Can someone please explain to me this code?

CTO debatem1 at
Sun May 3 04:39:33 CEST 2009

On Sat, May 2, 2009 at 9:41 PM, Soumen banerjee <soumen08 at>

    I was trying to find a method to make global hotkeys with python
    linux. I found this one which uses a library called python-xlib.
    point is that since i dont have much experience with this, i cant
    understand some of the code. Can someone please explain to me how
    code works?  According to the author, it is meant to reduce and
    increase volume. Im not interested in that specifically. All i
want is
    to be ale to bind a hotkey to a function in my python program.

It's not so hard. Just a little confusing at first. The thing is that
X is a
client-server protocol, so it doesn't call a function or anything to
you know that the user has pressed a key- it just sends all the events
you've asked for to your application, and lets it handle them how it
will. To get a better idea about how that happens, fire up xev (the
X Event Viewer) on your console.

    from Xlib.display import Display
    from Xlib import X

You still need these

    def handle_event(aEvent):
         keycode = aEvent.detail
         if aEvent.type == X.KeyPress:
             if keycode == vol_moins:
             elif keycode == vol_plus:

(Spacing mine)
You don't really care about this, but the important thing is how
it's structured. It takes an event, then gets its detail attribute,
which is where the key that is pressed will go if it is a keypress,
then sees if its type is KeyPress, then performs the appropriate
action based on that keycode. Your app will do pretty much the
same thing, just with different actions.

    def main():
         # current display
         disp = Display()
         root = disp.screen().root

         # we tell the X server we want to catch keyPress event
         root.change_attributes(event_mask = X.KeyPressMask)

         for keycode in keys:
             root.grab_key(keycode, X.AnyModifier, 1,X.GrabModeAsync,

         while 1:
             event = root.display.next_event()

    if __name__ == '__main__':

(spacing mine)
While I'd do things a little differently, this is pretty much
You can use this as a template for what you want to do, assuming
that you've appropriately defined your keycodes and handle_event

Geremy Condra

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