Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Runners? Internets? YouTube? Both.

All of the above.

First, some good news. And then some other good news, with some additional good news.

I'm now employed by Blue Systems (a company sponsoring already quite a few devs and also sponsoring to work on KDE (currently part time, due to school).

What I've been working on has essentially been making KDE more competitive with Unity's "lenses" feature. KDE already has, and has had KRunner since 4.0 days, but not much effort was put into the area to make additional "runners" (plugins which can each search different things, like a "lense" in unity-speak). That is what I am trying to change...well, one of the make KRunner more competitive in this area. It's got lots of features, just hardly any have been taken advantage of yet. There are some areas where it lacks, but I expect introducing more features to it will show which areas are more grey than others, and we can fill it in from there.

Since we're now undergoing more integration with the web, it only makes sense to bring KDE closer towards it as well. Well, what kind of integration you ask?

It seemed to me like a YouTube runner could be useful, so I did that. Here's a screenshot.

It also seemed to me like a Bing/Image search runner could come in handy. So I did that:

It needs some tuning, yes. In particular I'm looking towards Aleix's QML port of KRunner (spoiler alert?), as that could give us some nice things to do with the UI, like make larger thumbnails..and more of a thumbnail view, I am thinking would make it useful.

The two runners aforementioned, have been merged into mainline kdeplasma-addons a week ago.

I'm also working  on another super sekret project (not really, I just feel it's too early to mention..even though it's already extremely functional). It has to do with QML (hint).


  1. This looks great. =)

  2. One thing I would like to see in KRunner is its own GHNS for easier runner installation. If I'm not mistaken they are currently mixed with plasmoids.

    I can't wait for the new improvements, especially on the GUI :p Thanks for your work and congratulations for your sponsorship.

  3. Ok, good luck for your work on krunner, it's a very good feature.

    Personally, I wait a better Clementine integration in krunner. (eg )

  4. Cool stuff. But to unclutter my runner and optimal integration between rekonq and krunner, I tend to have the specific webrunners switched off, and just use the webshortcut-runner. It would worth at least 100 internets to me if I could get the same response through that system. Though no idea whether possible.

  5. Awesome! great to see improvements in KRunner!
    it's one of those features which has a lot of potential, but isn't really exposed nicely. (e.g. look at spotlight's icon on OSX, which is comparable to KRunner but has some really nice extra's and layout improvements)

    I'm really looking forward to improvements in KRunner! :)

  6. You might consider using something like bang syntax:

    Youtube search would be:
    !yt something
    Bing image search:
    !bi something
    Google image search:
    !gi something

    and so on.


  7. @loreia

    i'm probably going to ditch the syntax altogether. as that other guy mentioned, we need a better way to present it.

    i'm also going to be implementing runner functionality in other applications, and it'll be far more integrated than it currently is.

    (also, duckduckgo is another runner i made/will merge shortly, btw)

  8. If you're talking images, really Flickr is the obvious one. From a free culture pov, they also have the largest creative commons collection of imagery anywhere (and unlike YouTube CC they let you download them). Personally I'd love to see runners for:

    * Flickr (+ Flicker with the Creative Commons advanced search option)
    * Wikipedia
    * Open font library (with font preview)
    * Diaspora (hey a man can dream. Maybe after they finally make an API)

    What would be really awesome though would be the ability to use opensearch from sites that offer it, in Krunner. With an opensearch runner, any website offering opensearch could be added and searched from krunner. You'd have to figure out how the interaction would work for finding and adding the opensearch files, but this would let people choose their favourite sites and search them all, easily from krunner.

  9. Great news Shaun Reich and congrats for your new work! The lens are the thing that made me envy unity :) We just need some filters and some adjustable columns to present better multiple results. Will be handy to be able to search for something and get results from adjustable sources in columns, like a column with google results, a column with wolfram results and one with duckduckgo results etc. Also as bugsbane mentioned would be awesome to see some social integration like the gwibber lens from unity with plugins for diaspora,, friendica, etc.. and firstly support the etchical networks.

  10. An opensearch runner is the first thing to do. You should check the code of rekonq's urlbar.

    KRunner is not adapted to web search. A same page can be returned many times (by bookmark runner, history runner, youtube runner etc...)

  11. Hi,

    And what about the ability to export custom searches snapshots in a new plasmoid ?

