AppMenu is here

Qt 4.8 was released last week. The announcement lists Lighthouse integration (aka. QPA) and some optimizations, but nobody mentioned my most-wanted feature yet: Aurelien Gateau’s patch that enables exporting the application menus. On a laptop, especially one of those wide-screen ones like mine, vertical space is very important, so removing one toolbar while keeping all of its actions easily accessible is a killer feature. Ubuntu users had this for some time, but now it has made it way to other distributions as well.

Currently, there are two things you can do with the menu once you rip it out of the application: put it in a plasma panel, or embed it the window decoration. Arch users can get both of them from the AUR. Because I still like the menu to be visually connected to the application, I am now using the second option, with the Oxygen-appmenu window decorations.

Application menus embedded in the window decoration

Currently, this only works for Qt applications. The equivalent patch to Gtk is still included only in Ubuntu and would require recompiling Gtk, something I am not fond of doing. In any case, I have found that at least on the laptop the only non-Qt app I use is Firefox, which includes a similar button as its menu. It doesn’t look as well, but it does the job and keep things consistent. An extension for LibreOffice is avaliable in the AUR as well, but the only text processor I need is Kile.

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25 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by jowenn on 26. December 2011 at 18:40

    It’s mentioned in https://qt.gitorious.org/qt/qt/blobs/4.8/dist/changes-4.8.0
    221 – Added plugin system for menubars, making it possible to provide
    222 alternative menubar implementations. (eg, appmenu:
    223 https://launchpad.net/appmenu-qt)

    Which is linked from: comment 9 at
    http://labs.qt.nokia.com/2011/12/15/qt-4-8-0-released/
    šŸ˜‰
    Would have been nice if the change log would have been linked from the release announcement itself šŸ™‚

    Reply

  2. Relevant RFE:
    Collapse menu bar into icon
    https://bugs.kde.org/show_bug.cgi?id=211304

    Reply

  3. congratulations, since you use few gtk applications and you don’t like to ok
    develop them, why don’t you try Chakra? I think it cuold be a good choice for you, and You could also appreciate its friendly community.

    Reply

    • Posted by noughmad on 26. December 2011 at 19:16

      I was thinking about trying that, and I probably will in the near future. However, apart from the beautiful installer, I don’t know of any advantage it would have over Arch.

      Reply

      • If you are interested, I invite you to #chakra-devel irc channel. I do not speak English but there you can satisfy your curiosity if you are interested.
        Thanks for the reply and good work šŸ˜‰

        Reply

  4. Posted by Nikolaus Waxweiler on 26. December 2011 at 19:19

    Yes! I like this. Thank you!

    Reply

  5. Posted by dave on 26. December 2011 at 19:48

    hi,

    I noticed that if button size is set to small in the deco configuration, the word “menu” disappears from the menu button. Where should i file such a bug? in bko? and related to what software?

    Reply

  6. How about replacing the “Menu” text with app name? Like we do in Kexi menu http://kexi-project.org/pics/2.4/rc1/kexi-2.4-removed-borders.png

    Reply

    • Posted by noughmad on 26. December 2011 at 22:31

      It can be configured to do that in Decoration configuration. And I agree, it seems better this way.

      Reply

  7. Posted by gnumdk on 27. December 2011 at 00:11

    Another words aboute this šŸ™‚

    Here a kded module for appmenu:

    https://projects.kde.org/projects/playground/base/kded-appmenu

    And here kwin using this modules (only oxygen style for now, as it introduce a new button)

    https://gitorious.org/kde-workspace-appmenu

    Reply

  8. Awesome!

    How close are we to also having tabbed applications have their tabs in the borders?

    Is this post becoming a reality at last? http://blog.zx2c4.com/548

    Reply

  9. Posted by thorGT on 27. December 2011 at 08:48

    Unfortunately, it doesn’t work with Qt 4.8.0-3.fc16 on Fedora 16 with both the Oxygen Appmenu from kde-look.org and git.kde.org. The deco shows up in System Settings, but when I choose it and hit Apply, nothing happens. After logging in and out of KDE, nothing changes.

    Reply

  10. Posted by thorGT on 27. December 2011 at 08:55

    Could you also please clarify what do appmenu-qt, dbusmenu-qt, and otheres do? A always, there’s a ton of wrappers that fo the same thing…..

    Reply

  11. Posted by thorGT on 27. December 2011 at 09:12

    Please, also add the ifnormation that appmenu-qt IS required for this to work, along with dbusmenu-qt and oxygen-appmenu.

    Reply

  12. Posted by STiAT on 27. December 2011 at 11:01

    Thought this application menu API was added recently in GTK+…

    Reply

  13. Posted by Fri13 on 27. December 2011 at 23:42

    Why we need to make the Ctrl+M hide function so legacy and replace it with stupid Canonicals idea of window decoration menu?

    Window manager and application are two different software and they should never be mixed anyway! If window manager crash, it should not affect to application and vice versa!

    Just add a “hide/show menu” button in toolbar what can be located to right end of the menubar or any other location (and possibility to have any menubar item alligned to left/middle/right and problem is fixed!) .

    Why we need to follow one company what does not want to do anything good about usability?

    Reply

    • Posted by noughmad on 28. December 2011 at 00:08

      You don’t need to do anything. I happen to like the work these people did as it gives me another option of how to setup my working environment. I am not telling you how you should use your computer, and I neither will I listen to you doing the same to me.

      What is shown in the picture isn’t even Canonical’s idea, they put the menu into a panel just like OS X does. That doesn’t seem very convenient to me, but I don’t go around telling people it’s wrong.

      Reply

      • Well, just to provide some balance to the ranting of Fri13 – I think the appmenu thing is awesome. Exporting the menu over dbus makes a lot of sense and can allow for new, cool things – I look forward to seeing those šŸ˜€

        The one you show, having the menu in the window decoration, is a cool one. I think it could be improved (eg by using the ‘full width’ menu if there is space and only collapsing to a single button if there is not) but it already is an improvement on small screens. Thanks for your work!

        Reply

        • Posted by noughmad on 1. January 2012 at 21:58

          None of this is my work, I’m just posting it because nobody else did and I think it’s very cool.

          Reply

  14. Posted by Alejandro on 28. December 2011 at 21:04

    I don’t know the technical implications of this but it really looks nice, altough I prefer using ctrl+m just when I need to use the menus.

    Reply

  15. Posted by Ritesh Raj Sarraf on 3. January 2012 at 09:35

    Really nice and elegant. anything that helps reclaim screen space is good.

    Reply

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