KDE Activities

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:

  1. Close most open windows/programs (just to get them out of the way; virtual desktops are useful in this situation).
  2. Open in Dolphin (file manager) the folder where I store the files for this project. (Involves locating and navigating into the folder.)
  3. Open in Rekonq (web browser) the web page containing the transcript.
  4. Open in Kate (text editor) the subtitle file.
  5. Open in VLC (video player) the video file.
  6. Work on the project.
  7. 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:

  1. Switch to project’s Activity (which opens it if it wasn’t running).
  2. Work on project.
  3. Switch back to common Activity (to do other things).
  4. (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: