Unity Applications Place should support nested menus and ideally be editable

Reported by Sean Fitzpatrick on 2011-04-15
This bug affects 8 people
Affects Status Importance Assigned to Milestone
Ayatana Design
unity (Ubuntu)

Bug Description

One of the things that made the old Gnome main menu convenient/efficient was that applications could be organised into categories and subcategories that could be quickly browsed with the mouse, and easily edited using the menu editor. I think it would be ideal if similar functionality existed for the applications lens.
Specifically, what would work best for me would be an option to set up the applications lens as follows:
 - Group 1: Favourites/frequently used (as it is now)
 - Group 2: Application categories (Accessories, Games, Office, etc.)
(I find the current sections drop-down less efficient than the old-style menu, where the mouse movement was (almost) linear - the mouse has to be moved across the screen to click on the drop-down, then a section is selected, and then the mouse is moved back to the icons in the lens.)

After choosing a category, the setup could be the same as one sees now after choosing a section, although I'd like to see room for sub-categories as well. For example, in the Gnome main menu, I had the Games category divided into subcategories including Arcade, Cards, Puzzles, etc. Then, if I knew I wanted to play an arcade game, (but hadn't decided which one) I could click on the Applications Lens, then Games, then Arcade, and be able to browse only those games instead of all (32, in my case) games.

The Software Centre already supports subcategories such as these, so the 'Apps available for download' could be more specifically targeted as well. It might also be cool if a subcategory could be pinned to the launcher as a specialized applications lens. For example, if I was addicted to puzzle games, I could have a 'Puzzles' lens on the launcher.

Finally, in a perfect world, I would be able to use a program such as alacarte to edit which applications appear in the Applications lens, and how they are organized. For example, if I also have KDE installed, I may wish to hide all the KDE apps while using Unity (as far as I can tell, I can't do this at the moment) and I probably don't want subcategories for a section like Office where I only have 5 or 6 programs installed.

I confess to making these suggestions as an end-user and not a coder, so I don't know how realistic they are, but in my case at least I think it would make the applications lens a lot more intuitive and efficient.

Bilal Akhtar (bilalakhtar) wrote :

Just in case you don't know, right-clicking the Applications Place icon gives you a list of categories to choose.

Yeah, I've made use of that already. What I mostly have in mind is being able to edit things the same way I can edit the main menu in Ubuntu Classic, and the ability to organise things into subcategories when there are a lot of programs in one of the pre-defined categories.

Alex Launi (alexlauni) on 2011-05-02
Changed in unity:
status: New → Incomplete
importance: Undecided → Wishlist
Changed in unity-place-applications:
status: New → Incomplete
Changed in unity-place-applications (Ubuntu):
status: New → Incomplete
importance: Undecided → Wishlist
Changed in unity-place-applications:
importance: Undecided → Wishlist
Mikko Saarinen (mikk0) wrote :

Change from Wishlist to Medium or High, as this was for me the _most_ annoying thing about unity and I almost installed the good old ubuntu 10.10 to get rid of Unity.

Thank you for letting me know that right clicking the application places gives the sub-menu. This is not obvious and I too feel that the old-style menu works better and is more intuitive.

Can I add the Gnome Application-menu to the launcher somehow?
This would enable me to keep using the unity for now...

I don't think there's anything like launcher applets yet - maybe we'll see these in the future? It is possible to add functionality to launcher items; there's an explanation for the Home folder icon here:

It might serve as an example that can be adapted. If you really need a main menu I suppose you could run a small instance of Docky or AWN (with a main menu applet and nothing else). There's probably a screenlets applet too, although there isn't one in the base pack of applets.

Didier Roche (didrocks) on 2011-05-30
Changed in unity (Ubuntu):
status: New → Incomplete

Didier, is the incomplete status due to a lack of info? Let me know if there's anything else I can do on this (short of coding - I'm just an end user, unfortunately). Maybe as Mikko suggested, a menu applet styled after the gnome main menu would satisfy some of those having trouble adjusting to the new interface. Do you foresee it being possible in the future to run applets from the Unity launcher? I know asking for too much modularity in the launcher will get us in trouble with the design team (or so I judge from the bug report on not being able to move the launcher), but applets in the launcher would be great.

Didier Roche (didrocks) on 2011-05-31
Changed in unity-2d:
status: New → Incomplete
Matthew Paul Thomas (mpt) wrote :

(Sean, Unity uses bug statuses differently from other Launchpad projects. "Incomplete" here does not mean the bug report is missing information about the problem, just that the Unity designers have not recorded a decision yet.)

Hamed Abdy (hamed-abdy) wrote :

I suggested a part of this bug as an idea in Ubuntu Brainstorm (idea #28234: http://brainstorm.ubuntu.com/idea/28234/), but they closed it and told me that I should report it here.
So I copy it here again.

For "Apps Available for Download" I think three solutions are possible:
1. Showing a tooltip under the mouse pointer for each app, including a short description of that app, would make it more clear.
2. It is not useful having this section in Unity applications luncher. So, it is better to remove this part. People who want to download new apps, know that the way is going to software center.
3. New users may not be familiar with Ubuntu Software Center.
So, completely removing "Apps Available for download" from Unity applications luncher may make it confusing for them.
Replacing this part with just a link (for example "Download more apps...") to open software center will make it easier to use and learn.
It also would be an easy shortcut to software center for old users and software center's icon can be removed from Unity side-bar.

Changed in unity-2d:
importance: Undecided → Wishlist
tags: added: iso-testing
Omer Akram (om26er) on 2012-08-19
no longer affects: unity-place-applications (Ubuntu)
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