Introduction

This specification defines the management of visual items, usually icons used for reporting the status of an application to the user or provide a quick access to common actions performed by that application. It is intended to be complementary but not directly related with the Freedesktop's Desktop Notifications specification and is aimed as a replacement to the Freedesktop System tray specification.

This specification does not define what the aspect of the Notification Items will be, this is strictly implementation specific.

Example use cases will include:

  • Mixer volume control.

  • Battery indicator.

  • Instant messenger on-line status.

  • Generic application information and actions, like a media player controls.

Basic Design

The Status Notifier Item system relies on inter-process communication via D-BUS and is composed by three parts:

  • StatusNotifierItem: each application that wants to utilize the system registers its own StatusNotifierItem to the session bus. Properties, methods and signals that must be provided by all StatusNotifierItem instances are described in the Section called StatusNotifierItem.

  • StatusNotifierWatcher: service used to keep track of every active instance of StatusNotifierItem, used by StatusNotifierHost to get the list of all items. It also notifies it when items are added and removed. The detailed specification of StatusNotifierWatcher is described in the Section called StatusNotifierWatcher.

  • StatusNotifierHost: an application that wants to provide a visualization of the existing StatusNotifierItem instances must register a StatusNotifierHost in the session bus. The detailed specification of StatusNotifierHost is described in the Section called StatusNotifierHost.

StatusNotifierItem

Each application can register an arbitrary number of Status Notifier Items by registering on the session bus the service org.freedesktop.StatusNotifierItem-PID-ID, where PID is the process id of the application and ID is an arbitrary numeric unique identifier between different instances registered by the same application.

As soon as a new instance of a StatusNotifierItem is created, the application must register the unique instance name to the StatusNotifierWatcher as described in the Section called StatusNotifierWatcher

Each instance of StatusNotifierItem must provide an object called StatusNotifierItem with the following properties, methods and signals described in the following sections.

Properties

org.freedesktop.StatusNotifierItem.Category

STRING org.freedesktop.StatusNotifierItem.Category ();

Describes the category of this item.

The allowed values for the Category property are:

ApplicationStatus: The item describes the status of a generic application, for instance the current state of a media player. In the case where the category of the item can not be known, such as when the item is being proxied from another incompatible or emulated system, ApplicationStatus can be used a sensible default fallback.

Communications: The item describes the status of communication oriented applications, like an instant messenger or an email client.

SystemServices: The item describes services of the system not seen as a stand alone application by the user, such as an indicator for the activity of a disk indexing service.

Hardware: The item describes the state and control of a particular hardware, such as an indicator of the battery charge or sound card volume control.

org.freedesktop.StatusNotifierItem.Id

STRING org.freedesktop.StatusNotifierItem.Id ();

It's a name that should be unique for this application and consistent between sessions, such as the application name itself.

org.freedesktop.StatusNotifierItem.Title

STRING org.freedesktop.StatusNotifierItem.Title ();

It's a name that describes the application, it can be more descriptive than Id.

org.freedesktop.StatusNotifierItem.Status

STRING org.freedesktop.StatusNotifierItem.Status ();

Describes the status of this item or of the associated application.

The allowed values for the Status property are:

Passive: The item doesn't convey important information to the user, it can be considered an "idle" status and is likely that visualizations will chose to hide it.

Active: The item is active, is more important that the item will be shown in some way to the user.

NeedsAttention: The item carries really important information for the user, such as battery charge running out and is wants to incentive the direct user intervention. Visualizations should emphasize in some way the items with NeedsAttention status.

org.freedesktop.StatusNotifierItem.WindowId

UINT32 org.freedesktop.StatusNotifierItem.WindowId ();

It's the windowing-system dependent identifier for a window, the application can chose one of its windows to be available trough this property or just set 0 if it's not interested.

org.freedesktop.StatusNotifierItem.IconName

STRING org.freedesktop.StatusNotifierItem.IconName ();

The StatusNotifierItem can carry an icon that can be used by the visualization to identify the item.

