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Advanced Usage


berry is itself a very simple program with only a handful of commands to manage its internal state and control active clients. For more advanced behavior berry relies on users creating custom commands and shell scripts based on its most basic features.

To accomplish this, berry is compliant with a subset of ICCCM and EWMH. Additionally, berry implements its own properties on the x-server that are exposed to users.

Internal State

On of berry’s most powerful features is the ability to view the internal state of active clients. The following is a description of useful properties on the xserver that can be viewed via xprop.



Since berry is controlled via it’s client, berryc, it is possible, and encouraged, to write shell scripts to expand its functionality.

As a simple example, consider writing a shell script to send a window to occupy the top left quadrant of the screen. Somewhere in your PATH you could write a script send_top_right with the following contents:

#!/usr/bin/env bash

berryc window_move_absolute 0 0
berryc window_resize_absolute 540 960

You could execute this via the command line or bind the script to a set of keystrokes in your sxhkdrc.

To make this program more generic, you could use a utility such as xrandr to query display dimensions.


Each client managed by berry maintains a UTF8-String that documents its geometry and state. By default, this information is reported in a JSON formatted string and can be easily parsed by a program like jq.

To view the state of a window with id XXXXXX:


If you have set json_status to true, the following will be returned:

#JSON return
BERRY_WINDOW_STATUS(UTF8_STRING) = "{\"window\":\"0x02000009\",\"geom\":{\"x\":950,\"y\":285,\"width\":570,\"height\":680,},\"state\":normal,\"decorated\":true}"

To parse this using jq, the following would be appropriate:

#!/usr/bin/env bash

hint="$(xprop -notype -id 0x1200009 BERRY_WINDOW_STATUS)$
eval json="${hint#* = }"
jq <<< "$json"

This would return the entire JSON string and would print by jq as follows:

  "window": "0x01000009",
  "geom": {
    "x": 670,
    "y": 210,
    "width": 570,
    "height": 680
  "state": "normal",
  "decorated": "true"

If you have set json_status to be false, the following will be returned:

# KEY:                              window id    x    y    w    h   state   dec
BERRY_WINDOW_STATUS(UTF8_STRING) = "0x02000009, 950, 285, 570, 680, normal, true"

Values are based on the mapping described by the previous key.