Acire Hacking

This afternoon I took a little time to work on some changes in Acire; my little graphical front-end to a library of Python Snippets. I wanted to share this work as I think it will continue to help Acire be a useful little tool.

Today I added a new feature that helps you tie online documentation with a snippet. So, if you take a look at this screenshot:

You can see that in the snippet information (which I have changed the layout on a little) there are now a couple of link buttons. If you click on one of the buttons it will load up the documentation in your web browser. This documentation is added to the snippet like this:


Acire will then grab the title of those sites and display the buttons underneath the snippet. This is a great way of including a link to the manual page for a given feature, tutorial links or anything else with a snippet. This is just a first cut of the feature and I am sure there some bugs to irk out, so merge proposals are welcome. :-)

In addition to this I added some additional fixes and features:

  • Alphabetized Lists – the list of categories in Acire and the list of snippets in each category has now been alphabetized which makes navigating available snippets much easier.
  • HIG improvements – thanks to Matthew Pirocchi fo contributing a branch for helping Acire to fit in with the GNOME HIG better. The changes are subtle but really sleek. :-)
  • Number of snippets – the number of snippets that are currently available are now shown on the status bar.
  • Link to how to add snippets – Acire is nothing without python-snippets, so I added a link in the Help menu to this page which explains how people can contribute snippets.

The python-snippets project which provides the library of snippets that Acire uses has been seeing some wonderful contributions across a range of categories. Here is a quick screenie showing the range of categories that we have snippets in now:

So, I am planning on doing a little more bug-fixing and then rolling a 0.5 release of Acire. :-)

  • Søren Hauberg

    Because of the status bar the buttons no longer appear in the lower left corner of the window. That looks kinda odd to me. Why not just list the number of available snippets in a text label beneath the list instead of using a status bar? Or just not display the number at all. Is it really that interesting, anyway?


  • jono

    I don’t understand what you mean about buttons no long being in the lower left corner of the window. There have never been buttons there?

    I agree that the number of snippets is not hugely useful, but I felt like it was nice to show it as future versions of Acire will download updates periodically and I will use the status bar more.

  • Steve Cresawn

    I think Søren meant the lower right corner. The status bar is below the buttons, pushing them away from the corner by the height of the status bar. I agree that they would look better if they were at the bottom of the window.

  • Rob van der Linde

    Hey, I’ve just tried Acire, and think this app is a great idea.

    Just one thing I ran into, that I would like to mention, and since I am not sure where the bug report page is, I thought I would mention it here.

    When first I installed the app from the PPA it wouldn’t work, so I ran the app from the terminal, and it said I needed python-gnomeprint.

    I installed this package, and after that the app ran fine, so it seems you need to add python-gnomeprint to the list of dependencies.

  • Bjarke F.

    I think there just needs to be some kind of horizontal line above the status bare, at the right of the list. Then it wouldn’t look that odd.

  • Michael

    You never tought of including other languages than python ?

  • Jesse van den Kieboom

    I think it’s mainly strange because it’s a label and not a real status bar widget (thus it misses the separator and makes it look like the buttons are positioned wrongly).

    (/me still thinks it should be a gedit plugin ;))

  • Søren Hauberg

    Yes, sorry, I meant the lower right corner.

  • jono

    Ahhh, no worries, Søren!

    So the buttons have always had a status bar below them – as you can see at – the status bar was just not used.

    I am still open though to exploring whether we need the status bar in the first place. I am a big fan of making as much space open to the code area as possible. :-)

  • jono

    Yeah, I have noticed a few dependency issues. I need to figure out how to ensure Quickly remembers dependencies it can’t detect.

    This is being tracked at

  • jono

    Indeed this has been thought of, and we have a plan.

    I have a set of features targeted for Acire 1.0 and at that point we will work on multiple-language support. We already have someone who is keen to build in C# support. :-)

  • jono

    It is a real status bar: it is in the code. :-)

    The reason the line doesn’t show I think is down to a theming or spacing change – see for an old screenie.

    As for whether it should be a gedit plug-in: why not write one? :-)

  • Jesse van den Kieboom

    Maybe I’m just looking at the wrong code, but the ui file (AcireWindow.ui) says GtkLabel…

    I don’t think writing a plugin in addition to a standalone app makes sense. I guess the app makes sense to make it more visible, and easier to promote, but I think a gedit plugin would have been more useful for users.

  • jono

    The gtk.Label is inside the status bar. :-)

    As for gedit being a better place, that would tie people into using GEdit as an editor: the goal of the project is that the snippets should be available anywhere – I am really keen to see a variety of interfaces, and Acire was my effort at producing a front-end. :-)

  • cprofitt

    Looks good — it would be nice to see if a plugin for emacs or vim can be made somehow too.

  • Rich

    I used Acire, and one thing I found it was lacking was a Search feature. Although the alphabetized list makes it a little easier, I don’t always know what I’m looking for right away with the GTK terminology.

  • Milan

    Hi, very nice app, but is this not meant to be used in other distributions beside ubuntu? Can I download somewhere tarball without using launchpad, ppa and bzr?

  • jono

    Sure, it can be used in any distro – it just needs someone to package it.