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Widget Packages


This information mostly comes from Kevin Dangoor’s devcast at

Widget Resources

Most widgets use resources to control various aspects of themselves. For example, in the TurboGears widget library (the files in turbogears/widgets/) there is a widget named CalendarDatePicker that displays a JavaScript-enhanced calendar. The widget uses the following resource files:

  • The CSS file turbogears/widgets/static/calendar/calendar-system.css
  • The Javascript file turbogears/widgets/static/calendar/calendar.js
  • The Javascript file turbogears/widgets/static/calendar/calendar-setup.js
  • Plus some more locale-specific Javascript files located in turbogears/widgets/static/calendar/lang

The DataGrid widget uses:

  • The CSS file turbogears/widgets/static/grid.css
  • The KID template turbogears/widgets/templates/datagrid.kid

When you build your own widgets it is likely that you will also need to use resource files. You specify which resource files your widget requires by using the attributes css, javascript and template in your widget class.

from turbogears.widgets import CSSLink, JSLink, Widget, mochikit

class ComboBox(Widget):
    css = CSSLink("", "combo.css")
    javascript = [mochikit, JSLink("", "combo.js")]
    template = ""

Using pkg_resources

Note that you do not retrieve resource files using a normal file path, instead you use TurboGears packaging system, which is an abstraction on top of a regular file system. Its usefulness comes from being able to specify a URL by using a package name plus a filename and not have to bother with where exactly the file is mounted on your web server. It can also be confusing because the file has three “locations” - the path on your disk, the mounted path on your web server and the name of the package it belongs to.

In this example, the ComboBox widget requests the three files combo.css, combo.js and combo.kid. is the name of the package where you have put your resource files. You must first create a package by registering it. Say that you have a normal directory tree for your project looking like this:


Lets also say that you want to package the stuff inside the static directory. One way to do it would be to make three packages: foobar.css for the stylesheets, foobar.javascript for the javascripts and foobar.images for the images. You accomplish that by first obtaining a filename for a resource and then registering it as a directory. Write this in your file:

import os.path
import pkg_resources

pkg_path = pkg_resources.resource_filename(__name__,
    os.path.join("static", "javascript"))
register_static_directory("foobar.javascript", pkg_path)
pkg_path = pkg_resources.resource_filename(__name__,
    os.path.join("static", "css"))
register_static_directory("foobar.css", pkg_path)
pkg_path = pkg_resources.resource_filename(__name__,
    os.path.join("static", "images"))
register_static_directory("foobar.images", pkg_path)


See the pkg_resources documentation for more information on how to use the pkg_resources module.

Now you can define resource files using your packages:

l = CSSLink("foobar.css", "combo.css")
js = JSLink("foobar.javascript", "foobar.js")

You can also browse your package by going to the url http://localhost:8080/tg_widgets/foobar.javascript/.


pkg_resources probably also contains heaps more useful functionality and it would be good if someone who knows about can write it down here.