Recently I switched to Gmail Tasks from Remember the Milk because I long thought the latter to be a little to cluttered for my taste. I wanted something more lightweight and quick. Gmail Tasks is a perfect fit: it’s quick to add new tasks, you can have several task lists, you can create sub tasks. That’s basically all I need at the moment.
Gmail Tasks exists primarily in your Gmail account, but you can put it almost everywhere since it is just a web page. This is how you integrate with the Ubuntu desktop:
Accessing Tasks Outside Your Browser
To be able edit your Tasks on you desktop, you need to install a program called Prism (package:
prism). If you want to, you can also install other predefined applications such as Gmail, Google Calendar by installing the packages
prism-google-calendar (there are more similar packages available).
You add Gmail Tasks by starting Prism from Applications → Internet → Prism and enter the following URL:
As name, I entered just “Tasks” (without the quotes). Then you must check Desktop under Create Shortcuts. This will create a desktop short cut to Gmail Tasks. Nice, and sometimes enough for a web application that you only use occasionally!
Integrating Tasks with the Desktop Environment
To integrate Gmail Tasks a little bit more seamless with the Ubuntu desktop, we’re going to use a program called alltray (package:
alltray) to put the Prism window in the system tray. alltray is started from the command line either without arguments (you can the click on a window to send it to the tray):
You can also start alltray with the program to send to the tray as an argument:
This is the command I use to start Gmail Tasks with alltray:
alltray -st -na -g 300x724+980 xulrunner-1.9 /usr/share/prism/application.ini -webapp email@example.com
This requires you to have created the Gmail Tasks web application with Prism earlier. Here’s what the arguments do:
-sttells alltray to show the window in system tray only at startup
-naremoves “(Alltray)” from the window title
-gsets the window size and position on the form
WithxHeight+XPosition+YPosition. I set it to a width of 300 and a height of 724 (the height of my desktop without the Gnome panels) and an X position of 980 (the width of my desktop minus the witdh of the window, to place it on the right side)
- The last argument is how Gmail Tasks is started normally with Prism (you can see this command if you right-click on the Gmail Tasks icon on the desktop and choose Properties)
Right click on the desktop icon for Gmail Tasks (the one that Prism created) and change the Program field to include the alltray command with its arguments before the normal Prism command. When you double-click the Gmail Tasks icon on the desktop now, it will start in the system tray instead of starting as a normal window.
If you right click on the Applications menu and choose Edit Menus you can drag and drop the Gmail Tasks icon from the desktop to for example the Internet or Accessories menu. It is then safe to remove it from the desktop.
Starting Automatically when Ubuntu Starts
Making Gmail Tasks start automatically with Ubuntu is done by adding it to Sessions in System → Preferences → Sessions. Open the Sessions window and drag and drop the Gmail Tasks shortcut from the desktop or the Applications menu to Sessions window. Gmail Tasks will now start automatically in the system tray every time you login!
This is a (fairly) easy method to add your Gmail Tasks to your desktop, with the help of applications available in the Ubuntu repositories. This method could be used with any other web application too, like Facebook or Twitter for example. Hope this has helped!