One of the new useful tiny plasmoids that will be available in Plasma 5.5 is one called Activity Pager: you can find it in the kdeplasma-addons package of the release.
How does it look? well, not too exciting and very familiar, and that’s precisely the point:
since people use activities in very different ways, it’s written as an aid for people that use it in a particular way, when the use case partly overlaps with virtual desktops.
It’s built to look like a pager, behave like a pager (including the mini previews of windows) but instead of beng based on the virtual desktop, it’s based on the activity, so each little desktop preview will represent the activity and the windows in it (dragging previews from one activity to another works too).
We didn’t put or effort only in the mobile environment or the new declarative “way of doing plasmoids”, but the general polish of the traditional desktop shell, the “most immediate need” for users is quite high on our priority list too.
Chani recently blogged about the last progress of the activities management: in the Plasma Desktop workspace 4.6 finally the advantages are starting to be exposed to the user. In brief: can virtual desktops stop and start applications on demand when they switch? can an application be on 2 out of 5 vd? can a vd be stopped and when recreated be restored exactly as it was? (wallpaper, desktop widgets, running applications etc) can the user remove a non empty, non last virtual desktop? Can an application behave in a way that is specific for a certain desktop, like showing only work related contacts?
Answer to all of those question is a discomforting, deep, structural no. If we ask those questions for the activities, the answer become yes, and the difference of purpose of those two things becomes evident. virtual desktop -> spatial arrangement of windows. Activities -> what I’m doing. There really is little overlap between the two things. Spatial arrangement is often used as activity separation, but is condemned to remain an half backed solution.
Yes, notifications again! There won’t be any very big turning upside down of the notification an job area for 4.6 The form it’s “stabilizing”, with minor tweaks that can enhance quite a lot the look and usability of it, let’s see in brief what 4.6 will bring to the notifications and jobs area:
- Slightly revised look: better spacing, less visual noise, more pixel perfection
- More compact layout of the jobs widgets
- A speed plotter for job in the expanded view to be able to see what’s going on in the transfer of a single file
- Global jobs progress bar is hidden when only one job is running
- Notifications can be dragged in the desktop again
- Only one scrollbar, and only when is necessary: everything scrolls and it’s preferred to keep visible active jobs rather than the notification history
- Notifications history tabbar is hidden when only one type is present
- Big icons in notifications to help to identificate what it’s talking about at a glance
- Action buttons moved beside the test to have a smaller notification widget
- It is possible to drag anywhere the notifications popup, so regardless of where the notifications Plasma widget is, they will appear in the place it works better with your workflow.
Since a picture is worth 3000 bullet points here are some screenshots 🙂