Applications are either software designed to perform a specific task during a limited amount of time, or graphical applications presenting the user with an interface they can interact with.

Such applications are executed by applaunchd, the AGL application launcher service.

Basic requirements

In order to be enumerated by applaunchd, applications must provide the a .desktop file, as defined by the Desktop Entry specification.

The desktop entry file should be installed to /usr/share/applications (or the applications sub-directory of any entry present in the XDG_DATA_DIRS environment variable) and have a meaningful name. It is considered good practice to use reverse-DNS notation for the desktop entry file name, following the recommendations of the D-Bus specification: - this avoids potential name collisions with other desktop entry files - it makes it easier to enable D-Bus activation during the application development cycle if needed - for graphical applications, it ensures the chosen Wayland app-id will be unique

Such a file must contain at least the following keys: - Type: desktop entry type, must be set to Application - Name: application name, as it should be displayed in menus and application launchers - Exec: full path to the main executable

Below is an example of a minimal desktop entry file:

[Desktop Entry]
Name=Example Application

Graphical applications must also provide an Icon entry pointing to the application icon. The value for this entry must either be the full path to the icon's file or, for icons part of an existing icon theme, the name of an element of this theme.

In addition, a number of optional fields can be used to change how applaunchd will consider the application: - Version: version of the Desktop Entry Specification the file conforms to, must be 1.5 - Hidden: boolean value, if true the application is always ignored by applaunchd and won't be listed nor executed - Terminal: boolean value, if true the application is excluded when requesting the list of graphical applications from applaunchd - DBusActivatable: boolean value, must be true for D-Bus activated applications - Implements: list of D-Bus interfaces the application implements, only used for D-Bus activated applications.

Finally, graphical applications may also define the StartupWMClass key in some cases. Please refer to the graphical applications section for more information.

D-Bus activation

Similarly to services, applications can also be activated through D-Bus.

Such applications must name their .desktop file after the D-Bus name they register. In addition, this file must contain the following entries:


Where IFACEn are the names of the D-Bus interfaces the application implements.

In addition, they must provide a D-Bus service file named NAME.service and installed to /usr/share/dbus-1/services.

The contents of the D-Bus service file must be the following:

[D-BUS Service]

For example, an application registering the org.automotivelinux.Example D-Bus name and implementing the org.automotivelinux.Example.Search1 and org.automotivelinux.Example.Execute1 interfaces would provide the following files:

[Desktop Entry]
Name=Example Application
[D-BUS Service]

Note: in addition to their own D-Bus interface, D-Bus activated applications must also implement the org.freedesktop.Application interface as defined in the Desktop Entry specification.

Graphical applications

In addition, graphical applications need to comply with a few more requirements:

  1. Each application must set a Wayland application ID appropriately as soon as its main window is created.

  2. The app-id must be specified in the desktop entry file by adding the following line:

  1. The desktop entry file must be named APP_ID.desktop.

Doing so will ensure other software can associate the actual app-id to the proper application.

Note: application ID's are set using the XDG toplevel Wayland interface.