AppCenter: A Hassle-free Application & File Launcher (Cross-platform)

Whenever you want to launch an application (in Windows for instance), if you feel that, going over to your start menu and clicking on icons or searching for apps etc is a bit of a hassle (well, it kinda is ;-)), then “AppCenter” is a tool that’s worth trying. Basically, it’s an application launcher that lets you open programs and files with ease.

For instance, once setup (after adding files and programs), you can press a single key on your keyboard and that should open-up its transparent window containing a list of your added programs & files, that are ready to be launched. It’s a cross-platform tool that runs under Windows, Mac OS X and GNU/Linux (I tested it with Ubuntu, it works but has few issues hence I don’t think it’s “GNU/Linux ready”, yet ;-)).

The UI is written using the open-source Qt toolkit but it’s not however an open-source tool though. Anyhow, it comes with a user friendly installation wizard (for GNU/Linux too) and lets you configure things (add programs, files etc) while installing (can be customized later). Under MS Windows it worked really well, however in Ubuntu, it has few issues (more below).

But I think it’s a relatively new tool thus perhaps in the future some of those issues will be taken care of (hopefully).

Main features …

*. You can manually assign shortcut keys (for both showing and hiding). So whenever you need to get a list of your added apps or files, just press that shortcut key, and it should reveal its transparent window as shown below (the screenshot is under Windows 7), letting you easily open them afterward.

AppCenter-running-in-Windows-7

*. Add/remove both programs and files (for instance, you can add an audio track, which only creates a shortcut of course, and open it through its window).

*. Supports keyboard navigation (using arrow keys etc to navigate through the programs and files).

*. You can further categorize things (useful if you have somewhat a big list of files and apps added already) by creating a folder (using its configuration window) and then adding files under its name. So when you open the “AppCenter” window, this folder will be shown with the rest of the apps/files. And whenever you click on it, you’ll be taken into a new window, where your newly added files under that folder will be displayed.

*. You can also create multiple profiles (with each holding programs, file shortcuts etc of their own) and can easily switch between each individual profiles (=windows) as well.

keyboard-shortcut-settings-page
Accessing the settings window in Ubuntu …

Well, that’s pretty much it at the moment.

If interested, you can install it in GNU/Linux, Windows and Mac OS X by visiting this AppCenter download page. If you want to get a little more info, then perhaps you might wanna translate that web page as it’s in German. But without any of that, you can easily find the downloading links though ;-).

Installation instructions for GNU/Linux users (I’m using Ubuntu for the review)…

Before you try this, please remember that, unlike with Windows (where it works extremely well!) in GNU/Linux, it might not be able to auto detect programs and their proper icons by default. Plus it’s also having issues with file associations as well.

For instance, in Ubuntu, after adding files (such as an audio track or a text document) AppCenter will not be able to open them with their proper program (fails to open a text document with Gedit or Video track with Totem for instance).

So perhaps you might wanna wait a bit longer until the developer releases a better bug fixed version. But if you cannot wait till then, you can install it using the below steps.

1. First get the zipped archive. Once the download completes, double click on it and extract the file inside (say to your “Home” folder).

2. Now, open your Terminal window and enter the below command.

sudo ./AppCenter-2.1-setup.run

Replace the text in Blue with your AppCenter’s setup file name.

3. The rest is pretty automatic as it literally guides you through the whole installation process. By default it installs into the “/opt” folder, unless you know what you’re doing, don’t change anything and let it do its thing ;-).

default-file-location

4. Then after few more steps, when the installation completes, as shown below, remove the “check-mark” that says “Start AppCenter”, as we’re using it in the “sudo mode” (running it as the admin rather than the actual logged in user) and then click on the “Finish” button.

final-step

5. Now it should add a shortcut on your desktop. You can use this to launch it or by searching “appcenter” in Unity’s Dash should also.

Anyhow, in Ubuntu for instance, we do have a dedicate application launcher of its own and a Dash for searching and finding apps, files etc so perhaps “AppCenter” is not that necessary after all.

But for the Windows users, a simple yet an easy to use free application launcher like “AppCenter” might come in handy at times ;-). Enjoy!.

An RHCE, 'Linux' user with 14+ years of experience. Extreme lover of Linux and FOSS. He is passionate to test every Linux distribution & compare with the previous release to write in-depth articles to help the FOSS community.

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