Review Request 120149: [OS X] improved menubar experience: protected Preferences menu and cleaner "system tray"

René J.V. Bertin rjvbertin at
Thu Sep 25 15:03:51 BST 2014

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(Updated Sept. 25, 2014, 4:03 p.m.)

Review request for KDE Software on Mac OS X, kdelibs, KDEPIM, Qt KDE, Marco Martin, and Olivier Goffart.


Added qt-kde as the issues raised in this RR can only be addressed cleanly by modifications to Qt

Repository: kdelibs


This review is for 2 sets of changes; an initial one to the way "system tray" are rendered, and a newer set that protects the Preferences menu from getting linked to any action with an appropriate title.

-- the system tray:
Until now, "system tray" menus had some rendering issues on Mac OS X:

- The menu title, the 1st menu item that on Linux shows the application name, remained empty
- Menu items that can (in principle, potentially) show an icon always showed the icon

Point 1 was resolved by emulating the Linux addTitle/setTitle action in `KStatusNotifierItemPrivate::init()` : the menu title is implemented as a deactive standard menuitem followed by a separator. This makes the item stand out on a GUI that doesn't support the kind of formatting in menus as used in the Linux implementation.

Point 2 was identified as a Qt issue: `isIconVisibleInMenu` is ignored for systray menus. It was resolved by adding `KMenu::addAction` methods that overload the ones from QMenu that were hitherto inherited unchanged by KMenu. The only different method is `addAction(QAction*)` which removes the icon from the `QAction` if `isIconVisibleInMenu()` is false. The other `addAction` methods are "overloaded with themselves" with `using QMenu::addAction;` in the header file.

-- the Preferences menu item
This is a menu item living in the Application menu, a menu that sits in the menubar between the Apple (?) menu and the File menu. This menu also contains the Quit command.
KDE and Qt applications typically do not set up their menus in this fashion, so Qt provides an automatic way to put relevant menu items (actions) in the Application menu, using Apple's naming. The algorithm is described under QMenuBar in the Qt documentation: for the Preferences action, it will consider any action that has a text containing `config`, `options`, `settings` or `preferences`, and put it under the Preferences label if its menu role is set to `heuristic` (which appears to be the default).
In practice, many applications provide a series of menu actions with names that trigger this method, and they do not always create their own preferences/settings/configuration menu first. Yet it is the first menu action that matches that will be installed under the Preferences menu, with the Command-, shortcut. A good example is KDevelop: it will have a Preferences menu that activates the `Configure Selection` action - which does not open a settings dialog but launches the configure or cmake procedure for the selected project ...

My proposed solution overrides this Qt behaviour. On OS X, the `KAction(const QString &text, QObject *parent)` constructor calls a modified (static) function `setTextWithCorrectMenuRole` which checks the text against the patterns Qt will consider for `PreferencesRole`. If it finds a match, it will force the role to `NoRole`, unless it is a perfect match with the standard KDE configuration action for the application (`"&Configuration appName..."`) in which case it sets the role to `PreferencesRole`. This latter consideration allows kdelibs to "catch" the configuration menu for applications like KMail, which appear not to be created using KStandardActions.
This approach can be extended to other menu actions that end up incorrectly in the OS X Application menu.

Applications that create menu actions using QAction or a different KAction constructor will see no change (and should use `setMenuRole` selectively on OS X).


  kdeui/notifications/kstatusnotifieritem.cpp 1b15d40 
  kdeui/actions/kaction.cpp 9e8f7fb 



Testing was done with kdelibs git/master and KDE/MacPorts on OS X 10.6.8 . The modified code is in compile-time conditional blocks used only on OS X, so no regressions are to be expected on other platforms.

KF5 is not production ready on OS X, so I am not currently able to port these modifications beyond KDE4. However, I did see that Qt5 has a new approach to adding titles to menus, which can be described as a "labelled separator". Backporting that function from the Qt5 source to kdelibs gave menu items that had the separator but not the text (title) label. It is thus likely that some kind of emulation will also be required with KF5, on OS X.

I considered doing the addTitle/setTitle emulation in kmenu.cpp, but decided against that for now. Menu titles are rendered as under Linux in menus that are not attached to the OS X toplevel menubar (say in context menus). Without knowing how to distinguish the kind of menu in KMenu methods the emulation will have to remain in the client code.

The Preferences menu protection should carry over easily to KF5, supposing Qt5 uses the same heuristics to place relevant menu actions under the OS X application menu, and supposing `KAction` has made the transition to KF5.


René J.V. Bertin

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