Auto-hide and click-through options

Started by Steve

Steve

Auto-hide and click-through options   06 January 2019, 11:03

Dear Sir/Madam,

I have been using NetWorx, Wifi Guard and Network Scanner for some years and think they are well developed and useful products.

When you decided to start charging for NetWorx, I immediately bought a 5 user license, and have been licensed ever since. I appreciate the usefulness of NetWorx and am happy to support its future development, rather than see it vanish due to lack of funding. Whilst it is not cheap, it is very useful for me. When I say not cheap, the 50% discount has made the product affordable for me.

Wifi Guard is a product that is useful to run all the time, whereas Network Scanner is occasionally used for network diagnostics. However, the license changes to Wifi Guard and Network Scanner have precluded me both from using the newer versions and buying them. Most family homes have multiple devices, so a 5 user version is required, yet you don't offer this for home versions. The free versions offering detection of 5 or 10 devices isn't practical for more than evaluation purposes in my case. In my circumstance, allowing for a router, two switches, an access point or two, a NAS or two, a UPS and the allowance is gone. That is before accounting for any TV/HiFi media devices, let alone any computers, tablets or phones.

I do have a suggestion for the improvement of NetWorx. My main PC is a media PC, as well as used for general purposes. In this role, I want NetWorx on top of other programs, with click through and opacity enabled. However, when I'm watching TV using a media player, I obviously don't want to see NetWorx. Currently, I have to make the Windows TaskBar visible, find the small NetWorx icon, right click, and select Hide. Then after viewing, the process has to be reversed.

If NetWorx could detect which program window was active, then it could auto-hide based on a user-defined list and then make itself visible when that program isn't the active window. I'm sure there could be a number of other circumstances in which users would find this useful - people doing graphical work for example. Detecting the active window, rather than when a program is running would deal with app switching seamlessly.

Another improvement to Network would be a temporary override key for click-through, so that when the pointer is placed over NetWorx with a key pressed, it doesn't become transparent and can be right-clicked to access the menu.

I look forward to hearing your thoughts.

Kind regards,
Steve
SoftPerfect Support forum - Ann avatar image
Ann

Re: Auto-hide and click-through options   06 January 2019, 11:22

We are glad to hear that you are using a range of our products and find them well-made and useful. The reason licensing conditions are different for NetWorx and Network Scanner/WiFi Guard is due to how they are normally used:
  • NetWorx only monitors the usage on the computer where it is installed. As you mentioned, a modern home has numerous networked devices and we expect customers to install NetWorx on some or all of them where possible. This way whoever uses a device can be informed about their usage.
  • WiFi Guard is a little different. WiFi Guard maintains a database of known devices in your network. It is sufficient to have it installed on only one computer and your whole network will be monitored from it. Though it is possible to install WiFi Guard on several computers, it is just not practical. For example, if you add a new device to your network, this will trigger notifications on every device with WiFi Guard installed. You would have to check each one of them and approve the new device. The majority of users would find this approach excessive and inconvenient.
  • Network Scanner can likewise be used from one computer to scan the entire network. It is usually sufficient to have it installed on one computer, and not practical to run it on multiple computers other than your main PC.
That is, with a single licence for WiFi Guard or Network Scanner you can discover all devices on your network. A single device licence doesn't limit these tools in any way.

Regarding your feedback about NetWorx, there are a few features you may not have discovered:

NetWorx can hide its graph when a full-screen application is used, like a media player. This can be enabled in the hidden settings. Simply set the "Hide graph on full-screen apps" option to True.

You can define a system-wide hotkey to show/hide the graph and usage windows in the main options.

Likewise you can define a system-wide hotkey to toggle the Click-through mode in the graph options.
Steve

Re: Auto-hide and click-through options   06 January 2019, 11:55

Thank you very much for your detailed response and advice.

I wasn't aware of the hidden options, thank you for that. Unfortunately it doesn't do quite what I want in that it detects if the top window is maximised, rather than full-screen. NetWorx hides when running Kodi and reappears after switching apps, but when the uppermost window is maximised, NetWorx also hides, rather than detecting whether it is full-screen. I guess this comes down to the definition of full-screen versus maximised.

I have seen the hotkey options, but it's a little cumbersome using a two key combination when you have one hand on the keyboard and one on the mouse - a typical browsing scenario. Another program I use is Moo0 SystemMonitor. The way that handles it is holding the shift key when the pointer is over the app prevents it from hiding and makes it clickable - a simple and effective solution.
SoftPerfect Support forum - Ann avatar image
Ann

Re: Auto-hide and click-through options   06 January 2019, 11:56

Regarding disabling click-through with the Shift, thank you - it's an interesting idea. We will check if it can be easily implemented and if so, you will see it in the next update.
Steve

Re: Auto-hide and click-through options   06 January 2019, 12:04

Using a single key does simplify matters, especially when you consider, for right handed mouse users, Ctrl + Z,X,C,V,A,S as a minimum are already used, and Alt switches focus to the menu on most programs.

Is the hide when maximised the expected method? The auto-hide is a good feature and worthy of promotion to the normal menu. Perhaps you could have both options, hide when maximised and hide when full screen? I imagine this would require less coding than a manual hide list. The granularity of that would be useful though, and is used successfully by f.lux - a great program.

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