How to debug GNOME Shell search providers?

Hi all,

I tried out a GNOME Shell search provider for the Zim Desktop Wiki. The search provider is written in Python. As expected the search provider doesn’t work, the last commits are three years old. But I would like to find out what fails and try to fix it.

Unfortunately I couldn’t find any information how to debug a GNOME Shell search provider. Any useful tips, maybe links to some documentation, tutorials or howtos?

Thanks a lot

No, that’s not expected. The D-Bus API for search providers hasn’t changed for years, and never in a way that would break existing providers.

Run the provider in a terminal to see if there are any errors on that side (for example because the website API changed).

Use tools like dbus-monitor to see if and how the provider is called when searching in the shell overview.

GNOME Builder or d-feet can be used to call the provider’s D-Bus API manually, to confirm that it correctly returns its results.

Oh, and double check in Settings->Search that the provider is enabled :slight_smile:

I wrote a tool which lets you run search providers from the commandline, which makes debugging them a bit easier. You can find it in this repo along with some search providers I wrote. Run --help for docs.

Thanks both @fmuellner and @sthursfield for all the hints, this sounds all really useful. I will try them out and come back with some feedback and maybe followup questions.

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