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<title>Related Tools</title>
Several useful developer tools have been build around GObject
technology. The next sections briefly introduce them and link to
the respective project pages.
For example, writing GObjects is often seen as a tedious task. It
requires a lot of typing and just doing a copy/paste requires a
great deal of care. A lot of projects and scripts have been
written to generate GObject skeleton form boilerplate code, or
even translating higher-level language into plain C.
<chapter id="tools-vala">
From the <ulink url="">Vala
homepage</ulink> itself: <quote>Vala is a new programming language
that aims to bring modern programming language features to GNOME
developers without imposing any additional runtime requirements
and without using a different ABI compared to applications and
libraries written in C.</quote>
The syntax of Vala is similar to C#. The available compiler
translates Vala into GObject C code. It can also compile
non-GObject C, using plain C API.
<chapter id="tools-gob">
<title>GObject builder</title>
In order to help a GObject class developer, one obvious idea is
to use some sort of templates for the skeletons and then run
them through a special tool to generate the real C files. <ulink
url="">GOB</ulink> (or GOB2) is
such a tool. It is a preprocessor which can be used to build
GObjects with inline C code so that there is no need to edit the
generated C code. The syntax is inspired by Java and Yacc or
Lex. The implementation is intentionally kept simple: the inline C
code provided by the user is not parsed.
<chapter id="tools-ginspector">
<title>Graphical inspection of GObjects</title>
Yet another tool that you may find helpful when working with
GObjects is <ulink
url="">G-Inspector</ulink>. It
is able to display GLib/GTK+ objects and their properties.
<chapter id="tools-refdb">
<title>Debugging reference count problems</title>
The reference counting scheme used by GObject does solve quite
a few memory management problems but also introduces new sources of bugs.
In large applications, finding the exact spot where the reference count
of an Object is not properly handled can be very difficult.
A useful tool in debugging reference counting problems is to
set breakpoints in gdb on g_object_ref() and g_object_unref().
Once you know the address of the object you are interested in,
you can make the breakpoints conditional:
break g_object_ref if _object == 0xcafebabe
break g_object_unref if _object == 0xcafebabe
<chapter id="tools-gtkdoc">
<title>Writing API docs</title>
<para>The API documentation for most of the GLib, GObject, GTK+ and GNOME
libraries is built with a combination of complex tools. Typically, the part of
the documentation which describes the behavior of each function is extracted
from the specially-formatted source code comments by a tool named gtk-doc which
generates DocBook XML and merges this DocBook XML with a set of master XML
DocBook files. These XML DocBook files are finally processed with xsltproc
(a small program part of the libxslt library) to generate the final HTML
output. Other tools can be used to generate PDF output from the source XML.
The following code excerpt shows what these comments look like.
* gtk_widget_freeze_child_notify:
* @widget: a #GtkWidget
* Stops emission of "child-notify" signals on @widget. The signals are
* queued until gtk_widget_thaw_child_notify() is called on @widget.
* This is the analogue of g_object_freeze_notify() for child properties.
gtk_widget_freeze_child_notify (GtkWidget *widget)
<ulink url="">documentation</ulink>
on how to set up and use gtk-doc in your project is provided on the
<ulink url="">GNOME developer website</ulink>.