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Author Topic: %variables% and other small (or not so) things.  (Read 2052 times)

voxel

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%variables% and other small (or not so) things.
« on: November 28, 2014, 09:34:00 AM »
Hi Mouser!! (and LBC users!!)

First of all, thank you for your work and your dedication to BLC. It's an amazing application!!
As many XP/Vista users, I was really disappointed when the ability to create desktop toolbars on the edges of the desktop was removed on Windows 7. I tried many alternatives but all of them lack of one feature that I miss the most: Access to %enviroment_variables%.
I've been using Coolbarz for many years (although it lacked too). I've been in touch with the developer for some time, sharing suggestions and comments but it seems that the project is dead.....The web is empty and he does not reply anymore.
I started again looking for alternatives (with the ability to use environment variables) and ended up discovering LBC.

LBC it's fast (in operation and startup) and has a really low memory footprint.
I have some suggestions and comments about features and "user friendliness"

  • Environment variables. Actually they work with system variables (and user variables too). You can add a "Command node"  with variables in the "Command path" but.......they are not refreshed.

    I have this folder structure:
    C:\Users\voxel\Desktop\test\folder1
    C:\Users\voxel\Desktop\test\folder2
    And an user Environment variable %selection% set to:
    %selection% = folder1
    Then I add a "Command Node" with "Command path:  C:\Users\voxel\Desktop\test\%selection%"

    If I launch the node, the explorer opens "folder1" correctly.
    Then I change the Environment variable to a new value (using "System Properties | Advanced Options", a command prompt or with autohotkey....)
    %selection% = folder2
    If I launch the node again, the explorer opens "folder1" incorrectly.
    The only way to "refresh" is to close LBC and launch it again.
    Then if I launch the node, the explorer opens "folder2" correctly.

    So, I think that launching nodes using %variables% should refresh its values before process them.
    As an interesting use of this, It will be useful (at least for me ;D...) to be able to use variables in Captions. So you can have a Node that point to a certain folder using a %var% and the Caption of the node also reflects that name.

  • Drag & drop an item on an empty spot in a dock should add the item the right section/place. Now all items are added at the end of the dock.

  • Drag & drop a folder on a dock could have an option to create a node "command folder" instead of a node "folder". Maybe using a dialog (like when you drag & drop a shortcut) or using a key combination (Ctrl or Alt).

  • Use "Folder Node" as a "Menu Node" with an option like "Contents as root-level items". This way you could have the contents of a folder as icons directly in the dock. This was the default behaviour in the "good old" original windows toolbars. When you selected a folder (with the browser) all the content were added directly as icons and also it was dynamic. If the contents of the folder changed, it also changed in the toolbar.

  • Middle mouse click on any folder node (or subfolder) to launch it (I mean open it instead of display its content). This can actually be achieved with right click context menu, but could be simplest/fastest.

  • Context menu (right mouse click) on a node in a dock should have an option to delete the node. Now you have to launch "Configure Preferences and Options" to perform this operation. Also could have a move up/down to rearrange them.....or the ability to "click and drag" them.

  • For building docks, it could be a "live preview" mode that could reflect the changes (without saving them or using "View | Rebuild LaunchBar no to preview th changes") or at least.....an icon on the "icon bar" in "Configure preferences and option" window to access to the menu function "View | Rebuild LaunchBar....." more easily.

And that's all......(by the moment...)
Sorry for asking if there are already ways to achieve some of this features. I just begin testing LBC and aside my very first good reactions, those are things that are catching my attention. In that case I will be very grateful if someone points me in the right direction.

Again thank you for LBC and looking forward to see more features and improvements!!!
« Last Edit: November 28, 2014, 09:51:47 AM by voxel »

mouser

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Re: %variables% and other small (or not so) things.
« Reply #1 on: December 17, 2014, 11:44:37 PM »
Welcome voxel!  :up:

Most of your items may be a little difficult, but im working on a new release now and I'll see if i can't do a few of them.

voxel

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Re: %variables% and other small (or not so) things.
« Reply #2 on: December 18, 2014, 02:27:38 PM »
Ok!! Thank you.

Yes, I know some of those things are not so small and not so easy.
The most important (again, at least for me) is the variables issue.
Right now, the only way to make LBC update environment variables is to close it and run it again. Also, I tried to automate that with an autohotkey script (set the variable, close LBC and run it ...[by the way LBC is very very very fast to startup :D]), but.....launching the script from within LBC itself it does not work. The variable is set correctly (I write it directly to the registry) but I think that is not passing through the process memory. With autohotkey you can read/write them directly from/to the registry, perhaps you could do it by accessing to the variables in the same way.
Again, thank you for work.

mouser

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Re: %variables% and other small (or not so) things.
« Reply #3 on: December 19, 2014, 09:12:59 AM »
I'm afraid it doesn't look like there's a way to make LBC see changes to environmental variables without restarting it.

So it sounds like maybe the best we can do in this case is help you figure out how to make work the idea of restarting LBC from within itself easily -- where did you get stuck there>

voxel

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Re: %variables% and other small (or not so) things.
« Reply #4 on: December 19, 2014, 06:16:48 PM »
Here is some info about how to propagate changes in variables (using WM_SETTINGCHANGE) or read values from the registry.

http://stackoverflow...le-for-path-variable
https://social.msdn....iable?forum=netfxbcl
http://smartypeeps.b...nment-variables.html
http://msdn.microsof...97%28v=vs.85%29.aspx

Hope this help.