Plasma 5.5 hasn’t even been released yet but work on the next version is already commencing.
I’ve seen Plasma setups resembling Unity, or Gnome Shell, or OS/2, but I haven’t seen Windows 8 yet.
YouTube Link: https://www.youtube.com/embed/8qFrich4LFM
This is an experimental Metro-inspired (Metro, U-Bahn, get it?) sidebar. Its name kinda shows how serious I was about this :) Anyhow, it’s a nice showcase of Plasma’s flexibility. The whole thing took me just over an hour to get up and running. It incorporates KRunner/Milou for search results, the Purpose Framework for sharing, parts of Print-Manager and Device Notifier, as well as the icons from Plasma-PA (audio) and Plasma-NM (network) on the Settings page. The centre button was supposed to launch the Application Dashboard, without tiles, though.
While I’m not planning to finish this very project – it’s just too big of a hack the way it is –, I managed to get a discussion going. I’m looking forward to ideas our usability and design experts will come up with. It makes for an interesting concept on touch-enabled devices nonetheless. Also, I would love to see the Purpose framework embraced throughout the workspace rather than it living in the shadows within Kamoso and the Quick Share applet.
Another feature I have wanted for years has finally landed: “Desktop Actions” aka Jump Lists. Basically, they are additional actions an application can offer to perform common actions or jump directly to a certain task from Task Manager. Common examples are “Open New Incognito Window” to open your browser directly in private mode, or “Compose Email” without launching the full-fledged Email client first.
If you’re an application developer, start assessing which actions to provide – only few applications on my system actually do: Chromium (Google Chrome only ships Ayatana Desktop Shortcuts), LibreOffice (its launcher enables you to jump into a specific app, like Calc or Impress) and Konsole.
The specification is pretty “dumb”, you can basically specify a name, an icon and a command to run – your application must then do the right thing™ eg. depending on whether an instance is already running or not.
Update: Chime in to the discussion on Jump List Actions on the KDE Forums.
More Convenient Plasmoid Install
While applets can be installed through “Get Hot New Stuff” and distribution repositories, there’s also the classic .plasmoid file. A feature suggested by one of my colleagues – fresh KDE Plasma user – was to drag .plasmoid files onto the desktop or panel and have them installed. After Marco Martin implemented the neccessary KPackage plumbing this is now possible.
(Sorry for the quality, I wanted to make a GIF out of this but it turned out to be 24 MiB, then I downsampled it using ffmpeg and it mashed the picture)
If the applet is already installed, it will update if neccessary but still add it to where you dropped. To uninstall use the Widget Explorer which gained a new “Uninstallable” applets filter. Also, its uninstall feature now follows the undo pattern where you have a grace period before it actually uninstalls. Uninstalling also removes all instances of the applet rather than leaving broken applets behind.
First of all, FFMpegThumbnailer will finally be released as KF5-based plugin in KDE Applications 15.12 meaning you get thumbnails for videos in Dolphin again.
Secondly, in the Power Management department, switching sessions should no longer unexpectedly send your computer to sleep. Moreover, inhibitions will only be enforced after 5 seconds – this should prevent Chrome waking up your screen just because it played a short “You got message” sound. Also, I’m planning to overhaul the Battery Monitor UI which was essentially just ported from Plasma 4, where it worked well, to Plasma 5, where its layout is out of place. I won’t promise that, though. :)
Finally, I ported the face / avatar gallery from the old user accounts KCM to the now used user manager. The Visual Design Group made some marvellous user pictures, like the Leonardo Da Vinci I’m using, it would be a shame if there was no UI to pick them.