Zomg! Tooltips! (Or, Plasma is pretty darn easy to hack on)

Another little unimportant feature that I did. ™

Two days ago something inspired me to try hacking on Plasma. While I was glancing through KDE’s bugzilla looking for a certain bug, I glanced over and saw that there was a wishlist about the QuickLaunch plasmoid not having tooltips. “That’s strange…” I though, “Lots of plasmoids have tooltips, and QuickLaunch definitely would seem like one of those applets that would/should have tooltips.”

Later that day I had this:

With guidance from the awesome dudes on #plasma I got my patch all up in the reviewboard for review: http://reviewboard.kde.org/r/418/
A few hours later it got reviewed, and 48 hours ago it got committed to the KDE svn repository; my first “real” contribution, which went from my head to the KDE repo in less than 12 hours flat.

Plasma is pretty easy to hack on, imo. Most of my prior coding experience had been with PyQt/PyKDE programming in python. C++ took a little getting used to I suppose, (I did do one or two handy-dandy patches for Adept in the past though) but the Plasma API is nice to work with, and the other applets were fine examples which made implementing the tooltips easy. The hardest part was actually not making the tooltip, but rather getting the info about the name of the application shown in QuickLaunch from the desktop file to the tooltip. Luckily there’s another applet that also does this, the Icon plasmoid. 😉 With a few pointers from that I had the whole thing compilin’ and displaying nice tooltips in under an hour.

The feature’s nothing really big, and won’t appear until KDE 4.3, but for some reason I felt compelled to share my experience. I guess I just think that this sort of stuff is fun; I hope I can find other things that I am capable of doing to do. 🙂 I think it’s cool how I could just go and implement a feature like that, myself being a novice when it comes to C++. (Though maybe I’m improving? I wouldn’t want to give myself too much credit now :P) When I said that I’d like to blog about something Plasma related last time, I had no idea I’d be blogging about this…

Anyways, go out and test the Beta of Kubuntu 9.04, it’s shaping up to be a real dozy! 😀


5 Responses to Zomg! Tooltips! (Or, Plasma is pretty darn easy to hack on)

  1. Jonas says:

    Heh, now that the quicklaunch applet is working properly again I hope you didn’t break it again 😉Seriously though, if you want something more fun to hack with: how about “Right-click on the launcher to get a mini k-menu to make it easier to add launchers”…that’s the one thing (after your add-on) that I miss from the KDE3.x equivalent.Great to have that tooltip back (says I without having tried it yet)!

  2. lure says:

    Congrats for first commit. Now request KDE SVN account and I am already looking forward for new contributions from you.

  3. tathosh says:


    you made a great hacking with this feature. I’d just like to ask whether you would be willing to hack with other feature called “Force row settings”. This setting is available in Task Manager, and it would be geat to have such feature in Quicklaunch. Currently when I want two rows of icons in Quicklaunch, I have to increase the height of the Panel (and it is not nice to have very high panel).

    I have also created an idea in KDE Brainstorm Forum about this feature (http://forum.kde.org/force-row-settings-t-45474.html).

    It would be great, if you could implement this feature.

    Thanks for your help.

  4. J&D says:

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  5. Keith Z-G says:

    Out of curiosity, since you say your main experience has been PyQt/PyKDE, is there any really decent tutorials (or at least comprehensive documentation) out there?

    I’ve been trying to get into it myself, but the scant few tutorials out there seem to be for Qt3/KDE3 (and although KDE 3 remains my favourite DE, the times, they are a’ changing), and although the few Techbase articles up there about PyKDE/PyQt and writing Plasmoids with Python are pretty good, well, there just aren’t that many so their coverage is a bit hit-and-miss.

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