elementary OS introduces cross desktop compatible System Settings App(Switchboard)

There are more than a dozen of desktop environment available for GNU/Linux distribution. One of the biggest challenge is to develop integrated applications compatible with all desktop environments. By overcoming this challenge, the elementary OS team has announced cross desktop compatibility of their system settings app which is popularly known as switchboard.

The elementary OS has made switchboard app cross compatible by removing all hard-coded commands to open applications. Instead they are adopting a cross desktop URL scheme specification beginning with 'settings://'. This specifications is closely similar to naming convention published by freedesktop.org and it can open application designated for a particular configuration instead of opening a particular application.

In the world of open desktops, many apps are cross-platform as a standard. However, as apps strive to be more useful and integrated in the desktop, they become siloed and start to break that cross-platform compatibility. As apps become more and more connected, it becomes useful for them to be able to direct their users to adjust system settings that may prevent them from completing their tasks, especially in the case of network or online accounts settings. Currently, to provide this functionality an app developer must hard code support for a single settings app. This leaves users frustrated when they want to use the app in a different desktop environment and find that this feature is broken.

Instead of hard coding commands to open a single app, we’re proposing the adoption of the cross-desktop URL scheme “settings://” to empower developers and ensure user freedom.

You can read more of this topic, on a blog post published by elementary team.

Currently elementary team has implemented cross platform compatible settings app, and in near future, they are planning to migrate all the applications using the same scheme.

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