icons on desktop with xfce

bob.snyder bob.snyder at cox.net
Sun May 2 00:49:08 CEST 2004

Brian J. Tarricone wrote:

> my current plan is that xfdesktop 4.4 will have desktop icon support.  
> those of you following CVS will know that i recently rewrote the 
> desktop menu system, and moved it into dynamically-loadable module.  
> this gives two benefits: 1) people that don't want to use it can 
> disable it entirely with no memory or performance impact, and 2) it 
> can be used elsewhere (like in the desktop menu panel plugin i also 
> wrote).  the desktop icon support will be just like this.
> my desktop icon plans are pretty much the same.  i really like 
> olivier's mini-filemanager idea, so likely desktop icons will just be 
> a kind of "canvas widget" on which you can place icons, and will have 
> some facility for using directory listings for this purpose.  you can 
> put folders on the desktop, and if you open it, you'll get a popup 
> window that is just another instance of this canvas, but with window 
> decorations, a menu, toolbar, etc.  the canvas will support three 
> somewhat-distinct objects: launchers, files, and directories.  
> launchers will actually just be .desktop files that will be handled 
> smartly by the canvas.  directories will, as i said, open up popup 
> windows.  files will either just open an "open with" dialog, or will 
> hook into edscott's xffm stuff, or shared-mime-info if that's easier.  
> (i really see no need to reimplement filetype associations when 
> everyone else has done it a million times.)

I for one am pleased to see that XFCE will have desktop icons. Perhaps 
my usage of them is a little bit different than most users, who seem to 
see them only as a way for launching apps.

I tend to use them the same as a real desktop which is a place to put 
files while I am working on them. When they're visible, rather than 
tucked away in a folder where I can't see them, I am reminded that they 
are pending some action. I can download a file to the desktop and if I 
decide not to keep it I am reminded to throw it away. If I'm done with 
it, it can be filed appropriately. Clicking it should launch the 
appropriate action. Any object should be able to be dragged and dropped 
onto the desktop, or dragged off the desktop into another folder or onto 
another app. e.g. dragging an MP3 file onto XMMS should start it 
playing. Of course this is the way things in DnD apps work already, just 
extended to the desktop.

Brian, your plan sounds like a great way to implement it. I like the 
idea that clicking a folder object opens it as a new instance with the 
files in it. I'd like to suggest that it have a flexible way of 
assigning pixmaps (or whatever) to all the icons. A window full of 
identical default icons isn't very useful. It would be good to have a 
method of assigning icons from a selection of existing ones or allow the 
user to assign one from any pixmap, just like the panel launchers and 
menus do. If it has one built in, like many executables, that should be 
the default.

I'm not suggesting anything to be the same as some other system does it 
(Windows, OSX, Gnome, whatever), but because it's a natural, efficient 
way for me to work.

Thanks for listening,

Bob S.

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