The new Deskbar "mini mode"

Editing of attributes of packaged files is not possible.

So Deskbar will just collect all executable files and add it to list? If so, many non applications items like resources and add-ons may be collected.

It would collect only those which have a “category” attribute or something like that. And yes, for packaged apps, you couldn’t change the category, which is a known limitation of this. As I sait it was just an experiment for now, more design and discussion is needed to see if it can actually work and if the constraints are acceptable.

1 Like

I thought about it for some time, and concluded that there should be a pre-defined list of categories, otherwise we’ll end with a long list of programmers’ defined categories, each containing one program. We can look at the Haikuports database or at the Cygwin database for a clue about what these categories could be, (though Cygwin lists all KDE-related programs under “KDE” category, which puts Konsole, KWrite and Konqueror into the same “folder”).

However, I don’t know what to do with programs that fit into more than one category. For example, Konqueror is both a file manager (“System”), a media viewer (“Media”) and a file transfer tool (“Network”). Should we do the categories list a multiple choise? And what shall we do with categories that can have subcategories, like “Network” :arrow_right: “Browsers” and “Network” :arrow_right: “Instant Messengers”? And, last but not least, who will check the whole Haikuports database and set categories for each and every program there? :slight_smile:

But possibly this is a subject for another topic…

Probably worth noting that there are already (much discussed) categories for packages in place in HDS and that the packages and their meta-data from there can be easily downloaded in a convenient JSON file. There is a JSON schema available for it and the API is documented (see “Get All Package Versions Details”). HaikuDepot has a parser for this. Here is an example snippet of the JSON data;

      "name": "burnitnow",
      "modifyTimestamp": 1542487425046,
      "prominenceOrdering": 200,
      "derivedRating": 2.75,
      "pkgScreenshots": [
      "pkgCategories": [
        { "code": "audio" },
        { "code": "productivity" },
        { "code": "systemandutilities" }

Another API exists to obtain a JSON file containing the mapping from those category codes to their localized names.

1 Like

Which is here btw, so feel free to try and fix…

Old Deskbar mini-mode is back in recent nightlies.

Here is a video of a new Haiku user being confused on how to reposition the Deskbar:

The little dots are not enough of a hint for some.

It shouldn’t be too hard to add a proper drop-down in the settings with a hint at the drag area…

IMHO, the easiest way would be adding the info on how to reposition the Deskbar to Quick Tour.


Just added the menu in the prefs.

Thanks a lot! I’ve converted from Beta2 to latest Nightly because of the return of the old Deskbar mini-mode!

I missed it so much!

To hitech: I know you were not the only one who missed the old mini-mode, although for the life of me I cannot understand why, the new mini-mode is the better version of the two. Rest assured that Deskbar ended up in a better place in the end.

Related statement: Vertical mini-mode (the kind hitech likes) should be mirrored on the bottom of the screen in x so that the team menu gets the corner with the leaf next to it, and the tray should go above that. This is for Fit’s law easy access to the team and leaf menus over the replicant tray. This (probably) wouldn’t affect hitech as he seems to prefer top right mini-mode, but I’ve seen some screenshots of people using bottom-left mini mode…

Also, I think we should consider changing the default window zoom behavior to (once again) ignore and cover up mini mode on zoom. One of the reason people use mini-mode is because they are using Haiku on a netbook-type device with a small screen, so they need all the Application screen real estate they can get. Also we use the same zoom behavior between old and new mini-mode, so there is a small change in how that works from before the introduction of horizontal mini-mode.

On the topic of category based Deskbar applications: I oppose categories on two grounds. Firstly, I may not like the categorization that the categorizer decided on. Terminal tends to end up in a weird place. The second reason is more nuanced. From (the old) Macintosh HIG Chapter 4 Menus Page 82:

“Never use more than one level of submenus. A submenu at the second level would be buried too deep in the interface and would unnecessarily create another level of complexity. Also, it takes more time for the user to use and peruse a hierarchical menu than a pull-down menu. It is physically difficult to use a second level of submenus without slipping off the first submenu.”

Putting Tracker’s drill down menu’s and the fact that Deskbar IS a menu, so we’re already violating this idea aside for a moment, categories would mean adding another level of hierarchy to the DeskBar menu. If we do enable categories, I would like for those categories to go in the leaf menu where we have Applications, Demos, Desktop applets, and Preferences now. In addition I would like there to only be no further submenus beyond that.

