[xmonad] Re: Xmobar Plugin Development

Fred Blasdel blasdelf at gmail.com
Tue Jul 15 05:24:22 EDT 2008

On Mon, Jul 14, 2008 at 10:06 PM, Braden Shepherdson
<Braden.Shepherdson at gmail.com> wrote:
> PlainConfig is my creation. I originally built it after seeing online and
> meeting in fellow undergraduates resistance to installing such a massive
> dependency as GHC in order to experiment with xmonad.
> So I wrote PlainConfig as a proof-of-concept for a text-only config parser.
> It is capable, in principle, of creating the equivalent of any xmonad.hs
> file. However, you can't use arbitrary contrib modules, they would have to
> be added to the PlainConfig module's compiler first.
> That said, it would be a fairly easy endeavour to write parsers for the more
> popular contrib layouts and other miscellaneous modules (EwmhDesktops,
> Prompt and CopyWindow come to mind) that people tend to use.

I see now that all the functions available for binding are enumerated
in key_actions.

> In the end, though, text and a simple compiler is no match for Haskell and
> GHC as far as expressive power. PlainConfig was intended to be a decent
> replacement for simple xmonad.hs files, allowing someone to experiment and
> get a taste of xmonad without having to install GHC first, and also without
> being at the mercy of the default config. It would allow them to change
> their mod key, add workspaces and adjust their keybindings, the standard
> things newcomers to xmonad want to do.
> Though I imagine sooner or later most users would want some module or other
> feature PlainConfig doesn't support and would switch to using xmonad.hs
> files. To lower that barrier (having to install GHC makes it high enough
> already!) I intend to create another back end for PlainConfig so that
> instead of building an XConfig it outputs an xmonad.hs equivalent to the
> text configuration file, for seamless migration.
> If we intend to release this month and PlainConfig is a part of the release
> plans, I should have a chance from Wednesday onward this week to work on it.

I think that having a binary packaged version of PlainConfig-only
xmonad could be really awesome. Perhaps it could be called
"xmonad-simple" or "xmonad-plain". At runtime it should write a
prebuilt xmonad-${arch} binary (and xmonad.conf if it doesn't exist)
into ~/.xmonad/. It'd be a good idea to add a special target for it in
the Cabal build.

It'd be good to get debian and ubuntu packages made for it, but it'd
be terrific if there could be i386 and x86_64 binaries hosted on
xmonad.org -- "download this and run it from your home directory" --
convinent for students using lab computers.

 -- Fred

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