Core Module

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Navit is made up of several core modules for navigation, routing, maps, graphics, GUI, vehicle and more. Many core components are stubs which are extended with plugins: the core module provides the functionality that is shared between plugins, and the plugin provides the actual implementation. This allows us to support graphics on different platforms, different map formats, different vehicles (essentially GPS sources) and so on. Some modules are singletons (e.g. you can have only one GUI active at a time) while others allow multiple instances (e.g. you can have any number of maps).

It is rarely the case that you would actually need to develop a new core module for Navit from scratch. However, understanding the steps involved in creating one will help you understand how they work, should you ever need to add functionality a core module, or debug one.

Most of this information was gathered during development of the traffic module (which, as of December 2017, is still under development), with a lot of input taken from the proposed audio framework.

Source files[edit]

Most likely you will create a file named navit/mymodule.c to hold the code for your module, replacing mymodule with the name of your module. While not strictly a requirement, this is a convention followed in Navit which makes the code easier to read. Wherever you encounter mymodule as a name, or part of a name, in the following example, replace it with the name you have chosen for your module.

Since you will likely be exporting function prototypes, structures and more from your module, you will also need a header file navit/mymodule.h to go with it. mymodule.c should contain a line like

#include "mymodule.h"

Next you need to tell the build chain about the new file. Edit navit/CMakeLists.txt and add mymodule.c to the list of source files near the top of the file.

Add an attribute type[edit]

Navit manages its core components in an object tree. Each core module is a Navit object class and thus has its own attribute type. When an object is instantiated, it is added to its parent as an attribute.

To add the attribute type for your module, edit navit/attr_def.h.

The file consists almost entirely of macros. You will see that it is sorted by attribute types. Look for the following line:


Above that line, insert the following:


Add basic definitions for your module[edit]

First you need to define a struct in which you will store all information related to your module instance.

Next you need to provide methods for your module. Some methods are optional (they can be NULL unless you need their functionality); for others Navit provides default implementations that you can use if you don’t need to do anything special. The only function you absolutely need to write for yourself is the constructor function (though you can look at other modules’ constructors to see what needs to go in there, and copy over the relevant bits). Navit will call this function to create an instance of your module.

Finally you need to tell Navit which methods to use for your module. Here is the code you need to add to mymodule.c:

#include "xmlconfig.h"
struct mymodule {
	/* add members here as needed */
struct mymodule * mymodule_new(struct attr *parent, struct attr **attrs) {
	struct mymodule *this_;
	struct attr *attr;
	/* an example of getting an attribute from the XML file */
	attr = attr_search(attrs, NULL, attr_type);
	if (!attr) {
		dbg(lvl_error, "type missing\n");
		return NULL;
	dbg(lvl_debug, "type='%s'\n", attr->u.str);
	/* call through to Navit’s constructor (mandatory) */
	this_ = (struct mymodule *) navit_object_new(attrs, &mymodule_func, sizeof(struct mymodule));
	/* unwind if there is a failure during initialization */
	if (something_went_wrong) {
		navit_object_destroy((struct navit_object *) this_);
		return NULL;
	dbg(lvl_debug,"return %p\n", this_);
	/* reference the new object, else Navit will destroy it right after this function returns */
	navit_object_ref((struct navit_object *) this_);
	return this_;
struct object_func mymodule_func = {
	(object_func_iter_new)navit_object_attr_iter_new,         /* or NULL */
	(object_func_iter_destroy)navit_object_attr_iter_destroy, /* or NULL */
	(object_func_set_attr)navit_object_set_attr,              /* or NULL */
	(object_func_add_attr)navit_object_add_attr,              /* or NULL */
	(object_func_remove_attr)navit_object_remove_attr,        /* or NULL */
	(object_func_destroy)navit_object_destroy,                /* or NULL */

You can add members of your choice to struct mymodule after the NAVIT_OBJECT declaration.

For more information on what the struct object_func members do, look at the documentation for struct object_func.