An icon can either be identified by its Freedesktop-compliant icon name, carried by this property of by the icon data itself, carried by the property IconPixmap. Visualizations are encouraged to prefer icon names over icon pixmaps if both are available (FIXME: still not very defined: could e the pixmap used as fallback if an icon name is not found?)

org.freedesktop.StatusNotifierItem.IconPixmap

ARRAY(INT, INT, ARRAY BYTE) org.freedesktop.StatusNotifierItem.IconPixmap ();

Carries an ARGB32 binary representation of the icon, the format of icon data used in this specification is described in Section Icons

org.freedesktop.StatusNotifierItem.OverlayIconName

STRING org.freedesktop.StatusNotifierItem.OverlayIconName ();

The Freedesktop-compliant name of an icon. This can be used by the visualization to indicate extra state information, for instance as an overlay for the main icon.

org.freedesktop.StatusNotifierItem.OverlayIconPixmap

ARRAY(INT, INT, ARRAY BYTE) org.freedesktop.StatusNotifierItem.OverlayIconPixmap ();

ARGB32 binary representation of the overlay icon described in the previous paragraph.

org.freedesktop.StatusNotifierItem.AttentionIconName

STRING org.freedesktop.StatusNotifierItem.AttentionIconName ();

The Freedesktop-compliant name of an icon. this can be used by the visualization to indicate that the item is in RequestingAttention state.

org.freedesktop.StatusNotifierItem.AttentionIconPixmap

ARRAY(INT, INT, ARRAY BYTE) org.freedesktop.StatusNotifierItem.AttentionIconPixmap ();

ARGB32 binary representation of the requesting attention icon describe in the previous paragraph.

org.freedesktop.StatusNotifierItem.AttentionMovieName

STRING org.freedesktop.StatusNotifierItem.AttentionMovieName ();

An item can also specify an animation associated to the RequestingAttention state. This should be either a Freedesktop-compliant icon name or a full path. The visualization can chose between the movie or AttentionIconPixmap (or using neither of those) at its discretion.

org.freedesktop.StatusNotifierItem.ToolTip

(STRING, ARRAY(INT, INT, ARRAY BYTE), STRING, STRING) org.freedesktop.StatusNotifierItem.ToolTip ();

Data structure that describes extra information associated to this item, that can be visualized for instance by a tooltip (or by any other mean the visualization consider appropriate. Components are:

STRING: Freedesktop-compliant name for an icon.

ARRAY(INT, INT, ARRAY BYTE): icon data

STRING: title for this tooltip

STRING: descriptive text for this tooltip. It can contain also a subset of the HTML markup language, for a list of allowed tags see Section Markup.

Methods

ContextMenu

VOID org.freedesktop.StatusNotifierItem.ContextMenu (INT x, INT y);

Asks the status notifier item to show a context menu, this is typically a consequence of user input, such as mouse right click over the graphical representation of the item.

the x and y parameters are in screen coordinates and is to be considered an hint to the item about where to show the context menu.

Activate

VOID org.freedesktop.StatusNotifierItem.Activate (INT x, INT y);

Asks the status notifier item for activation, this is typically a consequence of user input, such as mouse left click over the graphical representation of the item. The application will perform any task is considered appropriate as an activation request.

the x and y parameters are in screen coordinates and is to be considered an hint to the item where to show eventual windows (if any).

SecondaryActivate

VOID org.freedesktop.StatusNotifierItem.SecondaryActivate (INT x, INT y);

Is to be considered a secondary and less important form of activation compared to Activate. This is typically a consequence of user input, such as mouse middle click over the graphical representation of the item. The application will perform any task is considered appropriate as an activation request.

the x and y parameters are in screen coordinates and is to be considered an hint to the item where to show eventual windows (if any).

Scroll

VOID org.freedesktop.StatusNotifierItem.Scroll (INT delta, STRING orientation);

The user asked for a scroll action. This is caused from input such as mouse wheel over the graphical representation of the item.

The delta parameter represent the amount of scroll, the orientation parameter represent the horizontal or vertical orientation of the scroll request and its legal values are horizontal and vertical.

Signals

NewTitle

VOID org.freedesktop.StatusNotifierItem.NewTitle ();

The item has a new title: the graphical representation should read it again immediately.

NewIcon

VOID org.freedesktop.StatusNotifierItem.NewIcon ();

The item has a new icon: the graphical representation should read it again immediately.

NewAttentionIcon

VOID org.freedesktop.StatusNotifierItem.NewAttentionIcon ();

The item has a new attention icon: the graphical representation should read it again immediately.

NewOverlayIcon

VOID org.freedesktop.StatusNotifierItem.NewOverlayIcon ();

The item has a new overlay icon: the graphical representation should read it again immediately.

NewToolTip

VOID org.freedesktop.StatusNotifierItem.NewToolTip ();

The item has a new tooltip: the graphical representation should read it again immediately.

NewStatus

VOID org.freedesktop.StatusNotifierItem.NewStatus (STRING status);

The item has a new status, that is passed as an argument of the signal.

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