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#1 2013-08-19 17:22:07

phill1978
Member
Registered: 2013-08-19
Posts: 4

Some Help please refining my XFCE desktop (Panel Launcher feature)

Hi,

Loving XFCE but there is one thing (well two but i dont want KDE just to do it) that I cant achieve easily (by the GUI anyway) with XFCE.

I have a 2nd Panel with very large icons on my desktop (size 80). It is filled with multiple 'launchers' each launcher is a program, So Firefox / Clementine / VLC / Terminal.

What I want is to be able to Click on them to launch the application and then 're-click' to minimize the application. Simple yes ? Just like windows / KDE / Cinnamon / Gnome / etc.. Has been able to do for an Age. Now its probably possible because XFCE is modular and just requires some sort of GTK-2.0.rc setting change.

So just before someone jumps in and says isnt that what the 'Windows Buttons' applet is for?? Well, yes and no. Yes it works like i want it to but when the application isnt launched the icon isnt there of course. Secondly, even if it was when scaling to 80 size the icons are half size and dont scale with the panel *I know this particular thing can be changed in the file i mentioned.

Apart from installing Docky (which occasionally disapears since the last few xfce updates on all the new builds I have made) because A. it has that annoying Docky Icon and B. The transparency isnt an exact match for the panel colour nor are the icons scaled 'cleanly' then end up looking a bit mucky. And forget Cairo dock as i think its just like some silly 90's piece of 'flash' that doesnt fit well with the modern look im going for.

I just need the 'launcher' to act as a minimize button also (perhaps with a slight glow or marker to say its minimized). Isnt is odd that XFCE doesnt merge the two when pretty much all other DE's do ???

thanks

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#2 2013-08-19 18:37:06

phill1978
Member
Registered: 2013-08-19
Posts: 4

Re: Some Help please refining my XFCE desktop (Panel Launcher feature)

No replies as of yet? hmm.. i think this is one of XFCE's few weak areas then? Its a bit of a big fail.

minimising from a launcher to the same launcher icon has been around for ages and forms one of the key things a desktop user expects

Last edited by phill1978 (2013-08-19 18:45:27)

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#3 2013-08-19 18:58:58

ToZ
Member
Registered: 2011-06-02
Posts: 733

Re: Some Help please refining my XFCE desktop (Panel Launcher feature)

No replies as of yet?

You really should give people the benefit of 24 hours, in case some are otherwise occupied (work, sleep, life,....). In forum time, 1:15 is not a long period of time. If you need a more immediate response, you could try the #xfce irc channel.

Anyways, all functionality enhancement requests should be added to https://bugzilla.xfce.org/.

In the meantime, your choices are limited to dock applications like docky or a scripting solution like the one discussed here.

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#4 2013-08-19 19:14:04

phill1978
Member
Registered: 2013-08-19
Posts: 4

Re: Some Help please refining my XFCE desktop (Panel Launcher feature)

ToZ wrote:

No replies as of yet?

You really should give people the benefit of 24 hours, in case some are otherwise occupied (work, sleep, life,....). In forum time, 1:15 is not a long period of time. If you need a more immediate response, you could try the #xfce irc channel.

Anyways, all functionality enhancement requests should be added to https://bugzilla.xfce.org/.

In the meantime, your choices are limited to dock applications like docky or a scripting solution like the one discussed here.

I shall wait for the expert replies then,


thanks. Im very surprised that XFCE cant minimize to the same icon that launches the program? what a bizarre duplication of icons required ?! not very minimalist

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#5 2013-08-20 04:03:33

MountainDewManiac
Member
From: USA police-state welfare-state
Registered: 2013-03-24
Posts: 217

Re: Some Help please refining my XFCE desktop (Panel Launcher feature)

phill1978 wrote:

I have a 2nd Panel with very large icons on my desktop (size 80). It is filled with multiple 'launchers' each launcher is a program, So Firefox / Clementine / VLC / Terminal.

80? Television display across the room or setting up an interface for old people?

phill1978 wrote:

What I want is to be able to Click on them to launch the application and then 're-click' to minimize the application. Simple yes ? Just like windows / KDE / Cinnamon / Gnome / etc.. Has been able to do for an Age. Now its probably possible because XFCE is modular and just requires some sort of GTK-2.0.rc setting change.

Interesting. Never experienced that behavior in GNOME, but I've only really used 2.0 because 3.0 gave me the impression that it was more for a touch-screen cellphone. I'll take your word for it that some OS do have the behavior you described, but for those that do... Doesn't that make it a trifle difficult to launch a second (/third/fourth/et cetera) instance of the application? Does the user have to go through the DE's application menu to do so?

I find myself wondering - if such a thing is even possible - if you would have to make changes to the code and then compile XFCE yourself to attain your goal (or, perhaps, the window manager component). Definitely wish you luck, though, especially if you're doing this because your users are really old; I've observed that some folks in their 70s who have never previously used a personal computer can be frustrated for the first couple of weeks learning (and remembering afterwards) how to use the app windows' minimize buttons and/or alt-tab. And for those - like my mother, sadly - whose cognitive ability is pretty much gone... perhaps an overly-simplified interface such as you describe ("clap on, clap off," lol) might actually have some use. IDK.

To be honest with you, I don't often minimize apps unless I'm using a computer with less than a gigabyte of RAM, so IDK much about all the various ways to go about it. For all I know, there might even be some way to accomplish exactly what you desire and it's simply in such low demand that it isn't documented. But I can think of some (possible) alternatives which may or may not be useful (to you):

1. If the computer(s) in question are often at a point where they are down to their last few megabytes of free RAM, consider adding more so that you no longer need to minimize every app except the one(s) you are actively using. I'm not sure that minimizing windows helps a great deal in this regard, anyway (although I did read something in one of the more recent versions of Firefox that gave me the impression that it does help).

2. Consider using a theme that has visible "minimize" buttons on app windows, and use them.

3. Press alt-tab to switch from one running app to another and save the extra steps involved.

4. If your goal is to minimize apps so that you can look at your desktop's background, use the Show Desktop panel applet instead of the Window Buttons one. It is functionally a toggle. However, it'll minimize every app, which might possibly be a downside in your case, IDK.

5. Set your applications to run - and to do so "minimized" - at startup. At that point, the Window Buttons applet would appear to do what you wish, since they'll already be on your panel (assuming you have the WB applet on there).

phill1978 wrote:

Secondly, even if it was when scaling to 80 size the icons are half size and dont scale with the panel

Separate issue, I would think. Create a set of icons that look acceptable to you at such a large size. Or, possibly, find a set that someone else has created; some of us have pretty severe visual impairment, maybe someone has already created "jumbo icons?"

phill1978 wrote:

Apart from installing Docky (which occasionally disapears since the last few xfce updates on all the new builds I have made) because A. it has that annoying Docky Icon and B. The transparency isnt an exact match for the panel colour nor are the icons scaled 'cleanly' then end up looking a bit mucky. And forget Cairo dock as i think its just like some silly 90's piece of 'flash' that doesnt fit well with the modern look im going for.

I just ran Synaptic Package Manager and typed "dock" into its search box. There appear to be quite a few dock apps and related files that add features and/or modify the functionality (aka "dock helpers") of the dock apps in my repos - YMMV, but there are probably several more than just the two that you mentioned. I don't use the things, myself, so I can't make any specific suggestions from experience, but AWN (Avant Window Navigator) seems to be popular. Many of these dock apps seem to be highly customizable and themable(sic), so your icon issue might not be an issue with some of them. Some folks appear to like the one from WM.

phill1978 wrote:

Isnt is odd that XFCE doesnt merge the two when pretty much all other DE's do ???

Not really, lol; XFCE is its own DE, not a copy of another. Aside from that, what you describe seems somewhat counterintuitive (to me... others may, of course, feel differently), since IMO a launcher is for launching. Then again, I used to use Microsoft's OS daily all the way back to Windows 2.1 in 1988 and never knew of the thing you've described, and never noticed it in GNOME 2.x either (or I would have filed a bug report, because if I clicked on a launcher to start a second (etc.) instance of an app and the launcher, instead, minimized the one I already had running, well... yeah, that would have been a broken launcher, not a feature roll ). But to each his, her, or its own I guess; I wish you luck in finding the functionality that you seek in XFCE (at least insofar as you achieving it doesn't hurt mine wink ). I don't recall seeing any threads about it before, though, so there might not be a great many other people who also want this thing. Perhaps posting a message to one of the XFCE mailing lists might help?

phill1978 wrote:

minimising from a launcher to the same launcher icon has been around for ages and forms one of the key things a desktop user expects

I'd have to consider that an opinion instead of a fact. Nonetheless, good luck!

Regards,
MDM

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#6 2013-08-20 07:49:37

Venomenus
Member
From: UK
Registered: 2012-10-22
Posts: 8
Website

Re: Some Help please refining my XFCE desktop (Panel Launcher feature)

Hey,

The xfce4-taskbar-plugin seems to achieve what you want to with the launching applications and minimizing.

It will probably have to be compiled from source:
http://git.xfce.org/panel-plugins/xfce4-taskbar-plugin/

I used to use this before I moved my panel to the top of the screen and used plank as my launcher.

hope this helps!

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#7 2013-08-20 19:30:38

phill1978
Member
Registered: 2013-08-19
Posts: 4

Re: Some Help please refining my XFCE desktop (Panel Launcher feature)

MountainDewManiac wrote:

SNIP

Wow, Thanks for the reply! very complete and well there is lots to think about there really, perhaps i could use 'show desktop'

What im trying to do is skin a modern interface using XFCE perhaps more smart phone / ubuntu phone like. I do sit far away from my monitor but actually Im trying to work out a nice way to get a '10 foot' interface for my Big TV HTPC experience rather than just use KDE or some other generic media center application.

FYI the icons are now at 70   tongue


here is how far i got..

http://cdn.overclock.net/5/57/571a7e62_ … 144024.png

i also have a similar concept

http://cdn.overclock.net/4/4a/4abcb41a_ … 205556.png


Notice the top bar is running the screen shot application ? well.. if i had that on the right bar as a launcher i could click on it to run.. fine, but what if i wanted to minimize the window that appears? well i have to actually click on the top bar where you see the icon as that is where the 'window buttons' are.

It got me thinking.. why do i need the top bar? most if not all stuff can go on the right bar but putting the 'window buttons' there makes it look silly as you have two sets of identical icons. Wouldn't it be better if i could remove the 'windows buttons' on the top panel and click on the launcher to minimize the application ? ((just like docky))

AWM may be my option, it is a wider reaching version of docky and i think i may be able to get the icons and features i want without compromise.

again, thanks for your help

ohh BTW .. you question on multiple apps from launcher when one is minimized should be solved by a right click 'new window'  (like docky)

-------------



Venomenus wrote:

Hey,

The xfce4-taskbar-plugin seems to achieve what you want to with the launching applications and minimizing.

It will probably have to be compiled from source:
http://git.xfce.org/panel-plugins/xfce4-taskbar-plugin/

I used to use this before I moved my panel to the top of the screen and used plank as my launcher.

hope this helps!

Thanks I shall check this out! Whats the easiest way to add / install please ?

Last edited by phill1978 (2013-08-20 19:57:07)

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