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Did some work this afternoon, after we had talked about this for awhile, decided to see what I could come up with.
Those icons only show after the user hovers over the top bar, and it slides out from in under it. After they are no longer hovering it slides back up, much like the "Tools" menu behaves.
Adding an icon is as simple as this code in any apps config file...
[AdminIcons] addpage["title"] = "Add Page" addpage["image"] = "/apps/admin/img/add.png" addpage["link"] = "/admin/add"
There is also a method for disabled an icon without have to delete it.
addpage["enabled"] = 0
I have been playing with it for a little bit, and so far I am liking this implementation. Check out my fork of elefant for the code.