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# Creating the plugin

Qt Creator contains a wizard to create a QtQuick 2 QML Extension Plugin, found under Library when creating a new project. We use it to create a plugin called fileio with a FileIO object to start within the module org.example.io.

TIP

The current wizard generates a QMake based project. Please use the example from this chapter as a starting point to build a CMake based project.

The project should consist of the fileio.h and fileio.cpp, that declare and implement the FileIO type, and a fileio_plugin.cpp that contains the actual plugin class that allows the QML engine to discover out extension.

The plugin class is derived from the QQmlEngineExtensionPlugin class, and contains a the Q_OBJECT and Q_PLUGIN_METADATA macros. The entire file can be seen below.

#include <QQmlEngineExtensionPlugin>

class FileioPlugin : public QQmlEngineExtensionPlugin
{
    Q_OBJECT
    Q_PLUGIN_METADATA(IID QQmlEngineExtensionInterface_iid)
};

#include "fileio_plugin.moc"

The extension will automatically discover and register all types marked with QML_ELEMENT and QML_NAMED_ELEMENT. We will see how this is done in the FileIO Implementation section below.

For the import of the module to work, the user also needs to specify a URI, e.g. import org.example.io. Interestingly we cannot see the module URI anywhere. This is set from the outside using a qmldir file, alternatively in the CMakeLists.txt file of your project.

The qmldir file specifies the content of your QML plugin or better the QML side of your plugin. A hand-written qmldir file for our plugin should look something like this:

module org.example.io
plugin fileio

The module is the URI that the user imports, and after it you name which plugin to load for the said URI. The plugin line must be identical with your plugin file name (under mac this would be libfileio_debug.dylib on the file system and fileio in the qmldir, for a Linux system, the same line would look for libfileio.so). These files are created by Qt Creator based on the given information.

The easier way to create a correct qmldir file is in the CMakeLists.txt for your project, in the qt_add_qml_module macro. Here, the URI parameter is used to specify the URI of the plugin, e.g. org.example.io. This way, the qmldir file is generated when the project is built. For the example here, the qt_add_qml_module macro looks as follows:

qt_add_qml_module(fileio PLUGIN_TARGET
    VERSION 1.0.0
    URI "org.example.io"
    OUTPUT_DIRECTORY "${CMAKE_CURRENT_BINARY_DIR}/imports/org/example/io/"
    SOURCES
        fileio.cpp
        fileio.h
        fileio_plugin.cpp
)

When importing a module called org.example.io, the QML engine will look in one of the import paths , e.g. the QML2_IMPORT_PATH environment variable, and try to locate the org/example/io path with a qmldir file. The qmldir file will tell the engine which library to load as a QML extension plugin using which module URI. Two modules with the same URI will override each other. For the example above, the module can be imported with the following command:

QML2_IMPORT_PATH=/home/.../ch18-extensions/src/fileio/imports \
./.../ch18-extensions/src/CityUI/CityUI

Notice that the QML2_IMPORT_PATH points to the imports directory, and that the org/example/io sub-path is found via the org.example.io part of the import statement.