Change BSPWM marked border
The other day I was asked whether it is possible to change the width of a window’s border while it is marked. The short answer is affirmative. This is a piece of functionality I considered but never implemented in my free book about BSPWM on Debian 10 ‘buster’.
So here is an outline of how it could be achieved.
Querying the marked nodes
We can produce the list of all marked windows with:
bspc query -N -n .marked
You can fine-tune this to your liking by specifying the scope of the
query. For example
.marked.local will only apply to the current
We can then use that to adjust the size of the first matching item to 10 pixels (assuming the normal border is another value).
bspc config -n "$(bspc query -N -n .marked)" border_width 10
And here is the same principle for all marked nodes.
#!/bin/bash for i in $(bspc query -N -n .marked); do bspc config -n "$i" border_width 10 done
Using the `subscribe’ command
For an event based approach, we can leverage BSPWM’s reporting system. We can poll for changes to the status of the flags that apply to nodes, targetting specifically the “mark” flag.
Here is the loop. Adjust the border width values to your liking (by the way, running the command without a value will give you the current one).
#!/bin/bash while read -r line; do case "$line" in *'marked on') bspc config -n "$(bspc query -N -n .marked)" border_width 10 ;; *'marked off') bspc config border_width 1 ;; esac done < <(bspc subscribe report node_flag)
Note that the very last part uses Bash’s process redirection to pass information to the loop.
Recall that assigning flags in BSPWM follows a toggle approach. If the
flag is active, then assigning it again will remove it and vice versa.
Here is the relevant part from
-g, --flag hidden|sticky|private|locked|marked[=on|off] Set or toggle the given flag for the selected node.
I never bothered with developing a workflow around these principles because I would always use marks for quick, targetted operations (see my book’s chapter about advanced BSPWM concepts). As such, I am not sure whether it would be better to simply bind the commands to keys, which would set and reset the border upon toggling the flag, or whether the programmatic approach would be preferable.
Please experiment with these concepts. Feel free to contact me in case you produce something neat or wish to discuss this further. Note though that you cannot use these principles to change a border’s colour. That is just a global value.
Finally, bear in mind that I no longer actively use BSPWM, as I have focused all my efforts on Emacs. Still, the book I mentioned in the introduction remains relevant—it basically is the setup I used for about 2 years. It will continue to work as intended, thanks to Debian’s superb stability.