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Author Topic: RK Launcher  (Read 11726 times)

jgpaiva

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RK Launcher
« on: March 01, 2006, 09:09:58 AM »
A friend of mine recently advised me to try this launch bar.
He's a big fan of it, and I'm going to try it out now, so, I figured I could show you what I'll discover while testing it.

OK, first of all, download.
There is no install, only decompress. That's a plus.
I have executed it, looks nice, but it's at the bottom of the screen, I'll right-click it and move it to the top from the right-click menu.
Screenshot - 06_03_01 , 12_54_52.png
It looks good!
Screenshot - 06_03_01 , 12_54_53.jpg
As my friend had told me, my minimized apps went to the bar![EDIT]And in the form of a screenshot of the active window! :D [/EDIT]
Screenshot - 06_03_01 , 12_56_19.jpg
OK, it doesn't like SC, I had to close it. But it's a beta, and my friend loves it, so i guess I'll give it another chance.
It looks like all those buttons come pre-configured with the windows equivalent for the mac app that is presented by the icon (for example, the second icon represents mac's safari web-browser, and when i click it, it opens internet explorer), but the tooltip of the icon is the name of the mac app, not the name of the windows app (a bit weird), and with the browser icon, it opens IE, not the predefined browser.
Now, i open the options menu.
It's quite filled with tabs, and it looks very customizable:
Screenshot - 06_03_01 , 13_15_09.png
(i now disabled the minimize to bar option, since it has issues with minimized to tray windows, like Farr and screenshot captor)
So, the settings menu.
On the first tab, there all options are self-explaing. Indicators are small triangles like you can see over the first icon on the second screenshot of this review, which inform you that program is running at the moment.
The button on the right corner of the "appearance" dialog informs us that there is the possibly of importing the backgrounds from another bar, yz dock.

Next Dialog is the normal position dialog. (also has options for multi monitor support, but at the moment i can't test it)

Next is the "Behaviour" dialog.
Here is where most of the intresting options of RK launcher reside:
Screenshot - 06_03_01 , 14_05_17.png
"automatically hide", "always on top", "never take focus", "start with windows" are self explanatory.
That leaves:

"Locked add/delete/drag" makes the items on the launcher locked, which means that i can't change their order, add new items nor delete existing items when that option is checked.

As this is a beta release, there is no help file, and i couldn't figure out what "use margin hotspot" is for.

Those three options with "save" are related to when should the bar configuration options be saved (notice there is no Apply button, everything changes in the bar as soon as i change the options in the settings dialog)

"Minimize to RK Launcher" turns on or off the feature i mentioned earlier (when one app is minimized to RK, it's taskbar button disappears)

"Show new applications" has an interesting effect. It makes all running processes appear on the bar:
Screenshot - 06_03_01 , 14_23_21.png
This includes applications running in the taskbar as well as running in the tray.
It can be used in a very similar way to the taskbar, though it can't minimize the windows as the right-click on a taskbar button can.

As you may not want the icon to appear on the bar, you can right-click it and you'll have access to the context menu on the executable, and some options relative to that icon's behaviour in RK Launcher (the last 2 sections).
Screenshot - 06_03_01 , 14_33_06.png

Back to the settings dialog, on the label tab, i can customize the colour, size, font, gradation, shadow colour, etc. of the tooltip that appears under the hovered icon.

The exclusions tab holds the settings for which apps should not appear in the bar (notice the last screenshot, and how rundll32.exe was there. if I'd clicked never show in dock, it wouldn't appear anymore and would be on this tab's list)

The performance tab has sliders to control the quality of the magnification of the icons, which directly affects the resource use of the bar.

In the right click menu on the bar, there are also two other interesting dialogs:
If i right-click a icon, and choose "Dock item properties", i get a dialog similar to this:
Screenshot - 06_03_01 , 14_43_18.png
Which contains various interesting options on how to display the icon and how to run the program associated with it.

The other mentioned dialog is the "Add Docklet" dialog, which allows me to add docklets (small widget-like icons) to the bar, either made for the StarDock's Object Dock or for yz dock:
Screenshot - 06_03_01 , 14_55_13.png

Final conclusions:
My opinion is that this bar has some potential, possibly to be one of the best among this kind of launch bars.
Still, it's beta, and there seem to be a lot of issues to solve (the erratic minimizing behaviour being the most important one).
For those passionate about mac looks, i think this is a must-have, but you'll have a hard time if you really really want that minimize feature.
As for the performance, it's quite fast, doesn't break when maximizing (yz dock sometimes does), but performance has it's draw-backs, and it uses more resources then yz (RK uses about 17mb of ram).
Although it is very interesting, and is a good eye-candy, it really has no features that make me personally "love it", so, I'll have to say to my friend that i won't use it. ;)
« Last Edit: March 01, 2006, 01:18:08 PM by jgpaiva »

allen

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Re: RK Launcher
« Reply #1 on: March 01, 2006, 09:18:25 AM »
Thanks for this review, a good job.

It seems like the last couple days, everything is about the launchbars--True Launchbar, mouser released an alpha of his and now this . . . it's as if the forces of the Universe have come together to tell me to get a launchbar :)

jgpaiva

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Re: RK Launcher
« Reply #2 on: March 01, 2006, 09:30:29 AM »
Thanks for this review, a good job.
Thanks!

It seems like the last couple days, everything is about the launchbars--True Launchbar, mouser released an alpha of his and now this . . . it's as if the forces of the Universe have come together to tell me to get a launchbar :)
Well.. With the "world debut" of launchbar commander, everybody went looking for alternatives, so, it's normal that someone would post a mini-review about one of them. ;)
I also got one: Mouser's. I like to play with it :D

mouser

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Re: RK Launcher
« Reply #3 on: March 01, 2006, 12:49:15 PM »
minimized apps in the launch bar, interesting.

jgpaiva

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Re: RK Launcher
« Reply #4 on: March 01, 2006, 01:17:04 PM »
minimized apps in the launch bar, interesting.
As I said in the review, it looks interesting. But It doesn't work very well, and not having the taskbar functionality (i.e. not displaying all the tasks), makes it more anoying than useful. :(
Oh, and another interesting thing: The minimized app is represented in the bar not by a icon, but by a screenshot of the active window :D