The GSettings configuration storage system

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Manage application settings with GNOME's GSettings

GSettings is the central application configuration system of the GNOME desktop. Settings are stored in binary form so you will need to use a low-level configuration tool which provides a backend for GSettings. This can be either have a graphical (dconf-editor) or commandline interface (gsettings).

In this article's example background images will be read, set and bookmarked.

/images/17_gsettings.thumbnail.png

Schemas

An initial configuration for an application is defined in a schema file. This XML formatted text file then will be transformed into its machine readable equivalent.

This is an example for a schema file with one property (key):

<schemalist>
  <schema id="org.gtk.Test" path="/org/gtk/Test/">

    <key name="string-key" type="s">
      <default>""</default>
      <summary>A string</summary>
      <description>
        Configuration key defined for a string. Default value is set to an empty string.
      </description>
    </key>

  </schema>
</schemalist>

The nomenclature for the file is "schema.id.gschema.xml". The standard installation directory for schema files is /usr/share/glib-2.0/schemas. Schema files can also be stored outside of this folder (p.e. local, for testing purposes) but these will not be shown by dconf-editor.

Now the schema files must be compiled

glib-compile-schemas /path/to/schema/files/
#default directory
glib-compile-schemas /usr/share/glib-2.0/schemas/

The compiled file which is now used by GSettings is named gschemas.compiled.

Glade

For displaying image files the GtkImage widget is required. All controls of the example app are placed in the headerbar:

  • "Open File" button: opens FileChooserDialog
  • switch: turns desktop icons on or off
  • "Fav" togglebutton: bookmarks file drawn in the image widget, shows whether image file is bookmarked as favourite
  • "Set as wallpaper" button: use file as background image
  • MenuButton: list of bookmarked files

Python

Load global schema

Load an existing configuration:

setting = Gio.Settings.new("full.schema.path")
#load desktop background configuration
setting = Gio.Settings.new("org.gnome.desktop.background")

Load local schema

If the schema file is not stored in the standard directory the location of the schemas.compiled file must be given first:

schema_source = Gio.SettingsSchemaSource.new_from_directory(os.getcwd(),
            Gio.SettingsSchemaSource.get_default(), False)
schema = Gio.SettingsSchemaSource.lookup(schema_source,"org.example.wallpaper-changer",False)
setting = Gio.Settings.new_full(schema, None, None)

Bind widget

It is possible to directly bind GSettings properties to a widget. Property statuses then can be displayed or manipulated:

setting.bind("setting-key", widget, property, Gio.SettingsBindFlags...)

In the example app this is done with the switch widget:

self.bg_setting.bind("show-desktop-icons", self.obj("switch"), "active", Gio.SettingsBindFlags.DEFAULT)

The switch shows the current configuration status on application startup. Changes on the switch control button are applied instantly.

Get and set values

Property settings can be retrieved and defined by get_"type" and set_"type". The relevant function to use is dependent on the key type, use get_string and set_string for strings, get_int and set_int for interger and so on (see PyGObject API Reference).

A property value request via get_value(key) returnes a value of type GLib.Variant. Therefore the set_value(key) function also requires this datatype.

Value contents can be converted into simple datatypes:

#return string
setting.get_value(key).get_string()
#return anything (list, string, bool etc.)
setting.get_value(key).unpack()

and vice versa:

setting.set_value(key, GLib.Variant(string_type, value)

The GNOME developer documentation provides a list of avaliable string types.

In the example app this is used to update the bookmark list:

app_setting.set_value("favourites", GLib.Variant('as',fav_list))

Listings

Schema

org.example.wallpaper-changer.gschema.xml (Source)

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8"?>

<schemalist>

  <schema path="/org/example/wallpaper-changer/" id="org.example.wallpaper-changer">

    <key name="favourites" type="as">
      <default>[]</default>
      <summary>List of favourite wallpapers</summary>
      <description>
        Add or remove entry by pressing the 'fav' toggle button.
      </description>
    </key>

  </schema>

</schemalist>

Glade

17_gsettings.glade (Source)

