Three small things for Spices developers
by clem 14

Spices Icons

If you’re developing applets or desklets, please give them an icon. We forgot to give icons to the 3 desklets we shipped with Cinnamon 1.8, and as a result, many desklet developers either assumed desklets couldn’t have icons or simply forgot to specify one.

Icons show up in the System Settings:

Capture du 2013-08-31 14:35:23

To give your spice an icon, it’s very simple. You can either specify an icon name in metadata.json (in which case the icon will be picked from the icon theme of the user), or you can provide your own icon within the spice directory.

To specify an icon name:

  • Edit metadata.json
  • Add a line where icon is the name of the icon, for example:
    • “icon”: “stock_calendar”

To provide your own icon:

  • Add a 32x32px PNG icon in the spice directory and name it “icon.png”

Settings API “Configure” menu items

If you’re using the Settings API (which we strongly recommend you do), please note an important change in Cinnamon 2.0: A “Configure” menu item will be automatically added to your context menu by Cinnamon.

As a reminder: Cinnamon automatically generates a configuration screen for spices using the Settings API. This screen is reachable from the System Settings or via the command line “cinnamon-settings <uuid> <instance-id>”.

Talk to us

We love what you do. We want to help you develop more and better spices, give you the info you’re looking for to do what you have in mind and if there’s something missing in our APIs, we want to develop what you need. Sometimes we also find spices which we can learn from (I’ll talk about some of these in a future post) and so sometimes we want to learn from you as well.

The development of Cinnamon is very exciting and so is the spices eco-system. We’d be delighted to get to know spices developers and theme artists better, so don’t hesitate to come and join us on the IRC whenever you feel like it, whether it’s to ask a question, to follow what we’re doing, or simply to share your excitement and plans with us about the spice or the theme you’re working on.

We’re on and the channel is #linuxmint-dev.

14 thoughts on “Three small things for Spices developers

  1. Anand Aug 31,2013 14:33

    Clem – One doubt, can we not link theme / desklet / applet Updates with Mint Update Manager (in case of Cinnamon alone)? Maybe, there are good reasons for not doing it, just thinking aloud. At least, there should be system notification that updates are available?

    Edit by Clem: We could do both yes, but it’s more flexible to use the Spices management system for these.

  2. Sam Burgos Aug 31,2013 16:15

    Well i do have a litle idea for a desklet: maybe a sticky note (like the ones in Windows), although i have to deal with the time along with the rest of my activities as a student/analyst/documentation i have that idea but i’d like to look for the tools.

    Can i talk with the developers about it? (Really sorry if I’m being kind of annoying with the comments in all articles)

    • clem Aug 31,2013 16:44

      Hi Sam,

      Of course. Come and chat with us when you get a chance. Not everybody is available all the time, sometimes the chat is pretty quiet, but we’re always delighted to talk about development.

      • Guillermo P Sep 1,2013 11:28

        Sam, just do it! Make it look elegant and hopefully it gets bundled with Cinnamon too.

  3. dd Sep 2,2013 08:58

    Ubuntu 12.04.3 comes with Unity 5 (Unity 5.20.0) and an upgraded Linux kernel 3.8.0

    will be a thing if maya 13 will have an update like ubuntu with new kernel and updates included! i think only for maya cinnamon because it’s the main desktop environment. maybe somebody will make possible to update maya with this kernel from ubuntu a kind of how to.

    Edit by Clem: Maya should get Cinnamon 2.0. When it comes to kernels, they’re all available in Maya as well. People can upgrade to them easily (there are just three packages to install) and even have multiple kernels installed. The important thing though is to know why you’re upgrading (support for a device you own which isn’t recognized? known bug in the kernel you’re using? etc..). Each upgrade is also a risk to break something, so if you can’t name what you want from the newer kernel, you’ve absolutely no reason to upgrade to it and every reason not to.

