Textual Popup Hack

edit ✏️

As I am toying around with textual, I am wanting some popup user input to take over. Textual is still pretty new and likely to change quite significantly, so I don't want to overdo the work I put into it, So for now on my personal tuis I am going to shell out to tmux.

The Problem

The main issue is that when you are in a textual app, it kinda owns the input. So if you try to run another python function that calls for input it just cant get there. There is a textual-inputs library that covers this, and it might work really well for some use cases, but many of my use cases have been for things that are pre-built like copier, and I am trying to throw something together quick.

textual is still very beta

Part of this comes down to the fact that textual is still very beta and likely to change a lot, so all of the work I have done with it is for quick and dirty, or fun side projects.

The Solution

So the solution that was easiest for me... shell out to a tmux popup. The application I am working on wants to create new documents using copier templates. copier has a fantastic cli that walks throught he template variables and asks the user to fill them in, so I just shell out to that with Popen . Make sure that you wait for this process to finish otherwise there will be bit of jank in your textual app.

async def action_new_post(self) -> None:
    proc = subprocess.Popen(
        'tmux popup "copier copy plugins/todo-template tasks"', shell=True
    )
    proc.wait()

example

Here is what the running todo application looks like with the copier popup over it.

example of the popup running over textual

a bit more on tmux-popus [here] https://waylonwalker.com/tmux-popups/ )