Thursday, September 27, 2007

Kickoff redux

As Sebas' mentioned recently, I have been working on a new implementation of the Kickoff start menu/application launcher. It is currently functional, although I have not started work on some of the presentational aspects yet (such as the background and tab styling). Hence no screenshots in this post. If you are testing KDE 4 on a system with KDE 3 installed, then in the case of applications for which both KDE 3 and KDE 4 versions are available, only the KDE 4 version will be shown. The search view is currently limited to application searches, but I hope to have Strigi searching working soon. Ideally query handlers will be shared between the launcher and the run dialog.

The new Kickoff can be found in trunk/playground/base/kickoff-rewrite-kde4/ and it currently builds both as a standalone application ('kickoff') and a Plasma applet ('Application Launcher' in the 'Windows and Tasks' category). The Plasma applet is a simple KDE logo button which pops up the menu when clicked on.

Hopefully Kickoff will ship with Beta 3 next week.

This new implementation is being done from scratch using Qt 4 / KDE 4 frameworks. This is the first time I have made any real use of some of the new KDE 4 libraries; they are great to work with and a few little extras have been added as a result. For example, one minor detail I added compared to KDE 3's Kickoff is that in KDE 3, the 'My Computer' tab always has an icon of a tower desktop system. In the new KDE 4 Kickoff the icon will change to a laptop or a tower depending on what kind of system it is being run on - and that is done with a couple of lines of code.

Finally, feedback is always welcome. If you are an OpenSuSE/KDE user who uses the Kickoff menu on a regular basis, feel free to add your thoughts to this post's comments :)

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Funny languages in the terminal

When I look at Arabic, Chinese or Japanese text all I see are some odd squiggles. Some text that used to produce square-looking squiggles in KDE 3 now produces more curvy squiggles in KDE 4. Apparently this is a good thing. Most of this is down to Qt 4. But I still don't know whether it is readable to people who normally see something other than squiggles.

I had a stab at adding input method event support to Konsole in trunk recently, but I am very limited in my ability to test it. There is a bug report to file comments against.

If you can read and write in these languages, or even better, understand the mysterious world of Unicode - please help me to find bugs in Konsole's language support so that I can fix them.