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LAS 2021 and improvements in the applications infrastructure

Tuesday, 18 May 2021 | Carl Schwan


Last week I attended and even gave a small talk to the Linux App Submit (LAS). LAS is a cross-distro and cross-desktop event around Linux applications. It’s a good place to learn about all the new cool thing making it easier to build and distribute Linux applications. This motivated me to improve a bit more the presence of Plasma Mobile applications in Flathub, but also make various improvements to apps.kde.org.

Plasma Mobile and Flathub

Jonah, Devin and myself started packaging more Plasma Mobile applications to Flathub. Currently we added Koko, Index, Vvave, Alligator and Pix to Flathub and more pull request are already open and hopefully soon merged.

Apps.kde.org

Apps.kde.org also got a few updates. Volker fixed a regression caused by my latest rewrite of the website that was preventing the application page to show links to F-Droid and the Play Store when available. This prompted me to also add additional links to Flathub, but also to the nightly Windows build.

GCompris is really everywhere
GCompris is really everywhere

Another small improvements and not yet visible in the UI is that it’s now possible to list all applications available on specific platforms. For example to see all the applications available on Android, you can use apps.kde.org/platforms/android/. Similarly to see all the applications available on the Microsoft Store, you can use apps.kde.org/platforms/windows/.

On the Android page, some applications have been removed from the store and we should probably update the metadata accordingly or bring them back. Hint: It’s a good oportunity to get involved!

The next step is to expose these links in the homepage of the website.

Release tooling

A while ago, I added support for release information in apps.kde.org. Unfortunately the <release> tag isn’t often added in KDE applications for new release. Currently only a handful of applications like Krita, KDevelop, NeoChat or Calindori are using them. It’s a bit sad because it allows to link to the release announcements, but also link to the tarball and other artifacts (.exe, .dmg, .AppImage, …). Additionally this information are also displayed on Flathub and Discover.

To improve a bit the situation, for at least the package released by the release service, I started a merge request for the release-tools that adds more information to the AppStream file. This includes bugs fixed in the last version, a link to the tarball and the link to the announcement. A solution for other types of artifacts still need to be figured out, but since not all applications in the release service provide AppImages or Windows/macOS package, it’s more complicated.

Discover

Another application related improvement I have been working is a revamp of Discover homepage. This is still work in progress and the final visual result might change, but here is how it currently looks:

Discover new applications with Discover
Discover new applications with Discover