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The main documentation is in doxygen and can be built by running doxygen in the root directory or viewed online at

About DBus the Protocol

TODO: Give brief about dbus - for now see and

About adbus

adbus is designed to be a portable C implementation of both a dbus client and bus server, and bound into higher level languages or used directly from C/C++ with ease.

It's written in the common subset of ISO C and C++ and uses only the CRT except for the optional adbus_Socket module which uses the BSD socket API and some atomic operations found in adbus/misc.h.

The API as a whole is thread-safe (ie has no global data) but most objects can only be used on a single thread. The API especially adbus_Connection is heavily callback based and thus there are some restrictions on what functions can be called in callbacks to avoid reentrancy problems. Notably:

  • Any number of adbus_Connection services can be removed at any time.
  • Services can be added in a message callback but not in release callbacks.
  • Neither the parse nor dispatch functions of either the connection or server can be called in any callbacks. This is scheduled to be addressed soon.

The multithreading support is incomplete and untested. For the moment being it would be unwise to use a connection on multiple threads, but this will be addressed soon.


The linux build is built using tup available from

To build tup:

git clone git://
cd tup

To build adbus with tup:

git clone git://
cd adbus
../tup/tup init
../tup/tup upd

Building on other platforms or manually with gcc is fairly straightforward:

gcc -o -Iinclude/c -fPIC --std=gnu99 adbus/ *.c dmem/ *.c

For MSVC you will need the provided stdint.h in deps/msvc/stdint.h.


The adbus API is composed of a number of modules centred around the major types. These modules can be grouped into 4 groups:

  1. Low level modules - This mainly deals with building/parsing messages and serialising/deserialising dbus data. This incudes:
    • adbus_Iterator - Iterator to deserialise dbus data.
    • adbus_Buffer - Generic buffer and means to serialise dbus data.
    • adbus_Message - Message parsing functions.
    • adbus_MsgFactory - Building messages
  2. Client API
    • adbus_Connection - Message dispatcher and handles match, reply and bind registrations
      • adbus_Match - Used for generic matches (mostly for matching signals) and can be pushed through to the bus
      • adbus_Reply - Registering a callback for a reply to a method call (both return and error messages)
      • adbus_Bind - Registering an adbus_Interface on a given path
    • adbus_Interface - Wrapper around a dbus interface used when binding an interface to a path.
    • adbus_CbData - Functions and data structure used for message callbacks.
  3. Client utilities
    • adbus_State - Connection service management - strongly advised when using the API directly.
    • adbus_Proxy - Proxy module to ease interacting with a specific remote object.
    • adbus_Auth - Simple SASL implementation for both client and server side.
    • adbus_Signal - Helper for emitting signals from C.
    • adbus_Socket - Helper functions to create sockets using the BSD sockets API.
    • adbus_Misc - Miscellaneous functions
  4. Server API
    • adbus_Server - Simple single threaded dbus bus server.

Full Example

Example blocking BSD sockets main loop.

static void SetupConnection(adbus_Connection* c)
    // Do connection setup

static adbus_ssize_t SendMessage(void* user, adbus_Message* m)
{ return send(*(adbus_Socket*) user, m->data, m->size, 0); }

# define RECV_SIZE 64 * 1024
int main(void)
    adbus_Buffer* buffer;
    adbus_Connection* connection;
    adbus_Socket socket;
    adbus_ConnectionCallbacks callbacks;

    // Connect and authenticate
    buffer = adbus_buf_new();
    socket = adbus_sock_connect(ADBUS_DEFAULT_BUS);
    if (socket == ADBUS_SOCK_INVALID || adbus_sock_cauth(socket, buffer))
        return 1;

    // Create and setup connection
    memset(&callbacks, 0, sizeof(callbacks));
    callbacks.send_message = &SendMessage;
    connection = adbus_conn_new(&callbacks, &socket);

    // Connect to bus server
    adbus_conn_connect(connection, NULL, NULL);

    while (1) {
        // Get the next chunk of data
        char* dest = adbus_buf_recvbuf(buffer, RECV_SIZE);
        adbus_ssize_t recvd = recv(socket, buffer, RECV_SIZE, 0);
        adbus_buf_recvd(buffer, RECV_SIZE, recvd);

        if (recvd < 0)
            return 2;

        // Dispatch received data
        if (adbus_conn_parse(connection, buffer))
            return 3;
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