Hacking Gnome panel applets is too hard

Luis Villa complains about there being no really decent Gnome weblog posting program, and he’s not wrong. Personally, i use the web UI for Wordpress, but I used to use both gnome-blog and BloGTK. I thought that I might hack category support into gnome-blog, because it’s in Python and ought to be pretty trivial to do. However, it seems to be rather difficult to hack on a panel applet. For a start, it has to be installed into /usr (or at least the .server file has to be). So that needs to be done as root. Secondly, the configure file for gnome-blog seems to want the pygtk development files, which I don’t understand; it’s all Python! The development files are for compiling C against the pygtk headers, aren’t they? Thirdly, in order to test a change I’d made I’d need to remove the applet, install my new version, and re-add it to the panel. That seems really hard to me; it enforces a C-ish “make a change, run a script to ‘compile’ it, restart” sort of workflow on me, and not having to do that with Python is one of the reasons I like Python. Why can’t I install an applet somewhere in my home directory? (answer, according to #gnome: bonobo.) That would make things much easier. Apparently there may be a configuration option or compile-option to pass to bonobo that will make it look in other places for .server files, but that sort of low-level tweaking scares me. If it’s that easy, I’d love to see distros incorporate that little switch as a matter of course, so that the panel will be able to load applets with their .server files in $HOME/.local/servers or similar. Anyway, I won’t be hacking gnome-blog any time soon. Deskbar is also an applet, and presumably suffers the same problem, but it has a -w option to run it in a window. It would be great if other applets supported that. Failing that: what’s the workflow for trying out an applet? I can’t see any way of making it easy…

I'm currently available for hire, to help you plan, architect, and build new systems, and for technical writing and articles. You can take a look at some projects I've worked on and some of my writing. If you'd like to talk about your upcoming project, do get in touch.

More in the discussion (powered by webmentions)

  • (no mentions, yet.)