Interfacing Raku to Gnome GTK+


Resource framework


Applications and libraries often contain binary or textual data that is really part of the application, rather than user data. For instance Gnome::Gtk3::Builder .ui files, splashscreen images, Gnome::Gio::Menu markup XML, CSS files, icons, etc. These are often shipped as files in ‘some-data-dir/app-name’, or manually included as literal strings in the code.

The Gnome::Gio::Resource API and the glib-compile-resources program provide a convenient and efficient alternative to this which has some nice properties. You maintain the files as normal files, so it is easy to edit them, but during the build the files are combined into a binary bundle.

Resource files can also be marked as compressed. Such files will be included in the resource bundle in a compressed form, but will be automatically uncompressed when the resource is used. This is very useful e.g. for larger text files that are parsed once (or rarely) and then thrown away.

Resource files can also be marked to be preprocessed, by setting the value of the preprocess attribute to a comma-separated list of preprocessing options. The only options currently supported are:

  • xml-stripblanks which will use the xmllint command to strip ignorable whitespace from the XML file. For this to work, the XMLLINT environment variable must be set to the full path to the xmllint executable, or xmllint must be in the PATH; otherwise the preprocessing step is skipped.

  • to-pixdata which will use the gdk-pixbuf-pixdata command to convert images to the Gnome::Gdk3::Pixdata format, which allows you to create pixbufs directly using the data inside the resource file, rather than an (uncompressed) copy if it. For this, the gdk-pixbuf-pixdata program must be in the PATH, or the GDK_PIXBUF_PIXDATA environment variable must be set to the full path to the gdk-pixbuf-pixdata executable; otherwise the resource compiler will abort.

Resource files will be exported in the N-GResource namespace using the combination of the given prefix and the filename from the file element. The alias attribute can be used to alter the filename to expose them at a different location in the resource namespace. Typically, this is used to include files from a different source directory without exposing the source directory in the resource namespace, as in the example below.

Resource bundles are created by the glib-compile-resources program which takes an XML file that describes the bundle, and a set of files that the XML references. These are combined into a binary resource bundle.

An example resource description:

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
  <gresource prefix="/org/gtk/Example">
    <file compressed="true">dialog.ui</file>
    <file preprocess="xml-stripblanks">menumarkup.xml</file>
    <file alias="example.css">data/example.css</file>

This will create a resource bundle with the following files:


You can then use glib-compile-resources to compile the XML to a binary bundle that you can load with new(:load).

Once a Gnome::Gio::Resource has been created and registered all the data in it can be accessed globally in the process by using API calls like

Some higher-level APIs, such as Gnome::Gtk3::Application, will automatically load resources from certain well-known paths in the resource namespace as a convenience. See the documentation for those APIs for details.

There are two forms of the generated source, the default version uses the compiler support for constructor and destructor functions (where available) to automatically create and register the Gnome::Gio::Resource on startup or library load time. If you pass --manual-register, two functions to register/unregister the resource are created instead. This requires an explicit initialization call in your application/library, but it works on all platforms, even on the minor ones where constructors are not supported. (Constructor support is available for at least Win32, Mac OS and Linux.)

Note that resource data can point directly into the data segment of e.g. a library, so if you are unloading libraries during runtime you need to be very careful with keeping around pointers to data from a resource, as this goes away when the library is unloaded. However, in practice this is not generally a problem, since most resource accesses are for your own resources, and resource data is often used once, during parsing, and then released.

When debugging a program or testing a change to an installed version, it is often useful to be able to replace resources in the program or library, without recompiling, for debugging or quick hacking and testing purposes. Since GLib 2.50, it is possible to use the G_RESOURCE_OVERLAYS environment variable to selectively overlay resources with replacements from the filesystem. It is a G_SEARCHPATH_SEPARATOR-separated list of substitutions to perform during resource lookups.

A substitution has the form


The part before the = is the resource subpath for which the overlay applies. The part after is a filesystem path which contains files and subdirectories as you would like to be loaded as resources with the equivalent names.

In the example above, if an application tried to load a resource with the resource path /org/gtk/libgtk/ui/gtkdialog.ui then N-GResource would check the filesystem path /home/desrt/gtk-overlay/ui/gtkdialog.ui. If a file was found there, it would be used instead. This is an overlay, not an outright replacement, which means that if a file is not found at that path, the built-in version will be used instead. Whiteouts are not currently supported.

Substitutions must start with a slash, and must not contain a trailing slash before the ‘=’. The path after the slash should ideally be absolute, but this is not strictly required. It is possible to overlay the location of a single resource with an individual file.



unit class Gnome::Gio::Resource;
also is Gnome::GObject::Boxed;


class N-GResource

Native object to hold a resource bundle




Loads a binary resource bundle and creates a Gnome::Gio::Resource representation of it, allowing you to query it for data.

If you want to use this resource in the global resource namespace you need to register it with register().

If filename is empty or the data in it is corrupt, an exception is thrown with a message about the reason.

multi method new ( :load! )


Create a Resource object using a native object from elsewhere. See also Gnome::N::TopLevelClassSupport.

multi method new ( N-GObject :$native-object! )


Returns all the names of children at the specified $path in the resource.

If $path is invalid or does not exist in the Gnome::Gio::Resource, G-RESOURCE-ERROR-NOT-FOUND will be returned.

Returns: a List

method enumerate-children ( Str $path --> List )
  • Str $path; A pathname inside the resource

The returned list contains;

  • Gnome::Glib::Error; a error object. When $path is invalid or does not exist in the resource, this object is valid and the message will show the reason.

  • Array; when there are children at the specified path, they will be stored in this array. Note that there might be a bug in the C-library. Whatever (correct) path is used, there are no children returned.


Gets the Gnome::Gio::Resource Error Quark.

Returns: a GQuark

method error-quark ( --> UInt )


Registers the resource with the process-global set of resources. Once a resource is registered the files in it can be accessed with the global resource lookup functions like lookup-data().

method register ( )


Unregisters the resource from the process-global set of resources.

method unregister ( )