    Krunner -> search for Holidays -> have a holiday plasmoid which displays all holidays related documents, medias, bookmarks, and programs, available right on the desktop or in the panel ?

    Would it be hard to develop ? With activities in mind ?

  12. The cool thing about the Unity lenses is that the "runners" are grouped into different tabs. On the contrary in Krunner all results are presented in one "tab" which makes it sometimes hard to spot the wanted result. It was convenient in the early 4.x days when there were less runners available but IMHO now Krunner is just too powerful for such a simple view. I think Unitys lenses+scopes UI is really well done and could be ported 1to1 to plasma desktop.

  13. Well I think krunner doesn't lack to much in runners. It's lacking in good GUI design. A good presentation mode with categories where the user can visually indicate the ressources quickly he/she is looking for. I mean some kind of categorisation and serperation combined with a nice visually presentation.

    1. Think the last anonymous has the best point. KRunner has lots of useful runners already - sure, more is nice. But the biggest issue is the interface. It simply doesn't scale: if the top 3-4 results are not what you're looking for, well, you have to find another way to find what you are looking for as the scrolling and all that is just horrible. And the previews are way to small indeed...

      I love the idea, it works for launching apps and the occasional logout-action or opening of a recent document. I even use it sometimes to search through my mails - but then already the interface makes me give up if the first 3 results are not what I am looking for... :(

    2. totally agree. qml will give us an easy way to create different interfaces, and see which one works, in an attempt at recreating the lenses functinoality/filtering.

  14. @Bugsbane

    There's already a wikipedia/wikimedia one. it isn't lacking in any way, is it?

    as for adding new runners, the issue is finding services that actually have a good api and don't cap their query count.

    for instance, did you know that google's apis are no longer useful? they cap their queries at like 1k queries/day, which is unsuitable for KDE, and to get past it you need to pay. (bing image search was not my first idea, it was google images actually ;)

    most of the problem surrounds finding a site you want that actually has an api. take wolfram for instance, i can only link to use their api we'd have to pay. it's rather unfortunate really, for free software projects.

    @Kyriakos Brastianos

    yeah, i'm planning on doing social integration, and yes, mostly preferring the free services

    in terms of the interface, yes. i'm hoping we can solve this with QML and make it actually usable.

    but this is where my work on integrating it with other menus comes into play, it has the ability to select which runner to filter on, and search inside of that...much like unity.

    1. Does the wikipedia/wikimedia works for you? On my system it's broken since some releases.

    2. just type in "wiki something" and it should work if it's enabled. it does for me last i checked.

    3. What about the opensearch idea? No limits on the number of api calls there. It also means any site could add compatibility at any time, easily.

      Btw, I'm more interested in Flickr's creative commons search than Google Images. Not sure how Flickr's api is though.

    4. Strangely, the Wikipedia runner doesn't seem to exist on my install (Chakra Archimedes)...

    5. maybe you don't have kdeplasma-addons installed?

  15. Can you fix the Mail KRunner? When I try to look for mail using KRunner, mail appears, but when I try to open a mail, a Konqueror window opens telling me about all the details of Nepomuk ontology, instead of opening the mail in KMail.

  16. One thing I would liked to see is being able to put krunner in a panel. I like to have panels along all my screen edges, and this conflicts with krunner. I know there is the run command widget, but it doesn't have all the features of krunner and I still want to be able to focus it with a keyboard shortcut.

  17. Nice, now google and company will know everything I put in KRunner :D

    How review this?

  18. I would like to see a krunner interface update. Right now it's "too simplistic" for this type of functionality. I actually think this is an area where Gnome3 might have an advantage when you search in the activities overlay mode you get options at the bottom to search that item on google or wikipedia, which is nice (though I think more customization than those two options is necessary. This is nicer in function but needs an interface that allows us to do this kind of thing with krunner and display information a little bit better. (My problem is that list seems rather cluttered and simplistic to the point of being largely useless unless what you want is on of the first 3 choices.

  19. i think there should be a new ui, with either list or icon display option, as well as option to select which krunner plugin you are using (similar you how you can click on a lense) similarly each krunner plugin should have it's own configurable shortcut, this would make it possible to do "super+m" for searching through music, "super-space" for Appmenu Runner (HUD thing), etc...

    I think krunner really should look simple and nice like unity's dash but have much more configuration options and power.

  20. mmm i have installed

    and i have youtube on krunner but when i type

    youtube kde doesn't do the job :S