Roxen Application Launcher 1.2.1

There’s a new release of Roxen Application Launcher (come again?) for Linux.

Although the previous release, using GTK3, came quite recently this release has some new things.


I dumped the “keyfile” solution for the application settings in favour to GSettings. So the settings is no longer stored in a file in the application directory but rather in the system’s application settings backend. GSettings is part of GIO – the GNOME networking library – and since RAL depends on GIO no new dependency is needed. The upside is that I could put a file of source code in the bin! Plus, it’s fun learning new stuff!

Editors and content types

Previously I have kept an editor – name and command line – for every content type. Anders at Roxen thought it’d be better if editors and content types were separated. I’ve thought about that before but never bothered to do anything about it.

But now, along with GTK3, there’s a new (I think) AppInfo class and the new AppChooserButton and AppChooserDialog widgets so I thought it’d be cool to use those. So selecting an editor for a new content type is way more simple now, and it also looks nicer. Plus we get the icon for the editor in the content type list under the “Applications” tab ;)

Simple logging

I also implemented some simple logging which can be viewed under the new “Logging” tab. This will be worked upon and at the moment not very useful information is written to the log, but at least it’s a start.

Default icons

The icons in the notification popup – which only are three to the number – is now fetched from the user’s default icon theme. They we’re bundled before.

SOUP all the way

Previously I have used a little hack for saving downloaded files to disk. The problem was that the Vapi bindings for libsoup casted the data to a string which totally scrambled binary content like images and such. My solution was to write a simple C-function which took a SoupMessageBody struct as argument and then wrote that to diskt always keeping the uint8[] type of the content.

I bug reported this way back and it’s now fixed in Vala so I dumped my solution and am now using Vala all the way. Gone is one C and one Vapi file.

While at it I changed from using blocking functions in libsoup to the async ones. You never really noticed blocking calls was used before, but right is right. Right?

And that’s that for this time I think!

Roxen Application Launcher 1.2.1

Sources is available at the Roxen Application Launcher Github repository

GTK TreeViewColumn with icon and text

The other day I wanted to put both an icon and text in the same GTK+ TreeViewColumn, and I had absolutely no idea how to do that. So I Google’d and Google’d but had trouble finding any examples. I even downloaded the source code of the Gnome System Monitor – where exactly what I wanted exist – but that was mostly written in C++ which I know very little of.

But I’m stubborn, and after a while I found and example in Python which I managed to interpret. Even though I know very little Python it’s not that hard to follow, and the example was short.

In short what’s needed is packing two CellRenderers in the same TreeViewColumn. Quite logical when you know about it. The example below is in Vala:

15 lines of Vala
  1. var tree_view = new TreeView ();
  2. var col = new TreeViewColumn ();
  3. col.title = title;
  4. col.resizable = true;
  5. var crp = new CellRendererPixbuf ();
  6. col.pack_start (crp, false);
  7. col.add_attribute (crp, “pixbuf”, 0);
  8. var crt = new CellRendererText ();
  9. col.pack_start (crt, false);
  10. col.add_attribute (crt, “text”, 1);
  11. tree_view.insert_column (col, 1);

I hacked up a simple application that shows all installed programs – that has a .desktop entry I guess – in a list (the screenshot above). The sources is available at my Github repository.

Happy coding!

Roxen Application Launcher 1.1

There’s a new release of Roxen Application Launcher (come again?) for Linux.

I have updated the application launcher to use GTK3 so that it builds on Ubuntu 11.10 and any other Linux distribution using GTK3. This also made it possible to drop the dependency for libunique since Gtk.Application can handle single instance applications.

I also fixed a bug which made it impossible to use the appliction launcher on sites not running on port 80 or 443.

So there’s no new features in this release.

Roxen Application Launcher 1.1

Sources is available at the Roxen Application Launcher Github repository

Roxen Application Launcher 1.0.10

This is not the latest version of Roxen Application Launcher. You’ll find the latest version at the download page.

There’s a new release of Roxen Application Launcher (come again?) for Linux.

No big news, but the GTK+ tree view of files is now sortable. The “minimize to tray” function is now actually invoked when the window is minimized rather than closed. A right click in the file list now also let you go the the file’s directory in the Sitebuilder.

Also fixed a bug where the locales didn’t get installed correctly and also fixed a bug which scrambled the configuration file a bit.

Roxen Application Launcher 1.0.10

Sources is available at the Roxen Application Launcher Github repository

Notification area icons in Ubuntu 11.04

If you’r an Ubuntu user and have upgraded to 11.04 and use the new desktop environment Unity, you might have noticed that some applications that implement the GTK status icon doesn’t show up in the notification area – or tray or systray as it also may be called.

