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Auto-generate bindings for GObject based libraries at run time using FFI
Latest commit 555323f @mvz Add tests for Everything
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docs Add documentation about subclassing
examples Remove example files that are no longer relevant
lib Override so gtype argument is not needed
tasks Generate stubs for new test libs
test Add tests for Everything
yard-plugin Correct several RuboCop offenses
.gitignore Provide config.h for test libs
.pullreview.yml Add configuration for PullReview
.rubocop.yml Exclude test from Performance/FixedSize cop
.rubocop_todo.yml Update autogenerated RuboCop TODO list
.travis.yml Update set of packages required for testing
.yardopts Ensure documentation is properly generated and linked
COPYING.LIB Setup library package infrastructure and boilerplate. Override so gtype argument is not needed Explain new object initialization in the DESIGN document
Gemfile Run coverage for only one Ruby version Update set of packages required for testing
Rakefile Use Bundler's default version tags Sketch out better derived type API
exceptions.reek Stop Reek from complaining about methods ending in type tags.


by Matijs van Zuijlen


Ruby bindings for GNOME using the GObject Introspection Repository.


Gem Version Dependency Status Build Status Code Climate Coverage Status Documentation Status


  • Create bindings to any GObject-based library.
  • Bindings are generated at runtime.
  • Provides overridden bindings for selected methods.
  • Install gir_ffi-gtk and require gir_ffi-gtk2 or gir_ffi-gtk3 to load overrides for Gtk2 or Gtk3.


require 'gir_ffi'

# Set up the namespace you wish to use
GirFFI.setup :Gio

# Create an object
inet_address = Gio::InetAddress.new_from_string ""

# Call some methods on the object
inet_address.is_loopback    # => true
inet_address.is_multicast   # => false

# Call a function in the namespace
Gio.dbus_is_name "foo"   # => false

See the documentation for more usage information.


gem install gir_ffi


GirFFI should work on CRuby 2.0.0, 2.1 and 2.2, JRuby 1.7.x in 1.9 or 2.0 mode, JRuby, and on Rubinius. If you need support for CRuby 1.9.3, use version 0.7.10.

You will also need gobject-introspection installed with some introspection data.

Depending on the GIR data, GirFFI needs the actual libraries to be available under the name ending in plain .so. If GirFFI complains that it cannot find the library, try installing development packages for those libraries.

GirFFI is developed on Debian sid, and tested through Travis CI on Ubuntu 12.04. Older versions of gobject-introspection than the ones used there are therefore not officially supported (although they may work).

On Debian and Ubuntu, installing libgirepository1.0-dev, gobject-introspection and gir1.2-gtop-2.0 should be enough to get rake test working.

GirFFI has not been tested on Mac OS X or Microsoft Windows. YMMV.


Sometimes, the GIR data is incorrect, or not detailed enough, and a reasonable binding cannot be created automatically. For these cases, overrides can be defined. The following gems with overrides already exist:

  • gir_ffi-gtk: overrides for Gtk+ 2 and 3.
  • gir_ffi-gnome_keyring: overrides for GnomeKeyring
  • gir_ffi-cairo: overrides for Cairo
  • gir_ffi-pango: overrides for Pango
  • gir_ffi-tracker: overrides for Tracker

Hacking and contributing

Please feel free to file bugs or send pull requests!

If you just want to help out but don't know where to start, have a look at, and check the notes in the code (e.g., using dnote).

If you want to send pull requests or patches, please try to follow these instructions. If you get stuck, make a pull request anyway and I'll try to help out.

  • Make sure rake test runs without reporting any failures.
  • Add tests for your feature. Otherwise, I can't see if it works or if I break it later.
  • Make sure latest master merges cleanly with your branch. Things might have moved around since you forked.
  • Try not to include changes that are irrelevant to your feature in the same commit.


The following people have contributed to GirFFI over the years:

  • John Cupitt
  • Marius Hanne
  • Antonio Terceiro
  • Matijs van Zuijlen


Copyright © 2009–2015 Matijs van Zuijlen

GirFFI is free software, distributed under the terms of the GNU Lesser General Public License, version 2.1 or later. See the file COPYING.LIB for more information.

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