You can do some pretty flashy things with Dazzle. Tonight I added the missing pieces to be able to make widgets look like they transition between parents.
The following is a video of moving a GtkTextView from one GtkStack to another and flying between those containers. Compare this to GtkStack transitions that can only transition between their children, not their ancestors. Fun!
There really is a lot of code in libdazzle already. So occasionally it makes sense to spotlight some things you might be interested in using.
Today, while working on various Builder redesigns, I got frustrated with a common downfall of GAction as used in Gtk applications. Say you have a UI split up into two sections: A Header Bar and Content Area. Very typical of a window. But it’s also very typical of an editor where you have the code editor below widgetry describing and performing actions on that view.
The way the GtkActionMuxer works is by following the widget hierarchy to resolve GActions. Since the HeaderBar is a sibling to the content area (and not a direct ancestor) you cannot activate those actions. It would be nice for the muxer to gain more complex support, but until then… Dazzle.
It does what most of us do already, copy the action groups between widgets so they can be activated.
// my_countainer should be either your headerbar or parent of it
// my_view is your view containing the attached action groups
// the mux key is used to remove old action groups
"a mux key");
Exciting, I know.
The number of times I’ve been asked if Gtk has a GtkPaned that can have multiple handles is pretty high. So last year, while working on Builder’s panel engine, I made one. It also gained some new features this week as part of our Builder redesign.
It knows how to handle minimum sizes, natural sizes, expanding, dragging, and lots of other tricky bits. There are lots of really annoying bits about GtkPaned from it’s early days that make it a pain when dealing with window resizes. MultiPaned tries to address many of those and do the right thing by default.
It should be strictly a step up from using GtkPaned of GtkPaned of GtkPaned.
If you find yourself needing to troubleshoot Builder (hopefully just during our development cycles) you can now run the command “counters” from the command bar (Ctrl+Enter). This gives you access to some internal counters.
You can get these out of process too, using dazzle-list-counters PID which cracks open the shared memory page and dumps the counters.
As you might imagine, the counters are in libdazzle now so you can have the same sort of feature in your (C-based) applications quite easily.
The other day, Sri asked me for a quick Gtk example for a talk. Basically he just needed a window with a header bar. So I put together this repo on github with some examples in a variety of languages. After a few contributions from our community, we have even more examples.
I think it would be neat if people submitted pull requests for more languages. Take a peek and see if something you know about is missing. Ideally the example should use GtkApplication, Gtk templates (and resources if possible), and a window with a header bar.
Having these available will make it easier for me to make templates in Builder for more exotic languages.
I spend a lot of time making flashy widgets for Gtk. Mostly because I find it entertaining. You can now benefit from the culmination of many years of my trial and error in a new library I’ve created, libdazzle. The code is currently on github but I suspect I’ll move it to git.gnome.org relatively soon.
Why another library? Because I wanted to. But also, because managing all of this custom widgetry in Builder is starting to get out of hand and I’d really like others to be able to use the code too. Every time I go work on another hobby project I get annoyed that I have to copy and paste a bunch of code over.
This library is truly the culmination of many years of my time writing flashy Gtk+ widgets and the surrounding plumbing. You’ll find everything from an animation framework, menu merging, tree helpers, missing data structures, caching, signal and property management, a panel engine, layered gsettings, theme management, state machines, keyboard shortcuts (including chords) and more.
It comes in at nearly 50,000 lines of C. You can imagine why I’m tired of the copy pasta.
The project builds with Meson, so it should be easy to use as a sub-project if you don’t want to rely on a system installed version. It has support for GObject Introspection and can also generate a .vapi for Vala if that’s your thing.
There is no documentation yet, but I’m slowly getting more and more tests added which can serve as examples in the mean time. Go read some code, it’s good for you.
My approach to development can often differ from my peers. I prefer to spend the early phase of a cycle doing lots of prototypes of various features we plan to implement. That allows me to have the confidence necessary to know early in the cycle what I can finish and where to ask for help.
We have some big stuff coming this cycle.
Panel Engine Revamp
Allan has been working on some major design work in how our panels and documents work. This has been needed for some time and things are looking good. To keep up with this, I’ve been doing some major improvements to panel-gtk, our panel engine. I managed to shake out a few bugs in the process and those fixes have made their way into the gnome-builder-3-24 branch.
The test program is not much to look at, but we have some necessary plumbing in place to do new things.
Shortcut Engine and Key Themes
Furthermore, I’ve been building a new shortcut engine to do the more advanced features we need. Gtk Shortcut Engine (GSE) provides plumbing for applications that need complex features such as multi-key “chords”, keyboard themes, and custom overrides by users. Many of you have asked for this in Builder, and I’m confident in saying it is coming for 3.26. You can find the work in progress in the shortcut-engine repository.
Ultimately I had to import a copy of the upstream’d GtkShortcutsWindow (based on what we wrote for Builder in 3.20) so that we could support chords. So the code-base looks bigger than it really is. The primary design (besides the keyboard themes) is the concept of a GseShortcutController and GseShortcutContext. These two things allow us to do some fun stuff like emacs-style “minor modes” as well as Vim-style modal keybindings.
I expect this to allow us to cleanup our Vim emulation quite a bit. It also solves some of our outstanding problems with keyboard shortcuts and unpredictable GAction activation. It’s really quite fundamental to how you’ll be interacting with Builder from a keyboard going forward.
The big feature for 3.26 is the debugger. I have enough of a working prototype in place to have a reasonably good idea of what the moving parts are. As soon as we land the new shortcut engine and some of the panel updates I’ll be back finishing up that feature.
Today is day 3 of the GNOME+Rust hackfest in Mexico City at the beautiful new Red Hat office. We’ve been working on all sorts of stuff since we were graced with the presence of a few Rust hackers from Mozilla Research.
In particular, Niko and Federico have been working on a GObject plugin for Rust that allows us to have a nice, almost Vala-esque, syntax for writing GObjects. It’s pretty exciting to watch a compiler hacker at work. After lots of talks about GObject design internals, performance hacks, re-entrancy protections, and more, I think we’re headed down a solid path to enabling our Object Oriented style of development, but from Rust.
In addition to playing the code historian, I spent some time trying to get Builder’s support for the Rust Language Server up to snuff. It’s still a bit annoying to get rls installed¹, but it sounds like RustUp will support it soon which means we can make it seamless. Anyway, I fixed a bunch of little bugs that cropped up in the recent months as both Builder and rls projects churned like crazy.
I also implemented support for “Find all References” last night. In a Rust document, just Constrol+Shift+Space to get the list of references, followed by up/down, and return to jump. I’d like the IdeSymbolResolver’s for Clang and Vala to support this soon too.
¹ To install rls, start by installing the nightly toolchain from Builder’s Preferences → SDKs. If you’ve not done this before, you’ll need to first click the “Install” button for RustUp. Then add a new Rust Toolchain called “nightly” and set it as the default. Clone the rls repository and run ~/.cargo/bin/cargo install from within that project. The good news is we should be able to simplify this quite a bit in the near future.
I’m excited to announce that Builder 3.24 is here and ready for you to play with!
It should look familiar because most of the work this cycle was underneath the hood. I’m pretty happy with all the stabilization efforts from the past couple of weeks. I’d like to give a special thanks to everyone who took the time to file bugs, some of whom also filed patches.
With Outreachy and GSoC starting soon, I’m hoping that this will help reduce any difficulty for newcomers to start contributing to GNOME applications. I expect we’ll continue to polish that experience for our next couple of patch releases.