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k24:k24.9:k24.9.0:k24.9.0.2:start D-Bus introspection

The ability of a program to examine the properties of an exported D-Bus object at runtime is called introspection. With the component gb.dbus, Gambas has the ability to analyze and map in a suitable form a service, its objects, interfaces and their methods and properties as well as declared signals on the D-Bus.

If you want to use Inter-Process-Communication (IPC) via the D-Bus in your Gambas programs, then it is good to know:

  • which applications are currently registered on the System D-Bus and on the Session D-Bus, because not every program is dbus-compatible and can connect to the D-Bus,
  • which addresses are used for these applications. This ensures knowledge of the D-Bus name and the object path and optionally of the interfaces (methods, properties and events), provided these interfaces are declared,
  • whether a description of the interfaces exists in an XML document with a special doctype declaration and if so, what content this document has. Introspection Console

For example, the standard interface org.freedesktop.DBus.Introspectable has the Introspect() method, which you can use to import an existing interface description into an XML document. For the d-bus-enabled network manager, for example, call these two commands:

$ dbus-send --system --type=method_call --print-reply --dest=org.freedesktop.NetworkManager \
 /org/freedesktop/NetworkManager  org.freedesktop.DBus.Introspectable.Introspect > nwm.xml
$ xed $HOME/nwm.xml

This is the shortened content of the D-Bus interface description of the network manager:

method return sender=:1.5 -> dest=:1.71 reply_serial=2
   string "<!DOCTYPE node PUBLIC "-//freedesktop//DTD D-BUS Object Introspection 1.0//EN"
  <interface name="org.freedesktop.DBus.Introspectable">
    <method name="Introspect">
      <arg name="data" direction="out" type="s"/>
  <interface name="org.freedesktop.DBus.Properties">
    <method name="Get">
      <arg name="interface" direction="in" type="s"/>
      <arg name="propname" direction="in" type="s"/>
      <arg name="value" direction="out" type="v"/>
    <method name="GetAll">
      <arg name="interface" direction="in" type="s"/>
      <arg name="props" direction="out" type="a{sv}"/> ' type steht für Datentyp
  <node name="DHCP4Config"/>
  <node name="IP6Config"/>
  <node name="Settings"/>


In the next four sections, further applications for the console programs dbus-send, qdbus and dbus-monitor will be presented:

$ qdbus --help
Usage: qdbus [--system | --address ADDRESS] [--literal] [servicename] [path] [method] [args]

(1) Output of the list of all D-Bus names of applications (services) on the system bus:

$ qdbus --system | grep -v ':'

Alternatively, you can also work with the dbus-send program:

SYNTAX: $ dbus-send --session --print-reply –dest=DienstName /Objekt-Pfad Schnittstelle
$ dbus-send --session --print-reply --dest=org.freedesktop.DBus /org/freedesktop/DBus \

(2) This will display a list of all interfaces for a selected service from (1):

$ qdbus --system org.freedesktop.NetworkManager

(3) Here is the list of all methods, properties and signals for a selected interface (2):

$ qdbus --system org.freedesktop.NetworkManager /org/freedesktop/NetworkManager

method QString org.freedesktop.DBus.Introspectable.Introspect()
method QDBusVariant org.freedesktop.DBus.Properties.Get(QString interface, QString propname)
property read bool org.freedesktop.NetworkManager.NetworkingEnabled
property read QString org.freedesktop.NetworkManager.Version

signal void org.freedesktop.NetworkManager.DeviceAdded(QDBusObjectPath)
signal void org.freedesktop.NetworkManager.DeviceRemoved(QDBusObjectPath)

method uint org.freedesktop.NetworkManager.state()

Alternatively, you can also work with the dbus-send program here:

$ dbus-send --system --print-reply --dest=org.freedesktop.NetworkManager /org/freedesktop/NetworkManager org.freedesktop.DBus.Introspectable.Introspect

(4) For example, selected network properties can be read out for the network manager. However, this requires that you already know exactly the names of the properties determined in point (3):

$ qdbus --system org.freedesktop.NetworkManager /org/freedesktop/NetworkManager org.freedesktop.NetworkManager.Version
$ qdbus --system org.freedesktop.NetworkManager /org/freedesktop/NetworkManager org.freedesktop.NetworkManager.NetworkingEnabled

Much more convenient than in the console, you can work out the information on the applications registered on the D-Bus either with the DBusExplorer gambas program from Benoît Minisini and Fabien Bodard or the d-feet console program. DBus Explorer program

How to work successfully with the Gambas program DBusExplorer:

  • First select the desired bus (Session Bus or System Bus).
  • Double-click on the selected service to read the XML document and display the complete interface description after you have expanded all entries.
  • The legend informs you about the meaning of the individual colors.
  • With the green down arrow button all entries are displayed expanded, for example.
  • With the green up arrow button all entries - except the first identifier - are collapsed.
  • In the status bar you can see the data type of the arguments returned by the method or signal for a selected method or signal.

