15.30. Timer Events¶
GUI programs run an “event loop” that continuously receive events from the
operating system and “dispatches” those events to appropriate callback
functions. Nothing happens in a GUI program without an event. The application
logic for some problems requires that specific events happen at some
specific times. For this reason
tkinter includes a feature to generate
events under software control. These are often refered to as timer events.
Every widget has an
after method that will generate an event at a
specific time interval from the time it is called. The method takes at
least 2 arguments: the amount of time (in milliseconds) to wait before
generating the event, and the callback function to call after the time
has elapsed. In the example below, the function
will be called one second (1000 milliseconds) after the timer-event was created.
def a_callback_function(): print("a_callback_function was called.") my_button = tk.Button(application_window, text="Example") my_button.after(1000, a_callback_function)
15.30.1. Animations and Repeated Tasks¶
If you want a specific task to be repeated on a regular interval, then the callback function that performs the task should create a new timer event each time it is called. The following example creates a callback function that is called 30 times per second. (Note that 1/30th of a second is 0.033 seconds, or 33 milliseconds.)
def animate(): # Draw something my_button.after(33, animate) my_button = tk.Button(application_window, text="Example") my_button.after(33, animate)
A widget can have more than one timer event active at any time. In fact there is no limit to the number of timer events you can create.
Note that you should never use a loop to repeat a task in a GUI program. If you use a loop, the event-loop will be prevented from execution and no events will be processed while the loop is running. Always use a timer event for repeating a task, especially if a single execution of the task takes a considerable amount of CPU time.
15.30.2. Canceling Timer Events¶
In some cases you may need to cancel a timer event to prevent it from
executing. This is straightforward using the
Remember that a widget can have multiple active timers, so the
after_cancel method requires one parameter which specifies which timer
event to cancel. If you need to cancel an event, you must capture
the return value from the call to
after when you created the event. Here
is an example:
def do_something(): # Some processing my_button = tk.Button(application_window, text="Example") timer_object = my_button.after(1000, do_something) ... my_button.after_cancel(timer_object)
15.30.3. Multiple Parameters to Timer Callbacks¶
Timer callback function can have zero or more arguments passed to them when they are called. You specify the arguments when you create the event. This makes timer callback functions extremely flexible. Below is an example of three different callback functions, each of which receives a different number of arguments. You must specify the correct number of arguments for the callback function when you create the timer event.
def task1(): # Do some processing def task2(alpha): # Do some processing def task3(beta, gamma): # Do some processing my_button = tk.Button(application_window, text="Example") my_button.after(1000, task1) my_button.after(2000, task2, 3) # 3 gets passed to the parameter alpha my_button.after(5000, task3, a, b) # a gets passed to the parameter beta # b gets passed to the parameter gamma