ModRana is licensed under GPLv3.

Source code repository

ModRana source code is hosted on Github:

Pull requests & patches are welcome ! :)


ModRana consists of the main "kernel", which handles the core functionality, like loading modules, managing the persistent options dictionary, providing platform-independent paths to essential modRana files and folders. It also handles modRana startup and shutdown.

Rest of the functionality is provided by "modules". All modules inherit the ranaModule base class. There are three types of modules:

  • device modules - provide platform/device adaptation
  • GUI modules - provide the GUI layer, are independent on the device modules
  • normal modules - provide various functionality independently on the platform and device modules (or more specifically should not depend on any specific GUI or device module)

Modules can be either file-modules ( of folder-modules (mod_foo/ Usually when a file-module grows to an unmaintainable size, it should be converted to a folder module and its functionality split to more files in its folder.

Folder modules also can more easily import parts of their functionality on-demand, thus shorting the modRana startup time.



Supports various location data providers and provides location data in a consistent format.


Wraps various online services for use in modRana.


Handles messaging between modules.

Sending a message

All modules inherit the sendMessage(message) method from the base class.

Handling a message

If a module receives a message, its handleMessage(message, type, args) method is called

Message syntax


Plain messages

No prefix.



Is handled by the "menu" module (
message = "reload"
type = None
args = None

Message string

Has the ms prefix.



Is handled by the "reoute" module (
message = "reroute"
type = "ms"
args = "fromStart"

Message list

Has the ml prefix. Example:


Is handled by the "storePOI" module (
message = "storePoint"
type = "ml"
args = ["12.3","45.6","Camelot"]

Message dict

Has the md prefix.



Is handled by the "storePOI" module (
message = "storePoint"
type = "md"
args = {"lat":"12.3","lon":"45.6","name":"Camelot"}


Menu structure representation and drawing. Currently mostly used by the GTK GUI.


GTK GUI options menu structure.


Batch tile download handling.


Map layer metadata handling. Parses the map layer configuration file, converts the data into MapLayerGroup? & MapLayer? objects and makes them available to other modules.


Handles storage of map tiles either as individual image files or into a sqlite database.


Debug logging. Currently mostly concerned with redirecting stdout to a file, so that seldom ocuring errors can be easily loged.


Handles timers in a a graphics toolkit independent way. It currently supports GTK and Qt.

Adding a timer

addTimeout(self, callback, timeout, caller, description, args=[]) callback - method that will be called by the timer
timeout - timeout in milliseconds
caller - instance of the calling module
description - a short string describing what the timer does
args - an optional list of arguments for the callback function

The addTimeout method returns an id, that can be used to manipulate the the timer during its lifetime. If the callback method returns False (must be False, not "", 0, [] or similar), the timer is automatically canceled.


Handles icon loading & parametric icon generation.

Most of the functionality of this module is currently used only by the GTK GUI.

Parametric icons

there are six positional parameters:

fill color,fill opacity, outline color, outline opacity, outline width (default 8) and corner radius (default 22, use 0 for right angle)

to use default value, just don't fill in the positional parameter ( len(parameter) == 0 )

EXAMPLE: generic:green;1.0;blue;0.5;10;15

Icon placement

"center" means that we have an icon which we want to center inside the button there re two parameters - icon name and border width

EXAMPLE: center:more;0.1

  • icon name: more
  • border width: 10% of shortest icon side


Handles online and offline routing.


Handles turn-by-turn navigation on the currently selected route. Makes sure navigation is properly started, done and shutdown.



There is a built-in signaling system, represented by the Signal class in the core.signal shared module. It is is a classic signaling implementation: signals can be declared, connected to and arguments can be passed when the signal is triggered.


from core.signal import Signal

# declare the signal
spamArrived = Signal()

# create signal handler
def handleSpam(spamType):
  print("delicious %d arrived!" % spamType)

# connect handler to the signal

# trigger the signal & pass an argument
spamArrived("original SPAM")

Coding style

PEP8 without the 80 character per line limitation - please still keep line length reasonable (say ~140 characters max).

Historically modRana used CammelCase in variable names are in and 2 space indentation to allow easier editing of source code on mobile devices and smaller displays, and it is still possible to encounter this in some older modules or old modRana revisions.


All class variables should be declared in the init method, the firstTime() (if implemented) should be near the top.

Python 2.5 compatibility

In Fremantle on the N900 only Python 2.5 is available. Therefore, all modRana code needs to be Python 2.5 compatible.

Python 3 compatibility

ModRana has been modified to be Python 3 compatible. At the same time it still fully supports Python 2.5. Any changes therefore need to work both with Python 2.5 and Python 3. (actually 3.2).

For more info how the Python >= 2.5 & <= 3.2 see the Making an application compatible with Python 2.5 to 3.2 at the same time article.


PySide for Android

  • generic build & usage guide

PyOtherSide for Android

  • work-in-progress

Nemo Mobile?



BlackBerry 10



PySide for Android - generic build & usage guide

Supporting multiple component sets with a single QML codebase

Development notes

modRana infrastructure improvements

python-clutter notes

running PyGame on the HP Touchpad

voice output localization

offline routing

vector map rendering

modRana data repository manager - design document

alarm lists

testing Mapnik port for Maemo 5 from Marmistrz

activity overview

Last modified 9 years ago Last modified on Oct 17, 2015, 1:34:30 AM