The application menu works according to the XDG Desktop Menu Specification at http://www.freedesktop.org/Standards/menu-spec
desktop-file: A desktop file represents a single menu entry in the menu. Desktop files are defined by the freedesktop.org Desktop Entry Specification. The most important aspects of *.desktop files are summarized below.
Menu entries can be added to the menu system in two different ways. They can either be added to a predefined submenu in the menu system based on one or more category keywords, or they can be added to a new submenu.
To add a menu entry to a predefined submenu the desktop file that represents the menu entry must have a Categories= entry that lists one or more keywords. The menu item will be included in an appropriate submenu based on the included keywords.
To add menu items to a new submenu the desktop-files must be preceded by a directory-file that describes the submenu. If multiple desktop-files are specified, all entries will be added to the same menu. If entries are installed to a menu that has been created with a previous call to xdg-desktop-menu the entries will be installed in addition to any already existing entries.
directory-file: The *.directory file indicated by directory-file represents a submenu. The directory file provides the name and icon for a submenu. The name of the directory file is used to identify the submenu.
If multiple directory files are provided each file will represent a submenu within the menu that preceeds it, creating a nested menu hierarchy (sub-sub-menus). The menu entries themselves will be added to the last submenu.
Directory files follow the syntax defined by the freedesktop.org Desktop Entry Specification.
A submenu and the associated directory file is only removed when the submenu no longer contains any menu entries.
This command is only useful if the last call to xdg-desktop-menu included the --noupdate option.
A vendor prefix consists of alpha characters ([a-zA-Z]) and is terminated with a dash ("-"). Companies and organizations are encouraged to use a word or phrase, preferably the organizations name, for which they hold a trademark as their vendor prefix. The purpose of the vendor prefix is to prevent name conflicts.
The default is to use system mode when called by root and to use user mode when called by a non-root user.
An application item in the application menu is represented by a *.desktop file. A *.desktop file consists of a [Desktop Entry] header followed by several Key=Value lines.
A *.desktop file can provide a name and description for an application in several different languages. This is done by adding a language code as used by LC_MESSAGES in square brackets behind the Key. This way one can specify different values for the same Key depending on the currently selected language.
The following keys are often used:
When using categories it is recommended to include one of the following categories: AudioVideo, Development, Education, Game, Graphics, Network, Office, Settings, System, Utility.
See Appendix A of the XDG Desktop Menu Specification for information about additional categories. http://standards.freedesktop.org/menu-spec/menu-spec-1.0.html
For a complete oveview of the *.desktop file format please visit http://www.freedesktop.org/wiki/Standards/desktop-entry-spec
The appearance of submenu in the application menu is provided by a *.directory file. In particular it provides the title of the submenu and a possible icon. A *.directory file consists of a [Desktop Entry] header followed by several Key=Value lines.
A *.directory file can provide a title (name) for the submenu in several different languages. This is done by adding a language code as used by LC_MESSAGES in square brackets behind the Key. This way one can specify different values for the same Key depending on the currently selected language.
The following keys are relevqnt for submenus:
xdg-desktop-menu honours the following environment variables:
An exit code of 0 indicates success while a non-zero exit code indicates failure. The following failure codes can be returned:
xdg-desktop-icon(1), xdg-icon-resource(1), xdg-mime(1)
The company ShinyThings Inc. has developed an application named "WebMirror" and would like to add it to the application menu. The company will use "shinythings" as its vendor id. In order to add the application to the menu there needs to be a .desktop file with a suitable Categories entry:
shinythings-webmirror.desktop: [Desktop Entry] Encoding=UTF-8 Type=Application Exec=webmirror Icon=webmirror Name=WebMirror Name[nl]=WebSpiegel Categories=Network;WebDevelopment;
Now the xdg-desktop-menu tool can be used to add the shinythings-webmirror.desktop file to the desktop application menu:
xdg-desktop-menu install ./shinythings-webmirror.desktop
Note that for the purpose of this example the menu items are available in two languages, English and Dutch. The language code for Dutch is nl.
In the next example the company ShinyThings Inc. will add its own submenu to the desktop application menu consisting of a "WebMirror" menu item and a "WebMirror Admin Tool" menu item.
First the company needs to create two .desktop files that describe the two menu items. Since the items are to be added to a new submenu it is not necassery to include a Categories= line:
shinythings-webmirror.desktop: [Desktop Entry] Encoding=UTF-8 Type=Application Exec=webmirror Icon=shinythings-webmirror Name=WebMirror Name[nl]=WebSpiegel shinythings-webmirror-admin.desktop: [Desktop Entry] Encoding=UTF-8 Type=Application Exec=webmirror-admintool Icon=shinythings-webmirror-admintool Name=WebMirror Admin Tool Name[nl]=WebSpiegel Administratie Tool
In addition a .directory file needs to be created to provide a title and icon for the sub-menu itself:
shinythings-webmirror.directory: [Desktop Entry] Encoding=UTF-8 Icon=shinythings-webmirror-menu Name=WebMirror Name[nl]=WebSpiegel
These file can now be installed with:
xdg-desktop-menu install ./shinythings-webmirror.directory \ ./shinythings-webmirror.desktop ./shinythings-webmirror-admin.desktop
The menu entries could also be installed one by one:
xdg-desktop-menu install --noupdate ./shinythings-webmirror.directory \ ./shinythings-webmirror.desktop xdg-desktop-menu install --noupdate ./shinythings-webmirror.directory \ ./shinythings-webmirror-admin.desktop xdg-desktop-menu forceupdate
Although the result is the same it is slightly more efficient to install all files at the same time.
The *.desktop and *.directory files reference icons with the names webmirror, webmirror-admin and webmirror-menu which should also be installed. In this example the icons are installed in two different sizes, once with a size of 22x22 pixels and once with a size of 64x64 pixels:
xdg-icon-resource install --size 22 ./wmicon-22.png shinythings-webmirror xdg-icon-resource install --size 22 ./wmicon-menu-22.png shinythings-webmirror-menu xdg-icon-resource install --size 22 ./wmicon-admin-22.png shinythings-webmirror-admin xdg-icon-resource install --size 64 ./wmicon-64.png shinythings-webmirror xdg-icon-resource install --size 64 ./wmicon-menu-64.png shinythings-webmirror-menu xdg-icon-resource install --size 64 ./wmicon-admin-64.png shinythings-webmirror-admin