Bharat's Digital Garden

Short It (A mouse-less alternative for linux)

Tags: [projects]

No actual work has been started on this. Just an idea for now.

Mac has a beautiful feature called the global menu bar. It is great for programs like Visual Studio Code, Pycharm which have a lot of menu bar items. One more very important feature for me personally, is the search in the menu bar. Ubuntu had one implementation on Unity which went one step further and had a shortcut which triggered a dropdown where you can press a couple of characters and it would filter in menu bar. And on click, run that particular menu item. It was perfect! until canonical killed unity and we have nothing similar to that now.

There was one project called Plotinus which gave me some hope. It was exclusive to GTK applications, which was a bummer because most of the complicated apps (like Pycharm/VS Code etc..) are not GTK apps.

I do not think I can fill this void yet, I do not have the technical knowledge to pull it off. But I saw an app called mouse-less, which had a really interesting idea. It lists all the shortcuts of a particular application and let’s you practice. This is a cool enough idea. But the feature that really got me excited was the search feature. Mouse-less has a menu bar item, which lets you search through shortcuts for the current application. This is something which I would want to see on linux!

The plan

A GTK application backed by an json file database of application -> shortcuts for the application. The database ideally should be open and community maintained. The GTK application will serve as a frontend for the database. Also there will be a gnome extension which has a drop down which changes based on the active application.

The language of choice could be [python] or rust. Going with [python] means I will have velocity, going with rust means I will have a good amount of learning. Let’s see how this pans out.