Plugin Development Guide


these instructions always track current Exaile trunk, and may not be fully compatible with stable releases. It is recommended that you develop plugins against trunk, so that you can submit patches to trunk if need be during the creation of your plugin, and so that your plugin can easily be merged into trunk when it is ready.


If you plan to submit your plugin for inclusion in Exaile, please read and follow the guidelines in the Code guidelines

Basic plugin structure

Plugins in Exaile 3.x+ are handled slightly differently than in the past. Each plugin has its own directory in ~/.local/share/exaile/plugins/. In order for your plugin to be recognized as valid by Exaile, it needs to have at least two files in the plugin directory (~/.local/share/exaile/plugins/myplugin/):


The format of the PLUGININFO is as follows:

Authors=['Your Name <>']
Name=_('Plugin Name')
Description=_('Something that describes your plugin. Also mention any extra dependencies.')

The following two attributes are optional:

  • Platforms - A list of the platforms your plugin works on. If you have no specific requirements, omitting this argument or using an empty list is fine. The values of the list are the sys.platform value.
  • RequiredModules - A list of additional modules required by your plugin. Modules that Exaile already require (e.g. mutagen) don’t need to be specified. To specify GObject Introspection libraries, prefix it with gi:, e.g. gi:WebKit2.


Name and Description are what show up in the plugin manager. Category is used to list your plugin alongside other plugins. Platforms and RequiredModules are used to filter out the plugin on inappropriate platforms.

Before Exaile 3.4, was required to define at least two methods, enable() and disable(). However, Exaile 3.4 introduced a new way to write plugins which will eliminate a lot of unnecessary boilerplate for plugin authors. We will use this model below:

class MyPlugin:

    def enable(self, exaile):
        print('You enabled me!')

    def disable(self, exaile):
        print('I am being disabled')

plugin_class = MyPlugin

For many types of plugins, this might be enough. However, there are other optional methods you can define in your plugin object.

  • on_gui_loaded - This will be called when the GUI is ready, or immediately if already done
  • on_exaile_loaded - This will be called when exaile has finished loading, or immediately if already done
  • teardown - This will be called when exaile is unloading

These methods may be necessary for your plugin because plugins can only access Exaile’s infrastructure when Exaile itself finishes loading. The first enable() method is called when Exaile is partway through loading. But since we can’t do anything until Exaile finishes loading, we can add on_exaile_loaded to our object that is called when Exaile finishes loading. Some plugins need to modify state earlier in the startup process, hence the need for this separation.

The exaile object in the above example is an instance of a class called Exaile, which is defined in xl/ This class is a base for everything in the program.

You can get a handle on various objects in Exaile by looking at the members of this class.

Something (slightly) more useful

Here is an example of a plugin that will, when a track is played, show the track information in a MessageDialog. It demonstrates a callback on an event, and getting the Gtk.Window object of Exaile to use as a parent for a MessageBox.

The PLUGININFO is as follows:

Authors=['Me <>']
Name='Tutorial Plugin'
Description='Plugin to demonstrate how to make a plugin.'

and the is as follows

    This plugin will show an obnoxious Gtk.MessageDialog that
    won't disappear, when a track is played. The MessageDialog
    will contain the information of the currently playing track.

from xl import event
from gi.repository import Gtk

# The main functionality of each plugin is generally defined in a class
# This is by convention, and also makes programming easier
class TutorialPlugin:

    def enable(self, exaile):
        '''This method is called when the plugin is loaded by exaile'''

        # We need a reference to the main Exaile object in order to set the
        # parent window for our obnoxious MessageDialog
        self.exaile = exaile

    def disable(self, exaile):
        '''This method is called when the plugin is disabled. Typically it is used for
           removing any GUI elements that we may have added in _enable()'''

    def on_exaile_loaded(self):
        '''Called when exaile is ready for us to manipulate it'''

        #The reason why we dont use show_messagebox here is it hangs the GUI
        #which means it would hang Exaile as soon as you restart, because all
        #enabled plugins are loaded on start.
        print('You enabled the Tutorial plugin!')

        # Add a callback for the 'playback_track_start' event.
        # See xl/ for more details.
        event.add_callback(self.popup_message, 'playback_track_start')

    def popup_message(self, type, player, track):
        # The Track object (defined in xl/ stores its data in lists
        # Convert the lists into strings for displaying
        title = track.get_tag_display('title')
        artist = track.get_tag_display('artist')
        album = track.get_tag_display('album')
        message = "Started playing %s by %s on %s" % (title, artist, album)

    def show_messagebox(self, message):
        # This is the obnoxious MessageDialog. Due to (something to do with threading?)
        # it will steal, and never relinquish, focus when it is displayed.
        dialog = Gtk.MessageDialog(self.exaile.gui.main.window, 0,
                                   Gtk.MessageType.INFO, Gtk.ButtonsType.OK, message)

plugin_class = TutorialPlugin

Have a look in the comments for an explanation of what everything is doing.

