The webOS Wish List: Launcher customization | webOS Nation
 
 

The webOS Wish List: Launcher customization 17

by Derek Kessler Wed, 04 Apr 2012 9:05 pm EDT

The webOS Wish List: Launcher customization

Back in the days of webOS 1.x, it was possible through the magic of homebrew to alter the webOS app launcher in any number of ways. There were dozens of patches to change the spacing between apps, the size of app icons, the number of rows and columns and whether or not your apps had names and how big those names were… And then webOS 2.0 came out. It brought a fancy new natively-coded app launcher that while faster and smoother and more reliable was also impossible to patch without replacing the entire package.

The beauty of the 1.x launcher was that it was coded in HTML5, CSS, and JavaScript like the rest of webOS. It was just another app as far as the phone was concerned, just one that you used to launch all other apps. It was easy to write up a patch to change a few lines of that code and suddenly have four columns and five rows of apps instead of the traditional three by four webOS view.

The uncustomizable launcher carried on into webOS 3.0 to an even greater degree. Unless they go through a not-as-easy-as-patching process, TouchPad owners can't even change the names of their launcher tabs, let alone create new pages or change the spacing of app icons. It's utterly preposterous that we're stuck with nonsensically named tabs like "Apps", "Downloads", and "Favorites". Shouldn't the favorites tab be the first one? And aren't all of the launcher pages populated by apps, not just the first? And am I supposed to leave every app I've downloaded under the Downloads tab, or is it acceptable practice to move them somewhere else, like "Favorites"? It might take more code to make adding, removing, moving, and renaming launcher pages a possibility, but the TouchPad launcher scheme was unacceptable when the tablet launched, and it's even more so today more than a year after the TouchPad was announced.

So here's what needs to happen (feel free to roll all of this into Open webOS). The launcher needs to have customizable pages. As with webOS 2.x, the page names must be renamable and the pages themselves reorderable. This is a bare minimum. If we can't do that, just dump the whole tabs scrolling launcher pages concept and put us into the paginated world of iOS and Android (hint: that's not what we want). The next step is to enable customization of spacing and icon size. Some people want big icons that are well-spaced, others prefer a tightly-packed layout that fits as many icons on a page as possible. For most the TouchPad's icon spacing works fine, but on webOS smartphones like the bigger-screened Pre3 it's silly to be stuck to just three icons across on a page.

Have your own thoughts on this or any other webOS Wish List entry? You do, we get it. That's why we have the comments, it's your place to say how right - or how wrong - we are. And we have little doubt you have your own ideas as to what ought be on the webOS wish list, and so we've created a forum thread just for that - and an awesome discussion it has proven to be.

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17 Comments

That's the one thing I miss after switching to the pre 3 from the sprint pre. Launcher customization was great. But the look of the launcher on the 3 is nicer, especially with the glass black theme.

I loved it in my Palm Pre Plus. With the bigger screen on the PreĀ³ and just being able to have 3 columns of apps (to big icons) and in the small Veer not being able to make the icons smaller to have more apps displayed on the screen?! That's a feature I'll always miss in the 2.0 webOS.
Please Homebrew Community, make the patches available for the PreĀ³ and the mighty Veer (and the TouchPad too!).

I was just complaining about this today, it's quite annoying on my Veer. Customization is at a minimum - the real only options are creating new pages and renaming them. You can't even delete apps right from the launcher like with 3.0, iOS, Android and the others. webOS 3.0 is even worse for customization, sure, you can delete apps right from there, but you can't rename tabs, rearrange them, delete them or add new ones. I have a Preware patch that helps, but it doesn't mean that there are tons of customization options. It would be nice to get those options natively, without installing patches.

It would also be nice to see folders, like on iOS or ICS, but also the ability to still have multiple launcher pages to separate categories into more subcategories.

there is a homebrew app called suborbital that will allow you to add and remove tabs in webOS 3.0

+1 Create, rename, move and delete. Do read the Read Me first though.

