Sugar Components

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This is part 2 of the Sugar internals series. Part 1 is Understanding Sugar code. Part 3 is Activity creation internals.

Sugar Components

Here, we are in the middle of walking through a sugar shell initialization to see all of the packages and utilities used in the sugar environment. Previously, we saw how Fedora is set up to launch sugar within a python context. Sugar had python launch Matchbox as an X windows environment, and DBUS as an interprocess messaging bus. After importing serveral python libraries (sys, os, gtk, & gobject), and some sugar environment libraries (env, logger, profile, & TracebackUtils), sugar is now going to continue setting up by importing special core python libraries and instantiating various classes and routines... Let's see what happens.

Sugar Package & Module Imports

The sugar-shell has already imported python and sugar environment modules, but now, sugar starts to import component modules from the view and model packages:

>>> from view.FirstTimeDialog import FirstTimeDialog
>>> from view.Shell import Shell
>>> from model.ShellModel import ShellModel

This looks a good bit like a Model, View, Controller design pattern.

Also, here is a bit about Python Modules and Packages.

Sugar's View Package

This thing's python path is sugar.view

It includes these modules:

  • ActivityHost -- For sharing activities and managing a chat for each shared activity
  • BuddyIcon -- The actual buddy Icon (an object) in the neighborhood & friends window.
  • BuddyMenu -- Popup menu when you point to a buddy in your neighborhood (or friends window?)
  • FirstTimeDialog -- Special dialog to get your nickname. Also randomly assigns you a color.
  • OverlayWindow -- something to do with window management??
  • Shell -- This module pulls together several objects and manages the actuall Shell class.
  • clipboardicon -- logic for one item on the clipboard.
  • clipboardmenu -- manages items on clipboard and copy status.
  • stylesheet -- Sets default sizes and colors for sugar UI icons.

And these sub-packages:


Manages the OLPC-HIG sugar ui side frame.

  • ActivitiesBox
  • Frame
  • FriendsBox
  • PanelWindow
  • ZoomBox
  • clipboardbox
  • clipboardpanelwindow
  • notificationtray
  • overlaybox


Manages the OLPC-HIG zoom metaphor of the sugar ui center for the Mesh, Friends, & Donut views.

Sugar's Shell Module

Sugar's Shell Module pulls lots of services and system interfaces together and unifies them into a full user interface. The Shell module is a part of the View package.


  • logging -- (sugar logger)
  • gtk -- (The GIMP Tool Kit)
  • gobject -- (gtk package)
  • wnck -- (Window Navigator Construction Kit)

Lots of Sugar UI imports:

  • view.stylesheet
  • style
  • HomeWindow
  • PresenceService
  • ActivityHost
  • ActivityFactory
  • Activity
  • Frame
  • ShellModel
  • HardwareManager
  • KeyGrabber
  • AudioManager
  • env
  • sugar

Sugar's Model Package

The Model Packages has the following modules:

  • BuddyModel -- Tracks the details and connection to a single buddy on the mesh
  • Friends -- Adds and removes Buddies to a list of friends
  • Invites -- Invites Buddies to shared activities.
  • MeshModel -- Tracks Activities, presense, and connections
  • Owner -- Tracks details about the OLPC owner (nickname, icon, etc.)
  • ShellModel -- Tracks List of Activities, Presence, List of Friends, Home, also announces presence of computer to others.
  • homeactivity -- This class is instantiated to control a running activity.
  • homemodel -- This is the data model used to manage a running activity.