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
<!-- Generated with glade 3.20.0 -->
<interface>
  <requires lib="gtk+" version="3.20"/>
  <object class="GtkFileFilter" id="filefilter">
    <mime-types>
      <mime-type>image/*</mime-type>
    </mime-types>
  </object>
  <object class="GtkImage" id="image1">
    <property name="visible">True</property>
    <property name="can_focus">False</property>
    <property name="icon_name">emblem-favorite</property>
  </object>
  <object class="GtkMenu" id="menu">
    <property name="visible">True</property>
    <property name="can_focus">False</property>
  </object>
  <object class="GtkApplicationWindow" id="window">
    <property name="can_focus">False</property>
    <signal name="destroy" handler="on_window_destroy" swapped="no"/>
    <signal name="size-allocate" handler="on_window_size_allocate" swapped="no"/>
    <child>
      <object class="GtkImage" id="image_area">
        <property name="width_request">400</property>
        <property name="height_request">300</property>
        <property name="visible">True</property>
        <property name="can_focus">False</property>
        <property name="stock">gtk-missing-image</property>
      </object>
    </child>
    <child type="titlebar">
      <object class="GtkHeaderBar">
        <property name="visible">True</property>
        <property name="can_focus">False</property>
        <property name="title">Wallpaper changer</property>
        <property name="has_subtitle">False</property>
        <property name="show_close_button">True</property>
        <child>
          <object class="GtkButton" id="open_button">
            <property name="label" translatable="yes">Open file...</property>
            <property name="visible">True</property>
            <property name="can_focus">True</property>
            <property name="receives_default">True</property>
            <signal name="clicked" handler="on_open_button_clicked" swapped="no"/>
          </object>
        </child>
        <child>
          <object class="GtkBox">
            <property name="visible">True</property>
            <property name="can_focus">False</property>
            <property name="orientation">vertical</property>
            <child>
              <object class="GtkLabel">
                <property name="visible">True</property>
                <property name="can_focus">False</property>
                <property name="label" translatable="yes">Desktop icons</property>
              </object>
              <packing>
                <property name="expand">False</property>
                <property name="fill">True</property>
                <property name="position">0</property>
              </packing>
            </child>
            <child>
              <object class="GtkSwitch" id="switch">
                <property name="visible">True</property>
                <property name="can_focus">True</property>
              </object>
              <packing>
                <property name="expand">False</property>
                <property name="fill">True</property>
                <property name="position">1</property>
              </packing>
            </child>
          </object>
          <packing>
            <property name="position">2</property>
          </packing>
        </child>
        <child>
          <object class="GtkMenuButton" id="fav_menu">
            <property name="visible">True</property>
            <property name="can_focus">True</property>
            <property name="receives_default">True</property>
            <property name="popup">menu</property>
            <child>
              <placeholder/>
            </child>
          </object>
          <packing>
            <property name="pack_type">end</property>
            <property name="position">1</property>
          </packing>
        </child>
        <child>
          <object class="GtkButton" id="setwp_button">
            <property name="label" translatable="yes">Set as wallpaper</property>
            <property name="visible">True</property>
            <property name="can_focus">True</property>
            <property name="receives_default">True</property>
            <signal name="clicked" handler="on_setwp_button_clicked" swapped="no"/>
          </object>
          <packing>
            <property name="pack_type">end</property>
            <property name="position">3</property>
          </packing>
        </child>
        <child>
          <object class="GtkToggleButton" id="fav_button">
            <property name="visible">True</property>
            <property name="can_focus">True</property>
            <property name="receives_default">True</property>
            <property name="image">image1</property>
            <property name="always_show_image">True</property>
            <signal name="toggled" handler="on_fav_button_toggled" swapped="no"/>
          </object>
          <packing>
            <property name="pack_type">end</property>
            <property name="position">3</property>
          </packing>
        </child>
      </object>
    </child>
  </object>
  <object class="GtkImage" id="preview">
    <property name="width_request">200</property>
    <property name="visible">True</property>
    <property name="can_focus">False</property>
    <property name="margin_right">5</property>
  </object>
  <object class="GtkFileChooserDialog" id="filechooser_dialog">
    <property name="width_request">800</property>
    <property name="height_request">600</property>
    <property name="can_focus">False</property>
    <property name="type_hint">dialog</property>
    <property name="transient_for">window</property>
    <property name="attached_to">window</property>
    <property name="filter">filefilter</property>
    <property name="preview_widget">preview</property>
    <property name="use_preview_label">False</property>
    <signal name="delete-event" handler="on_dialog_close" swapped="no"/>
    <signal name="file-activated" handler="on_filechooser_dialog_file_activated" swapped="no"/>
    <signal name="response" handler="on_filechooser_dialog_response" swapped="no"/>
    <signal name="update-preview" handler="on_filechooser_dialog_update_preview" swapped="no"/>
    <child internal-child="vbox">
      <object class="GtkBox" id="fcbox">
        <property name="can_focus">False</property>
        <property name="orientation">vertical</property>
        <child internal-child="action_area">
          <object class="GtkButtonBox">
            <property name="can_focus">False</property>
            <child>
              <placeholder/>
            </child>
          </object>
          <packing>
            <property name="expand">False</property>
            <property name="fill">False</property>
            <property name="position">0</property>
          </packing>
        </child>
      </object>
    </child>
    <child type="titlebar">
      <object class="GtkHeaderBar">
        <property name="visible">True</property>
        <property name="can_focus">False</property>
        <property name="title">Choose image file</property>
        <property name="show_close_button">True</property>
      </object>
    </child>
  </object>
</interface>

