What's new in gDesklets 0.36.1

1. Introduction

gDesklets is a program which provides an architecture for widgets to be placed on the desktop. gDesklets is a Free and Open Source Software (FOSS) project and there are more than 100 desklets available providing a wide variety of eye candies for your desktop from weather forecast and system monitoring to RSS readers, games and beyond.

gDesklets 0.36.1 is the first minor release update of the gDesklets 0.36.x series. This release was frozen for a release in February 2008 and released for testing in July 2008 before it was finally released on November 2nd 2008.

Please visit the official website to learn more about gDesklets and how to write your own desklets.

2. General news

When moving from gDesklets 0.36 to 0.36.1 the main focus has been set on implementing all the small things and improvements that didn't make it into 0.36 and cleaning out the main archive. Furthermore there has been some code cleaning, optimization and bug fixing. For a complete list please take a look at the included ChangeLog file.

Most of the visible changes and improvements can be found in the gDesklets shell.
First of all the shell doesn't distinguish between upper and lower case in the category names anymore. This avoids duplicate entries when sorting by categories.
Furthermore when sorting by alphabet the shell now lists Desklets that have a number as first sign in their name. Before gDesklets 0.36.1 these desklets didn't show up in the shell when sorting by alphabet.

3. Basic Desklets news

The "basic desklets" have been introduced in gDesklets 0.36 and they build a set of desklets that are shipped with offical releases of gDesklets. These desklets should provide the user with a variety of popular desklets ready to start "out-of-the-box" so that the user can see the system in action without installing additional stuff. The basic desklets are the only desklets that are officially supported by gDesklets and the gDesklets team.

gDesklets 0.36.1 comes with four basic desklets (15 pieces, Calendar, Clock and Quote of the Day). These are the changes to the basic desklets which come with gDesklets 0.36.1:

3.1. 15 pieces puzzle

15 pieces (also known as 16 pieces) is a puzzle game where you have to arrange pieces in order from 1-15 counting from top left corner to bottom right corner or piece together some image. There are 6 images included to be solved.

This desklet has been improved a lot and the new updated version (v0.6) is now part of gDesklets 0.36.1. The following changes have been made:

  • The tiles are now randomly distributed. The new Random Control which has been introduced in gDesklets 0.36.1 is used for this;
  • A new script called "make_tiles.sh" can be found in the desklet's directory. This shell script allows the user to build his own set of tiles;
  • A new image to be solved has been added: the GNU image;
  • The "Restart image" is now only shown when the puzzle is actually solved.
Figure 115 pieces puzzle (v0.6)

3.2. Calendar

This is a navigable calendar showing the entire month with the possibility to show events (public holidays ...). Highly configurable it leaves nothing to be desired.

In addition to some minor bug fixes the Calendar desklet now supports Daylight saving. gDesklets 0.36.1 is shipped with v0.62 of the Calendar desklet.

Figure 2Calendar (v0.62)

4. Layout news

The Plotter element is used in many desklets to provide information in graphs. A different way of plotting a graph has been introduced in gDesklets 0.36.1: "bars".
Unlike the "classical" style which plots the graph by connecting consecutive values with a line, the "bars" style connects every value with the base (or zero) line. This way you will see a lot of bars which will fill the area between the "classical" graph and the base line.

Figure 3 shows the SideCandy CPU desklet (v0.10) using the "classical" style plotter on the left side and using the "bars" style plotter on the right side.

Figure 3SideCandy CPU using a plotter in normal and bars mode

5. Config news

gDesklets 0.36.1 provides the following new and improved element for the configuration system:

5.1. ConfigList

The ConfigList element is a representation of PyGTK's ListStore widget. It is the first config element to support lists. This way gDesklets finally supports multi-selections for the user.

For a better and faster way to handle massive changes in the current selection the user can access a menu with the most important functions for a multi-selection ("Select all", "Select none" and "Toggle selection") by right clicking on the information line ("Selected x of y items") under the selction area.

Figure 4ConfigList

5.2. ConfigUri

The ConfigUri element is a representation of the PyGTK FileChooser widget. Up to gDesklets 0.36 ConfigUri has been able to select a file only. gDesklets 0.36.1 introduces a new attribute called "action" to the ConfigUri element which can be used to change the FileChooser to select a directory only.

For detailed information on how to use this new attribute in your display files take a look at the gDesklets develbook.

6. Control news

A control is a privileged (unsandboxed) property-based module, which can be shared among applets, and implements certain interfaces. gDesklets provides a basic set of Controls which can be used out-of-the-box. This section shows the changes to this basic set of Controls.

A new Control named "Random" has been added to gDesklets' basic Controls. This Control gives access to Python's "random" module and (almost) all of its functions. The "15 pieces puzzle" desklet is the first desklet to use this Control to randomly distribute its pieces.

Detailed information on this new Control can be found in the gDesklets develbook.

7. Documentation news

The basic documentation has been adjusted to the new features and changes to gDesklets. Furthermore the man pages have been updated and expanded.

The gDesklets Developer's Book (develbook) has been removed from the gDesklets package. The latest official version can be found on the official gDesklets develbook website. The latest development version of the develbook can be found at the gDesklets Developer's Book branch at launchpad.

Furthermore there are plans to translate the "what's new" pages to other languages. If you wish to help translate it into your language, please contact the gDesklets team using the gDesklets Mailing List.

8. The rest...

No news here, sorry.

9. A look at 0.36.2 (and beyond)

Development doesn't stop with the release of gDesklet 0.36.1. Some new features just didn't make it in time for the release of 0.36.1 and have therefore deferred to 0.36.2. Furtheremore there are still a few non-critical bugs open to be closed.

So here is a short (and not complete!) list of upcoming features in 0.36.2:

  • updated versions of the basic desklets;
  • improved Control handling (loading Controls without the ID string);
  • enable and disable desklets "on-the-fly";
  • new config feature: "ConfigToggle";
  • updated documentation;
  • bug fixes and more.

A. Credits

These release notes were compiled by H.Humpel with help from the gDesklets community. On behalf of the community, we give our warmest thanks to the developers and contributors who made this gDesklets release possible.

This work may be freely translated into any language. If you wish to translate it into your language, please contact the gDesklets team using the gDesklets Mailing List.