Rather than going with categories from packages, I think the better solution is to add a Utilities folder and put a bunch of the smaller, less generally useful apps in there and keep Applications as a flat list of the rest of the default Haiku applications and third party apps. I have suggested this idea before on the mailing list, as have several other people on this forum independently of me.


For the last paragraph: seems very good idea to me as well.
In general I agree with most said.

1 Like

I think BeOS and Haiku worked a lot on menu navigation to make this more easily workable. We are very far from the old Macintosh where you had to keep holding the mouse button down to keep menus open…

I think no one thought about categories otherwise?

I think you are contradicting yourself. Does Terminal goes into “Applications” or “Utilities” then?

I don’t see a clear distinction between applications and utilities, so that does not seem like a great way to split things. An easier category to add would be Games. That should at least be unambiguous (except for Doom of course which clearly goes in the Utilities section).

But overall I also don’t think categories are going to work too well. As it was also suggested multiple times, we should just have type ahead filtering in the deskbar menu, allowing to type a few letters and get a list of matching apps (possibly matching on both names and a few keywords added as attributes to the app, as SuperPrefs had experimented with). This is similar to the current implementation of the Windows start menu, so users would probably be familiar with it.


Applications should be listed immediately. Currently the space below the virtual folders are totally not utilised. Plus we should have type-ahead filtering as well.

Applets, demos, and preferences can still have their folders at the top, but having another menu drill for applications is really tiring, plus it tends to open to the left side mostly, which is a counter cursor movement (rightwards for the menu open, then leftwards for the Applications).

In the meantime, it would be great if someone did fix the folder translations…

1 Like

Good day,

My two cents on this topic, with my little knowledge on it:

Actually, I see the directory structure more like this:

  • /boot
    – /apps
    – /home
    – /system
    – /Trash

The ‘apps’ folder would hold all apps but those that are intrinsic to the System which should be inside ‘system’, of course. This ‘apps’ folder would have write permission, so user can add/remove apps from there. Of course, this approach is “good” for single user. In case of multiuser, there could be an ‘apps’ folder in the user’s ‘home’ folder for “exclusive” apps.

Each entry (flat list) in the ‘apps’ folder could be a application folder (or some sort of it) that holds the application executable, data and settins, thus when removing the app, also settings would be removed.

Therefore, Deskbar just needs to search the apps folders for applications. Categories could be an added attribute to each ‘application folder’ so a query would add a link to the app in the “desired” category, though categories is something a bit of a personal thing. If the query reports that no origin is found, just removes the link.
I also would enjoy the ability of adding most used apps to the Deskbar, a la Dock, though I understand this would break the idea of only showing running apps on the Deskbar, maybe append a holder of “favorites”, that once running, moves the app to the Deskbar running apps side. I need to think this over a bit more.

Other topic is the icon size. I would like to have an option to increase the icon size on the Haiku leaf menu, not the font, just the icon, though I also understand that this would increase the length of the menus and the need to scroll up or down to get to the desired app to launch. Unless there is some sort of hierarchy in the menu. I know right now we can add folders to our liking and create some sort of hierarchy in the apps menu, so problem solved, though it needs some digging into the docs to get a hold on how to do that.

Of course, as I get to know better the way Haiku does things I might change these ideas, so for now, they are just ideas from a newbie.


Actually I was more inclined towards the categorization like done in the linux distro menus, from which “Utilities” is one of. You can’t expect a single “Applications” menu to scale with thousands of packages, even if we don’t have as many as linux distros, and even with the demos removed from the list. It’d still be better than what we have: everything plus a “Qt apps” subfolder because Qt apps don’t like being normal :stuck_out_tongue:
It doesn’t mean I always agree with the categorization itself though (Terminal definitely isn’t an “accessory” :smiley:).

We already have some categorization done in the ports tree itself btw, so it can probably be automated from that. Also, using attributes on the apps links would allow using different queries if needed: either a set of queries for each categories, or a single “Applications” query, letting people choose which layout they want without moving files around. The proposed changes to haikuporter would just add those attributes without any change to the normal menu, but allow to experiment.