I was surprised to find that there is not much documentation to develop GNOME applets in Python. Of all the sites I looked at only one had useful information , but even that was buried in the search results . The top result seems to be this page but it is woefully old. It does give you a basic idea but lot have changed after 2004 ! (For eg gnome.applet became gnomeapplet, God Knows why). If you prefer code , you can check here and here ,although they dont have much explanation.
GNOME applets consist of two parts. A server file and the actual python file for the applet. The server file gives basic information about your applet like its unique id , title , description , the location of the executable etc. Its pretty much simple and straightforward that you can take any sample server file such as this and then start modifying it.
Here is the server file, I had used. (I am copying all the code here as I am having problem uploading arbitrary files to WordPress.)
Some things to note are :
a) I have given the full path of the python file. There are other alternate ways too but this is the easiest.
b) The IID in the server file and the python file has to match.
<oaf_info> <oaf_server iid="OAFIID:GNOME_HindiScroller_Factory" type="exe" location="/home/neo/applet/hindiscroller.py"> <oaf_attribute name="repo_ids" type="stringv"> <item value="IDL:Bonobo/GenericFactory:1.0"/> <item value="IDL:Bonobo/Unknown:1.0"/> </oaf_attribute> <oaf_attribute name="name" type="string" value="HindiScroller"/> <oaf_attribute name="description" type="string" value="Python Hindi Scroller Applet"/> </oaf_server> <oaf_server iid="OAFIID:GNOME_HindiScroller" type="factory" location="OAFIID:GNOME_HindiScroller_Factory"> <oaf_attribute name="repo_ids" type="stringv"> <item value="IDL:GNOME/Vertigo/PanelAppletShell:1.0"/> <item value="IDL:Bonobo/Control:1.0"/> <item value="IDL:Bonobo/Unknown:1.0"/> </oaf_attribute> <oaf_attribute name="name" type="string" value="HindiScroller"/> <oaf_attribute name="description" type="string" value="Python Hindi Scroller Applet"/> <oaf_attribute name="panel:category" type="string" value="Utility"/> <oaf_attribute name="panel:icon" type="string" value="iconimage.png"/> </oaf_server> </oaf_info>
The python code for the flasher is here. It is pretty simple and I have added basic comments to it. The main reason I wanted to upload the code was to give an example of developing gnome applets using Python and OOPs. Most examples in net were doing applets without using classes. There are some basic things to note :
a)The parent class is gnomeapplet.Applet (not gnome.applet.Applet)
b) To add a timeout use gobject.timeout_add
c) The best way to debug the applet is to make it a separate window of its own. For my program adding a “-d” option makes it run in debug mode.
d) GTK label has set_markup function which allows HTML based code to be used as label text. Neat !
e) The python file has to be readable and executable by everyone.
The code per se , is very simple for the Python cognoscenti.
#!/usr/bin/env python import pygtk pygtk.require('2.0') import gtk import gnomeapplet import gobject import sys import codecs import random class HindiScroller(gnomeapplet.Applet): #Reads a utf-8 file, reads all lines and returns them as a list with newlines stripped def readFile(self,fileName): f = codecs.open(fileName) allLines = f.readlines() f.close() strippedLines = [line.strip() for line in allLines] return strippedLines #Picks a random word from the list. If its empty, it starts with original list again. def getNextWord(self): if len(self.wordsToShow) == 0: self.wordsToShow = self.allWords[:] selectedWord = random.choice(self.wordsToShow) self.wordsToShow.remove(selectedWord) english,hindi = selectedWord.split("|") wordInMarkups = "<b>" + english + "</b> " + hindi return wordInMarkups #Displays the next word to GUI. Uses set_markup to use HTML def displayNextWord(self): wordToShow = self.getNextWord() self.label.set_markup(wordToShow) return True def __init__(self,applet,iid): self.timeout_interval = 1000 * 10 #Timeout set to 10secs self.applet = applet #File used as source expects each line in english|hindi format self.fileName = "/home/neo/applet/hindidict.txt" self.wordsToShow =  self.allWords = self.readFile(self.fileName) wordToShow = self.getNextWord() self.label = gtk.Label("") self.label.set_markup(wordToShow) self.applet.add(self.label) self.applet.show_all() gobject.timeout_add(self.timeout_interval, self.displayNextWord) #Register the applet datatype gobject.type_register(HindiScroller) def hindi_scroller_factory(applet,iid): HindiScroller(applet,iid) return gtk.TRUE #Very useful if I want to debug. To run in debug mode python hindiScroller.py -d if len(sys.argv) == 2: if sys.argv == "-d": #Debug mode main_window = gtk.Window(gtk.WINDOW_TOPLEVEL) main_window.set_title("Python Applet") main_window.connect("destroy", gtk.main_quit) app = gnomeapplet.Applet() hindi_scroller_factory(app,None) app.reparent(main_window) main_window.show_all() gtk.main() sys.exit() #If called via gnome panel, run it in the proper way if __name__ == '__main__': gnomeapplet.bonobo_factory("OAFIID:GNOME_HindiScroller_Factory", HindiScroller.__gtype__, "hello", "0", hindi_scroller_factory)
I have to say , I am pretty much exhausted trying to upload/format code in WordPress. So I am not going to write a good tutorial as I originally intended to 😦 . Instead what I have done is that I have highlighted some lines which I think are important.
Some comments : Do read the files in the folder /usr/share/doc/python-gnomeapplet/examples . It has some sample files and the README file gives some nice information.
For a step by step discussion look here. Also PyGTK reference manual is here. You can also check out the GTK reference which is really good , but I had a hard time converting it to Python’s class structure.
Have fun !!