Gtk2::Helper - Convenience functions for the Gtk2 module


  use Gtk2::Helper;

  # Handle I/O watchers easily, like Gtk 1.x did
  $tag = Gtk2::Helper->add_watch ( $fd, $cond, $callback, $data )
  $rc  = Gtk2::Helper->remove_watch ( $tag )


This module collects Gtk2 helper functions, which should make implementing some common tasks easier.


Gtk2::Helper->add_watch ( ... )

  $tag = Gtk2::Helper->add_watch ( $fd, $cond, $callback, $data )

This method is a wrapper for Glib::IO->add_watch. The callback is called every time when it's safe to read from or write to the watched filehandle.


Unix file descriptor to be watched. If you use the FileHandle module you get this value from the FileHandle->fileno() method.


May be either 'in' or 'out', depending if you want to read from the filehandle ('in') or write to it ('out').


A subroutine reference or closure, which is called, if you can safely operate on the filehandle, without the risk of blocking your application, because the filehandle is not ready for reading resp. writing.

But aware: you should not use Perl's builtin read and write functions here because these operate always with buffered I/O. Use low level sysread() and syswrite() instead. Otherwise Perl may read more data into its internal buffer as your callback actually consumes. But Glib won't call the callback on data which is already in Perl's buffer, only when events on the the underlying Unix file descriptor occur.

The callback subroutine should return always true. Two signal watchers are connected internally (the I/O watcher, and a HUP watcher, which is called on eof() or other exceptions). Returning false from a watcher callback, removes the correspondent watcher automatically. Because we have two watchers internally, only one of them is removed, but probably not both. So always return true and use Gtk2::Helper->remove_watch to disable a watcher, which was installed with Gtk2::Helper->add_watch.

(Gtk2::Helper could circumvent this by wrapping your callback with a closure returning always true. But why adding another level of indirection if writing a simple "1;" at the end of your callback solves this problem? ;)


This data is passed to the callback.


The method returns a tag which represents the created watcher. Later you need to pass this tag to Gtk2::Helper->remove_watch to remove the watcher.


  # open a pipe to a ls command
  use FileHandle;
  my $fh = FileHandle->new;
  open ($fh, "ls -l |") or die "can't fork";

  # install a read watcher for this pipe
  my $tag;
  $tag = Gtk2::Helper->add_watch ( $fh->fileno, 'in', sub {
    watcher_callback( $fh, $tag );

  sub watcher_callback {
      my ($fh, $tag) = @_;

      # we safely can read a chunk into $buffer
      my $buffer;

      if ( not sysread($fh, $buffer, 4096) ) {
        # obviously the connected pipe was closed
        Gtk2::Helper->remove_watch ($tag)
            or die "couldn't remove watcher";
        return 1;

      # do something with $buffer ...
      print $buffer;

      # *always* return true
      return 1;

Gtk2::Helper->remove_watch ( ... )

  $rc = Gtk2::Helper->remove_watch ( $tag )

This method removes a watcher, which was created using Gtk2::Helper->add_watch().


This is the tag returned from Gtk2::Helper->add_watch().


The method returns true, if the watcher could be removed successfully, and false if not.


perl(1), Gtk2(1)


Jörn Reder <joern AT>


Copyright 2003 by Jörn Reder

This library is free software; you can redistribute it and/or modify it under the terms of the GNU Library General Public License as published by the Free Software Foundation; either version 2.1 of the License, or (at your option) any later version.

This library is distributed in the hope that it will be useful, but WITHOUT ANY WARRANTY; without even the implied warranty of MERCHANTABILITY or FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE. See the GNU Library General Public License for more details.

You should have received a copy of the GNU Library General Public License along with this library; if not, write to the Free Software Foundation, Inc., 51 Franklin Street, Fifth Floor, Boston, MA 02110-1301 USA.