I figured out how make launchers by simply writing *.desktop files. I now have about 6 custom launchers that I use everyday. It is convenient for some of them to be on the panel and some on the desktop and some in other directories based on their context. How could the developers know how I need or want my computer to be set up? The hardest and most frustrating thing about adopting the Unity Desktop was figuring out how to add my own launchers particularly when this was a solved problem in earlier versions of Ubuntu.
BTW, for those who don't know you can look for any *.desktop file on your disk and copy it to a directory in your account. Then you can edit with emacs or your favorite text editor. Or you can right click on it and select "Properties" to change parameters. They are simple text files. You can use the Nautilus file manager to double click on it to run it. You can also drag it to your Unity panel to install it.