While looking for a way to display the script output on the Gnome Shell panel (top bar), I came across Argos. This Gnome Shell extension does only one thing: it adds a new item to the panel with a drop-down menu, displays the output of the script, and exposes features. The extension is inspired by BitBar, a popular program that puts the output of any script on the macOS menu bar, and is even compatible with most BitBar scripts.
Using it, you can basically write your own custom Gnome Shell extension in a language you are already familiar with (e.g. Bash, Python, etc.). Since the Argos plugin is just an executable script written to stdout, you can create plugins for it in any language.
Don’t know Bash, Python, etc? No problem, you will find that Argos / BitBar plugins compatible with Argos already exist and can perform a variety of tasks.
- 100% API compatible with BitBar 1.9.2. All plugins that do not contain macOS specific code can be used with Argos
- Asynchronous execution engine: Argos prevents blocking by intelligently scheduling scripts
- Unicode support
- Optimized to reduce resource consumption; developers claim that Argos uses less than 1% of CPU even if multiple scripts are refreshed per second
Argos installation and quick use guide
You have several ways to install Argos:
- Argos can be installed from extensions.gnome.org. Make sure you have Browser plugins and system packages Install to be able to install the Gnome Shell extension and then access extensions.gnome.org And install the extension by clicking the toggle button.
- You can also install Argos by searching for extensions in the Gnome software application.
- Install Argos from source Also easy
Using the basics of the Argos plugin can help you get started:
- Argos monitoring
~/.config/argos/New script folder. All executable scripts placed in this folder are treated as plugins and their output is placed in the Gnome Shell panel (top bar) as soon as it is displayed. Names that begin with a dot (
- The plugin file name has a special form:
POSITION: Is optional and you can use it to specify the button position on the panel. The position is an integer +
INTERVAL: Is optional, you can use it to tell the plugin how much time it should refresh. Interval is integer +
INTERVAL, Which tells the script to update every time the drop-down menu is opened.
- Example Argos plugin (script) file name:
plugin.1r.10m+.sh. The plugin will be on the right side of the Gnome Shell clock (if you haven’t moved it from the center of the panel), it will run the script to update the information every 10 minutes, and it will also run on every drop-down menu.
- The buttons displayed by Argos on the panel are arranged alphabetically from left to right, unless
POSITIONAs mentioned above, specify in the file name
It’s time to “install” your first Argos plugin. First download a simple example and say this Ping plugin (To download the script, click
View source Link and press
Ctrl + s Save), copy the script to
~/.config/argos/, And make it executable (you can make it executable from the Files app: right-click the script, select
PropertiesAnd go to
Permissions Label and enable
Allow executing file as program).
Once Argos finds a new executable script in it
~/.config/argos/And it will show its output on the panel and drop-down menu:
You can delete
argos.sh A script that already exists in the script
~/.config/argos/ Because it is just a bookmark for the Argos configuration folder and the Argos GitHub project page.
If you want to write your own Argos plugin, it is recommended that you start with an existing example and then check Argos rendering and line properties documentation.
Argos plugin example
Argos already has some features Plug-in example On its GitHub page, such as the application launcher or top viewer. You will also find some BitBar plugin example Can be used with Argos, such as Ping plugin, Stock Ticker or World Clock.
In addition to these, I also found some examples of Argos plugins that I want to share with you. 1. the weather Insert
This is a sophisticated Argos plugin that displays the current weather and 7-day weather forecast with icons and various other information such as wind speed, humidity, etc. It supports automatic detection of your current location and manual location assignment.
To use it, you must open the script with a text editor and modify it:
api_keyThe value of your darksky.net API key. You can obtain free DarkSky API keys from: https://darksky.net/dev
- If you want to use a custom location:
man_locLatitude and longitude coordinates of your location. You can find it using Google Maps. For example, searching for Berlin on Google Maps, you will get the following URL:
https://www.google.com/maps/place/Berlin,+Germanyfirstname.lastname@example.org,13.1539869,10.25z.... Copy Latitude and Longitude (
52.5175012,13.1539869) And paste it as
man_locValue (for example:
man_loc = '52.5065116,13.1438652')
man_nameValue as the name of your location. E.g
man_name = 'Berlin, Germany'
- Color and font appearance can also be customized, which is explained in the weather script
2. BitBar’s VPN Checker plugin (Compatible with Argos)
This is a very simple but useful plugin to check if you are currently using a VPN (it will check the availability of tun0 or ipsec0). It can also kill programs when you disconnect from the VPN.
If you want the plugin to kill the program when disconnected from the VPN, uncomment
#killall Firefox... OK and then replace
Firefox Program 3 to be killed when you want to disconnect from VPN. Cryptocurrency interest rate BitBar plugin Compatible with Argos
This is a plugin that displays cryptocurrency exchange rates on the panel. By default it shows the exchange rate in GBP (Pound Sterling), but you can change the URL to
https://cryptomate.co.uk/api/all/USD/, Then simply search and replace with
$ So it shows the correct currency symbol. As you can see, I changed its screenshot to USD.
This also applies to the Euro and other currencies4. GetNews for Argos (Download getnews.py script)
GetNews is a simple Python3 plugin for Argos that gets the latest stories (only titles) from a configurable RSS feed and displays them in the menu. By default, it uses Google News RSS feeds, but I changed its screenshot to Linux Uprising.
You can refresh the feed directly from the plugin menu displayed on the Gnome Shell panel. Clicking on any news item will open the article in your default web browser.
feed_url The value of a valid RSS feed to extract news from. This can be a single site RSS feed or a feed aggregator. You can also use some subreddit RSS feeds (e.g.
stories Value is 5 to show the number of stories in the plugin menu. SimpleWattage-Argos
SimpleWattage-Argos is an Argos plugin for displaying power and battery information, such as the voltage and amperage used, percentage of battery power, battery capacity, etc.
I can’t use my laptop right now, which is why I don’t try this Argos plugin, and the screenshots are from its project page. 6. Algos Airly.sh Air Quality. (Script download link)
Airly.sh reads the air quality index from it airly.eu Sensor to display it on the panel. This method works only if airly.eu has an air quality sensor in your city.
To use it, make sure
curl Installed on your system. You also need to get your airly.eu API key.
After obtaining the API key, use it as the API_KEY value in the script. You also need to get the sensor ID-can be obtained by visiting
YOUR_LAT The latitude of your location, and
YOUR_LNG Related to the longitude of your location. I have explained how to get latitude and longitude using Google Maps in the description of the Weather Argos plugin. After accessing the URL with these parameters, you should get the following
id Followed by some numbers. Copy these numbers into the script and replace them with
SENSOR_ID value. Where to find more Argos plugins:
- BitBar plugin website (Plugins with macOS specific code are not available for Argos)
- Argos wiki (Currently only 4 plugins)
- This Argos bug report Contains many plugins. Some of them have been added to the list of initial error reports, but many others are mentioned in the comments.
- Search for the Argos plugin on GitHub