< Scratchpad
Revision as of 16:21, 10 January 2015 by Gregormi (talk | contribs)


The "More Tools Suggestion" (MTS) Framework -- Draft

Open for discussion and ideas to make this a nice concept with minimal implementation effort


This scratchpad page is the starting point for the draft specification of a framework or module called "More Tools Suggestion" (MTS).

MTS should provide an API to provide a consistent UI for the following purpose:

1) PRIMARY GOAL: Quick access to related tools in a given context.

2) PRIMARY GOAL: Give novice users hints about tools that are useful in a particular context even if the are not installed.

3) CONDITION: The tool suggestions - especially for not-installed tools - should be non-obstrusive. The advanced user should have a global option to turn off the suggestions.

4) SIDE-EFFECT: Simplify discussions about to add or not to add some menu entries because users might complain about cluttered menus.

5) NICE-TO-HAVE: When the user chooses a not-installed tool, the distro specific package manager should be used to start the installation process for the chosen software.

Use cases / References

ksnapshot's SendTo menu

... TODO ...

Dolphin's status bar disk space menu

RR: dolphin: add menu to SpaceInfo widget for detailled disk usage information

Screenshots of current implementation (without MTS):

KDiskFree and Filelight both installed:


Filelight not installed:


This could be improved doing it with MTS:

CURRENT: (without MTS)

 `- Filelight [not installed]
 `- View Disk Usage

NEW: (with MTS support)

 `- View Disk Usage
 `- More >
        `- Not installed >
             `- Disk Usage Statstics with Filelight
             `- <GenericName> with <Name>
             `- Configure this menu...
  • All applications which are not installed are placed in a submenu called Not installed which is placed in the More submenu.
  • [LATER] If such a menu item is clicked the systems package manager opens and asks the user to install the package. As an intermediate step one could launch a simple Internet search.
  • The More submenu can also contain less often used items (user-configurable in a later version of MTS)
  • Configure this menu...: Opens a dialog that gives the option not to show not installed applications.
| Configure More Tools Suggestions                               |
| Global settings                                                |
|                                                                |
| [x] Show menu entries of tools that are not installed          |
| If you do like to see suggestions of applications that are not |
| installed enable this option                                   |
|                                                                |
|                                        [Ok] [Apply] [Cancel]   |
  • Configure this menu... [LATER}: In a later version of MTS it could be made user-configurable which menu items should be shown in the More menu instead of in the first level.

Technical details


  • Library to be used by application developer (see API draft)
  • Some configuration GUI to enable or disabled suggestions (e.g. for not-installed tools)

Early API draft

void MTS::registerApplication(QString globally_unique_context_id, QUrl service_desktop_file);

// register KDiskFree
// "dolphin_resources/kdf.desktop" is a dolphin-local copy of /usr/share/applications/kde4/kdf.desktop
// TODO: where to actually place it? It must not be found by the standard KService. 
MTS::registerApplication("dolphin-statusbar-diskspace-menu", "dolphin_resources/kdf.desktop");
// register Filelight
// "dolphin_resources/org.kde.filelight.desktop" is a dolphin-local copy of Filelight's desktop file
MTS::registerApplication("dolphin-statusbar-diskspace-menu", "dolphin_resources/org.kde.filelight.desktop");

bool MTS::notInstalledAppsSuggestionsEnabled(QString globally_unique_context_id);


if (MTS::notInstalledAppsSuggestionsEnabled("dolphin-statusbar-diskspace-menu")) {
    // Fill the "not installed suggestions" menu with the registered apps. Use information retrieved by the desktop files.
} else {
    // User had previously turned off the suggestions for not-installed apps.
    // Do not add suggestions.
    // User must go to global settings if he/she wants to turn suggestions on again.


  • construct menu by globally_unique_context_id and automatically handle the user's preference if not-installed apps entries should be shown or not
  • later distinguish between applications and services

How to extract information out of not-installed desktop files?

TODO: would this be the correct method?


Why .desktop files for not-installed applications/services?

... [draft] / comments? ...

Q: Why add the .desktop file of each tool that should be in the suggestion list to the application that makes the suggestion?

A: The .desktop file contains the translated application name and generic name (short tool description) that can be displayed to the user even if the package is not installed yet.

Q: Maintaining the copy of the .desktop file?

A: In regular intervals the upstream .desktop file of the referenced package should be updated. But in general there is no tight coupling, so the application that uses MTS is not forced to do it on every minor change.

Later: package mgmt integration

Use case:

  • "KDiskFree not installed. If you would like to install it, click here to install it."
  • Similar to /usr/bin/cnf but for .desktop files of programs that are not yet installed: start the distro GUI package mgmt for the specific package.

TODO: is there already related work in this direction?

  • ...
  • ...

This page was last edited on 16 April 2015, at 22:55. Content is available under Creative Commons License SA 4.0 unless otherwise noted.