Plasma/Plasma Netbook

From KDE Community Wiki

Plasma Netbook aims to bring Plasma technology to the world of mobile computing.



Device is

  • Highly portable
  • Connects via wifi or mobile
  • Not necessarily primary computer
  • Has hardware with high level of support for OpenGL / compositing window management


  • web (webkit based? widget or full app?) (using the system web browser right now, use of selkie should be added to that)
  • akonadi email (lion mail? full-on kmail?) (probable target KDE SC 4.5)
  • akonadi calendaring (plasma calendar? korganizer?) (4.5)
  • chat (kopete)
  • online video (could have something to do with the online video dataengine developed in the mediacenter)


  • Media browser and player (video, photos, music; can we use canola in some way here? how fast the mediacenter gsoc will progress?) (double check the status of the mediacenter, if it'll be continued and when could have a 1.0)
  • Games and amusements
  • Mapping?
  • Basic word/spreadsheet/presentation content creation

Screen Usage

Panel should be small, unobtrusive, at top of screen (to also house window interaction buttons?); autohide with animation when application shown to give user a hint where it is and how to get it back.

Panel will contain:

  • network, power and presence status
  • message notification area
  • search centered in the middle with a "magnifying glass" icon, searching or clicking on the icon brings up the full screen launcher interface
  • running apps displayer (which triggers an expose effect?)
  • time
  • off/on

Two activities by default: newspaper and launcher.

"Newspaper" mode allows widgets to be arranged in a column centric layout with a widget list to pick from (drop down?). Widgets can be closed, dragged to new locations or "zoomed into" (making them full screen; so an rss reader might turn into the actual web page associated with it, a photo booth would turn into gwenview)

Launching applications would be done using the "launch strip" which will show the top applications (web apps, full fat client apps and widgets) in a horizontal strip with a runner-driven search box above it in the panel. Search results will appear below the strip, and search results can be dragged to the strip of top apps.


Deliverables: Existing

  • Most of the widgets (RSS, video, power, network manager, power off etc)
  • Autohide panel (PanelView, with config stripped out of it?)
  • Panel containment
  • Runners (apps, services, file search, etc)
  • Newspaper containment (and default layout)
  • Launcher strip interface with integrated search results display
  • Plasma shell designed specifically with this in mind
  • Running app listing / switcher
  • Media browsing widget


At tme moment we are at M3

  • M1: Shell with panel view, mockups
  • M2: Newspaper layout and launcher containments
  • M3: Default layouts defined for panel, top apps and newspaper widget layout
  • M4: better online/offline behaviour: auto activity switching? refresh all dataengines when online, mediacenter

Implementation Notes

Newspaper Layout Containment

  • Columns resizable (a hbox layout of vboxes)
  • Title bar above each widget with close and "zoom"
  • Mapping of widgets to their target "zoom" application
  • PanelView-ish widget move done when the toolbox is open
  • Bottom margin line (shown only on hover to avoid visual noise?) is draggable to increase height of widget (widgets below don't change in size) (it's probably better to just require widgets to have good size hints and keep those dimensions?)

Search and Launch Containment

  • Stripwidget: use animate scrolling and clipping like the widgets explorer, initialize the contents with the kikckoff favourites
  • icon view: no more hardcoded default categories
  • new look: no background, strip widget 100% wide?

Use cases in a mobile world

To better identify the requirements of the Plasma-Netbook project, we collect little scenarios of how mobile computing devices are used right now or will be used in the near future.

Look up restaurant information

The user just ended a meeting in a foreign city. He takes his nokia n810 out of his pocket. The device is in sleep mode. He opens it. He decides to check for a nearby restaraunt to eat at before going to the hotel. All of these things are done in about 2 minutes while he is standing in front of the meeting building.