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Photon Desktop Manager

This chapter shows you how to use the Desktop Manager to launch applications, navigate Photon's desktop, and more. Topics include:

The Desktop Manager at a glance

Here's a sample of the Photon Desktop Manager (PDM):

Figure showing Desktop Manager and Taskbar

Think of the PDM as your main control panel. It lets you:

Note: Depending on your Photon environment, the Desktop Manager may not be available. For more info, ask your system administrator.

The Desktop Manager includes the following:

Button bar

At the left of the Desktop Manager, you'll see a button bar:

Figure showing Desktop Manager menu, config, and help buttons

Desktop Manager menu button

PDM menu button

Click on this button to bring up the Desktop Manager menu, which lets you run applications from a command line and control the behavior of the Desktop Manager.

The Desktop Manager menu contains these items:

Launching an application using the Run... item

To launch an application using the Run... menu item:

  1. Click on Run... You'll be prompted for the command required to run the application.
  2. Enter the name of the command in the text field. For example, to run the Photon Image Viewer, you could type the following in the Command Line field:

    pv myfile.gif

  3. Click on the Run button.

Note: For information on using pv (or any other Photon utility), see the Photon Installation & Configuration guide.

Configuration tool

PDM Configuration button

The Configuration tool lets you set up the Desktop Manager the way you want. You can specify the applications you want to load for quick-launching, the icons you want to appear, and how they're grouped. You can also use this tool to select the backdrop and screen saver for your workspace.

Question-mark help button

PDM help button

The help button gives you application-specific help-in this case, help on the Desktop Manager. Whenever you need some information about a specific aspect of the Desktop Manager, you simply click on the button and then click on the object you want to know about. The Helpviewer will then pop up and display the appropriate section from the Photon online bookset.

Extended Workspace View

The workspace you see in front of you is really only a fraction of your entire desktop, which contains nine consoles in all. The three consoles you see in the Extended Workspace View represent one row (normally the top row) of the nine-square grid of consoles that make up your whole desktop:

Extended Workspace View

A white border in the Extended Workspace View highlights your current console. If you move a window on your screen, you'll see its tiny counterpart move in the Extended Workspace View. And vice versa-if you move the tiny window in the Extended Workspace View using the mouse, the window on your screen will move in sync.

The View-up and View-down arrows let you move the Extended Workspace View up or down the nine-square grid. Try them!

Console Selector

Console Selector

The Console Selector represents the nine consoles that make up your desktop. It indicates:

To switch your current console to any of the nine possible workspaces on your desktop, just click on a square in the grid.

World View

This is like a map showing you all nine consoles at once:

Figure showing desktop World View

To bring up the World View:

=>> Simply click on the World View button:

World View icon

If you move or resize the World View, the Desktop Manager will remember your changes.

How to know where you are

Since your entire desktop is much larger than you can see in a single console, and since you may have many windows open at the same time, the Desktop Manager gives you several indicators that tell you which window has focus, and which console you're viewing:

When you see a: It means:
Green window frame. This is the focus window (i.e. it's ready for input).
Shaded application button in the Taskbar. This is the focus window.
White rectangle in Extended Workspace View. The focus window is in this console.
Small green rectangle in the Console Selector. This is your current console view.

Moving around your entire desktop

You can switch from one console to another in several ways:

Group folders

Your Desktop Manager may include folders containing icons for quick-launching applications, demos, games, and development tools. These folders allow you to group your quick-launch icons; the name of each group appears on the folder's tab.

Applications folder

Your Applications folder may contain the following:

Figure showing Pterm icon
Photon Terminal (pterm)-The Photon terminal brings up a QNX shell for running QNX utilities or other text-based applications. You may run several terminal sessions at the same time.
Figure showing Helpviewer icon
Helpviewer-This is your online "encyclopedia" of Photon. The Helpviewer uses Hypertext techniques to let you easily access and navigate the entire set of Photon books. For more information, see the Getting Help chapter.
PFM Desktop Icon
File Manager-A simple, graphical tool for maintaining and organizing your files. You can use it to view, edit, and delete files. We'll look at it in detail in the Photon File Manager chapter.
Figure showing Message Pad icon
Message Pad-A handy way to post a note, either to yourself or to other users on a network. For more details, see "Using the Message Pad" in the Using Photon on a Network chapter.
CD Player icon
CD Player-If your computer includes a CD-ROM drive, you can use this tool to listen to your favorite tunes while you work.
DayMinder icon
DayMinder-Keep yourself organized with Photon's online appointment book. For more details, see the chapter on DayMinder.
Calculator icon
Calculator-You don't need a pencil and a piece of paper, or a pocket calculator anymore-just use Photon's handy calculator program.
Image Viewer icon
Image Viewer-A tool for viewing graphical images, including any snapshots that you take of your screen.

Utilities folder

This may contain several tools, including:

Figure showing Jump Gate icon
Jump Gate-This unique connectivity tool lets you "beam" or transport an application-and yourself!-from one QNX node to another! (Don't worry, when you go through a Jump Gate, you don't literally go anywhere. But you'll be able to view and interact with a remote system as if you were right there.) For more info, see the Using Photon on a Network chapter.
Snapshot icon
Snapshot-A tool for taking screen snapshots.

Other tools in the Utilities folder may include diagnostic tools such as vsin and phsac.

Demos & Games folder

You'll find several demos here. Try them - they speak for themselves! And as for the games, well, you'll have to wait till your lunch hour before you can try these! ;-)

Note: If you have the Photon Toolkit, source code is available for many of the demos and games.

Development Tools folder

This may contain several development tools, including the Photon Application Builder (PhAB), as well as the phin and winview system-information utilities.

Launching applications from a Group folder

To quick-launch any application contained in a Group folder:

=>> Simply click on the appropriate folder, then click on the icon representing the application.

Adding applications to a Group folder

To add an application to a group folder, see the section on "Using the Configuration tool" in the Customizing Photon chapter.

Scroll arrows and Mail indicator

The right side of the Desktop Manager contains the following:

Figure showing Desktop Manager scroll arrows and mail indicator

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