I would like to know the idea behind the working of 'docking' in applications. I have worked with applications where components from individual forms are docked on a single main form to provide the necessary GUI. But I don't have any idea whats happening in the background.

According to Wikipedia
A dock is a graphical user interface element that typically provides the user with a way of launching, switching between, and monitoring running programs or applications.

Now I am a bit confused if it is some component or an event or a property or something else.

EDIT : The applications was developed in Delphi on windows platform. There is something more in Delphi (manual dock and automatic dock).

  • 1
    Waaaaay too generalized to provide a meaningful answer...anything could be happening depending on platform. – Rig Jun 18 '12 at 12:13
  • @Rig have edited my question to be more specific. – Shirish11 Jun 18 '12 at 12:19

Let me see: A dock shows, in bar form, one icon for each of my favorite applications and folders PLUS one icon for each running (but non-favorite) application, changing the appearance of the icons when the application is running or if the application has any status to communicate to the user (e.g., number of unread emails or printer jobs on queue).

This describes to me both my MacOS dock and my KDE dock.


It is a graphical component as you said.

You place your application launchers on that component and the dock keeps them accessible easily.

Most docks also tracks running applications and behave accordingly like higlighting the launcher icon or something else. You can say that it is an advanced toolbar.


There is the "launcher dock" as others have described, but there is also a GUI control that pins child windows to the sides of a host window, such as AvalonDock. It is called a "docking layout system".

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