What's new in gDesklets 0.36.2

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 0.36.2 is the second minor release update of the gDesklets 0.36.x series. This release was frozen for a release and for testing in December 2009 before it was finally released on February 28th, 2010.

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

2. General news

When moving from gDesklets 0.36.1 to 0.36.2 the main focus has been set on improving the build process and documentation. Some few features which have been planned to be released with gDesklets 0.40 have been introduced to this release, too. Furthermore there has been some code cleaning, optimization and bug fixing. For a complete list please take a look at the included ChangeLog file.

Starting with gDesklets 0.36.2 desklets can now be enabled and disabled. A new menu entry has been added to the desklets so you can disable them "on-the-fly". Calling "gdesklets --check-first" - or "gdesklets -c" - in a terminal will enable the desklets again. Opening the gDesklets shell will enable the desklets, too.

Most of the changes and improvements can be found "under the hood" and are therefore invisble to the user.

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 0.36.2 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 0.36.2:

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 8 images included to be solved.

This desklet has been improved and the new updated version (v0.8) is now part of gDesklets 0.36.2. The following changes have been made:

  • The "make_tiles.sh" script has been updated to v0.4.1. This version generates default background and restart images and generates more basic output to inform the user of what's going on;
  • Support for your own custom images (best generated with the make_tiles.sh script) added;
  • Two new images to be solved have been added: the Gimp-Splash images v1.2 and v2.3;
  • A click counter and a time counter have been added;
  • No more "unsolvable" puzzles.
Figure 115 pieces puzzle (v0.8)

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.

A lot of changes have been made to this desklet. There are many new events and translations added. Some bugs have been fixed (e.g. the calculation of Pentecost) and a lot of code cleaning has been done etc.
Please take a look at the included README for a detailed list of all the changes and improvements.

gDesklets 0.36.2 is shipped with v0.74 of the Calendar desklet.

Figure 2Calendar (v0.74)

3.3. Quote of the Day

This desklet displays a quote for each day of a year.

With this new version of the desklet a database with Murphy's Laws has been added.

gDesklets 0.36.2 is shipped with v1.2 of the Quote of the Day desklet.

Figure 3Quote of the Day (v1.2)

4. Layout news

No news here, sorry.

5. Config news

The ConfigToggle element is a representation of PyGTK's ToggleButton widget. It is the second config element to support lists.

Toggle buttons are used to show or change a state. They should be used in groups and might be a good way to save space in the Preferences Window. A typical example for the use of a ConfigToggle can be found in Figure 5.

Figure 5ConfigToggle

Developers should consult the GNOME Human Interface Guidelines to decide on using ConfigList, ConfigRadio, ConfigToggle or a set of ConfigBools in a desklet.

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.

Starting with gDesklets 0.36.2 Controls can now be loaded without the ID string. This way (future) desklets won't have to be adjusted to the new ID string if the interface of a Control has changed because of new features.

Detailed information on using Controls can be found in the gDesklets develbook.

7. Documentation news

No news here, sorry.

There are still 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 0.36.3 (and beyond)

Development doesn't stop with the release of gDesklet 0.36.2. Some new features just didn't make it in time for the release of 0.36.2 and have therefore deferred to 0.36.3 or 0.37. 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 0.36.3 or 0.37:

  • updated versions of the basic desklets;
  • improved logging system;
  • translation/language support for desklets;
  • 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.