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AppPlaSys - Features


AppPlaSys offers three different views: It can show the applications, the places or the system part separately or an all in one view. You can tell the application which part to show by providing command line arguments (see ).

universal
AppPlaSys is written to be desktop independent.It can be called by any starter. As soon as the command AppPlaSys is called, the application checkes if it's already running so that only one instance per user can be running at the same time. Additionally it is checked whether the menu is already shown - depending on that the menu will be shown or hidden. The window position can be provided as a command line argument or via the configuration file.

Applications Part

intelligent Favorites
AppPlaSys initially shows the favorites - meaning applications that are used frequently. For the first line of the favorites view you can set applications you always want to be shown at the top. This can be normally installed application starters (.desktop files) or user defined custom commands. In the following lines the most frequently used applications are shown The order is given by the square of the number of clicks devided by the time since the specific application was installed.

Categories do filter Applications by multiple Criteria
Also the categories for fast finding of installed applications are implemented different as usual: They filter by any number of criteria. Such a criterion is a search pattern, that can be set to be searched for in the application starter's "Name", "GenericName", "Comment", "Keyword" or "Category" Entry as well as in all of those entries. Additionally it can be set if those patterns have to be found to show the application or if they are optional. It's also possible to set them to be forbidden, meaning that the application will not be shown if the pattern is found in its starter (.desktop file).
The result is that for instance you can define a category collecting all web browser applications by the pattern "browser" and the pattern "web viewer" as well as all eMail applications by the pattern "eMail".
Additionally you can define very specific categories: You could perhaps define a category showing all simulation games by the pattern "simulation" and the pattern "games" set as obligatory which would prevent scientific simulation programs from being included...
The default categories like "education", "office", "internet" etc. are configured from as a default setting. They just filter the applications by their category field in the application's starter.

mighty search
If you type a search text, AppPlaSys will of course check all installed applications if they match the search text. Thereby the first results will be those applications matching the search criterion by their name entries. The following results will be those applications not matching the criterion by their name but by their description text or other entries in the .desktop file. The value of "GenericName" is also checked so that - intuitively - even search texts like "browser" will lead to Firefox although "browser" is not contained in the name at all.
The result list will always as many results as fit into the window height. More results would lead to a less clear view.

If the search text only matches for a few applications so that there still is place available in the results list, more options will be shown: For example running the typed text as command or searching the Wikipedia or the Internet as can be seen in the picture on the left. The Wikipedia address is provided by the locale file so that it will be the right address for every user once AppPlaSys is translated into his language.

The picture on the left also shows another useful feature. There can be any number of patterns which are set in the AppPlaSys configuration file and which the search text is checked for matching. Those patterns can be prefixes so that the search text can be checked if it's beginning with a specific character string - on the other hand a regular expression can be set as pattern which makes more complex checks possible. For every pattern a custom command is set in the configuration file that is executed once the search text matches the pattern.
In the picture on the left you can see what happens if you specify "www." as prefix pattern - the corresponding command set here is xdg-open "http://%S" which will open the default browser forwarding the search text to the browser.
Actions defined by such patterns are always shown at the top of the results list...

Additionally there's also a simple integrated calculator which immediately shows the result of mathematical terms typed into the search field. By pressing the enter key the result will be inserted into the search field so that one can continue calculating with that value.





Places Part

Filesystem Bookmarks
The places part of AppPlaSys shows different important folders of the filesystem on the left side. There are fix locations as the home directory of the current user or the root directory of the filesystem as well as the network.
But additionally there are entries for all removable media which can be opened and mounted/unmounted. Another feature is the list of GTK- or KDE-Bookmarks which are defined by your filemanager. But you can also define your own bookmarks which are only shown by AppPlaSys independently from the rest of the system.

On the right side AppPlaSys shows recently used files and folders so that you always have access to documents you were just working with as well as their containing folders.

Direct Access to every Folder
The entry line at the top allows opening any folder or file just by typing it's path. Thereby you can use the automatic path completion known from the terminal.
Additionally there's a search button by default providing access to the gnome-search-tool or catfish if one of them is installed. Of course you can define any search command you like in the settings.







System Part

Desktop specific Commands for Shutting down
The system part of AppPlaSys initially shows the "Workplace" category which automatically contains the right commands for shutting down, logout and the desktop specific control center for the currently running desktop as well as YaST if it is installed. The corresponding commands are defined by a configuration file containing the right commands for the most common desktops Gnome, KDE, Xfce, LXDE, Unity, Mate and Cinnamon. To find out the currently running desktop reliably AppPlaSys reads a number of environment variables. At this time all desktops mentioned above are indeed recognized reliably.

When called in the separate view (not in the all in one view containing applications, places and system) the system part shows all applications of the default categories "System" and "Settings". Those applications can be listed by those two default categories as well as by special categories provided by AppPlaSys such as "Hardware" or "Customisation" for instance. Those categories are defined by default to make finding the settings and system tools faster. They can be changed and extended in a user specific configuration file similar to the application categories.

The system part also shows system information concerning the machine and the operating system AppPlaSys is running on. Important for AppPlaSys to work correct, especially for being able to show the right shutdown and logout commands, is to know which desktop is currently running. In case this doesn't work the desktop can be specified by a command line argument. This is also useful once there are desktop specific panel applets being developed or if you are not using a whole desktop environment but only a window manager like OpenBox...



still to be done

- translation into different widely used languages (localisation system already implemented)
- developing a graphical configuration tool (all done via configuration files at this time)
- perhaps developing an editor for .desktop-files (recommending MenuLibre at this time)
- drawing a logo ;)
- much more

letzte Änderung: 26.01.2014
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(seit Dezember 2014)