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[TUTORIAL] Get started with activities

User avatar neverendingo
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This is meant as an introduction to the concept called activities. We are talking about KDE 4.1.2

First, everybody knows the old concept of virtual desktops. But now with plasma we have this new thing called Activities.

It is meant to have a different set of plasmoids/wallpapers/information on multiple "desktops". Not really related to the traditional virtual desktops, but it looks like it. At first.

So let's start

You see the plasma logo in the upper right corner (the cashew). Click on it and choose "zoom out". Now the desktop as you know it shrinks.
Note to users of Kubuntu Intrepid: The functionality of the upper right cashew was removed.
Now again click the cashew and choose "add activity". Now you should see a new blank desktop besides the old one. This can be repeated multiple times.
Click on the cashew again on any of the desktops and choose "zoom in". That get's you to the chosen activity.
Switching between these activities can be done with Ctrl+SHIFT+P or Ctrl+SHIFT+N.
Please note, that, as of now, these shortcuts are hardcoded, you cannot change them.

What's the advantage??

Every activity has an own configuration, means, you can set a different wallpaper and a different set of icons or plasmoids for each of them. And that is where the traditional concept of desktops gets to a new point.
See this two screenshots for 2 of my own activities:

Image

That's my personal activity, the folderview pointing to the traditional desktop folder, a random picture viewer for pics of my family, twitter plasmoid, moon phases... It changes regularly, as i want it.
Image

This one was especially made for this forum. 2 folderviews, on pointing to a remote dir, one to my local project dir. When finishing a local test, uploading can be done by simply drag and drop.
Then i have a color picker and a calculator, useful sometimes.
Ah, and the obligatory TODO note ;)

So, that should be enough for a first introduction. Feedback for improvements welcome :)

Last edited by neverendingo on Mon Oct 20, 2008 2:48 pm, edited 1 time in total.


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User avatar Dryfit
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Any idea if it will have a shortcut in the future to fast switch to a activitie? Because zooming out and it is a bit of a pain.

kubuntu intrepid doesn't have the zoom out and in any more in the last updates, it was there before. Can't try it anymore :'(


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User avatar neverendingo
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I am not using intrepid ATM, only hardy, is Ctrl+SHIFT+P or N not working for you?


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User avatar Hans
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There is also a tabbar widget (I think it's in playground) which let's you switch activities. More information.


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User avatar Dryfit
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neverendingo wrote:I am not using intrepid ATM, only hardy, is Ctrl+SHIFT+P or N not working for you?


thanks that works i can switch between the activities now. Did not know about this shortcuts, many thanks. Will do a fresh intrepid install again maybe that solves the zoom in and out in cashew.


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I asked in IRC, and somehow it seems to be broken. So if you are a intrepid user, wait for updates on that.


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JackieBrown
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Just curious - and thanks for the post, I wondered what that was for - why do we still have the virtual desktops? I would have that this would be a replacement?

Nothing wrong with different ways of doing things, of course.


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JackieBrown wrote:Just curious - and thanks for the post, I wondered what that was for - why do we still have the virtual desktops? I would have that this would be a replacement?

Nothing wrong with different ways of doing things, of course.


The virtual desktops are for applications, while activities are for your plasma widgets. Yes, it can be confusing. Personally, I wished there was a way I could assign an activity to a specific virtual desktop, as the applications I use for that desktop match one of my activities. Being able to switch them both simultaneously would be so sweet.


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User avatar dcrabs
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Dryfit wrote:
neverendingo wrote:I am not using intrepid ATM, only hardy, is Ctrl+SHIFT+P or N not working for you?


thanks that works i can switch between the activities now. Did not know about this shortcuts, many thanks. Will do a fresh intrepid install again maybe that solves the zoom in and out in cashew.


In intrepid they applied a patch to disable the zoom buttons for activities on the cashew. I don't know if it is still possible to used it though. Here the short-cuts do not work even though it upgraded from hardy to intrepid. You can find the information here
It is a bit annoying that I, as the user, can't decide if I want to use the feature or not.
At least that is what I know.
david

Last edited by dcrabs on Sun Oct 19, 2008 8:08 am, edited 1 time in total.


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I talked to Riddell about it. It was decided to deactivate this feature for usability reasons, though this decision was made with lack of knowledge about the activites. Unfortunately, it is too late to change it back for Intrepid and because it is patched out there is now way to reenable them by editing a config file or so.

On my upgraded machine the shortcuts do not work either.
DryFit: since it works for you, did you made a fresh intrepid install? Can you look up how the shortcuts are configured?

Btw: Once i read, that assigning activites to virtual desktops is a planned (or at least conceived) feature. However i cannot remember if it was assigned to a specific version.

EDIT:
In the systemsettings shortcut module in hardy i cannot find ctrl+shift+n/p though they are working.

EDIT2:
Riddell posted the applied patch. As you see below, just the cashe'w menu items were disabled, so the functionality is supposed to be there. A würg around should be possible. I'll checkout python's new plasma capabilities the next days.

Code: Select all
Index: kdebase-workspace-4.1.2/libs/plasma/containment.cpp
===================================================================
--- kdebase-workspace-4.1.2.orig/libs/plasma/containment.cpp    2008-09-26 01:33:15.000000000 +0200
+++ kdebase-workspace-4.1.2/libs/plasma/containment.cpp 2008-09-26 01:34:02.000000000 +0200
@@ -175,12 +175,12 @@
         zoomAction->setShortcuts(keys);
         d->actions().addAction("zoom in", zoomAction);

-        zoomAction = new QAction(i18n("Zoom Out"), this);
+        /*zoomAction = new QAction(i18n("Zoom Out"), this);
         zoomAction->setIcon(KIcon("zoom-out"));
         connect(zoomAction, SIGNAL(triggered(bool)), this, SLOT(zoomOut()));
         zoomAction->setShortcutContext(Qt::WidgetWithChildrenShortcut);
         zoomAction->setShortcut(QKeySequence(QKeySequence::ZoomOut));
-        d->actions().addAction("zoom out", zoomAction);
+        d->actions().addAction("zoom out", zoomAction);*/

         QAction *activityAction = new QAction(i18n("Add Activity"), this);
         activityAction->setIcon(KIcon("list-add"));

Last edited by Blizzz on Mon Oct 20, 2008 12:37 am, edited 1 time in total.


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User avatar Jucato
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Perhaps you can still add and use activities even if the button is disabled? I haven't looked at the patch, so I'm just guessing here.

As for keyboard shortcuts, they are I think hard coded into Plasma. They are definitely not set through System Settings Keyboard Shortcuts nor in Input Actions/KHotKeys (otherwise they won't be working at all).


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edited my post while Jucato was writing his.


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User avatar irina_r
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Blizzz wrote:I talked to Riddell about it. It was decided to deactivate this feature for usability reasons, though this decision was made with lack of knowledge about the activites. Unfortunately, it is too late to change it back for Intrepid and because it is patched out there is now way to reenable them by editing a config file or so.


Grr.

Riddell posted the applied patch. As you see below, just the cashe'w menu items were disabled, so the functionality is supposed to be there. A würg around should be possible. I'll checkout python's new plasma capabilities the next days.


Unfortunately, I don't have the technical expertise to apply that patch, but I'll point my in-house sysadmin (boud) to it tonight and he might be able to do something.


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Jucato wrote:As for keyboard shortcuts, they are I think hard coded into Plasma. They


Yes, they are hardcoded. I don't know if it will be possible to configure them in 4.2: it was originally planned, but I'm not sure.


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User avatar neverendingo
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Thanks for the additions, i updated the tut to reflect the new informations.


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