Ubuntu – What’s the right terminology for Unity’s UI elements


I've sent a few mails to the Ayatana mailing list regarding some UI suggestions for Unity, but I'm afraid I keep confusing the right terms for the UI element, so I would like to have some clarification.

Answer Index:

Best Answer

1. Panel

Is the bar at the top called "panel"?

Yes, the top bar is called the "unity-panel" or simply panel, the container for indicators and global menus.

2. Home Button

Does the Ubuntu logo at the top left corner have a name?

Since 11.04 it's called Home Button though it's jokingly referred to as the BFB by developers, for "Big Freaking Button"

home button diagram from 11.04 documentation

3. Launcher

Is the left sidebar called "dock"?

It's called the Launcher.


4. Launcher icons / Launcher items

Are the coloured tiles with app icons on them called "launchers"?

Launcher icons or Launcher items.

5. Workspace switcher

Is the purple tile called "workspace switcher"?

As of 11.04, yes.


6. Dash

Are the fullscreen things that appear when you click the Ubuntu logo, the Places tile or the Apps tile, called "dash"? Do they all have the same name?

Right; Dash is the component name for the overlay that's used for Applications and Places. In non-technical contexts it seems to be used as the Applications Dash and the Places Dash.

dash mockup

Also consider:

The first thing you'll see when opening the Dash is the Dash Home. Without typing or clicking anything, the Dash Home will show you applications and files you've used recently.

Other Terms

There seems to be no term decided upon for items kept on the launcher via the "Keep in launcher" function. The relevant dbusmenu functionality is named "pinning_item" in the code; "sticky" doesn't appear anywhere in the wiki and bug reports, and "Favorites" is used in the architecture document once and somewhat ambiguously to refer to what seems to be the "pinned" application items. So "Pinned" and "Favorites" seem both fine for now.

For further information, see the Unity Architecture document, and /Unity/Lenses on the wiki.

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