Apple’s 1998 Developer Documentation on Window Proxy Icons

Re: yesterday’s piece about window proxy icons, Zack Katz found this archived version of Apple’s developer docs on the feature for Mac OS 8.5:

An application typically tracks the modification state of a document. A common reason to do so is to inform the user that they have made changes to the document which they might wish to save before closing the window.

When your application uses proxy icons, it should inform the Window Manager when a document has unsaved changes. When you do so, the Window Manager displays the document’s proxy icon in a disabled state and prevents the user from dragging the proxy icon. Disabled proxy icons cannot be dragged because unsaved documents cannot be moved or copied in a manner predictable to the user. Figure 1-3 shows a proxy icon in a document window with unsaved changes.

Katz tweeted::

@gruber I found this Mac OS 8.5 proxy icon documentation a great read. It made me nostalgic — imagine being able to see saved state quickly just by seeing the icon and title color!

Things have gotten so low-contrast…

Low contrast indeed. What a joyful little feature this was (and could be again). Clarity is the ideal that the Mac user interface used to celebrate but now largely ignores. I crave its return.

Tuesday, 20 July 2021