Introducing the Glade Catalog

Writing catalogs — How to write and install a catalog


You can provide support for your custom widgets in a few ways, you can make a package and install it to the system directories, load additional catalogs in user directories, project directories for example, and you can optionally provide code support and/or icons, normally you need to at least have the object type in a library somewhere, but you can work around this using the 'parent' property described in the next section. If you dont provide icons for the inspector and palette Glade will simply print a warning and use a default icon. The catalog file is written in an XML format and a DTD for the format can be found in the plugins/ directory of the Glade tarball.

In most cases gtk+ derived widgets can be added with little effort and it is enough to simply specify the widget's type; glade will introspect its properties and signals - but due to the organic nature of a widget toolkit there are always exceptions. In this document we'll try to provide some basic examples and describe a wealth of options that can be used to enhance UI editing and workaround exceptions.

The catalog file starts by specifying the name of the catalog and the plugin library to use, the following examples assume you have a namespace "Foo" and are integrating an object "Frobnicator":

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
<glade-catalog name="foo" library="foo" depends="gtk+">

    <glade-widget-class name="FooFrobnicator" generic-name="frobnicator" title="Frobnicator"/>

    ... widget classes go here

  <glade-widget-group name="foo" title="Foo">
    <glade-widget-class-ref name="FooFrobnicator"/>
    ... widget class references go here

  ... widget groups go here

Toplevel catalog properties and tags

When defining the catalog, the 'name' and 'library' are both manditory attributes of the 'glade-catalog' tag; optionally you can also use 'icon-prefix', 'depends' and 'domain'.


A string identifier for the catalog in question, it will be used to identify your catalog so that the glade file can explicitly require it and to manage inter catalog dependencies.


A 'major.minor' formed version describing the current version of underlying widget kit; example: version="1.0". This is needed for version checking to work. Please note that all versioning related support is completely optional.


A comma separated list of 'major.minor' formed versions describing sensable previous targetable versions of the underlying toolkit not including the current version; example: targetable="0.6,0.8".


Used to form icon names for widgets. This property defaults to the value of the 'name' attribute.


Used to load the types and introspect properties, unless you are faking your widget classes (which will be described later on), glade will need to load this library, it can either be the name of the library containing the widgets or the plugin library which is assumed to implicitly link to your widget library. The library will be loaded either by a user specified path, the system plugin directory: $prefix/lib/glade-3/modules/, or from the default system library paths in the afore mentioned order of precedence.


Used for inheritance of support code to work properly (i.e. if your object derives from an object in gtk+, you'll want the default support code in the gladegtk plugin to be enabled for your widget too). This property's value is the `name' property of another installed glade plugin; usually you'll want to declare: 'depends="gtk+"' for your plugin.


The domain in which to search for translatable strings from the catalog file; please note that all strings from the catalog that will apear in the UI are translated using this domain. If the 'domain' is not specified, the library property will be used in it's stead.


Used to specify a namespace to search devhelp docs library with (specificly, it is the $(DOC_MODULE) that you specified in your gtk-doc


Used to retrieve an optional global entry point to your plugin; if you need to initialize any backends or whatnot this is a good place. Your catalog's init-function will be called before any widget classes are instantiated.

Validating and installing

The DTD that is shipped with Glade can be used to validate your catalog file. Note that properties must be entered in the same order as they are specified in the DTD for the validation to pass.

To validate a file, do this:

xmllint --dtdvalid glade-catalog.dtd --noout my-catalog.xml

To install a widget plugin, the catalog XML file should be copied into the catalog directory, which can be retrieved as:

pkg-config --variable=catalogdir gladeui-1.0

The plugin library should be installed into the modules directory:

pkg-config --variable=moduledir gladeui-1.0

Widget icons if provided (recommended) need to be installed into the icon theme, this is described in the next chapter.

You can also load your catalog from a user directory by specifying additional load path(s) in the environment, for instance:


Same goes for optional plugin libraries, for instance:


Currently loading icons without installing them is unsupported.