GSoC Report #1

For the past few weeks I’ve been working on the first part of my project which consisted in getting rid of the deprecated GtkAction API (with the related GtkActionGroup, GtkUIManager) and port everything to GAction. This blog post is long overdue as I hoped I could finish the task before reporting on my project’s progress, considering the port one of the milestones of my project. However, without much knowledge about the specifics of GtkAction and GAction, I greatly underestimated the time I will spend on finishing my task, and therefore, I delayed my post up to this very moment, when my task is nearing completion. I will submit the patch after passing the patch by Michael for a final review.

Due to the nature of GtkAction, except working on the more difficult problems, I spent most of the time trying to figure out the best ways of replacing entire files consisting of mostly boilerplate code with only one or two functions using the new GAction API. The resulted patch is pretty big (41 files changed, 2848 insertions, 3541 deletions), but reordering code and renaming functions to increase consistency accounts for most of the changes.

One of the bigger problems I encountered was related to WebKitContextMenu, the menu that pops up when right clicking the page content rendered by WebKit. The way GNOME Web handles this menu can be summarized in a few steps:

  • connect a callback to the “context-menu” signal, which is emitted right before the menu is about to be displayed
  • save the relevant items from the menu for later use
  • remove everything with webkit_context_menu_remove_all()
  • create new items from stock actions or GtkAction’s
  • populate the menu item by item, using the items previously saved and the newly created items, taking into account the position of the cursor when right click button was pressed (different actions if the user right-clicked on a link, an image, a video etc.)

My problem consisted in WebKit not having an API that I can use to create a context item from a GAction, the default constructer, webkit_context_menu_item_new(), taking a GtkAction as parameter. The way I handled this was by creating a new proxy function, that takes a GAction and a label as parameters, webkit_context_menu_item_new_from_gaction_with_label(), and creates a GtkAction that in turn is used to create a WebKitContextMenu item with the existing API. Before creating the menu item, a callback is connected to the “activate” signal of the GtkAction and a binding is created between the ‘enabled’ property of the GAction and the ‘sensitive’ property of the GtkAction, so by clicking the item or changing the action’s state, a response is triggered. Currently, the function can only be found inside the GNOME Web’s source code, but I’m already preparing a patch that I will submit to WebKit.

Another problem was related to the fact that GtkAction’s are heavily used for the bookmarks subsystem. After consulting with my mentor, Michael, I chose not to port that code yet, as with the next part of my project most of that code will wind up being rewritten or completely removed.

The goal of the port was to make my work easier while working on the second part of my project. While working towards achieving my goal, I also fixed some smaller bugs, achieved a better separation between different kinds of actions (window actions, app actions, toolbar actions etc) and greatly simplified some parts of the code.

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4 thoughts on “GSoC Report #1

  1. > The resulted patch is pretty big (41 files changed, 2848 insertions, 3541 deletions).

    Is it a single patch/commit? Because such a big refactoring patch is clearly not a good practice.

    Porting a code using GtkAction/GtkUIManager to GAction/GMenu can be done in smaller incremental steps: (1) implement the actions as GActions and in a GtkAction callback, call the corresponding GAction (one commit per action, or a small group of related actions). (2) use GMenu.

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    1. There are a multiple commits. I picked actions one by one (or in small groups such cut+copy+paste, undo+redo) and I ported all code related to that action before moving forward.

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