How to use the Ubuntu Frame diagnostic feature

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Ubuntu Frame has an easy-to-use diagnostic screen that can be used to inform the user of any issues that have occurred when running your application. It allows the application to define which information is most useful to display to diagnose and fix any bring-up issues or runtime errors.

Setup System

Make sure to install or refresh Ubuntu Frame.

snap install ubuntu-frame

For demonstration purposes in this document, we will be using a simple snap whose only purpose is to display user-inputted text on the diagnostic screen.

To install the demo snap:

snap install frame-diagnostic --edge

Running the Demo

Launch Ubuntu Frame:

ubuntu-frame

In another terminal, run the demo snap:

frame-diagnostic "Hello, world!"

ubuntu-frame-hello-world-screenshot

Now, without closing Frame, try writing something else.

frame-diagnostic "Goodbye, world!"

The text will update automatically when the diagnostic text changes.

Using With Your Application

To learn how to implement Ubuntu Frame’s diagnostic screen, take a look at the demo app’s snap/snapcraft.yaml and notice the following entries:

plugs:
  ubuntu-frame-diagnostic:
    interface: content
    content: diagnostic-text
    target: $SNAP_COMMON/diagnostic
    default-provider: ubuntu-frame

environment:
  DIAGNOSTIC_FILE: $SNAP_COMMON/diagnostic/diagnostic.txt

plugs allows access to predetermined resources. One with interface: content allows for sharing data between snaps. Here, there is a plug called ubuntu-frame-diagnostic that allows writing to the diagnostic file within Frame. In the target line, the directory inside the Ubuntu Frame snap that holds the diagnostic file is linked to this snap’s $SNAP_COMMON directory.

The environment section creates an environment variable named DIAGNOSTIC_FILE that points to the diagnostic.txt file which Frame reads from.

In script/write_diagnostic, you can see the following:

#!/bin/sh
echo "$*" > "${DIAGNOSTIC_FILE}"

The only thing that the script does is write the user-inputted text to DIAGNOSTIC_FILE.

To enable diagnostic reporting in your application:

  1. Create a plug to link with Frame’s ubuntu-frame-diagnostic slot
  2. Create an environment variable pointing to Frame’s diagnostic file
  3. Write diagnostic information to the file located at the environment variable

The diagnostic screen will automatically update when it detects changes to the diagnostic file.

Configuration Options

To learn about Ubuntu Frame Diagnostic’s various configuration options, please refer to the configuration options reference.

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