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Developing Gnome Application With Python


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The Python code


The complete code is at the end of this document. It must be saved in the same location of the color.glade file.

A D V E R T I S E M E N T
 

Including the necessary modules


from math import cos, sin, pi
from whrandom import randint
from gtk import *
from gnome.ui import *
from GDK import *
from libglade import *

From the modules math and whrandom, we include non Gnome specific functions as cos, sin, randint as well the pi constant. The gnome specific modules are gtk, GDK and gnome.ui. In C, including the gnome.h includes all the Gnome headers. In Pyhton, you first need to figure out in which module the binding for the Gnome function that you want to use is located . For example, you can search from a terminal window (shell) for the module containing the string "canvas" with the following command:

cd /usr/local/lib/python1.5/site-packages/gnome
grep canvas *.py

The above assumes that the Gnome binding was installed in /usr/local/lib/python1.5/site-packages.

 

Loading the interface with Libglade


In this Python example, we use the Gnome Canvas to manipulate shapes - actually stars, circles and squares. A canvas is a placeholder for graphic items (ellipse, point, line, rectangle), text items and even widgets. In fact, a canvas can contain several canvas groups. Finally, in a canvas group one can place canvas items - our shapes. By default a canvas contains one default canvas group, called root canvas group, we will use this one to place our shapes.

First, some global variables are defined:

  • canvas: to hold reference of the canvas, this is a GnomeCanvas object;
  • rootGroup: to hold reference of the root canvas group, this is a GnomeCanvasGroup object;
  • selectedItem: to hold reference of a selected shape (star, circle or square). These shapes are in fact GnomeCanvasItem objects.
  • colorShape: this list contains reference to shapes (i.e. GnomeCanvasItem)

The first function to be called - initColor - builds the widgets from the color.glade file and auto-connects the handlers to the widgets:

def initColor ():
    global rootGroup, canvas
    wTree = GladeXML ("color.glade",
                      "colorApp")
    dic = {"on_about_activate": on_about_activate,
           "on_exit1_activate": mainquit,
           "on_new_activate":on_new_activate}
    wTree.signal_autoconnect (dic)
    canvas = wTree.get_widget ("canvas")
    rootGroup = canvas.root ()

Building the widget is done with the GladeXML function. Of course you need to adjust the path to the color.glade file. This function builds up and shows up the colorApp Gnome Application Window we defined with Glade. It returns an object - really a class - with useful methods.

Next we connect the handlers we have defined in Python - more on that latter - to the widgets defined in the color.glade file. For that, we need to build a dictionary which holds keys for the handler names defined in the color.glade file: on_about_activate, on_exit1_activate and on_new_activate. The associated values to this keys are the function names defined in Python.
Finally, the signal_autoconnect method does the rest of the job for us.

Last we fetch the reference of the canvas constructed during the GladeXML call - a GnomeCanvas object in Python - and the root canvas group - a GnomeCanvasGroup object.

Useful tips

There is no actual reference manual covering the Gnome binding for Python. However there is a lot of documentation about Gnome programming in C available from the Gnome web site. Looking at this documentation can be useful but you will also need to look a bit inside the Gnome binding for Python to exploit it:

The binding is located at /usr/local/lib/python1.5/site-packages/gnome/ or /usr/lib/python1.5/site-packages/gnome/

Looking in the binding shows several things:

  1. in the libglade.py binding:
    • GladeXML is in fact an object, so we were just calling the __init__ constructor. Its first argument is filename as expected - the self is an automatic argument representing a reference to the current object. The second argument root is the top level widget name from where we want to build the GUI. This method then calls a C function glade_xml_new_with_domain. You can now look at the C documentation of LibGlade to get more information about the glade_xml_new_with_domain function.
    • In the GladeXML object, there is a get_widget method. This method just call the glade_xml_get_widget C function.
      So when Python runs canvas = wTree.get_widget ("canvas"), it calls the glade_xml_get_widget C function.
  2. In the gnome/ui.py binding:
    • The GnomeCanvas object, this class has the root method we use in our Python code. It is connected to the gnome_canvas_root C function.

For each Gnome use in Python we can do the same to get the related documentation. I let you read the related Gnome documentation to learn more about these functions.

 

Defining the handlers


There are three handlers to auto-connect to the GUI. There are on_about_activate, on_new_activate and mainquit. The last one is in fact a Python function to stop and exit from Python.

def on_about_activate(obj):
    "display the about dialog"
    about = GladeXML ("color.glade", "about").get_widget ("about")
    about.show ()

This handler opens the about dialog. We first fetch a reference of the about dialog - in fact LibGlade build it through the GladeXML object. Remember GladeXML is a Python object with a method - among other - called get_widget. This method returns a GtkWidget object which contains the show method.