Adding a track to the Playlist

This is relatively simple. A Playlist consists of the actual graphical representation of a playlist (see xlgui/ and its underlying Playlist object (see xl/ Any changes made to the underlying playlist object are shown in the graphical representation. We will be appending Track objects to this underlying playlist.

First you need to get a handle on the underlying Playlist:

playlist_handle = exaile.gui.main.get_selected_playlist().playlist

Then, you need to create a Track object (defined in xl/ The method to do this from a local file versus a URL is slightly different.

For a local source:

from xl import trax
path = "/home/user/track.ogg" #basically, just specify an absolute path
myTrack = trax.Track(path)

For a url:

from xl import trax
url = "http://path/to/streaming/source"
myTrack = trax.get_tracks_from_uri(url)

You can set the track information like this:

myTrack.set_tags(title='Cool Track',
                 artist='Cool Person',
                 album='Cool Album')

Once you have a Track object, and a handle on the Playlist you would like to add the track to, you can proceed to add the track:


Note that get_tracks_from_uri() returns a list, so you will need to use the method for adding multiple tracks if your Track object was created this way. You can also create your own list of Track objects and add them all in one go like this too:


This is pretty much all you need to do to add a track to the playlist. An example in a plugin might be:

from xl import event, trax

class PlaylistExample:

    def enable(self, exaile):
        self.exaile = exaile

    def disable(self, exaile):

    def on_gui_loaded(self):
        self.playlist_handle = self.exaile.gui.main.get_selected_playlist().playlist

        local_tr = self.create_track_from_path('/home/user/track.ogg')
        remote_tr = self.create_track_from_url('')

    def create_track_from_path(self, path):
        return trax.Track(path)

    def create_track_from_url(self, url):
        return trax.get_tracks_from_uri(url)

    def add_single_to_playlist(self, track):

    def add_multiple_to_playlist(self, tracks):

plugin_class = PlaylistExample

You can do more things when adding a track than simply specifying a track object to add, see the methods in the class Playlist (xl/ for more details.

Adding another page to the left-hand Notebook

This is done pretty easily. Basically, you need to subclass xlgui.panel.Panel and register a provider advertising your panel.

The subclass needs to have two attributes:

  • ui_info - This defines the location of the .glade file that will be loaded into the notebook page (This file must be in Gtk.Builder format, not glade format)
  • name - This is the name that will show on the notebook page, such as “MyPlugin”
from xl import providers
from xlgui import panel

# Note: The following uses the exaile object from the enable() method. You
# might want to call this from the on_gui_loaded function of your plugin.
page = MyPanel(exaile.gui.main.window)
providers.register('main-panel', page)

# to remove later:
providers.unregister('main-panel', page)

class MyPanel(panel.Panel):

    #specifies the path to the gladefile (must be in Gtk.Builder format) and the name of the Root Element in the gladefile
    ui_info = (os.path.dirname(__file__) + "", 'NameOfRootElement')

    def __init__(self, parent):
        panel.Panel.__init__(self, parent)

        #This is the name that will show up on the tab in Exaile = "MyPlugin"

        #typically here you'd set up your gui further, eg connect methods to signals etc

That’s pretty much all there is to it. To see an actual implementation, have a look at xlgui/panel/ or take a look at the Jamendo plugin.

Setting the cover art for a track

This is done by subclassing CoverSearchMethod and adding and instance of the subclass the existing list. When Exaile plays a track with no cover, it uses all the methods in its CoverSearchMethod list to try and find a cover.

A CoverSearchMethod must define:

  • name - The name of the CoverSearchMethod, used for removing it from the list once its been added
  • type - The type of the CoverSearchMethod (local, remote)
  • find_covers(self, track, limit=-1) - This is the method that is called by Exaile when it utilises the CoverSearchMethod. This method must return an absolute path to the cover file on the users harddrive.

