Part 3: View

Writing the URLs

For a user to visit our app in FreedomBox, we need to provide a URL. When the user visits this URL, a view is executed and a page is displayed. In urls.py write the following:

from django.conf.urls import url

from .views import TransmissionAppView

urlpatterns = [
    url(r'^apps/transmission/$', TransmissionAppView.as_view(), name='index'),
]

This routes the /apps/transmission/ URL to a view called TransmissionAppView defined in plinth/modules/transmission/views.py. This is no different than how routing URLs is done in Django. See Django URL dispatcher for more information.

Adding a menu item

We have added a URL to be handled by our app but this does not yet show up to be a link in FreedomBox web interface. Let us add a link in the apps list. In __init__.py add the following:

from plinth.menu import main_menu

name = 'Transmission'

short_description = 'BitTorrent Web Client'

description = [
    'BitTorrent is a peer-to-peer file sharing protocol. '
    'Transmission daemon handles Bitorrent file sharing.  Note that '
    'BitTorrent is not anonymous.',
    'Access the web interface at <a href="/transmission">/transmission</a>.'
]

class TransmissionApp(app_module.App):
    ...

    def __init__(self):
        ...

        menu_item = menu.Menu('menu-transmission', name, short_description,
                              'transmission', 'transmission:index',
                              parent_url_name='apps')
        self.add(menu_item)

What this does is add a menu item component into the our app. In FreedomBox framework, an app is made up of many simple components. When operations such as enable/disable are performed on the app, they will be applied on all the components. In case of menu components, FreedomBox framework takes care of presenting them appropriately. The component captures various details about the menu item we want to present.

  • The first parameter is simply a unique ID for the component.

  • The second parameter is the display name to use for our menu item which happens to be the name of the app as well.

  • The third parameter is a short description for the menu item.

  • The fourth parameter is the name of the icon to use when showing the menu item. An SVG file and a PNG should be created in the static/theme/icons/ directory.

  • The fifth parameter is the URL that the user should be directed to when the menu item is clicked. This is a Django URL name and we have already created a URL with this name. Note that when including our app’s URLs, FreedomBox will automatically set the name of the module as the Django URL namespace. Hence it is transmission:index and not just index.

  • We wish to add our menu item to the list of apps in the apps page which is why we have specified apps as the parent URL for the this app in the final parameter.

Writing a view

We have a URL pointing to our view. We have also added a menu item in the apps section of the web interface that points to our view. We now need to create a view to show the app page for our app. In views.py, let us add a view.

from plinth import views
from plinth.modules import transmission

class TransmissionAppView(views.AppView):
    """Serve configuration page."""
    app_id = 'transmission'

The base view AppView takes care of a lot of details for us. First, it shows basic information about the app like name, description, desktop/mobiles clients for the service (described later), link to the manual page (described later), link to diagnostics button, etc. Then it shows the status of the app whether it is running and can also present a form for configuration. It also presents a way to enable/disable the app.