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Advanced Scripting

While simple scripts can generally be developed from example using only the Wing IDE binary distribution, more advanced scripts require Wing to be run from the source code distribution, usually as a debug process being controlled by another copy of Wing IDE.

This provides not only more complete access to the source code for scripts that reach through the API into Wing internals, but also more complete support for debugging the scripts as they are developed.

To obtain Wing's source code, you must have a valid license to Wing IDE Professional and must fill out and submit a non-disclosure agreement. Once this is done, you will be provided with access to the source code and more information on working with Wing IDE's sources.


For an example of an advanced script that adds a tool panel to the IDE's interface, see templating.py in the scripts directory inside the Wing IDE installation.

How Script Reloading Works

Advanced scripters working outside of the API defined in wingapi.py should note that Wing only clears code objects registered through the API. For example, a script-added timeout (using CAPIApplication.InstallTimeout() method) will be removed and re-added automatically during reload, but a tool panel added using Wing internals will need to be removed and re-added before it updates to run on altered script code. In some cases, when object references from a script file are installed into Wing's internals, it will be necessary to restart Wing IDE.

Script files that define a global _no_reload_scripts will never be reloaded or unloaded. Files that define _ignore_scripts or that exist outside of the script path are also never reloaded.

Here is how reloading works:

  • All currently loaded script files are watched so that saving the file from an editor will cause Wing to initiate reload after it has been saved.
  • When a file changes, all scripts in its directory will be reloaded.
  • Wing removes all old scripts from the command registry, unregisters any timeouts set with CAPIApplication.InstallTimeout(), and removes any connections to preferences, attributes, and signals in the API.
  • Next imp.find_module is used to locate the module by name.
  • Then the module is removed from sys.modules and reloaded using imp.find_module and a module name that prepends internal_script_ to the module name (in order to avoid conflicting with other modules loaded by the IDE).
  • If module load fails (for example, due to a syntax error), any timeouts or other connections registered by the module during partial load are removed and the module is removed from sys.modules.
  • If the module contains _ignore_scripts, then any timeouts or other connections are removed and scripts in the file are ignored.
  • Otherwise, Wing adds all the scripts in the module to the command registry and loads any sub-modules if the module is a package with __init__.py.

Note that reloading is by design slightly different than Python's builtin reload() function: Any old top-level symbols are blown away rather than being retained. This places some limits on what can be done with global data: For example, storing a database connection will require re-establishing the connection each time the script is reloaded.

Advanced Scripting