ChaniBlog











{December 1, 2009}   the curse of feature freeze

So, we’re in feature freeze again. Well, we have been for a week, but it’s been a busy week. :) The end of the semester is near, projects are coming together (or being hastily duct-taped together), and signs of chistmas are popping up despite the weather’s usual refusal to co-operate (it’s gonna be a *wet* christmas).

Anyways, I did manage to put aside some time for plasma just before that freeze; I redid the mouse plugins UI Yet Again. :) It still has a lot of the same elements, but put together differently, and the layout is a lot cleaner now. I have a few tweaks still to do, but they’re small enough to count as bugfixes. ;) I was very tempted to try and hack together another feature or two at the last minute, but decided against it; I’d rather do things properly over a full cycle than push something in quickly that might turn out to be a bad idea. They were both experimental ideas, not ones I could be sure people would like.

Now we’re in freeze, so after all my projects and exams are done I’ll be looking at my (scary long) list of bugs that bug me personally. I’ll also be working on git documentation (learnt something new yesterday: merge –no-ff is better than merge –squash for git-svn users, so long as you remember to amend the commit message), and researching stuff for crazy activity ideas. :)

However, there’s a little corner of my mind that’s been wishing it could work on plasmoids instead of homework all darn semester. The closer we got to feature freeze, the more I thought about new-widget ideas. Sadly I don’t know if I’ll find time for them even after the freeze is over. So, I’d like to share my ideas, and hopefully someone with a bit more spare time will pick up one of them and turn it into reality. :)

“Show Wallpaper” icon
We have a lot of stunningly beautiful wallpaper available from GHNS. every semester when I’m setting up activities for my courses, I pick new wallpaper for them. I can see *most* of it if I use Show Dashboard or Show Desktop, but those useful widgets are always covering a bit. it’d be nice to have a button that would bring up *just* the wallpaper, fullscreen, and let me stare at its prettiness for a while. ;)
The button would pop up a fullscreen window (probably similar to DashboardView in behaviour) and ask the current activity’s Wallpaper plugin to render on it. In theory it should already have the image cached at that size for drawing on the actual containment, so it shouldn’t be all that expensive, right? Wallpaper plugins are already designed to draw on whatever they’re told to draw on (see the code for previewing them in BackgroundDialog). The only thing I’m unsure of is how well they’d do at drawing on *both* the containment and the popup, and what performance would be like for non-static wallpapers.

Widget Bank
A plasmoid that, when a widget is dropped on it, would store a copy of that widget’s config (and perhaps a little screenshot of it, if possible). Then you could drag it back out to make lots of copies of that widget.
I’m not sure whether this can be implemented, actually: when widgets are dragged on the canvas we move them directly, so there’s no d&d event to respond to. which reminds me, dragging between containments needs a lot of bugfixing :/ it’s a tricky issue in general.

Tasks plasmoid: “other desktops” entry
This is something that came up on plasma-devel, I think it may have been aaron’s idea… it could be useful to have a group in the taskbar that shows windows for all the other desktops, so that a taskbar showing only tasks for this desktop doesn’t completely ‘lose’ the others. It’s something to try out – maybe people will like it, maybe not.

dolphin/filedialog activity-related places
ok, this one isn’t a widget: but since nepomuk has activity stuff in it now, I think it’d be nice to automatically have a Place in dolphin that shows all the documents tagged with my current activity. Alternatively, a “show only for this activity” option, like the “show only in this application” one.



Hekkro says:

Hi Chani,

Great Blog!,

In ref to your ideas: I’ve been using a plasmoid to see “other desktops” for a long time, and is no other than the good old “Pager”.

What I do after installing/upgrading to a new version is to add that particular plasmoid to a panel with the “display icons” option selected and “Number of rows:” 1. “No text” and “Does nothing” are also selected.

On the laptop I use a Centered, 100 Width(aprox), Auto-Hide Panel on the left side of the screen, only for Pager.

On the Desktop I just add pager to the bottom Taskbar panel with same beforemetioned settings. I normally work with 4-5 Desktops and some applications are forced to open into different desktops, i.e. Amarok opens only on #3, Kontact only on #2, etc

This config helps me track other “rogue” applications :)

I wanted to post a snapshot, but how? where? :)

My two cents!

Regards
Hekkro

PS. Let me know if you still want the snapshot.



Chani says:

you can drag images to the pastebin plasmoid. :)



Hekkro says:

Yes you were right, I forgot completely about pastebin.

Well, there you go:

http://imagebin.ca/view/VAvEUfi.html
http://imagebin.ca/view/6Blfa1Bc.html

Cheers!



Diederik van der Boor says:

I’m looking forward to your Git documentation! I think a simple, quick getting started document is still missing; if you don’t care about advantages/internals and just want to get started because the rest of your team uses git. I’m tempted to start writing it myself at the moment, though I also lack time for it.



One thought that I’d run into before (although I admit that this might be possible now and I’m just still running on old info): being able to “lock” Plasma’s appearance – things like the layout and selection of plasmoids – but still let the existing ones be used.

My use case is for a “limited access” sort of setup – say, a kiosk, or perhaps for a child who’s the sort to manage to hash their configuration up to an extent that it would take you an hour to put it back to rights again.

[For that matter, I was running into a bug in 4.x.early where Plasma would periodically “lose its mind” and forget about things like the Launcher or the… er, whazzit, the bar at the bottom…) and not have an easy way to put it back. At first I thought the user *was* hashing it up themselves, which is why I wanted such a feature…. But that’s ancient history.]



Chani says:

uhhmmm… plasma has had a “lock” action since 4.0 :) and it’s always had a SystemImmutable enum value… although I don’t know whether there’s a gui way to turn that on.



rufong says:

hi chani, thx to your blog today i learnt more
bout campKDE, which took me to amarok´s blog
which taught me about all kinds of stuff.
same for ghns, great!

i went there via gnome fore tho, hehe.

cheers,

lee



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