Tips

Look for the GtkWidget object in the gtk.py binding. You can see that this object has a show method. The previous handler body can be written as: GladeXML("color.glade","about").get_widget("about").show().

def on_new_activate (obj):
    global rootGroup, colorShape
    for item in colorShape:
        item.destroy ()
    del colorShape[0:]
    buildGameArea (rootGroup)

This handler rebuilds a new game area. The existing shapes are first destroyed. The shapes are GnomeCanvasItem objects derived from GtkObject objects. The destroy method is located in GtkObject object. Next a new game area is built.

 

 

The GnomeCanvasItem


Defining the shape

The buildGameArea function coordinates the creation of the game area in the GnomeCanvasGroup group. The shapes - GnomeCanvasItem - are built from calls to the buildShape function. The shapes can be circle, square or star.

The shape creation is done with the following code, depending on the created shape:

item = group.add ("ellipse", x1 = x - r, y1 = y - r,
                  x2 = x + r, y2 = y + r, fill_color = color,
                  outline_color = "black", width_units = 2.5)

[...]

item = group.add ("rect", x1 = x - a, y1 = y - a,
                  x2 = x + a, y2 = y + a, fill_color = color,
                  outline_color = "black", width_units = 2.5)

[...]

item = group.add ("polygon", points = pts, fill_color = color,
                  outline_color = "black", width_units = 2.5)

The variable group holds a reference to a GnomeCanvasGroup object. If we look in the ui.py binding, the GnomeCanvasGroup has an add method. Its first argument, tp expects a string containing the item type to add. Its next arguments are pairs of keyword arguments and values, they are matched against a dictionary. To get the full list of available keywords, look in the GnomeCanvasRect, GnomeCanvasEllipse and GnomeCanvasPolygon objects in ui.py.

The ellipse and rectangle are quite similar, the two abscissa and ordinate coordinates define two opposite top points of their bounding box, respectively top-left and bottom-right. The origin of the canvas is by default located at the top-left of the canvas. The polygon expects as value of the points keyword, a list of pair coordinates defining the points of the polygon. The other arguments are quite evident to understand.

Attaching the event to the shape

Now, we connect an event to each shape we create. This is done at the end of the buildShape function:

item.connect ('event', shapeEvent)
colorShape.append (item)

We just use the connect method of the GtkObject which is an ancestor object of GnomeCanvasItem. Its first argument is the signal. As GnomeCanvasItem has a single signal event to cover all types of event, we just set it to event. The second argument is the handler name we wrote, here shapeEvent. Eventually we can pass data in a third argument, but we don't need. That's all!

 

The shape event


Now the creation of the handler for the shapes:

def shapeEvent (item, event):
    global selectedItem, itemToSelect, colorShape
    if event.type == ENTER_NOTIFY and selectedItem != item:
        #highligh outline
        item.set(outline_color = 'white')
    elif event.type == LEAVE_NOTIFY and selectedItem != item:
        #unlight outline
        item.set(outline_color = 'black')
    elif event.type == BUTTON_PRESS:
        #select the item
        if not selectedItem:
            item.set (outline_color = 'white')
            selectedItem = item
        elif item['fill_color_gdk'] == selectedItem['fill_color_gdk'] \
             and item != selectedItem:
            #destroy both item
            item.destroy ()
            selectedItem.destroy ()
            colorShape.remove (item)
            colorShape.remove (selectedItem)
            selectedItem, itemToSelect = None, itemToSelect - 1
            if itemToSelect == 0:
                buildGameArea (rootGroup)
    return 1

When this handler is called, the item variable contains a reference to the shape where an event occurs, and event contains the event. In the GdkEvent event we are only interested by three types of event:

  • ENTER_NOTIFY: when the mouse pointer enters a shape - and only if this item is not already selected - we highlight its outline in white;
  • LEAVE_NOTIFY: when the mouse pointer leaves a shape - and only if this item is not selected - we delight its outline in black;
  • BUTTON_PRESS: when the user presses one of the mouse buttons over a shape we alternatively select it, remove it or do nothing.
    1. If there is no item currently selected, we just select it and copy its reference in the global variable selectedItem;
    2. If there is already a selected item we check if their colors match. To do this we can get their attributes using the overload operator [] over item and selectedItem. The fill_color_gdk attribute is defined in /usr/include/libgnomeui/gnome-canvas-rect-ellipse.h or equivalent.
      When the selectedItem and the item who raises the event match, we destroy both using the GtkObject method destroy. In case there is no more shape, we build another game area.

Finally, the handler always returns TRUE (1). This means the event signal is not propagated to other item. We don't want that because our shape never overlays.  

Final word


I've left out all Python code not relevant for Gnome, it should not be that difficult to understand it. My main objective in this simple tutorial was to show you how to figure out by yourself how the things work: looking in the Gnome binding for Python or the Gnome C header and reading the Gnome documentation for C programming. Of course, I also show how easy and powerful is the Gnome Canvas and Glade/LibGlade are. From now on, there is a lot you can do by extending this code.

