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[HELP] Plasma desktop template when creating a new Activity

User avatar hook
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Original problem

I spin up Activities and wind them down at a pretty high frequency. So I developed a preference on what a new Activity should consist of, to be as quick as possible as useful as it gets. And I am trying to create a Plasma template for when a new Activity gets created, to optimise this process.

So what I would like to achieve is that whenever I start a new Activity, it has the following settings/functionality:
  • the desktop has Desktop view (instead of current default Folder view)
  • a Folder view Plasmoid is put on the desktop
  • that plasmoid is set, so it shows all files and folders associated with that Activity (i.e. activities:/current)
  • (bonus: the desktop gets a random image assigned for background)

(To preserve space here, I wrote more about this in my blog post.)

Global theme

First I tried the Creating a Global Theme Package (in connection with the Unity theme for Plasma example).

The two resources are pretty good for theming, but when I saved my theme using the Plasma Global Theme Explorer (lookandfeelexplorer) and later re-applied it as my Global Theme (incl. layout) in System Settings, two unfortunate things happened:
  • it overrode all my existing Activities
  • it did not apply to a new Activity

So that falls short of what I need.

Plasma desktop scripting

Next I tried the Desktop Shell Scripting Console (plasma-interactiveconsole).

This ended up in a mess, and I needed to pull ~/.config/plasma-org.kde.plasma.desktop-appletsrc from a backup.

To try it out I simply copy-pasted the Unity theme example and applied it. So I blame mostly myself. But it would be much more user-friendly if the tool would have an “Undo” button or a way to switch between the state that is stored in the settings and the script in the console.

I admit, I did not find the time to go through all of the Plasma scripting documentation, but I am at the stage of getting lost a bit.

One thing that makes me scratch my head is that the Plasma scripting: Configuration keys page is full of headings that say “BUG”, which I am not sure what to make of.

Call for help

Since I am not much of a coder, let alone a KDE dev, at this stage I feel a bit stuck. Any guidance would be warmly welcome.


It's time to prod some serious buttock! ;)
YoYo
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I was about to write that plasma copies current settings of panels **and** desktop but it looks like it was just accidental on my setup: I have the wallpaper set to single color black, the layout set to desktop, no widgets and I don't have anything in `~/Desktop` ;-).

When I create a new activity, the panels stay the same and I get a nice black and empty desktop as in my "main" activity... except that when I checked due to your post, it is really an empty folderview ;-).

The black background though seems to be some bug of my current configuration: when I check the configuration, the wallpaper is set to image, but no image is selected... (I didn't try to re-login/restart plasma though). When I created a new user and tried to re-create my setup there, the new activity gets the default image background...

It looks like the "panels are common to all activities, desktop is per session" distinction seems to be hardcoded. My panels have an "empty" `activityId=` setting in the config file, while the desktops have an activity specific `activityId=<some activity id>` setting. I tried to change that to the empty`activityId=` on the desktop, hoping that that would make it the same across all activities similar to panels, but it looks like plasma considers that illegal, because it just dropped it and recreated the default desktop ;(. Not sure if the desktop case is hardcoded, or if its a property of the actual plugin... (didn't try with other plugins).

One way to get what you want would be to somehow change the (systemwide?) defaults (for a new desktop), unless those are hardcoded. I looked up the announcement when folderview became default [1], misremembering that it contained instructions on how to change the systemwide default, but it does not ;(.

I tried changing `Containment` it in `/usr/share/plasma/shells/org.kde.plasma.desktop/contents/defaults` from folder to desktop, but that didn't work (though maybe one needs to run some configuration update or something?)

[1] https://blogs.kde.org/2017/03/01/plasma ... sktop-mode
User avatar hook
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Maybe this bug is relevant:
https://invent.kde.org/documentation/de ... /issues/52

I tried changing `Containment` it in `/usr/share/plasma/shells/org.kde.plasma.desktop/contents/defaults` from folder to desktop, but that didn't work (though maybe one needs to run some configuration update or something?)


I would prefer not to have to deal with the system files. These also tend to get overwritten during package updates.

This should override it:

~/.local/share/plasma/look-and-feel/{$theme_name}/contents/defaults


It's time to prod some serious buttock! ;)

 
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