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Archived:How to draw an icon on canvas in PySymbian

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Created: cyke64 (15 Mar 2007)
Last edited: hamishwillee (31 May 2013)

Python have 2 different classes for graphics data :

  • Icon class represents icon (typically from .mbm file) which can be put in ListBox for selection.
  • Image class represents a bigger image which can be drawn upon.

These 2 classes can't convert to/from each other.

But you can use a library that read .mbm file and draw an Image from the data there. So, you can make an icon into an image the module icon_image whose source code is below can be used for this purpose.

# module icon_image from Korakot user
# called by just import icon_image
# im = icon_image(file_mbm, idx)
from graphics import Image
from struct import unpack
def readL(f, pos=None):
if pos is not None:
return unpack('L',[0]
def open(file_mbm='z:\\system\\data\\avkon.mbm', idx = 28):
# read icon data from mbm file
f = file(file_mbm, 'rb')
if readL(f) != 0x10000041:
return None # work for mbm on ROM (z:) only
start = readL(f, 8+4*idx)
length = readL(f) - readL(f) # pd_size - offset
width, height = readL(f), readL(f)
enc = readL(f, start+56)
data_encoded =
# decode the data
data_padded = rle_decode(data_encoded, enc)
mat = bit_matrix(data_padded, width, height)
im =, height), '1')
for j in range(height):
for i in range(width):
im.point((i,j), mat[j][i]*0xffffff)
return im
# Decode of 8-bit RLE
# Either to repeat-(n+1)-times or not repeat (100-n) bytes
def rle_decode(bytes, enc=1):
if not enc: return bytes
out = []
i = 0
while i < len(bytes):
n = ord(bytes[i])
i += 1
if n < 0x80:
out.append( bytes[i] * (n+1) )
i += 1
n = 0x100 - n
out.append( bytes[i:i+n] )
i += n
return ''.join(out)
# from bytes to bit matrix
# Each line was padded to 4-byte boundary, must discard the end
def bit_matrix(bytes, width, height):
mat = []
k = 0
for j in range(height):
line = []
while len(line)<width:
longint, = unpack('L', bytes[k: k+4])
k += 4
toget = min(width - len(line), 32)
for i in range(toget):
longint, r = divmod(longint, 2)
return mat

Here's an example using this module.

  • Python 2nd Edition
from appuifw import *
import icon_image, e32
app.body = c = Canvas()
# choose a bitmap from plenty inside mbm (multi-bitmap)
icon = icon_image('z:\\system\\data\\avkon.mbm', 28)
e32.ao_sleep(10) # 10 sec to end program
  • Python 3rd Edition
from appuifw import *
import icon_image, e32
app.body = c = Canvas()
# choose a bitmap from plenty inside mbm (multi-bitmap)
icon = icon_image('z:\\system\\data\\avkon2.mbm', 28)
e32.ao_sleep(10) # 10 sec to end program

Limitations : only 1-bit icons.

This page was last modified on 31 May 2013, at 01:03.
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