Here is an example CoverSearchMethod (taken from the Jamendo plugin). It searches Jamendo for covers, downloads the cover to a local temp directory and returns the path to the downloaded cover.

import urllib.request
import hashlib
from xl.cover import CoverSearchMethod, NoCoverFoundException

class JamendoCoverSearch(CoverSearchMethod):
    name = 'jamendo'
    type = 'remote'

    def __init__(self):

    def find_covers(self, track, limit=-1):
        jamendo_url = track.get_loc_for_io()

        cache_dir = self.manager.cache_dir
        if (not jamendo_url) or (not ('http://' and 'jamendo' in jamendo_url)):
            raise NoCoverFoundException

        track_num = split[4]
        image_url = jamapi.get_album_image_url_from_track(track_num)

        if not image_url:
            raise NoCoverFoundException

        local_name = hashlib.sha1(split[6]).hexdigest() + ".jpg"
        covername = os.path.join(cache_dir, local_name)
        urllib.request.urlretrieve(image_url, covername)

        return [covername]

You can then add it to the list of CoverSearchMethods for Exaile to try like this:


And remove it like this:


Make strings translatable

Every message should be written in English and should be translatable. The following example shows how you can make a string translatable:

from xl.nls import gettext as _
print(_('translatable string'))

Saving/Loading arbitrary settings

This is quite easy. It’s probably quicker to just show some code instead of trying to explain it:

from xl import settings

#to save a setting:
setting_value = 'I am the value for this setting!'
settings.set_option('plugin/pluginname/settingname', setting_value)

#to get a setting
default_value = 'If the setting doesn't exist, I am the default value.'
retrieved_setting = settings.get_option('plugin/pluginname/settingname', default_value)

That’s all there is to it. There is a few restrictions as to the datatypes you can save as settings, see xl/ for more details.

Searching the collection

The following method returns an list of similar tracks to the current playing track:

exaile.dynamic.find_similar_tracks(exaile.player.current, 5) #the second optional argument is the limit

This method returns an list of tuples, which consist of the match rate and the artist’s name:


If you would like to search the collection for a specific artist, album or genre, you can use the following code:

from xl.trax import search

artist = 'Oasis'
tracks = [x.track for x in search.search_tracks_from_string(
           exaile.collection, ('artist=="%s"'%artist))]

genre = 'pop'
tracks = [x.track for x in search.search_tracks_from_string(
           exaile.collection, ('genre=="%s"'%genre))]

album = 'Hefty Fine'
tracks = [x.track for x in search.search_tracks_from_string(
           exaile.collection, ('album=="%s"'%album))]

You can search the collection also for different assignments, like the last played tracks, the most recently added tracks or the tracks, which were played most often. Here you see an example to display the most recently added tracks:

from xl.trax import search
from xl.trax.util import sort_tracks

tracks = [x.track for x in search.search_tracks_from_string(exaile.collection, ('! %s==__null__' % '__last_played'))]
tracks = sort_tracks(['__last_played'], tracks, True) #sort the tracks by the last playing

The other keywords are __date_added and __playcount

Exaile D-Bus

Here is a simple example how to use the D-Bus object:

#!/usr/bin/env python3

from io import BytesIO
import sys

import dbus
import Image

def test_dbus():
    bus = dbus.SessionBus()
        remote_object = bus.get_object("org.exaile.Exaile","/org/exaile/Exaile")
        iface = dbus.Interface(remote_object, "org.exaile.Exaile")
        if iface.IsPlaying():
            title = iface.GetTrackAttr("title")
            print('Title:', title)
            album = iface.GetTrackAttr("album")
            print('Album:', album)
            artist = iface.GetTrackAttr("artist")
            print('Artist:', artist)
            genre = iface.GetTrackAttr("genre")
            print('Genre:', genre)
            dbusArray = iface.GetCoverData()
            coverdata = bytes(dbusArray)
            if coverdata:
                im =
            print("Exaile is not playing.")
    except dbus.exceptions.DBusException:
        print("Exaile is not running.")

if __name__ == "__main__":

Please check out xl/ for further method signatures.

Playback events

Since playback events can occur far before the main GUI object or even the exaile object is loaded, connecting to them in advance is required. To do this, in your __init__ method:

event.add_callback(self.on_playback_player_start, 'playback_player_start')

Distributing the Plugin

Create a Plugin Archive

Basically, you just need to tar up your plugin’s directory, and rename the tarfile to <name_of_plugin_directory>.exz

You will need to develop your plugin with a similar hierarchy to the following:

root --
     \ --
     \ -- PLUGININFO
     \ -- data
       \ --
       \ -- somefile.dat
     \ -- images
       \ -- somefile.png

The archive should be named with the extension .exz. The name of the plugin.exz file needs to match the name of the plugin directory.

So in the above example, you would need to call your plugin root.exz in order for it to be accepted by Exaile.

exz files can optionally be compressed, using either gzip or bzip2. the extension remains the same.

This is all you need to do to make a plugin archive.

Exaile API

Now you know the basics about programming plugins for Exaile, but there are many more useful classes you may need. You can get an overview about the classes and their use by going through the Exaile API Docs.

Building your own version of this documentation

You can use the Python package manager (pip) to install sphinx:

$ pip install sphinx

# or on windows
$ py -m pip install sphinx

Then you can run the following command in a terminal:

$ cd doc && make html

You’ll find the documentation in doc/_build/html.