Been Caught Stealin' (Focus)
Garth vents on the subject of Windows applications stealing focus. I agree, this is by far the most annoying thing about using a WinBox on any regular basis.
Up until a few months ago, when my company's IT&T group got it's Windows Domain migration shit together, I used to have to type my password into Outlook whenever I started it up. The sequence went: double-click Outlook, wait, watch the password dialog appear, CLICK ON IT because for some bloody reason it wasn't focused, and then start typing password. At this point, while I was typing my password, more often than not Outlook would steal focus from itself!. That is, the main Outlook window would get focus while it had a dialog box up. The password dialog was still in front of the main window, but it was deactivated and did not respond to typing. To remedy, I had to click again on the password box, and retype the whole thing because it's often easier to do that than count the little asterixes in the password box and hence how many of the password characters you've already typed and mentally unravel the characters from your password to find out how many more you have to type... AARGH!
Hulk SMASH Focus Stealing Application!
I'm glad I have a blog, otherwise I'd have to bottle all this frustration and then take it out on my unsuspecting family.
I don't know for sure but I think any attempt to fix this in the Windows API is going to be fraught with danger. Almost certainly you're going to have to deny applications that make certain system calls (maybe return a new error code?) to grab the focus. Changing the behaviour of the Windows API is not a decision to be taken lightly. I am already out of my depth so I'll just stop here and say that I am not hopeful it will be fixed in Longhorn or anything else. Let's just hope Microsoft don't repeat the same mistakes in .Net.
It goes without saying, but I have never had any application on MacOS X steal focus. Instead they bounce their icons in the dock, reminding me of a classroom with a kid who had done their homework: "I know! Pick me! Pick me!"
Update: Trust google to ruin a perfectly good rant. OK, so there's an answer. And some good questions. Worth a look anyway.