• TowBar

last modified May 24, 2016 by strypey


Towbar - a terminal as a toolbar


A terminal application on a GNU/Linux desktop today is a homeless floating box, that only pops up when the user calls its name. What if it was more integrated into the desktop, in such a way as to teach new users more about what's happening under the hood?

  • towbar is a toolbar, movable between the bottom and top of the screen
  • towbar has a command field into which bash commands can be typed. Enter executes as normal, and all other text entry and manipulation work like any terminal emulator
  • towbar has a display field into which responses from the OS are displayed, as in a normal terminal emulator, but with no more than 1-2 lines visible by default
  • when the user hovers over a button or other control in the GUI, the commands that would do the same thing appear in the command field of towbar
  • when the user operates controls in the GUI, any responses that would be displayed if the corresponding commands were used in the terminal scroll through in the display field
  • clicking on a button on the toolbar pops up a full terminal (similar to the way clicking on the volume icon in Trisquel 7 (GNOME Fallback) pops up a sound menu), using the same command field, but with a larger (extendable) display field above it
  • towbar has a button which slides it away into one side of the screen, leaving only that button, which can be clicked again to slide it back out again