unity style backlight for running apps in dash to dock
backlit app launchers

More features familiar to users of the Ubuntu Unity desktop could be making their way to Dash to Dock.

The hugely popular GNOME extension has seen an uptick in contributions since Canonical announced it was retiring the Unity desktop from it role as default desktop in Ubuntu 17.10 onwards.

And many of those getting involved in the add-on’s development are porting over some of Unity’s features and behaviours.

Like ‘Launcher Backlight‘, for example.

This tweak adds a spotlight effect to running apps, giving them an illuminated/colourful background tile to sit on (see image left). The colour of the background is derived from the application icon to help give a colourful yet harmonious look.

The Unity backlight effect won’t be to everyone’s tastes, but as an entirely optional opt-in features it’s one I, as an ex-Unity user, will certainly make use of.

Per App Expose

Per-application expose is arguably less trivial than background indicators, being a mainstay of many users workflow. As on Unity, per application exposé in Dash to Dock triggers an exposé style spread showing all open windows related to whichever app clicked on — and only those.

As in Unity the spread is only triggered when more than one window of an app is open.

You can see per application exposé in Unity in this video:

Although not Unity related I also have to mention that if you like the look of the dynamic transparency effect in the GNOME 3.26 top-bar you’ll be please to know that a pull request for similar functionality is pending in Dash to Dock’s Github.

Pull Requests, Not Committed Code

Now for the less awesome bit.

While all of the features listed above would be great additions to Dash to Dock it’s far from assured that any of them will be merged in and shipped as part of a future releases.

This doesn’t meant they won’t be, either. The maintainer of Dash to Dock is wary of making too many major changes too often, and when merging something new he likes to make sure that the code/feature is easy to maintain, works well with other settings, and does not affect overall performance.

We’ll certainly keep you updated if/when/as more features land in Dash to Dock.

Dev dash to dock