The reason for this is that Ubuntu now utilise a “whitelist” for which applications can be displayed in the notification area. You can (maybe not that) easily add any application to the whitelist by invoking the command gsettings in the following way:

1 lines of Bash
  1. gsettings set com.canonical.Unity.Panel systray-whitelist [‘app-1’, ‘app-2’, ‘app-3’]

Now, this can be quite a difficult command to remember and since you will need to first grab the whitelist, alter it, and then put it back. Since I’m lame at Bash I thought it would be a nice misson to create a Bash script that makes this interference simpler, just to pick up some more Bash knowledge. So I did!

The script can be used like this:

8 lines of Bash
  1. # Add MyApplication to whitelist
  2. systray-whitelist add MyApplication
  3. # Remove MyApplication from whitelist
  4. systray-whitelist remove MyApplication
  5. # Show applications in whitelist
  6. systray-whitelist show

And that’s that.

Download systray-whitelist 00:05, Wed 04 May 2011 :: 2.5 kB

Roxen Application Launcher 1.0.3

This is not the latest version of Roxen Application Launcher. You’ll find the latest version at the download page.


In this release of Roxen Application Launcher (come again?) for Linux I’ve gotten rid of a few dependencies, namely: gconf, libgee and libgnome. The reason I dumped gconf and libgnome was to make it easier to install in KDE. I’ve verified it installs in KDE, although I noticed the translation doesn’t work and the Roxen SVG logo doesn’t show up in the window top border.

Roxen Application Launcher in KDE

Libgee is a collections API written in Vala and since I used a newer version than what is available in most package managers, and I’m not sure all Linux distros provide libgee, I decided to dump it and implement the same functionality with the generic collection classes in Vala. And since the collections used in RAL is quite simple that worked out just fine.

I have also tried to implement bundled download, which is only used in Roxen Editorial Portal. Since I don’t have access to such an installation I haven’t been able to verify it works as expected. I re-implemented the same behavior as in the launcher written in Pike by the Roxen guys.

Oh, and if you already have an installation of my RAL your previously downloaded files and settings will not be available to the new install. Since I dumped gconf I now store the settings in a plain text file and I have put the RAL application directory in ~/.conf/roxenlauncher since ~/.conf is where you should put application specific data according to In previous versions of RAL I stored application data in ~/.roxenlauncher so if you want your previously downloaded files copy ~/.roxenlauncher/files to ~/.conf/roxenlauncher/files.

The sources is available at Github.

Roxen Appliction Launcher 1.0.3 00:43, Fri 24 September 2010 :: 384.8 kB

Roxen Application Launcher 1.0

This is not the latest version of Roxen Application Launcher. You’ll find the latest version at the download page.


So I had a go at the Roxen Application Launcher (come again?) for Linux. I added a context menu – when you right click – to the file list. When you right click a file in the list you get the option to view that file in the Sitebuilder, edit it or remove it.

Other than that there’s nothing new. And since the application seems to be very stable I decided to bump the version number to 1.0.

The sources is available at Github.

Roxen Appliction Launcher 1.0 00:06, Sun 12 September 2010 :: 376.2 kB

Roxen Application Launcher 0.4.5

This is not the latest version of Roxen Application Launcher. You’ll find the latest version at the download page.

Screenshot of Roxen Application Launcher

Okey, here comes an update of my Roxen Application Launcher (come again?) for Linux.

There’s no major changes to this release. The connection to the Roxen server is now stored in a shared object so that it can use a “keep-alive” connection. Not that I think it matters a great deal.

There’s now an option to change the behavior of the applications window close button so that it hides the application to the tray – or notification area as it’s called in Gnome – rather than closes the application.

More Vala programming to the people – Sources at Github.

Roxen Appliction Launcher 0.4.5 23:00, Tue 13 April 2010 :: 375.9 kB

GTK hacking in Pike

Tweepi, the Twitter client written in PikeI’ve found out that it’s great fun programming desktop applications and of course it gets more fun the more you learn. Now I’m doing a Twitter client in Pike – my favorite programming language – mostly because I wanted to try out GTK programming in Pike. I use the good Twitter client Pino – written in Vala – and I have borrowed the concept and layout from it. I call it Tweepi.

The only major difference between Tweepi and Pino – besides they are written in different programming languages – is that Pino uses WebKit to draw the status messages where I am using good old GTK widgets – and I guess there are no bindings to WebKit in Pike for that matter ;)

One thing I noticed is that the Gtk.Label widget sucks at displaying longer texts that line wraps. Since the label widget handles some HTML formatting I thought that it would be suitable for displaying the status messages, but the text looked like shit, line wrapping where ever it felt like. And the Gtk.TextView widget doesn’t handle formatting per default so I Googled some and found that you can format text in Gtk.TextViews by inserting Gtk.TextTags at desired positions. And since Pike has the most awesome HTML parser It was just a matter of sending the text through the parser and create some Gtk.TextTags and inserting them at the same position in the text buffer. (Well, actually it wasn’t that easy but with some help from a Python class I found on the web it was doable).