  4. dd Sep 2,2013 11:32

    thank you for the answer!
    if the system breaks i dont’t care because i have a backup with redo ( and inside i keep any data. in some minutes is back anyway. kernel 3.8 is working better with a ssd and soon i’ll change also the cpu i have now with amd fx.
    i need the place where i can read how to install kernel 3.8.
    what i have now is 3.2.52 but i don’ know if inside is the same as in 3.8.

    i found some minor bugs in cinnamon 1.8.8

    1. sound settings are getting lost after restart.
    2. on usb when copy something paste is not activated but it works

    remastersys is now system imager.

    this is a solution to have in lts editons.

  5. Guillermo P Sep 2,2013 22:17

    Clem, if I may ask in this thread…

    Are you considering picking the best community made spices (the ones you mentioned being even better than what you had achieved) and including them in Cinnamon 2.0?

    That would make Cinnamon certainly a more mature experience all around than where it stands now with a selection of 3 desklets, wouldn’t it?

    • clem Sep 2,2013 22:57

      Hi Guillermo,

      Well, we made it trivial for users to install/upgrade 3rd party spices and some of them are better off being 3rd party than being integrated into Cinnamon itself. To give you an example, I developed the window frame desklet as an example, mostly for other developers to develop desklets. This isn’t something I’m focused on and so it would be better forked, as a spice. Same goes for the weather applet, mockturl does a brilliant job on it, it’s by far the most popular applet, and so it should remain that way. Let’s not implement Peter’s principle and promote the best community spices into stagnant core Cinnamon components :)

      Now with that said, I do review spices now and then with the intention to learn from them and eventually to improve Cinnamon by integrating some of their features. I’m already planning to look at the collapsible system tray and the pulse audio apps volume sliders.

  6. JosephM Sep 3,2013 09:14

    While your about Clem,

    I asked today in chat if it would be possible to add the ability to theme panels and the applets they contain separately depending on whether they were located at the top or bottom. dalcde said this would be possible.

    It would be a nice feature to have. Currently when using a lot of gradients or custom borders in cinnamon themes you can only make it look proper for one or the other. This limits what you can do theme wise unless you want to create a theme for top panel users, a separate theme for bottom panel users and those that use both are sort of out of luck.

    • clem Sep 3,2013 11:16

      Hi Joseph,

      This was a design decision taken to simplify the themes. It’s not only the orientation of the layout that is at play but also the locale used (LTR or RTL language) and it doesn’t just affect panels and applets, but also buttons, menu items, menus etc… basically we’d have to decline many of the elements we’re using into 4 variants. Instead we decided it was better to have simpler themes, even if these would target a specific layout and language orientation.

  7. JosephM Sep 9,2013 06:11

    Thanks for taking the time to respond Clem. Understand if this is something that maybe is not as simple as it might have seemed.

  8. mrmen Sep 10,2013 19:45

    Cant find anyone who can answer this.

    Cinnamon EXPO / SCALE even CoverFlow APP has a glitch if you use AMD catalyst driver

    there is a black background and not the wallpaper when using the opensource driver.

    problem is a large proportion of new adopters are gamers and so have to use the closed source as its 3D performance and game profiles are way in front still

    please help or fix its been like it for months and months

    • clem Sep 10,2013 20:03

      I’m all for fixing it, I’m just not really sure what causes the issue…

  9. pdcurtis Sep 14,2013 12:34


    I had just finished drafted this and was just about to post it as a suggestion on github when I found this thread.

    Currently there is no mechanism to prevent users downloading Applets or Desklets which do not work with older versions of Cinnamon, for example those that use the new Settings mechanism require 1.8 or higher. Likewise the new feature in Cinnamon 1.9 whereby ‘Configure…’ and ‘Remove Applet’ are now automatically added to the right click context menu leads to duplication if the Applet provides its own link to the Settings screens as mine do currently.

    My initial suggests are:

    * That provision is made for Applet/Desklet writers to be able to provide version compatibility information in the metadata.json file for use in the future.

    * That there is a simple mechanism to find the Cinnamon version number from within an Applet (or if it already exists it is documented!)

    I hope it is not too late for these to be considered for cinnamon 2.0

    Keep up the good work, Cinnamon keeps getting better all the time.

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