GuidetoHoneycombLaunchers_updated

How to Create Your Own Honeycomb Launcher in Easy Steps

Preface:

Honeycomb Launchers are simple Rainmeter skins that each need to reside in their own folder. Generally, they consist of an .ini file that describes the skin and a .png file that represents the icon.

This guide shall demonstrate how to create and manipulate the .ini file for the skin.

In the following steps, we will create a launcher ini file for Notepad++.

Steps:

  1. Open Rainmeter

  2. Right-click the Rainmeter icon in the system tray to open the context menu.

    RM_Menu.png
    RM_Menu.png

  3. There select Manage

  4. The Manage Rainmeter window opens

    RM_Manage.png
    RM_Manage.png

  5. Select the Honeycomb folder and right-click to open the context menu.

  6. Click on Open folder in the context menu

    RM_Manage_Open_Folder.png
    RM_Manage_Open_Folder.png

  7. A new Explorer window opens with the Honeycomb skin folder displayed

    C:\Users\gemet\Pictures\RM Tutorial Honeycomb new14-09-23 09_43_22-Honeycomb.png
    C:\Users\gemet\Pictures\RM Tutorial Honeycomb new14-09-23 09_43_22-Honeycomb.png

  8. Select one of the sub-folders. Each sub-folder is a Launcher.
    Here, we’ll select the notepad folder as it is close to the launcher we will create:

  9. Copy (Ctrl+C) and paste (Ctrl+V) the selected folder. A new folder notepad – Copy will appear

  10. Rename (shortcut: F2) the new folder to reflect what the Launcher will launch – here: notepad++
    RM_Folder_Renamed.png

  11. Open the notepad++ folder to see what’s inside:

    As you can see, there are two files inside. A .ini file that describes the actual skin and a .png file that represents the icon for the skin.

  12. Now, we are going to rename the notepad.ini file:

    RM_notepad++_ini_renamed.png
    RM_notepad++_ini_renamed.png

  13. Once renamed, we can edit the notepad++.ini file. (If Windows default settings are active, double-clicking on the .ini file should open Notepad – the default windows editor. In general, any plain-text editor will do – Word or the likes are not suitable as they have their own format. Notepad++ and Sublime Text have dedicated Rainmeter plugins, but for just editing this simple launcher neither of them is necessary.)

    The above image shows the notepad++.ini file opened in Notepad.
    Only two lines in that whole file are of particular interest to us. These are:

    1. ImageName=… (This line defines the image that the Launcher will use)

    2. LeftMouseUpAction=… (This line defines the program that will be started)
      There is a particular reason to use LeftMouseUpAction instead of LeftMouseDownAction: The UpAction allows dragging. Had the DownAction been used, dragging would not be possible. Also, per Windows User Interface convention, the MouseUp action always executes – the MouseDown action dows nothing. (Easy to see when one clicks on a dialog button: Clicking the mouse and holding the button down does not perform any action other than changing the display of the button to depressed. Only when the mouse button is released, the associated command gets executed.) This MouseUp convention is a safety measure as well. If one accidentially clicks the wrong button but realizes soon enough (while the Mouse button is still down), one can change their mind by just moving off the button area and nothing will happen. 

  14. First, we are going to change the LeftMouseUpAction line:
    RM_notepad++_ini_LeftMouseUpAction.png
    The interesting part is the text between the brackets [].

  1. We need to locate the Notepad++ executable file. There are two different ways to locate the executable (Either way a, or b will leave us with the full path to the executable on the Windows Clipboard):

    1. Open a new Explorer window and navigate to the Notepad++ folder in Program Files.

      RM_Explorer_Navigate_to_NPP_Folder.png
      RM_Explorer_Navigate_to_NPP_Folder.png

      1. We are now going to use a little-known feature of Windows Explorer: Copy as path. Press and hold the Shift key and right-click on the notepad++.exe file. Then select Copy as path.
        RM_Copy_As_Path.png

    2. Alternatively, we can use an existing Shortcut to get the full file path to the Notepad++ executable.

      RM_NPP Shortcut.png
      RM_NPP Shortcut.png

      1. Right-click on the Shortcut to open the context menu:

        RM_NPP_Shortcut_Context_Menu.png
        RM_NPP_Shortcut_Context_Menu.png

      2. Select Properties in the now open context menu

        2014-09-15 13_16_54-Notepad++ Properties.png
        2014-09-15 13_16_54-Notepad++ Properties.png

      3. The Target: textbox has the information we need already highlighted. So, we only need to copy it (Ctrl+C)

  2. Now that we have the full path and file name on the clipboard, we can paste it into the notepad++.ini file:
    2014-09-15 13_20_08-notepad++.ini - Notepad.png
    Note that the double quotes need to be there!

  3. The next step is to change the ImageName


    Rainmeter has some built-in variables. One of these variables reflects a special path to an @Resources folder. We can use this variable:
    #@# is a built-in variable that always points to a folder named “@Resources” inside the current skin folder (not in the folder of the actual launcher skin). Also, the path always ends with a backslash “\” so that it is directly usable for our needs.
    notepad++.png is the name of the icon (which we have not created yet, but that’s part of another tutorial).

  4. Having changed both lines, it is time to save the file. The new launcher is ready for use. The following image shows the final launcher file:

  5. The last step is to refresh the skin in the Rainmeter Manager: Click Refresh all. The new launcher should be visible in the Rainmeter Manager:

    2014-09-15 13_56_01-Manage Rainmeter.png
    2014-09-15 13_56_01-Manage Rainmeter.png

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