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Accessbar arbiter

Image Number 18 for United States Patent #5678034.

Described herein is an accessbar arbiter that resolves conflicting requests from screen objects for locations on a video display. In addition, the accessbar arbiter governs the behavior of screen objects so as to prevent one screen object from negatively affecting another screen object. An example of these screen objects includes accessbars. An accessbar is a consistently visible user interface dement that provides a user with access to computer programs. In a computer system, accessbars are typically anchored at the edge of the display and there is no limit to the number of accessbars that can appear on the display at a given time, thus problems may arise. For example, more than one accessbar may wish to be displayed at a given location. In addition, the functionality of one accessbar may affect the processing of other accessbars. Thus, for the accessbars displayed on a computer display to operate together, a centralized mechanism for governing accessbars' location and behavior is desirable. The system described herein provides such a mechanism, known as an accessbar arbiter. The system described herein governs accessbars' location by receiving requests for proposed locations and by granting the requests if the proposed locations would not conflict with another accessbar. If such a conflict would occur, the system described herein provides an alternate location. The system described herein governs accessbars' behavior by providing a number of notifications to the accessbars whenever an event occurs that may affect the processing of the accessbars. Such an event includes changes to another accessbar on the same side of the display or the start of a fullscreen application, such as a screen saver.

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