Inspire me, Nautilus!

When I have some free time I like to be creative but sometimes I need a push of inspiration to take me in the right direction.

Interior designers and people who are about to get married like to create inspiration boards by gluing magazine cutouts to the wall.

‘Mood board for a Tuscan Style Interior’ by Design Folly on Flickr

I find a lot of inspiration online, so I want a digital equivalent. I looked for one, and I found various apps for iOS and Mac which act like digital inspiration boards, but I didn’t find anything I can use with GNOME. So I began planning an elaborate new GTK+ app, but then I remembered that I get tired of such projects before they actually become useful. In fact, there’s already a program that lets you manage a collection of images and text! It’s known as Files (Nautilus), and for me it only lacks the ability to store web links amongst the other content.

Then, I discovered that you can create .desktop files that point to web locations, the equivalent of .url files on Microsoft Windows. Would a folder full of URL links serve my needs? I think so!

Nautilus had some crufty code paths to deal with these shortcut files, which was removed in 2018. Firefox understands them directly, so if you set Firefox as the default application for the application/x-desktop file type then they work nicely: click on a shortcut and it opens in Firefox.

There is no convenient way to create these .desktop files: dragging and dropping a tab from Epiphany will create a text file containing the URL, which is tantalisingly close to what I want, but the resulting file can’t be easily opened in a browser. So, I ended up writing a simple extension that adds a ‘Create web link…’ dialog to Nautilus, accessed from the right-click menu.

Now I can use Nautilus to easily manage collections of links and I can mix in (or link to) any local content easily too. Here’s me beginning my ‘inspiration board’ for recipes …

Screenshot from 2019-03-04 22-05-13.png


4 thoughts on “Inspire me, Nautilus!

  1. How about adding a general way to create and edit .desktop files with Nautilus? These files act very similar to the *.lnk files under Windows, except that dealing with them under Windows is much easier for the end user (except for the hidden details).

  2. There was a project called “The Board” in the early GNOME 3 days. That one acted as a digital equivalent of the type of board you’d have on e.g. your kitchen wall. I don’t think much happened with that app, though…

  3. Nice that you bring this up.

    1.I always thought Nautilus creates a website link when you dragg a website to it… if not, they should add this functionality imho, it’s already too late! 🙂 The biggest issue I have now is that the desktop icons (previously handeled by Nautilus) doesn’t save files you throw to it from the browser, like images, documents, website links etc.

    2. to have a ‘board’ thus a simple app where it saves, sorts and ideally creates thumbnails for everything you throw onto it would be really helpful. Add text fields and simple notation drawings with every piese tagged by date, time and sourcea nd I can die by satisfaction.

    Your extension is a start in the good direction, thank you.

  4. My own trick for doing the same thing is to put a “websiteshortcut.desktop” file inside the ~/Templates/ folder so that I can create desktop shortcuts from the “New” submenu in the right-click menu. (I just have to edit the desktop file with gedit)

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