In GNOME (on Linux), there is an extension called "Dash to Dock", which gives you a macOS-like dock. One very nice difference is that when you set it to automatically hide the dock, it only hides it when there are apps running in the foreground. If you're on the desktop, the dock always shows. As soon as you open an app, it hides. I want this same functionality in macOS but there is no GUI option for it and I can't seem to find any way to set it programmatically or otherwise. Can any of you offer any suggestions, or confirm that there's simply no way to do this at all?
If it matters, I'm running macOS 10.15.2 (Catalina) on a MBP mid-2012.