Writing recorders


Sardana macros may produce data and users are usually interested in storing or visualizing it. Sardana delegates this work to the recorders. A good example of the recorder usage are the scan macros developed with the Scan Framework. Recorders are in charge of writing data to its destinations, for example a file, the Spock output or to plot it on a graph.

What is a recorder?

Recorder class is a Sardana element managed by the MacroServer. It is identified by its name, and is located in a recorder library - another Sardana element which is also identified by its name. Recorders are developed as Python classes, and recorder libraries are just Python modules aggregating these classes.

Writing a custom recorder


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This chapter provides the necessary information to write recorders in Sardana.

Before writing a new recorder you should check the Sardana plugins catalogue. There’s a chance that somebody already wrote one that fits your needs.

If finally you decide to write a new one, below you can find some useful information:

  • Your recorder class would need to inherit from DataRecorder (or BaseFileRecorder if you write data to a file) and implement minimum the following methods:

    • _startRecordList

    • _writeRecord

    • _endRecordList

    You can find some examples in sardana.macroserver.recorders module.

  • Recorder classes are used to instantiate recorder objects in a scan. Every time a scan starts, in its preparation phase, a new recorder object gets created. Reversely, at the end of the scan the recorder object gets destroyed. If you need to keep a long lived objects in your recorder you may consider using the singleton pattern


Custom recorders may be added to the Sardana system by placing the recorder library module in a directory which is specified by the MacroServer RecorderPath property.

File Recorders

In case of overriding recorders by name or by file extension (in case of the file recorders), recorders located in the first paths are of higher priority than the ones from the last paths.

Three types of overriding may occur:

By recorder library name

If Python modules with the same name are located in different directories, the library located in the the higher priority directory will be loaded.

By recorder name

If two recorder classes with the same name appear in two different modules, only the recorder from the library located in the higher priority module will be loaded. If both modules are located in the same directory, the behavior is undetermined.

By file extension

If two different recorders supporting the same file extension appear in two different modules, the one from the higher priority path will be used when selection is based on the extension (but both will be available for the selection by name). If both of these recorders’ modules are located in the same directory, the system will assign a list of recorders to a given extension. Then the application is in charge of deciding which one to use.

As previously mentioned recorders are selectable by either the extension (using the ScanFile environment variable) or the recorder name (using the ScanRecorder environment variable).

During the MacroServer startup the extension to recorder map is generated while loading the recorder libraries. This dynamically created map may be overridden by editing the SCAN_RECORDER_MAP.