Gnome Panel is a component that is part of GnomeFlashback and provides panels and default applets for the desktop. A panel is a horizontal or vertical bar that can be added to each side of the screen. By default there is one panel on the top of the screen and one on the bottom, but this is configurable. The panels are used to add applets such as a menu bar to open applications, a clock and indicator applets which provide access to configure features of the system such as the network, sound or the current keyboard layout. On the bottom panel there is usually a list of open applications.
The Gnome Panel component comes with several default applets such as
- The Workspace Switcher
- The Window List
- The Window Selector
- The Notification Area
- The Clock
- And the infamous 'Wanda the Fish'
The Gnome Panel module comes with a public library called libpanel-applet. This library allows other developers to develop small applications which may be embedded in the panel. These are called applets. Some examples for existing applets can be found in the Gnome Applets Git Repository component that is also part of GnomeFlashback. Take a look at the developer documentation if you are interested in writing your own applet: Panel Applet API. If you know an existing applet that was written for Gnome 2.x and you would like to make with work with the current version of Gnome Panel then you can take a look here: AppletsMigration
To configure a panel you can hold the <ALT>-key and right click on the panel, this will open a context menu that allows you to:
- Add an applet
- Configure the panel through "Properties"
- Delete the current panel
- Or add a new panel
If you want to move the current panel to a different place you can do this by holding the <ALT>-key and left clicking on the panel. You can then drag the panel to a new location. Once the mouse is close enough to one of the side of the screen the panel will snap to the new location.
Each panel and each applet can usually be configured independently of each other. To move or remove an applet you can hold the <ALT>-key and then press the right mouse button when the cursor is over the applet. Some applets also provide their own context menus that can be activated by right clicking on the applet without pressing any key.
By default you should see at least one Gnome Panel on your desktop. If not you can press <ALT>+<F2> and type 'gnome-panel' into the window, this should start the gnome-panel process with one default panel.
Helping on the gnome-panel module
The panel itself is a lot of code and it might not be easy to understand it all the first time you look at it. But it's not that difficult
Working on the applets is, however, quite easy.
If you like to work on something send us a mail to the mailing list at the Flashback mailing list to introduce your self and tell us what you would like to do. Or just add a note to one of the bugs in bugzilla.
You can also find on bugzilla a list of gnome-panel tasks for new contributors.