i3wm, i3bar, and rhythmbox

I was interested in customizing my i3wm setup a bit more, and wanted to display the current song playing in Rhythmbox while running the i3wm window manager.  It turned out to be just a few lines of configuration to my i3bar config.

First, I grabbed a copy of the Python wrapper around i3bar, wrapper.py. This wrapper merely takes the output of a command, wraps it in compliant JSON, and returns in a way that i3bar uses it generate its output. The wrapper allows the user to add on an arbitrary number of additions to their status bar, although you don’t want to overwhelm what is supposed to be just a status bar.

My own code I added to wrapper.py:

import subprocess def get_rhythmbox_status(): """ Get the current song playing and elapsed time from rhythmbox if it is running. """ cmd = “rhythmbox-client –no-start –print-playing-format ‘%aa - %tt (%te)'” try: rb_output = subprocess.check_output(cmd, shell=True) rb_output = rb_output.strip() except subprocess.CalledProcessError, cpe: rb_output = “Rhythmbox Client: Error” if “(Unknown)” in rb_output: rb_output = “Rhythmbox: Not Playing” return rb_output

This function executes rhythmbox-client. Command line flags include purposely not starting Rhythmbox if it is not started, and displaying a custom format of output related to the current song being played. This output is the artist name, track title, and elapsed time of the current track. If Rhythmbox is not started, no output is present in the i3bar. If Rhythmbox is started but no song is playing, “Rhythmbox: Not Playing” is displayed.

in the ‘main function’, I modified the line which inserts an entry in the JSON object:

j.insert(0, {‘full_text’ : get_rhythmbox_status(), ‘name’ : ‘rhythmbox’})

Inside my i3wm config’s bar specification, my status_command line looks like the following:

status_command i3status --config ~/.i3/i3status.conf | ~/.i3/wrapper.py

If your i3bar updates on an interval, you will see the current elapsed time of the song update as it plays.

Jeffrey Forman
Jeffrey Forman

I do things that make the Internet work at work, and I play around with things that make the Internet work at home.