Confconsole - Plugins system (for devs)

ConfConsole menu options can be easily added by way of plugins.

Plugins are python source files which are placed within the ConfConsole directory. ConfConsole will load any applicable files and provide them to the user as menu options.

How are plugins loaded?

First a tree is generated from "plugins.d". Every directory is a menu or sub-menu and every executable .py script is an entry of the parent directory's menu. Note plugins.d does not have a description as it is not chosen from a menu.

For each plugin in the tree, the main body (top level) of the plugin is run. Because of this you should not put anything but setup related code here {where?} and you definitely should not rely on other plugins already being setup. Note that additional variables and functions avaliable to plugins are NOT avaliable at this point.

The plugin .py file(s) docstring provides the description for the menu- entry in confconsole. To set a menu-entry description for a directory, place a text "description" file within the directory.

Next, the doOnce function (optional) will be run once after every plugin is loaded. Note that while all plugins will be loaded, not all plugins will be ready at this point. However you do have the ability to work with them if you so choose. {what? how?}

Lastly the run function will be run whenever your plugin's menu entry is clicked within confconsole. If the run function is not present in a plugin, then it's menu entry will not be created.

How do I interact with the user?

The console variable is an instance of the Console object in It is a simple interface using pythondialog-wrapper to allow basic console gui functionality. This, as with all other globals, will be avaliable as soon as the doOnce function is run. Note that you should NEVER force any interaction until confconsole is fully started. This could cause issues in headless builds for example which expect to be able to reach usage (first screen of confconsole) before any interaction.

The following methods are avaliable from console:

  • infobox(text)

    displays text on the screen, this is NOT blocking if you want the box to block momentarily use time.sleep(seconds) afterwards. Otherwise this is usually used to display information during a long-running operation.

    returns 0.

    example: console.infobox("some text")

  • yesno(text)

    displays text on the screen with a yes/no prompt. returns 0 if yes, 1 if no.

    example: console.yesno("Are you sure?")

  • msgbox(title, text, button_label="ok")

    by default, displays text on the screen with a ok prompt. the ok can be changed to anything via button label. returns 0

    example: console.msgbox("Warning", "You may need to restart for changes to take effect")

  • inputbox(title, text, init='', ok_label="OK", cancel_label="Cancel")

    displays text on the screen in title boxed with an input box (starting with the value init) and a ok/cancel prompt which can be changed via the ok_label and cancel_label arguments.

    returns a tuple of (0 if ok or 1 if cancel, human_input)

    example: console.inputbox("Email", "Please enter you're email address", "")

  • menu(title, text, choices, no_cancel=False)

    displays text on the screen in titled box along with a list of selectable options (choices), and optionally a cancel button.

    choices should be a list or tuple of length 2, each item of each tuple being a list of strings. The first collection of strings are the item names, the second are the item descriptions.

    returns a tuple of (0 if ok or 1 if cancel, option)

    example::"Favorite number", "choose a number",

    [ '1', "dummy description for 1" ], [ '2', "dummy description for 2" ], [ '3', "dummy description for 3" ]



  • form(title, text, fields, ok_label="Apply", cancel_label="Cancel")

    displays text on the screen in title box along with a series of labeled input boxes and an apply/cancel prompt (button labels can be changed via label arguments)

    fields must be a collection of

    (label, item, field_length, input_length)

    where label is a string that will display before the input box and item is the default text written in the field's input.

    field_length and input_length are integers that respectively specify the number of characters used for displaying the field and the maximum number of characters that can be entered for this field. These values also also determine writability of fields.

    if field_length is 0 it cannot be modified and it's contents determines size.

    if field_length is negative the field cannot be altered and the opposite of field_length determines it's size. {huh?}

    if input length is 0, it is set to field_length

    the return value is a tuple of (status, fields) where status is (0 if ok or 1 if cancel). And fields are the value inputted for each field in order.

Console is essentially just a wrapper for python dialog. While not all methods are exposed and not all arguments to said methods are exposed, the documentation for python dialog largly still applies.

How do I interact with other plugins?

For inter-plugin communication there are a few options, firstly there are the imp* functions, which handle importing plugins. It's important that you use this for plugins and not a normal import as the imp* function will return a version with it's additional globals set. A normal import will load it as a normal python file.

The imp functions are as follows

  • impByName
    does exactly as it implies, returns a list of all plugins matching given name
  • impByDir
    returns a list of all plugins within the given directory name (that is a sub-directory of plugins.d)
  • impByPath
    returns a single plugin matching the exact relative path from plugins.d

In addition to these imp functions there is a shared eventManager between all plugins which can also be used for cross-plugin communication. This event manager is exposed as the variable eventManager

The event manager is rather simple. Events can be any hashable object, although usually it makes more sense to use something obvious such as a string. Likewise, an event handler is any callable object but usually a function.

There are 3 functions exposed from the event manager

  • add_event(name)
    this adds an event to the list of events owned by the event manager and returns a convenience function which will fire the event. Note that this convenience function is exactly that and is not necessary.
  • add_handler(name, handler)
    this adds a handler for the corrosponding event. If the event does not exist it is created silently. This function returns None
  • fire_event(name)
    this calls each handler in the order they were registered for the given event.

Other Information

For an example of a minimum valid plugin, check plugins.d/, to see it in action just chmod +x plugins.d/ and run confconsole.

To see examples of other functionality, please see the source code of the other provided plugins.