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Cinnamon-Based Launcher Built-in or Extension

Posted: Sun Feb 17, 2019 10:00 pm
by That Random Guy

This probably won't make it on the list of popular ideas nor does it significantly impact the user-experience but I was kind of hoping to spark interest for something similar to Gnome/Unity Dash. Other examples include Albert, Synapse, and maybe Mutate.

Since I'm not developer, I can't come up with definite reasons for why this would be a good or bad idea. :roll:

My particular reason for wanting such a thing in the first place is because I happen to think that Cinnamon treats its users well as far as the user experience goes.

I like bragging about how it really simplifies things and makes things easy to get to or understand. At least, from an HCI perspective.

Yes, others probably say the same for other "modern" desktops, but I think the LM team gets everything out nice'n right out of the box. :)

While Cinnamon may not necessarily need the feature, I think it's a nicer way to get to whatever it is one needs aside from apps. Yes, Cinnamon has an app menu, but I sometimes have to go looking under a particular section/menu to get to a particular app. I'd rather just type three letters and have the utility recommend it to me and let me launch from there as apposed to scrolling from the menu. It became apparent to me that some might find this feature redundant, but I then ask those to recall that other desktop environments aside from Gnome and Unity utilize such a feature. If I'm not mistaken, KDE, Xfce, and LXQt all incorporate a similar utility. I don't remember what Unity was like 'cause I only used it once, but all others mentioned also have app menus. In that sense, it isn't so much that it's replacing one for another but that it's complimenting another feature by providing a different type of access that may be easier for some users. And, no, I'm not saying Cinnamon should try to be more like everyone else, but rather that Cinnamon should incorporate what works into their own because a lot of what they've already integrated obviously works—and to the benefit of the user, I might add.

With that out of the way, I feel like I can list some preliminary pros & cons off my head:

*System-wide indexer makes accessing or finding files/apps/menus much more simpler
*Can add to newer UI implementation
*Run specific commands from utility saves time opening terminal

*Requires more resources on machine
*Requires more storage
*More work/maintenance for devs (maybe)
*Conflict with future changes to Cinnamon

The way I see it, this can go one of three ways:
1) Devs actually go through and innovate some kind of lightweight alternative desktop launcher and integrate into Cinnamon
2) An extension is created/maintained so that it isn't shipped by default but still relevant and more importantly, functional/compatible
3) An already-existing desktop launcher is integrated/packaged into LM by default

I don't think what I'm asking for has to be implemented exactly as other mentioned launchers as I was previously told that Cinnamon (specifically the app menu) has the ability to become modified to index files as well as apps. So, perhaps there's other ways to go about this aside from an overlay, although I think from the user perspective, an overlay would be a more comfortable experience.

I realize some think there's no real benefit to this as some distros without both an app menu and desktop icons solely offer this feature to get to their apps and files (by default; thus justification) but I still think it would benefit a good number of users since other operating systems aside from Linux have that same kind of functionality. Again, not saying to "copy everyone else" but rather that it should be acknowledged that there are ways to do things for which users may find easier than navigating menus or may be more familiar with (search).

If it is felt this is not worth the team's time, I can understand. From what I've been keeping up with on the blog, I'm hearing some kind of change up ahead.

Whether that was theoretical or not, only time will tell. I would at least appreciate a chance for this to be polled on. :D

The End :mrgreen:

Re: Cinnamon-Based Launcher Built-in or Extension

Posted: Mon Feb 18, 2019 3:43 am
by smurphos
Cinnamon does already have poorly documented and under-developed support for a feature called search-providers. The are basically expansions to the menu search functionality to for example install applications directly from the menu, search wikipedia, potentially have a full file system search etc all from the menu.

There are a couple of disabled by default search providers installed in Cinnamon - a yahoo search and a duckduckgo search. The easy way to enable them is via installing the spices menu applet Cinnamenu which includes in it's config options a GUI for this purpose. But once enabled they work from the stock menu search box.


gsettings set org.cinnamon enabled-search-providers [\"\",\"\"]

The Cinnamon source code also has some other example search providers.... ... s-examples

If manually installed to ~/.local/share/cinnamon/search_providers and then enabled they provide these abilities to the Cinnamon menu search

1) Search and install applications via apt directly from the menu - works
2) A basic calculator function - works
3) A gnome tracker based system file search (not sure if this can be made to work in 19.x as gnome made a lot of changes to tracker in between 18.x and 19)
4) A Chromium history search - untested
5) A wikipedia search - works.

Re: Cinnamon-Based Launcher Built-in or Extension

Posted: Mon Feb 18, 2019 10:59 am
by That Random Guy

Yep, sounds good. I was aware of this before, but I wasn't sure if it went as far as the mentioned "launchers".

By chance, have you used any of the mentioned desktop launchers recently? Also, will this search provider thing ever reach an impasse with Cinnamon or can it be considered reliable?

I can assume that since this is an underdeveloped project, it doesn't exactly have full hands on deck.

I'm not necessarily asking for this to be a priority, but it would be nice if it was acknowledged at some point. Obviously it has, but you get what I mean. :lol:

Unfortunately, I'm no developer. Would it be better if I posted on that "ideas" site?

Re: Cinnamon-Based Launcher Built-in or Extension

Posted: Tue Feb 19, 2019 1:56 am
by smurphos
The functionality has been there for a long time (Since Cinnamon 2.6 which I think was Mint 17.2) but other than maintenance has not had much development since.

There is an interesting snippet on the Mint roadmap - - I'd guess this is intended to be non-DE specific like the xapps so the same package or the Cinnamon, MATE and XFCE editions.. It's not flagged for 19.2 though.
local files
web engines
Of the current Cinnamon functionality I got tracker up and running yesterday. It's a pain to set up (no GUI to configure the backend in 19.x it all has to be done with dconf-editor and a bit of inspired guesswork), but it does work. All the rest I've tried work fine. I've still not tested Chromium history search.

Edit to add - just did a quick conversion to convert Chromium History search to Chrome History search and that also works fine.