Dynamic panel width with Task Manager

I just switched to 20.04 from 17.10, but the panel doesn’t work as well.

In 17.10, I had the panel at the top of the desktop, over on the left, and very small with the Task Manager on the right end of the panel. As I opened more programs and more windows, these would get added into Task Manager, and the panel would dynamically widen. If there was nothing open, the panel would be very short in the upper left corner of the desktop, but if many windows were open, the panel would extend all the way across the top of the desktop. (I don’t remember how I set this up to work, but it worked very well.)

This same panel functionality doesn’t seem to be available in 20.04. Now, if my panel is set to be very short in the upper left of the desktop, the Task Manager will not expand with more open windows. Instead, the items in the Task Manager just get smaller and get crushed together. (I assume it has something to do with the change from LXDE to LXQt.)

Anyway, making the panel be able to work as in 17.10, as I described above would be a great addition to 20.x

Could you provide some images/video of what you want and what the results you’re getting to be clear?

Unfortunately, I don’t have a screen capture of my 17.10 desktop without windows open, but in the following you can see I have Chrome and PDF viewer open. Without those open, the panel would extend rightward from the left side of the desktop only until the Quick Launch button for Chrome. With these two windows open, the panel extends rightward to the end of the Task Manager instance of PDF viewer. If more windows were opened, the panel would eventually extend all the way across the desktop: Task Manager adds a new equal-width instance for each open program. (I don’t remember how I configured the panel to achieve this effect, but I could.)
2020-04-23-120033_1366x768_scrot

Now, compare 20.04. Without windows open, the panel has to be set to a width larger than the items I want to display (it extends right farther than the Quick Launch button for Firefox). Then, as windows are opened, rather than adding equal-width instances and extending the panel rightward, Task Manager tries to compress each window into the panel space available. If you keep adding open windows to Task Manager, it eventually starts shrinking the icons to fit in the available panel space. (I can’t figure out how to set up panel now to behave like it did above, in 17.10)
screen-2020-04-29-11-36-04
screenshot-2020-04-29_124821
(Please note that in these two images, the panel is set to different widths: i.e., the Task Manager did not make the panel wider.)

Thanks for your attention.

I guess I don’t see this “compression” you’re talking about. Maybe if you kept the text in the task manager entries it would be more obvious?

The text is in the Task Manager entries. Here are images that make it more obvious since you can see the configuration settings. The width is set to 35% in all. As you can see, the Configure Panel window is open and in the same place in each screen capture. The panel width never changes, but the icons do change…

In the first, there are two windows open (Firefox & Configure Panel).
In the second, there are multiple windows open, and text is showing, and you can see the icon compression I was talking about.
In the third, the same windows are open but Task Manager is set to text only, and, as you can see, none of the windows are visible in task manager.
screenshot-2020-04-30_081813

screenshot-2020-04-30_082049

screenshot-2020-04-30_082109

Speaking to future development: I hope you can see the logic of what I was doing with the panel in 17.10–it allowed me to use the panel Task Manager in a way analogous to tabs in a browser yet still maximize the amount of space I could use in the screen (because if the panel extended all the way across the top, you couldn’t resize or close windows easily when the panel was covering them).

Because the panel was able to be set up like this in 17.10, I have a strong suspicion it could be done in 20.04, too, despite the LXDE/LXQt change. I would try to write something to do it myself, but I would have to learn how to program first, so…