’s an understanding fellow and when I explained what happened, we had a bit of a laugh. Were Lee not so understanding and level-headed, though, the results could have been disastrous. I shudder to think of the ensuing conversation had I accidentally clicked the telephone button of a hypothetical neurotic girlfriend… not there’s a conversation that won’t end well.
The second annoyance, while not having quite the same relationship-destructive powers of the first, came as a bit of a surprise.
So one of the benefits of using metal windows in the Finder is that you can drag a window around by any exposed metal. While I’m not a huge fan of metal windows, I thought the extra drag space would work nicely with the ability to Command-drag windows in the background (having them remain in the background, of course). In fact, there’s a nice long swarth of metal between the Action button and the Search field in the default toolbar.
This apparently falls into the category of things that are too good to be true. Instead of moving the window when I started to Command-drag the window from this space, though, I ended up dragging the flexible spacer out of the toolbar. I then hit Escape to cancel the drag, but this apparently confirms the removal of toolbar items instead of cancelling it.
To be fair, I should note one aspect of click-through that is fixed in Panther — if you click the close button in an inactive metal window, it no longer brings the associated application to the front. Guess we’re progressing one step at a time.