How to swallow clients in i3 with i3-swallow | Hund

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How to swallow clients in i3 with i3-swallow

Published: Sunday, January 10, 2021

A neat feature with the tiling window manager dwm is the fact that it can swallow clients. This means that when you, for an example open a video with mpv in the terminal (or via Ranger), you can automatically replace that client with the video. This helps you save a lot of valuable space on your desktop.

A short video demonstrating the swallow feature. Video filesize: 880 K.

This feature is not available in i3 by default, but thanks to an addon called i3-swallow and the Python library i3ipc-python, it’s possible to have this in i3 as well.

Installation

i3-swallow

The installation is pretty easy, you just have to download the source code for i3-swallow, preferably using git:

$ git clone https://github.com/jamesofarrell/i3-swallow

Then place the script in your $PATH. I use the folder ~/local/bin/ myself:

$ ln -s ~/src/git/i3-swallow/swallow.py ~/.local/bin/

i3ipc-python

This package is availbable via pip:

$ pip install --user i3ipc

I prefer to keep as much packages as possible via Gentoo’s own package manager, so I made an ebuild for it called dev-python/i3ipc:

EAPI=7

PYTHON_COMPAT=( python3_{7..9} )

inherit distutils-r1

DESCRIPTION="An improved Python library to control i3wm and sway."
HOMEPAGE="https://github.com/altdesktop/i3ipc-python"
SRC_URI="mirror://pypi/${PN:0:1}/${PN}/${P}.tar.gz"

LICENSE="BSD"
SLOT="0"
KEYWORDS="amd64"

RDEPEND="dev-python/python-xlib"
DEPEND="${DEPEND}"

Usage

You can now use the script like this:

$ swallow.py mpv <file>

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