So now I have a start at something that is a Gtk.HtmlTextView – actually it inherits Gtk.TextView but has an additional method insert_html_text(string text) – and albeit quite simple at the moment it’s worth continuing on. The code for the HtmlTextView is available at my Github repository.

In general I find the GTK implementation in Pike to be pretty OK, but there exist some verbose, and tedious, stuff like getting the text from a Gtk.TextView:

2 lines of Pike
  1. Gtk.TextBuffer b = my_textview>get_buffer();
  2. string text = b>get_text(b>get_start_iter(), b>get_end_iter(), 0);

which in Vala and C# would be done like:

5 lines of Vala
  1. // Vala
  2. string text = my_textview.get_buffer().text;
  3. // C#
  4. string text = myTextView.Buffer.Text;

Anyway! Tweepi isn’t done yet but I think I have solved the most tedious stuff and it’s starting to become useful. It’ll probably be done in a couple of weeks and I will of course release the sources then.

Roxen Application Launcher 0.4.4

This is not the latest version of Roxen Application Launcher. You’ll find the latest version at the download page.

So, here’s a new release of the Roxen Application Launcher for Linux (RAL). The previous versions used my home made (sloppy so) HTTP client which didn’t handle redirects or secure connections – thank you tec for the feed back – since I had some major problems getting libsoup working with binary files like images and such. Binary files was heavily scrambled when read from or written to disk so I made my own simple HTTP client that kept the data as a byte array to prevent some underlying libraries (GLib) from fiddling with it.

But I solved the libsoup issue so now the RAL handles redirects and secure connections. This is how I solved it:

The libsoup issue

When uploading a file back to the Roxen server I use IOChannel (g_io_channel in plain C) instead of Gio. So the upload works like this:

13 lines of Vala
  1. var sess = new Soup.SessionSync();
  2. var mess = new Soup.Message(“PUT”, get_uri());
  3. mess.request_headers.append(“Cookie”, get_cookie());
  4. mess.request_headers.append(“Translate”, “f”);
  5. IOChannel ch = new IOChannel.file(local_file, “r”);
  6. ch.set_encoding(null); // Enables reading of binary data
  7. string data;
  8. size_t len;
  9. ch.read_to_end(out data, out len);
  10. mess.request_body.append(Soup.MemoryUse.COPY, data, len);
  11. sess.send_message(mess);

And that seems to work like a charm!

When downloading data it’s a bit more tricky! Of course I tried using IOChannel in this case also but that made no difference. Downloaded images ended up 4 bytes long! But then I thought: You can make your own C bindings in Vala (remember the Vala compiler generates C code) through what is called Vapi files. So what I did was writing a C function that takes a SoupMessageBody object/struct passed from Vala and writes the data part to a file given as argument.

19 lines of C/C++
  1. gboolean save_soup_data(SoupMessageBody *data, const char *file)
  2. {
  3. FILE *fh;
  4. if ((fh = fopen(file, “w”)) == NULL) {
  5. fprintf(stderr, “Unable to open file \”%s\” for writing!\n”, file);
  6. return FALSE;
  7. }
  8. int wrote = fwrite(data>data, 1, data>length, fh);
  9. if (wrote != (int)data>length) {
  10. fprintf(stderr, “wrote (%d) != data->length (%d). Data may have been “
  11. “truncated”, wrote, (int)data>length);
  12. }
  13. fclose(fh);
  14. return TRUE;
  15. }

And this was then made available to Vala by the following Vapi file:

6 lines of Vala
  1. [CCode (cprefix = “”, lower_case_cprefix = “”, cheader_filename = “”)]
  2. namespace Soppa // Soppa is Swedish for Soup 😉
  3. {
  4. [CCode (cname = “save_soup_data”)]
  5. public bool save_soup_data(Soup.MessageBody data, string file);
  6. }

And this is how the actual Vala code downloading the files looks like:

15 lines of Vala
  1. var sess = new Soup.SessionSync();
  2. var mess = new Soup.Message(“GET”, get_uri());
  3. mess.request_headers.append(“Cookie”, get_cookie());
  4. mess.request_headers.append(“Translate”, “f”);
  5. sess.send_message(mess);
  6. if (mess.status_code == Soup.KnownStatusCode.OK) {
  7. // Here I call the C function made available through the Vapi file
  8. if (Soppa.save_soup_data(mess.response_body, local_file)) {
  9. message(“The file was downloaded and written to disk OK”);
  10. }
  11. else {
  12. message(“Failed writing data to disk!”);
  13. }
  14. }

So that’s that on that! ;)

The notification

I also – just for fun – implemented a notification mechanism through libnotify. Since I believe that can be rather annoying it’s not activated by default but can easily be activated by a checkbox in the user interface.

The packages

The Roxen Application Launcher for Linux can be downloaded at the download page at Github where also the work in progress sources is available or downloaded below!

Roxen Application Launcher 0.4.4 23:06, Wed 13 January 2010 :: 373.5 kB

Stay black!