The iBar on E19: Tracking launched Applications
The iBar gadget is an application launcher dock, meaning that it houses launchers for frequently-used applications such as your web browser, file manager, and email client. With E19 its use has been extended, so that it is able not just to launch applications but to track them as well: if the window of a launched application has been minimized or hidden behind another, you can use the iBar to restore it.
Thus the new iBar makes the older Tasks gadget redundant – though you should be aware that, unlike the Tasks gadget, the iBar will only track application windows, not dialog box windows. (This is not a big deal in practice, as dialog box windows are not normally left open long enough to get hidden, and if they do, pressing Alt+Tab will reveal them.)
The use of the iBar to launch applications has been described in the Wiki article ‘Gadgets, Modules and Shelves‘. This article describes its use to track launched applications.
Tracking – the Launch Menu
The default settings of the E19 iBar are shown in the screenshot below. As you can see, the default is to track launched applications. That’s any application, whether launched by clicking an iBar icon or from the menu system. This means that, like the Tasks gadget, the iBar will become populated with more and more icons as you launch more and more applications.
Also, a small orange dot marks the icon of any launched application. Hovering the mouse over one of these marked icons will reveal its launch menu, showing a thumbnail of the application and its title bar heading. If more than one instance of an application has been launched, both will appear in this menu: click on one of these, and its window will be brought into focus.
One drawback of using the same iBar icon to both launch and track applications is that if you try to focus an application’s window by clicking its icon rather than its launch menu, you will instead launch a second instance of the application. Fortunately you can stop this happening by going to Main menu > Settings > All > Apps > Desktop Environments and ticking the ‘Only launch single instances’ box. If you find this unnecessarily restrictive, or if you want to separate the launch function of the iBar from its tracking function, you may prefer the alternative solution given below.
Note that right-clicking the launch menu will open the title bar context menu of the application, where you can, for example, close the application.
Dedicated Launch and Track iBars
Another solution to the above problem of mixed launch and tracking functions is to have one iBar dedicated to the traditional function of launching applications, and a second iBar, perhaps on a second shelf, dedicated to tracking launches. Although this sounds like the older E17 system of iBar launcher plus Tasks gadget tracker, the second iBar makes a much nicer and more sophisticated tracker than Tasks.
You can set this up as follows:
1. Turn off the tracking function of the existing iBar. To do this, right-click on the iBar, then from the context menu choose iBar > Settings. The iBar Settings dialog box appears, part of which is shown above. Tick ‘Don’t add items on launch’, untick ‘Track Launch’, untick ‘Menu on mouse over’, then click OK.
2. Create a second shelf with a second iBar. The procedure is described in the Wiki article ‘Gadgets, Modules and Shelves‘. Initially this second iBar will be populated with the same application launcher icons as your original iBar, but applying another source to the iBar (next step) will change that.
3. Configure the second iBar. You do this at the iBar Settings dialog box, shown below, and to reach this you should right-click on this iBar and, from the context menu, choose iBar > Settings. Here you should Add another source, as described in the above Wiki article, then highlight this source. Now untick ‘Show icon label’, tick ‘Track launch’, and tick ‘Menu on mouse over’ (see the screenshot below), then click OK to finish the job.
You will now have a traditional launch iBar and a second tracker iBar.
You might position these shelves at opposite ends of a screen edge, perhaps at the top and bottom of the left screen edge; the space between them will always be available for left or right-clicking to reach a menu, even if the rest of the screen is filled with a maximized window. (To position a shelf, right-click it and choose Shelf > Settings from its context menu.)