I'm glad I'm on my Pixi Plus :)

I guess a "12 most used" page would be very nice, a page that keeps track of the apps that you use most and puts them side-by-side. This page can then be chosen as a default after every restart.

And an "All" tab that has a sorted list of all apps. Sort order is selectable.

I haven't used other webOS devices before, but I find that they are perfectly sized on my pre3 so that I can see them by glancing and I can still fit a fair amount on each launcher page without having to scroll down to the least used apps. But I agree the choice would be good

The lack of a customizable launcher is the main reason I still carry a Launch Day Verizon Palm Pre Plus running Palm webOS 1.4.5.1 with a 4X4 Icon, Advanced Options, Enable Add/Delete Pages, Glass Effect, Hide Quick Launch Bar, Named Pages Launcher.

I have a spare Pre Plus to replace the hardware for my current one if and when it ever gives up. I also own two Pre2 phones but refuse to activate them until I absolutely have to. If a customizable launcher is offered in a future version of Open webOS, I may rethink my strategy but for now I am perfectly happy with my beloved Pre Plus with a Customizable Launcher.

Automatically place apps in alphabetical order. I hate doing it manually. -Koa-

The more I use 2.2.4, the more frustrated I get. It's not just the inability to patch things, either. They simply broke a lot of stuff, while also removing features.

- None of my shoutcast streaming apps function properly on webos 2.x. Anything from not getting music lists, to titles not changing, to controls not working.
- Bluetooth. It's incredibly frustrating to have to remember to manually connect to my car every drive, because the phone no longer does this. It also seems to want to connect to some home systems when they aren't around rather than pick the device that is actually within range. Bluetooth on webos 2.0 is seriously broken. Add to that: a2dp is totally broken. Stuttering, pauses, etc. Unacceptable.
- Exhibition mode. Never remembers the exhibition mode that I want, and keeps moving back to the clock mode. Exhibition itself takes too long to close, getting in the way of the smooth experience of picking up the phone and tapping on a message notification.
- Enyo and it's sliding pane interface. Hello. By the early 2000's developers had figured out that the whole iframe model was a bad idea. We have it back again in the form of panes. Nice job.
- Enyo is half baked. Why can I not re-order lists of things, easily, using gestures as I did with WebOS 1.x, for example?

Lots of other things, but these daily annoyances are at the top. We've gone BACKWARDS on functionality, and it is frustrating. Add the lack of true gestures on the touchpad and most enyo apps as icing on the cake.

It has bugged me since I first go my TouchPad that I couldn't rename my tabls. I was hoping that since there was a way to add more tabs with PreWare that someone would create a way to rename them. But it's not there.

The other features you talk about would be cool too.

Use SubOrbital from Preware.

I have a Hp Pre 3 AT&T version with Web OS 2.2.4. I would like to know how to get four rows of apps in the launcher as it's seen in the above picture?. I also have a Palm Pre 2 with web OS 2.2.4 and would also like to get a four row app launcher on this device as well. If any of you know how to do this please enlighten me :-).

There is a PreWare that let's you set the icon spacing (but not size). I forget what it's called. I loved it on my TP. I think the default spacing is a bit wastful.

This isn't quit a launcher customization; more a UI tweak: In PalmOS, (almost?) every event had an API. Programmers could intercept, process and pass on/trash the event. This made it very easy for programmers to tightly integrate new features. Such programs were affectionatly called hacks, even though they weren't at all.

In that spirit, it would be cool if there were a set of actions, lock, activate, toss, scroll, etc, and a set of predefined gestures, turn, pinch, one and two finger (or more) slides, etc. They would be set up in a default configuration, but the user is free to reconfigure them. There could be 3-4 alternate configs already installed that the user could simply select. The gestures would execute macros that could be one or more actions. The user configs could be saved and easily switched. That way if my friend lets me borrow his TP, I could set it to the default config with a couple of taps, because he's wierd and does everything backwards. Maybe have user definable gestures and actions.