Post-4.4: Appfinder

Benedikt Meurer benedikt.meurer at
Mon Jan 15 13:24:43 CET 2007

Jannis Pohlmann wrote:
>> Tho, as mentioned in the original post, that's mainly for JPs config
>> stuff (to avoid crippeling Thunar). A real appbrowser should look
>> better and offer some nice features.
> Ok, perhaps we should discuss these features before. The appbrowser as
> you posted it for JP already provides all features of xfce4-appfinder
> except: detailed program information, drag-and-drop (e.g. to the panel)
> and list view.
> I was really impressed by the concept of the appbrowser Novell
> introduced lately:

Yes, that looks pretty good.

> I wouldn't mind to copy its style and general behaviour (though this
> might mean to write yet another multicolumn icon view - this time with
> groups).

This is not an icon view, but GnomeCanvas. It isn't that difficult to
implement using cairo. The layouting is pretty simple and it will not be
used for several thousand icons (that's where ExoIconView sucks, because
layouting that many icons is very time consuming... actually Pango
sucks, but that's a different story).

> Here are some features I have in mind for our appbrowser:
>   * filter, categories and items (similar to the screenshot above)
>   * context menu with extension support similar to the Thunar
>     UCA-plugin and several basic features already implemented:
>       - starting apps
>       - adding apps to the favorites [1]
>      (- adding apps as launchers to the panel [2])
>  (* edit applications by copying the desktop file to
>     XDG_DATA_HOME/applications/, preserving the desktop-file id and
>     editing the desktop file using a simple UI)

You can use exo-desktop-item-edit for this. That should be rather easy
to integrate.

> [1] I have some vague plans for a menu panel plugin based on FrapMenu,
>     which will also feature favorites and recently used programs.

The recently used applications are handled by the bookmark spec as well.

> [2] This is just an idea that came to my mind suddenly. Since creating
>     launchers by dropping appfinder items on the panel is too difficult
>     to implement according to Jasper, what if the panel offered a D-BUS
>     API for adding launchers? This could work like this:
>       1. You click on 'Add to panel...' in the appbrowser context menu
>       2. The app item details (e.g. name, icon, command) are send to the
>          panel using the D-BUS API.
>       3. The panel displays a list of panels on the current screen and
>          after you select one of them, a launcher is added to it.
>     Sounds weird? Yes!

IMHO, that's not the way to go. We need to address the real problem: The
panel does not use .desktop files for launchers. If the panel would use
.desktop files, this - and several other things - would be really easy:
Just send the URI of the .desktop file to the panel and the panel will
create a launcher for it. If the .desktop file is deleted, the panel
will remove the launcher. If the .desktop file is altered, the panel
will reload the launcher. This would also allow to use
exo-desktop-item-edit for the panel, and so the panel would get all the
goodies for free, and we'd have a consistent UI for launchers everywhere.


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