Next, edit navit/xmlconfig.c. First, we need to tell initStatic() about the new XML element. Locate the function and edit the line near the top:

	elements=g_new0(struct element_func,44); //43 is a number of elements + ending NULL element

The number given here should be the number of elements (including your new one) plus 1, so you will likely need to increase it by 1.

Then add your element declarations after the ones that are already there:


The index should be one higher than the highest existing index in the list (and one lower than the number of elements you specified before). The parent element is important: the configuration element for your module in navit.xml must be a child element of the element you specify here; and your module will be a child of that module in the object hierarchy. In most cases your module will have navit as its parent, but exceptions are possible. For example, maps have mapset as their parent element. These instructions assume that your module will live directly under navit.

Next, you need to tell Navit where to find the methods for your module. This happens in the same file, in the object_func_lookup() function. Look for the switch statement and add:

	case attr_mymodule:
		return &mymodule_func;

Since mymodule_func lives in a different source file, we need to tell the toolchain to look for it. This happens in navit/xmlconfig.h. Look for a line like the following:

extern struct object_func map_func, mapset_func, navit_func, osd_func, tracking_func, vehicle_func, maps_func, layout_func, roadprofile_func, vehicleprofile_func, layer_func, config_func, profile_option_func, script_func, log_func, speech_func, navigation_func, route_func;

Add mymodule_func to the list.

Tell the parent object about your module[edit]

As previously mentioned, the object instance for your module will get added to its parent as an attribute. This will only work if the parent knows what to do with the attribute type—whether that is the case depends on three things:

  • Are multiple instances of the module allowed?
  • Do the add_attr, get_attr and remove_attr methods for the parent point directly to the default implementations, or does the parent object implement its own method for one or more of them?
  • Does the parent need to react in any way to the module being added, removed (if you need to support this) or queried?

If your module supports multiple instances, does not need any special treatment by its parent and the parent uses the default add_attr implementation, you’re good. Unfortunately, navit comes with its own add_attr method which accepts only explicitly supported attributes. Just read on.

Singleton modules[edit]

If your module allows only one instance, look at navit_add_attr in navit/navit.c to see how Navit handles mapset, gui, navigation or route children.

Parent overriding add_attr, get_attr or remove_attr[edit]

This is something you will need to take care of if the parent object of your module is navit. In navit/navit.c, locate the navit_add_attr() function. It looks something like this:

navit_add_attr(struct navit *this_, struct attr *attr)
	int ret=1;
	switch (attr->type) {
	case attr_callback:
		navit_add_callback(this_, attr->u.callback);
	/* some lines omitted... */
	case attr_autozoom_max:
		this_->autozoom_max = attr->u.num;
	case attr_layer:
	case attr_script:
		return 0;
	if (ret)
		this_->attrs=attr_generic_add_attr(this_->attrs, attr);
	callback_list_call_attr_2(this_->attr_cbl, attr->type, this_, attr);
	return ret;

If you look closely, you will see that the default behavior is to return 0 (indicating an error), unless the attribute type is explicitly handled here. Some attributes are handled in a special way, but near the bottom of the function there are two attribute types (attr_layer and attr_script) which are simply passed through to attr_generic_add_attr(). Add attr_mymodule here and you’re good.

This works in a similar way for get_attr and remove_attr. Also look at the respective functions to see if they do what you expect.

Special handling by parent[edit]

Again, navit_add_attr() in navit/navit.c is a good example, as several attribute types are handled in a special manner. Also look at navit_get_attr() and navit_remove_attr().

If you are dealing with a parent which relies on the default implementation and you need some special handling, you need to write your own method for the parent. Test for the attribute type, have it do what it needs to do upon detecting your attribute type, then call through to the default implementation.

Initializing your module[edit]

You may need to set up a few things on startup, after the whole object tree has been created. For instance, the GUI module needs to be connected to the graphics module. The route and tracking modules need to be told where to find the active mapset. These things happen in the parent’s init function. Look at navit_init() in navit.c for some examples.