This idea describes how to handle desktop management in desktop environment. Whole idea is made as an animated GIF image which can be found here:
If you feel the animation is slow, please be patient to see it all, because it really worth to see it.
For those who like the idea and are interested in more ideas, I recommend to join our FluiDE group here:
The "Group" is in fact equivalent to the "desktop" in today desktop understanding. Making a Group from 2 or more application creates new desktop in today desktop understanding. Adding or removing application to/from the Group (desktop in today understanding), as well as moving them among multiple Groups (desktops in today understanding), is very easy without switching among desktops which content you have to remember.
The one of advantages of this idea is, when you need to show single application in a Group (desktop in today understanding), you only click on its button in a taskbar and the application will show up in the current Group (desktop in today understanding), so you need not to move the single application to the appropriate desktop in today understanding. Handling this is by me better than using a window "stick" button, which shows the single application in all desktops (in today understanding), but also doesn't blame the "stick" button which has its own usability.
So the primary purpose of the Group feature is to handle desktops in today desktops understanding.
Another feature is to SAVE Group (desktop in today understanding) with all windows layout and positions. The feature is very effective, when you often work on something what needs more than one applications to be used. Lets say that you need some workspace, where you need more applications, where every window has its own position, size and all windows have some layout. You don't want to change this often, because the workspace is exactly what you need. In today Window Management, you would always need to recreate the workspace (window layout, window sizes and positions) from the ground, i.e. open all applications one by one, set their sizes and positions, and recreate the window layout. With the idea I propose, you only need to open a saved Group (desktop in today meaning) from the main menu = 2 clicks. And all is already set up. You can always change the workspace (edit it) and save it again, when you need a change. You can have more workspaces saved. You can open multiple saved workspaces and quickly switch among them with one click.
More over, when you need to switch to application from another desktop (which is the Group in the idea), all you need is to click on its icon in the taskbar. Doing it will - show the appropriate desktop (Group), set the application to the front and make it active. In today XFCE, you have to - search the application which desktop it is on (or remembre it), choose the desktop where the application is placed, click on the application window to make it going in front of others and to make it active. The equation is obvious "1 click vs. 3 or more clicks + search". Although this feature can be handled in XFCE already by showing applications from all desktops in the sidebar, I think that my proposed approach doesn't make a mess with many opened windows in one desktop - what is great feature of the idea.
Third feature is desktop (Groups) management. Is it possible in XFCE to merge two desktops? I guess NO. In the idea this is possible. It is possible very easily to merge more than 2 desktops in today understanding. All you need is - to drag one desktop (Group) over another and you have one desktop (Group) with all applications from both previous desktops. How you would do it in XFCE? You have to drag all applications one by one from one desktop to another. I think that advantage of the previous solution is again obvious.
There are more ideas and features you can do with the idea I propose. All you need to do is only imagine you already have it in your desktop environment and imagine the work and play with it.
I understand that some people won't like it. It is just that working with computer is very individual. And I welcome another ideas you can have to make this idea better.
Although the taskbar icons are not XFCE taskbar buttons (they have no text labels) it can be thus very usable as vertical taskbar (Chinese, Japanese and other vertical languages). But I also prefer the wide taskbar buttons with the text labels, just let me think about it more and bring some new ideas to make such buttons possible.
Note: The "Group" (in the idea) can be renamed to "Desktop" and the "Desktop" (in the idea) can be renamed to "Workspace".