Xfce Clipman Plugin 1.0.0

This post is about the latest release of Xfce Clipman Plugin, a Clipboard Manager for the Xfce desktop. I turn it more technical than for end-users. I hope people interested into GTK+, GObjects or Xfce panel plugins will like to read it. The release is going to happen very soon now.

The first major change concerns the plugin being entirely rewritten by using GObjects and Xfconf, this means cleaner, better understandable, maintainable code, etc. There is the "main function" (for sack of clarity) and four objects. A collector which listens to clipboard changes and put them in the history, the history is also an object, a menu (on top of GtkMenu) that displays the history and allows to clear it, and finally another object which is part of a new feature for the clipboard manager.

Now having my objects it's just about instantiating them in the main function and binding them to Xfconf. If there is something missing in an object it is just about modifying a particular aspect of it.

The goal of using Xfconf is to have a less cluttered code for settings, and to make good use of property bindings against the objects. For instance, the object History has a maximum count of items, and being bind against Xfconf, it is possible to run an external command with xfconf-query to change that setting, without having to call a public setter function. Binding a property is a one function call.

Following this major change is the settings dialog. I have written it from scratch with Glade, a UI designer for GTK+, by which I can easily modify and beautify the dialog without having to fight with lines of code several hours a day. In fact it takes a few seconds to change a label and up to 5 minutes to design a goddamn dialog. Glade makes an increased use of memory however, but stop thinking of this when you know you have 1MB times 1000 installed on your system — I have currently 1GB on a netbook and 2GB on a quite-fanless Atom-based workstation but I use only around 300MB in general. If you still fear about having an application that uses only 2 but 5MB with Glade, well I can't help you! From what I have read, the built-in UI designer of GTK+, named GtkBuilder, needs less memory, but the Glade to GtkBuilder conversions are going to happen with Xfce 4.8.

Now about the new feature introduced into this major release. It is called "Actions" which is the fourth object by the way. An action is a match between a text selection and regexes to let you execute specific commands. For example the action "Image" can match text with image filenames and let you choose commands between "View with Ristretto" and "Edit with Gimp". I wrote something simple in the settings dialog to add new actions that is inspired from the Thunar User Custom Actions interface.

Finally, I made other changes that are more geeky than useful, like I made a bundle out of the plugin. The plugin is now installed under the binary directory instead of the common place holder for panel plugins but can still be added inside a panel with the "Add Item" menu action. As you might understand, it can be executed as well now, and if you do so it will run inside the notification area. An item is installed in the applications menu to be able to start it (under the category Utility), and as it is possible to run outside the panel, I added a autostart file.

That's it already. If you have questions, don't mind. If you wanna discuss the Actions/regex feature go ahead. More importantly, I hope you'll take a glimpse at the code.

If you are interested into panel plugins, have a look at the wiki. The panel plugins amongst the goodies are a good way to get to know code and start with something.

Update: ANN: xfce4-clipman-plugin version 1.0.0 released


  1. Good work! The actions stuff looks really useful!

    On the coding side, the GObject/Xfconf combination looks easy to use, I might use it in Xfce4 Screenshooter

  2. Francisco Christophersen17/4/09 1:25 PM

    Great! Now that it runs in the notification area, it can be easily hidden when it's not in use. It looks like you solved my bug report!
    Thanks! Keep it up.

  3. I am glad.!

    This it is an approach that I would like to see in all the plugin of xfce4-panel..

    Particularly, I want to see it with xfce4-screnshorter, xfce4-notes and xfce4-mixer, hhere they will be very useful...

    To the delay… Thanks.!