KDE 4 Progress: New plasmoids, Akonadi, KRunner and more

[ Monday, 2 June 2008, Bastion ]


In spite of fragmentary information about changes, that I’ve published since my last insight (like the Amarok 2 visual changelog), I’ve decided after all to gather them all in
one place. Hence, I invite you to the next insight of KDE 4. The revision of the day is 811150.

KDE 4 — rev 811150
KDE 4 - rev 811150

Desktop

The panel configuration has been refactored heavily. When clicking the appropriate icon, we gain possibility to change its position as well as its minimal and maximal width. This is done using the sliders indicated by triangle-like buttons . Apart from that, buttons that add new Plasma aplets and remove the whole panels are also available. Currently the only drawback is the lack of an option to change the position of the applets that have been already in place.

New panel configuration

Control elements
Control elements

Oxygen

Style Oxygen has lived to see a lovely progress bar, eventually. To be quite frank I’ve never liked the previous versions, so the change is good :)

Current Oxygen Style
Actual Oxygen Style

Plasma

The Folder View applet has been equipped with a configuration window. With its assistance we are able to decide which folders will be highlited. We can even also construct a mask for such files.

Folder View
Folder View

Configuration
Configuration

When we talk about the KDE menu, the ‘drag and drop’ mechanism has been (eventually!) added for icons. From now on we can place shortcuts to our favorite programs on the desktop.

Shortcut to Konsole
Shortcut to Konsole

The Notepad has been equipped with a spell checkermechanism, where all misspelled words are colured red automatically.
Interesting option in configuration is the automatic font size adjustment to fit the current applet size.

Notes and spell checking
Notes and spell checking

Configuration
Konfiguracja

Spell Checking

Now Playing is the applet that we know alread. Its use is to inform about currently played audio track. Up to now it worked with XMMS, JuK and Audaciousplayers. In current version it supports Amarok as well. Also the additional information in form of album name and track lenght time has been added. I must admit, that the cover project function is the only thing missing to make me happy.

Now Playing (Amarok)
Now Playing (Amarok)

Akonadi Tray

Akonadi is one of the more innovative technologies available in KDE 4. It is a specialized platform used to store personal data (PIM ), including the calendar, mail client and the address book. It helps to prevent data incompatibility between different aplications. In practice – when the data in the address book change, automatically the information (e.g. by a Plasmoid) will get updated in other apps. Akonadi will also support others interesting application in the files system. We can for example imagine that when the owner photo displayd in Dolphin changes, it could affect other applications as well.
Akonadi Tray is a small program, inserted into the system tray, that facilitates creation and recovery copy of the data.

Akonadi Tray
Akonadi Tray

Marble

Marble, the Google Maps competitor from KDE, has been equipped with a new visualisation map that uses the OpenStreetMap resources. Curiously enough, the plans of Polish city roads are also available. Thermal views of the planet in the summer and winter periods have been also added.

Marble
Marble

Road plans
Road plans

Thermal Map
Thermal Map

GwenView

The Gwenview development has progressed so much that it can now threa its rival image cataloguing software. A feature has been implemented to add favorite places that act like albums. Fullscreen view has been enhanced by adding the image miniatures from the same folder in the top area of the screen.

GwenView
Tryb pełnoekranowy

Main View
Main View

Fullscreen mode
GwenView

Kubrick

For the rubik’s dice lovers, new game is available: Kubrick. Using a 3D model of the dice and its different views, we can rotate blocks to get the final result (ggod luck with that!).

Kubrick
Kubrick

KRunner

The most interesting change is the new KRunner,used to quick start the programs using the well-known Alt+F2 key combination. I have informed about the new KRunner previously, but it’s not proper not to mention about him again, the more because it has changed a lot since last time.

Animations of the query results have been improved, the active icon zooming has been added as well as their descriptions.

KRunner. Starting the program
KRunner. Starting the program

Krunner is not just the fast start of the right aplications but also calculator and measure scaler :

KRunner : Calculator
KRunner : Calculator

Krunner: Measure scaler
Krunner :Measure scaler

With its help we can also quickly switch to our favourite website:

KRunner: Web Adresses
KRunner : Web Adresses

…or write a letter to the person we love or hate :)

Krunner: The adress book contacts
Krunner :The adress book contacts

But the most important one is the ability to expand the KRunner abilities by using add-ons:

Configuration
Configuration

That’s it folks for now. Wait for the new KDE dev visual snapshot some time later this month!

About the Author

Korneliusz Jarzębski

Free software enthusiast, KDE fan. Author of a popular blog: /dev/jarzebski (in Polish). Contributes to PolishLinux.org since October 2007.

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