Xmonad/General xmonad.hs config tips

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This site is for general tips for configuring xmonad.hs, for example "How to make window X float by default" and others. If you can't find what you're searching for, you may want to look at the Config archive.

Please add what you found useful in your xmonad.hs and course improving existing tips or adding alternatives is highly appreciated!

Making window float by default, or send it to specific workspace

This example sends Firefox to workspace "web" by default, makes Gajim float and sends it to webspace "jabber" and Xmessage is floating by default, too.

  main = xmonad $ defaultConfig
  , manageHook    = manageHook defaultConfig <+> myManageHook
  myManageHook :: ManageHook
  myManageHook = composeAll . concat $
      [ [ className =? c --> doFloat | c <- myFloats ]
      , [ className =? "Firefox-bin" --> doF (W.shift "web" ) ]
      , [ className =? "Gajim.py" --> doF (W.shift "jabber" ) ] ]
      where myFloats = ["Gajim.py", "Xmessage"]

Ignoring a client (or having it sticky)

You can have the position and geometry of a client window respected, and have that window be sticky, by ignoring it when it is created:

 main = xmonad $ defaultConfig
 , manageHook    = manageHook defaultConfig
                        (className =? "XClock" --> doIgnore)

Would let xclock be sticky, and have its geometry respected.

Adding your own keybindings

This adds Mod-x keybinding for running xlock.

  import qualified Data.Map as M
  main = xmonad $ defaultConfig
  , keys          = \c -> mykeys c `M.union` keys defaultConfig c }
      mykeys (XConfig {modMask = modm}) = M.fromList $
           [ ((modm , xK_x), spawn "xlock") ]

For a list of the identifiers used for various keys, see [1].

This is also described in [2]

Adding your own mouse bindings

Adding your own mouse bindings is explained in [3]

If you have a mouse with more than 5 buttons you can simply use '6' instead of 'button6' which isn't defined.

e.g. with EZConfig:

 ,((0, 6), (\w -> focus w >> windows W.swapMaster))

Sharing a configuration across different hosts

It is possible to have different parts of the configuration file vary from one host to another, without needing a different config file for each host. Here is an example from my configuration file:

   import System.Posix.Unistd
   main = do
       host <- fmap nodeName getSystemID
       xmonad $ defaultConfig
         { terminal           = "rxvt"
         , modMask            = (if host == "janice" then
                                   mod1Mask .|. controlMask

Binding keys to a specific layout

Sometimes people want to bind a key to a particular layout, rather than having to cycle through the available layouts:

You can do this using the JumpToLayout message from the XMonad.Layout.LayoutCombinators extension module. For example:

   import XMonad hiding ( (|||) )  -- don't use the normal ||| operator
   import XMonad.Layout.LayoutCombinators   -- use the one from LayoutCombinators instead
   import XMonad.Util.EZConfig  -- add keybindings easily

   main = xmonad myConfig

   myConfig = defaultConfig {
     layoutHook = tall ||| Mirror tall ||| Full
   } `additionalKeysP`
     [ ("M-<F1>", sendMessage $ JumpToLayout "Tall")
     , ("M-<F2>", sendMessage $ JumpToLayout "Mirror Tall")
     , ("M-<F3>", sendMessage $ JumpToLayout "Full")       
   tall = Tall 1 (3/100) (1/2)

Using local state in the config file

As the xmonad config file is really just the entry point to the entire program, you can do arbitrary IO effects before running xmonad. Including initialising mutable "global" state. That state could even be made persistent , independent of xmonad's built-in persistence (by writing it to a file on mod-q).

Here's an example where we store the layouts "IncMaster" value in a local mutable variable, so that we can provide a key binding that takes that value to compute an offset.

import XMonad
import XMonad.Util.EZConfig
import Data.IORef
import XMonad.Actions.FocusNth

main = do
    offset <- newIORef 1
    xmonad $ defaultConfig
           ([ ((modMask defaultConfig, xK_comma ),
                    do io $ modifyIORef offset (\i -> max 0 (i-1))
                       sendMessage (IncMasterN (-1))

            , ((modMask defaultConfig, xK_period ),
                    do io $ modifyIORef offset (+1)
                       sendMessage (IncMasterN 1)
                   ) -- %! Expand the master area

            ] ++ [((modMask defaultConfig .|. shiftMask, k), do
                        n <- io $ readIORef offset
                        focusNth (i+n))
                 | (i, k) <- zip [0 .. 8] [xK_1 ..]]

Note IORef is allocated at startup.