I often seen KDE’s Plasma Activities referred to as a solution in search of a problem. Initially I had no use for them, myself. Over time I’ve started to have a need for them. A recent project of mine has reminded me of how nice it is to have Activities around.
My recent project has been to take a Japanese transcript of the first episode of Princess Tutu, and from it create a subtitle file for the episode. I soon noticed when working on this project, a pattern had emerged:
- Close most open windows/programs (just to get them out of the way; virtual desktops are useful in this situation).
- Open in Dolphin (file manager) the folder where I store the files for this project. (Involves locating and navigating into the folder.)
- Open in Rekonq (web browser) the web page containing the transcript.
- Open in Kate (text editor) the subtitle file.
- Open in VLC (video player) the video file.
- Work on the project.
- Close everything related to the file.
I realized this was the perfect use for a Plasma Activity in KDE. I created a new activity. On the desktop, I added a Folder View pointed to the folder containing the project files. I opened the transcript and subtitles in Rekonq and Kate, and positioned the windows where I wanted them on my second monitor.
Now when I want to work on this project, the process is:
- Switch to project’s Activity (which opens it if it wasn’t running).
- Work on project.
- Switch back to common Activity (to do other things).
- (Optionally close project’s Activity.)
Like virtual desktops, this has the advantage that I can switch between this and my common Activity, keeping the windows separate.
And, just to add an image, here is the Activity in action: