The Command GraphΒΆ

The objects in Qtile's command graph come in eight flavours, matching the eight basic components of the window manager: layouts, windows, groups, bars, widgets, screens, core, and a special root node. Objects are addressed by a path specification that starts at the root and follows the available paths in the graph. This is what the graph looks like:

strict digraph all {
node [pos="0,0!", color="DarkGray", fillcolor="Gray", href="api/root.html", style="filled", label="root", fontname="regular"];

node [pos="-1.94,-0.44!", color="Purple", fillcolor="Violet", href="api/bars.html", style="filled", label="bar", fontname="regular"];

node [pos="-1.56,1.24!", color="SlateBlue", fillcolor="SlateBlue1", href="api/backend.html", style="filled", label="core", fontname="regular"];

node [pos="1.56,1.24!", color="OrangeRed", fillcolor="Orange", href="api/groups.html", style="filled", label="group", fontname="regular"];

node [pos="1.94,-0.44!", color="Goldenrod", fillcolor="Gold", href="api/layouts.html", style="filled", label="layout", fontname="regular"];

node [pos="0.86,-1.8!", color="DarkGreen", fillcolor="LimeGreen", href="api/screens.html", style="filled", label="screen", fontname="regular"];

node [pos="-0.86,-1.8!", color="Blue", fillcolor="LightBlue", href="api/widgets.html", style="filled", label="widget", fontname="regular"];

node [pos="0,2!", color="Red", fillcolor="Tomato", href="api/windows.html", style="filled", label="window", fontname="regular"];

root -> bar;
root -> group;
root -> layout;
root -> screen;
root -> widget;
root -> window;
root -> core;
bar -> screen [dir="both"];
bar -> widget [dir="both"];
group -> layout [dir="both"];
group -> window [dir="both"];
group -> screen [dir="both"];
layout -> window [dir="both"];
layout -> screen [dir="both"];
screen -> window [dir="both"];
screen -> widget [dir="both"];

Each arrow can be read as "holds a reference to". So, we can see that a widget object holds a reference to objects of type bar, screen and group. Let's start with some simple examples of how the addressing works. Which particular objects we hold reference to depends on the context - for instance, widgets hold a reference to the screen that they appear on, and the bar they are attached to.

Let's look at an example, starting at the root node. The following script runs the status command on the root node, which, in this case, is represented by the InteractiveCommandClient object:

from libqtile.command.client import InteractiveCommandClient
c = InteractiveCommandClient()

The InteractiveCommandClient is a class that allows us to traverse the command graph using attributes to select child nodes or commands. In this example, we have resolved the status() command on the root object. The interactive command client will automatically find and connect to a running Qtile instance, and which it will use to dispatch the call and print out the return.

An alternative is to use the CommandClient, which allows for a more precise resolution of command graph objects, but is not as easy to interact with from a REPL:

from libqtile.command.client import CommandClient
c = CommandClient()

Like the interactive client, the command client will automatically connect to a running Qtile instance. Here, we first resolve the status() command with the .call("status"), which simply located the function, then we can invoke the call with no arguments.

For the rest of this example, we will use the interactive command client. From the graph, we can see that the root node holds a reference to group nodes. We can access the "info" command on the current group like so:

To access a specific group, regardless of whether or not it is current, we use the Python mapping lookup syntax. This command sends group "b" to screen 1 (by the libqtile.config.Group.to_screen() method):["b"].to_screen(1)

In different contexts, it is possible to access a default object, where in other contexts a key is required. From the root of the graph, the current group, layout, screen and window can be accessed by simply leaving the key specifier out. The key specifier is mandatory for widget and bar nodes.

With this context, we can now drill down deeper in the graph, following the edges in the graphic above. To access the screen currently displaying group "b", we can do this:["b"]

Be aware, however, that group "b" might not currently be displayed. In that case, it has no associated screen, the path resolves to a non-existent node, and we get an exception:

libqtile.command.CommandError: No object screen in path 'group['b'].screen'

The graph is not a tree, since it can contain cycles. This path (redundantly) specifies the group belonging to the screen that belongs to group "b":["b"]

This amount of connectivity makes it easy to reach out from a given object when callbacks and events fire on that object to related objects.