The project by Fabien Bodard and Benoît Minisini was adapted by the author in such a way that interfaces (interfaces) are now also color-coded in the GUI:


Figure DBusExplorer

The extended project DBus-Explorer can be found in the download area. Program d-feet

A program with similar functionality is d-feet, which also goes on interface track search for the D-Bus. The program is the author's favorite. The special feature of this program is the possibility that after a double click on a property (Figure its current value is displayed behind the property. With the methods, however, a dialog opens in which you can enter suitable arguments for the parameters with which you can then call the selected method. But you should only do this if you know exactly what the method does!


Figure Program d-feet

The author primarily uses the two programs d-feet and dbus-monitor for an introspection. The following is recommended for the d-feet program:

  • Start program d-feet
  • Select the appropriate D-Bus - here Session
  • Select D-Bus application - org.gtk.Private.UDisks2VolumeMonitor
  • Select D-Bus object - /org/gtk/Private/RemoteVolumeMonitor
  • Fold out interfaces (1st entry: org.freedesktop.DBus.Introspectable)
  • Expand Methods (entry: Introspect() → String xml_data)
  • Double-click on the method Introspect()
  • Maximize the opening window
  • Execute the inspection and read the XML document

With the correct addresses and an interface description for a specific d-bus-capable application, you can, for example, read its properties or remotely control the application via method calls. With the following command (method Stop; without argument) you shut down your computer via the D-Bus (!), for example:

$ dbus-send --system --print-reply --dest=org.freedesktop.ConsoleKit /org/freedesktop/ConsoleKit/Manager \

This tells you the host name for the system:

$ qdbus --system org.freedesktop.NetworkManager \
  /org/freedesktop/NetworkManager/Settings \
linux DBusView program

An overview of all programs registered on the D-Bus is also generated by the DBusView gambas program, which is presented in Chapter


Figure Registered applications on the Session D-Bus and on the System D-Bus D-Bus monitoring

After startup, the dbus-monitor diagnostic program outputs all messages sent by the applications registered on the bus. However, there are so many of them that you should use suitable filters for the output, for example, if you are only interested in the message type:

$ dbus-monitor

Example with a simple filter:

$ dbus-monitor | grep 'type'
   string "eavesdrop=true,type='method_call'"
   string "eavesdrop=true,type='method_return'"
   string "eavesdrop=true,type='error'"

It becomes really interesting when you look at the signals sent by the application org.gtk.vfs.UDisks2VolumeMonitor with the object path /org/gtk/Private/RemoteVolumeMonitor when a USB stick is inserted. You receive this information, for example, for the signal with the signal name “VolumeAdded” (the signal name is also called a member), from which you can also read the signatures of the arguments of the signal:

$ dbus-monitor
signal time=1523464912.402058 sender=:1.28 -> destination=(null destination) serial=60 path=/org/gtk/Private/RemoteVolumeMonitor; interface=org.gtk.Private.RemoteVolumeMonitor; member=VolumeAdded
   string "org.gtk.vfs.UDisks2VolumeMonitor"
   string "0xe01330"
   struct {
      string "0xe01330"
      string "2_GB_P"
      string ". GThemedIcon drive-removable-media-usb drive-removable-media drive-removable drive"
      string ". GThemedIcon drive-removable-media-usb-symbolic … drive-removable drive"
      string ""
      string ""
      boolean true
      boolean true
      string "0xe23480"
      string ""
      array [
         dict entry(
            string "class"
            string "device"
         dict entry(
            string "unix-device"
            string "/dev/sdd1"
         dict entry(
            string "label"
            string "2_GB_P"
         dict entry(
            string "uuid"
            string "38ea6e0b-a161-401d-a673-11c06cf1229e"
      string "gvfs.time_detected_usec.1523464912399238"
      array [

Basic information on the subject of D-Bus signatures can be found in the following chapter. Gambas program: Introspection

If you need the results of a D-Bus inspection in a Gambas program, you need the D-Bus name of the application to be inspected and the D-Bus object path. With this source code (FIntrospection.class) the Intospection on the Session-D-Bus succeeds:

' Gambas class file
Public Sub Form_Open()
  FIntrospection.X = 150 ' possibly adapt
  FIntrospection.Y = 200
  FIntrospection.Caption = "Introspection D-Bus-Server - Object '/MSService'"
  txaIntrospection.ReadOnly = True
Public Sub Form_Show()
  Dim sDBusApplicationName, sDBusObjectPath, sXMLText As String
  sDBusApplicationName = "session://" & "org.gambas.dbusserver2"
  sDBusObjectPath = "/MSService"
  Try sXMLText = DBus[sDBusApplicationName]._Introspect(sDBusObjectPath)
  txaIntrospection.Pos = txaIntrospection.Length
Public Sub Form_KeyPress()
  If Key.Code = Key.ESC And FIntrospection.Closed = False Then FIntrospection.Delete()

In the main program you could display the window with the result of the D-Bus inspection:

Public Sub btnIntrospection_Click()


Figure Introspection result


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k24/k24.9/k24.9.0/k24.9.0.2/start.txt · Last modified: 02.07.2018 (external edit)

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