[QGIS-Developer] Understanding plugin management in QGIS - exposing QgsPluginRegistry to Python?

Sebastian M. Ernst ernst at pleiszenburg.de
Sat Mar 14 13:10:24 PDT 2020

Hi folks,

out of curiosity I have started poking around in QGIS' code related to
plugin management. It's an interesting mix of C++ and Python code. Even
the plugin management GUI itself is partially C++ (the main window,
QgsPluginManager[Interface], and part of its logic) and partially Python
(all further dialogs and their logic). As an experiment for now, I am
looking into how I could port at least the entire GUI to Python and
disentangle some of the knots. The rational is that plugin management is
not performance-critical and could become much more easy to maintain,
among a lot of other interesting benefits that a potentially fully
Python-based solution could offer. But that's a different story. For
now, I think I have hit a roadblock and was wondering whether anyone
could enlighten me. I'd greatly appreciate any help.

I *believe* I have a fairly good understanding of what happens
underneath `/python/pyplugin_installer/`. The class `QgsPluginInstaller`
from `installer.py` appears to be a Python API that is called from the
C++-interface (`QgsPluginManagerInterface`) through `QgsPythonRunner`.
Most of the C++ appears to be located underneath
`/src/app/pluginmanager/` (with a single ui-file elsewhere,
`/src/ui/qgspluginmanagerbase.ui`). Having analyzed the C++ class
`QgsPluginManager` I believe most of the interface can easily ported to

The tricky bit appears to be `/src/app/qgspluginregistry.cpp`. It offers
a class named `QgsPluginRegistry` (which is being used by
`QgsPluginManager`). I have not found a way to access this class (or
an/the instance of it) from Python. I figure it is required to handle
both Python *and* C++ plugins. `QgsPluginRegistry` makes heavy use of
`mPythonUtils`, which appears to be a C++ wrapper around
`/python/utils.py` (through `/src/python/qgspythonutilsimpl.cpp`). So
this portion of `QgsPluginRegistry` (about 50%) can be rewritten in
Python rather quickly. Methods such as `loadCppPlugin` or
`unloadCppPlugin` are a lot more problematic. As far as I can tell,
those would need to remain in C++ and they would need to be exposed to
Python somehow (if they are not already).

Have I found all relevant components of QGIS responsible for plugin
management? Does my analysis contain any major flaws? Is there a way to
manage C++ plugins (i.e. to call `loadCppPlugin` and `unloadCppPlugin`)
from Python?

Best regards,

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