While feature-wise Niagara Launcher by Peter Huber is too limited (for now,) it does amaze with its sleek looks and outstanding, yet simple UX. It gets quite far from traditional Android launchers by ditching the homescreen+drawer combo altogether in place of a simple list of apps, but with a twist - you always have an alphabetical scrollbar on the right-hand side and access to a search bar with a tap on the home button if its enabled (because it is off by default.)
Support for widgets has been the number one request by many users since last year, and in the latest set of alpha releases, the developer has finally made this wish come true. Perhaps, why don't we go through the changelogs for all of these updates and then give you all of the nitty-gritty details about the current state of this feature?
• 🔣 Widget support - you can add one widget above your favorites (Niagara’s settings > Features > Add widget).
• It’s vertically resizable (hold on the widget > Resize). Horizontal resizing and centering will come in the second alpha.
• Fixed a bug in the most used algorithm and made it more precise
• Replaced a couple of icons (e.g., in Niagara’s settings)
• Large parts of Niagara’s source code have been rewritten to improve code stability in the long term and to make adding features easier.
• Fixed a crash that occurred after replacing a widget
• Widgets can be moved (almost) to the top part of the screen.
• Updated translations (You can submit your own at http://crwd.in/niagara-launcher)
• Enhanced app suggestions
• Changing the widget’s width and alignment is still not possible, but you’ll be able to choose between three different modes in the future (more at the end of https://github.com/8bitPit/Niagara-Issues/issues/117).
• Provides a fix for a bug introduced in alpha2
The implementation is not final, so expect in the next alpha builds to see more refinements and other options. Otherwise, settings for customizing the widget height as well as placement are there. One important thing to note is that there is a limitation to a single widget, and to add it you will have to go the Features section in the settings panel, select 'Add a widget,' and the rest is pretty straightforward. My advice for you will be, if you are planning to add, for example, Google's 'At a glance' widget or similar, to disable the included time and date options from the very same Features page to avoid double info.
The developer has rewritten a large portion of Niagara's source code from scratch, thus adding stability improvements and overall performance gains, plus he has listed that he is making ground for other feature additions down the line. Moreover, he has made enhancements to the algorithm for the application prediction system, where he also has caught a bug causing impreciseness and apparently has fixed it.
Niagara 0.8.0 is going to be a great release, especially with the added support for widgets. Expect more test builds in the coming days and stay tuned to TestingCatalog for more alpha and beta app-related news.