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On Xfce, you have a menu and occasional panel shortcuts to start your programs and a task bar to manage the windows already opened by default. Those, however, are not the only options to get these tasks done. Using an alternative menu like Whisker Menu or a keyboard based launcher like kupfer is one way, another one I want to cover here.

The operating system from Cupertino features the Dock, used to launch applications and switch between open windows. The task bar in this other OS from Redmond works quite similar in recent versions, while not being as shiny as the Dock.

GNU/Linux offers a variety of Dock-like applications to either grant more comfort when juggling with open windows or simply to give your desktop a more modern look, while being more than just eye candy.

avant window navigator might be the most well know example. awn is easy to use and offers a variety of functions apart from only launching apps and switching between them. You may for example add applets that allow you to control your media player, check for new emails or display system stats. Also, a systray may be added, so awn can be a complete substitute for a panel.
awn will need a compositor up and running to start. Also, it will pull several GNOME dependencies with itself, possibly cluttering your system.
I used it myself for a while, maybe my screenshots (1, 2, 3) will give you a first impression of it's customizable appearance. For more information, visit awn on Launchpad and take a look at the optional applets.

wbar is a pretty lightweight alternative. It may not look as neat as awn, but it will get the job done and go easy on your disk space and RAM at the time. wbar is configured via a single dotfile, making adjustments easy as pie. See here for further details or take a look at screenshots and an example config file.
wbar will run without a compositor.

Docky is another launcher, split off from GNOME Do and written in Mono, that requires a compositor. For documentation and screenshots, see the project's wiki.
If you want to run it without a compositor (and with less functionality), you might find Plank (screenshot by elavdeveloper) to be useful. Read (a little) more on Plank here.

Glx-Dock, formerly known as Cairo-Dock, is "designed to be light, fast and customizable". An interesting option is to drag launchers from the dock and place them on the desktop, much like widgets.
Visit glx-dock.org for additional information.

For anyone who prefers the usual panel but wants to have a dock's functionality nervertheless, the DockBarX plugin for Xfce might do the job.

Are you using one of those or a similar application already or are you (now) interested in doing so?
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:iconflooo68:
thank for accepting one of my screenshot !
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:iconfrogfrosch23:
You're welcome. :)
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:iconmartyjelen:
Thanks for accepting my wallpaper !
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:iconfrogfrosch23:
You are welcome - it is great work! =)
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:iconmiarath:
Thank you for requesting my screenshot for your gallery. :hug:
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:iconpaldepind:
Hello! I see you've sent me a deviation submission permission request. Thank you. I'm very flattered! Unfortunately it has expired (I don't check deviantART very often). Feel free to send me another one and I promise I'll accept in time :)
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:iconfrogfrosch23:
I just sent another request. Thank you for the remark! :)
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:icon9dzign:
9dZign Jan 11, 2013   Digital Artist
Thanks for the request ;)
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