Python

17_gsettings.py (Source)

#!/usr/bin/python
# -*- coding: utf-8 -*-

import sys
import os
import gi
gi.require_version('Gtk','3.0')
from gi.repository import Gtk, Gio, GLib, GdkPixbuf

class Handler:

    def on_window_destroy(self,window):
        window.close()

    def on_dialog_close(self,widget,*event):
        widget.hide_on_delete()
        return True

    def on_filechooser_dialog_response(self,widget,response):
        if response == 1:
            self.on_dialog_close(widget)
        elif response == 0:
            app.uri = widget.get_filename()
            app.draw_pixbuf(app.uri)
            app.handle_fav(app.uri)
            self.on_dialog_close(widget)

    def on_filechooser_dialog_file_activated(self,widget):
        self.on_filechooser_dialog_response(widget,0)

    def on_open_button_clicked(self,widget):
        app.obj("filechooser_dialog").show_all()

    def on_setwp_button_clicked(self,widget):
        app.bg_setting.set_string("picture-uri","file://%s" % app.uri)

    def on_window_size_allocate(self,widget,size):
        app.draw_pixbuf(app.uri)

    def on_filechooser_dialog_update_preview(self,widget):
        if widget.get_filename() != None and os.path.isfile(widget.get_filename()):
            pixbuf = GdkPixbuf.Pixbuf.new_from_file_at_scale(widget.get_filename(),200,200,True)
            app.obj("preview").set_from_pixbuf(pixbuf)

    def on_fav_button_toggled(self,widget):
        if widget.get_active():
            #add file to fav_list if not in list
            if app.uri not in app.fav_list:
                app.fav_list.append(app.uri)
        else:
            #remove file from fav_list if in list
            if app.uri in app.fav_list:
                app.fav_list.remove(app.uri)
        #update GSettings entry for favourites
        app.app_setting.set_value("favourites", GLib.Variant('as', app.fav_list))
        #update fav list in popup menu
        popup = app.obj("menu")
        #remove all items
        for i in popup.get_children():
            popup.remove(i)
        #reload all items from fav_list
        for fav in app.fav_list:
            #only label menuitem with filename instead of path
            item=Gtk.MenuItem(os.path.split(fav)[1])
            item.connect("activate",self.on_choose_fav_from_menu,fav)
            popup.append(item)
        popup.show_all()

    def on_choose_fav_from_menu(self,widget,file):
        app.uri = file
        app.draw_pixbuf(file)
        app.handle_fav(file)

class ExampleApp:

    def __init__(self):

        self.app = Gtk.Application.new("org.application.test", Gio.ApplicationFlags(0))
        self.app.connect("activate", self.on_app_activate)
        self.app.connect("shutdown", self.on_app_shutdown)

    def on_app_activate(self, app):
        builder = Gtk.Builder()
        builder.add_from_file("17_gsettings.glade")
        builder.connect_signals(Handler())
        self.obj = builder.get_object

        #load existing GSettings application config
        self.bg_setting = Gio.Settings.new("org.gnome.desktop.background")
        #get_value returns Gio formatted file path
        file = self.bg_setting.get_value("picture-uri")
        #convert path into string
        self.uri = file.get_string()[7:]
        #bind GSettings key to GTK+ object
        self.bg_setting.bind("show-desktop-icons", self.obj("switch"), "active", Gio.SettingsBindFlags.DEFAULT)

        #add GSettings schema from compiled XML file located in current directory (only recommended for test use, standard location: /usr/share/glib-2.0/schemas/)
        schema_source = Gio.SettingsSchemaSource.new_from_directory(os.getcwd(),
                Gio.SettingsSchemaSource.get_default(), False)
        schema = Gio.SettingsSchemaSource.lookup(schema_source,"org.example.wallpaper-changer",False)
        self.app_setting = Gio.Settings.new_full(schema, None, None)
        #convert value (GLib.Variant) into native list
        self.fav_list = self.app_setting.get_value("favourites").unpack()

        self.obj("window").set_application(app)
        self.obj("window").set_wmclass("Wallpaper changer","Wallpaper changer")
        self.obj("window").show_all()

        self.draw_pixbuf(self.uri)
        self.handle_fav(self.uri)

    def draw_pixbuf(self,file):
        size=self.obj("image_area").get_allocation()
        pixbuf = GdkPixbuf.Pixbuf.new_from_file_at_scale(file,size.width,size.height,True)
        self.obj("image_area").set_from_pixbuf(pixbuf)

    def handle_fav(self,uri):
        #set toggle button to correct state
        if uri in self.fav_list:
            self.obj("fav_button").set_active(True)
        else:
            self.obj("fav_button").set_active(False)

    def on_app_shutdown(self, app):
        self.app.quit()

    def run(self, argv):
        self.app.run(argv)

app = ExampleApp()
app.run(sys.argv)
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