 

Appendix: The complete source


#!/usr/bin/python
# Couleur - Teo Serie
# Copyright Hilaire Fernandes 2000
# Release under the terms of the GPL licence version 2
# You can get a copy of the license at http://www.gnu.org
#
# Select shapes with same color
#
from math import cos, sin, pi
from whrandom import randint
from gtk import *
from gnome.ui import *
from GDK import *
from libglade import *

width, itemToSelect = 400, 8
selectedItem = rootGroup = canvas = None
# to keep trace of the canvas item
colorShape =[];

def on_about_activate(obj):
    "display the about dialog"
    about = GladeXML ("color.glade", "about").get_widget ("about")
    about.show ()

def on_new_activate (obj):
    global rootGroup, colorShape
    for item in colorShape:
        item.destroy ()
    del colorShape[0:]
    buildGameArea (rootGroup)

def shapeEvent (item, event):
    global selectedItem, itemToSelect, colorShape
    if event.type == ENTER_NOTIFY and selectedItem != item:
        #highligh outline
        item.set(outline_color = 'white')
    elif event.type == LEAVE_NOTIFY and selectedItem != item:
        #unlight outline
        item.set(outline_color = 'black')
    elif event.type == BUTTON_PRESS:
        #select the item
        if not selectedItem:
            item.set (outline_color = 'white')
            selectedItem = item
        elif item['fill_color_gdk'] == selectedItem['fill_color_gdk'] \
             and item != selectedItem:
            #destroy both item
            item.destroy ()
            selectedItem.destroy ()
            colorShape.remove (item)
            colorShape.remove (selectedItem)
            selectedItem, itemToSelect = None, itemToSelect - 1
            if itemToSelect == 0:
                buildGameArea (rootGroup)
    return 1

def buildShape (group, number, type, color):
    "build a shape of 'type' and 'color'"
    global colorShape
    w = width / 4
    x, y, r = (number % 4) * w + w / 2, (number / 4) * w + w / 2, w / 2 - 2
    if type == 'circle':
        item = buildCircle (group, x, y, r, color)
    elif type == 'squarre':
        item = buildSquare (group, x, y, r, color)
    elif type == 'star':
        item = buildStar (group, x, y, r, 0.4, randint (3, 15), color)
    elif type == 'star2':
        item = buildStar (group, x, y, r, 0.6, randint (3, 15), color)
    item.connect ('event', shapeEvent)
    colorShape.append (item)

def buildCircle (group, x, y, r, color):
    item = group.add ("ellipse", x1 = x - r, y1 = y - r,
                      x2 = x + r, y2 = y + r, fill_color = color,
                      outline_color = "black", width_units = 2.5)
    return item

def buildSquare (group, x, y, a, color):
    item = group.add ("rect", x1 = x - a, y1 = y - a,
                      x2 = x + a, y2 = y + a, fill_color = color,
                      outline_color = "black", width_units = 2.5)
    return item

def buildStar (group, x, y, r, k, n, color):
    "k: factor to get the internal radius"
    "n: number of branch"
    angleCenter = 2 * pi / n
    pts = []
    for i in range (n):
        #external points of the star
        pts.append (x + r * cos (i * angleCenter))
        pts.append (y + r * sin (i * angleCenter))
        #internal points of the star
        pts.append (x + r * k * cos (i * angleCenter + angleCenter / 2))
        pts.append (y + r * k * sin (i * angleCenter + angleCenter / 2))
    pts.append (pts[0])
    pts.append (pts[1])
    item = group.add ("polygon", points = pts, fill_color = color,
                      outline_color = "black", width_units = 2.5)
    return item

def getEmptyCell (l, n):
    "get the n-th non null element of l"
    length, i = len (l), 0
    while i < length:
        if l[i] == 0:
            n = n - 1
        if n < 0:
            return i
        i = i + 1
    return i

def buildGameArea (group):
    global itemToSelect, selectedItem
    itemColor = ['red', 'yellow', 'green', 'brown', 'blue', 'magenta',
                 'darkgreen', 'bisque1']
    itemShape = ['circle', 'squarre', 'star', 'star2']
    emptyCell = [0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0]
    itemToSelect, i, selectedItem = 8, 15, None
    for color in itemColor:
        # two items of same color
        n = 2
        while n > 0:
            cellRandom = randint (0, i)
            cellNumber = getEmptyCell (emptyCell, cellRandom)
            emptyCell[cellNumber] = 1
            buildShape (group, cellNumber, itemShape[randint (0, 3)], color)
            i, n = i - 1, n - 1

def initColor ():
    global rootGroup, canvas
    wTree = GladeXML ("color.glade",
                      "colorApp")
    dic = {"on_about_activate": on_about_activate,
           "on_exit1_activate": mainquit,
           "on_new_activate":on_new_activate}
    wTree.signal_autoconnect (dic)
    canvas = wTree.get_widget ("canvas")
    rootGroup = canvas.root ()

initColor ()
buildGameArea (rootGroup)
mainloop ()


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