Vala - Documentation

Getting Started

Here is a staged approach to get familiar with the Vala compiler, related tools and the Vala language:

The first thing to do is install Vala for your platform and compile a small program to show everything is working.

The second activity is to skim over the Sample Code on this page and choose a topic that interests you. Compile one or more sample programs from that topic area and pay special attention to the use of the --pkg option with valac. This tells the Vala compiler which library binding the program should use. Cross-reference the name of the package with its API documentation at is a great resource for finding bindings to libraries and becoming familiar with a library's API (Application Programming Interface).

The third activity is to get familiar with third party build tools and code editors. If you are unfamiliar with such development tools then a good set of starting options are an up to date version of GNOME Builder for editing Vala code. Then a build tool like Meson or CMake. GNOME Builder can create Meson build files and Autovala can create both Meson and CMake build files. These tools are useful for larger projects.

The fourth activity is to get inspired! Visit some of the Projects Developed in Vala linked to from this page. As a taster visit Feed Reader, Corebird and Gradio. These are all GUI (Graphical User Interface) applications using the GTK 3 toolkit. Corebird and Gradio also use special attributes in Vala code to trigger Vala's code generation routines that make using GtkBuilder user interface files a lot easier. In those two projects' source code repositories look for files ending in .ui and the use of [GtkTemplate], [GtkChild] and [GtkCallback] attributes in Vala code.

The fifth activity is to become familiar with the resources available about the Vala language. The Vala syntax is heavily influenced by C#, but it is better to start looking at the Vala Tutorials available. If concepts like strong typing and objects aren't familiar to you then documentation for C# may help explain the underlying idea, but focus on the concept rather than the C# syntax. The syntax in Vala may be different. The Tutorials linked to on this page cover Vala itself and explanations for those coming from a C# or Java background. Vala also has a Reference Manual available online, for download as a PDF and as a Devhelp package available through distributions.

Vala is a community driven project so the sixth activity is to share your experiences. This helps consolidate your understanding and offer insight to others. Blogs posts and shared code repositories are common ways of doing this.


If you want some tips before start hacking in Vala, take a tutorial and see what you can do with this.

If you find any mistakes in the tutorials on please feel free to correct them.

The Vala Reference Manual

The Vala Reference Manual for the latest Vala release is available from as:

The Vala Reference Manual is also available for your installed version of Vala as DevHelp from your distribution. For Red Hat based distributions, like Fedora, the package is vala-doc. For Debian based distributions, like Ubuntu and elementary OS, the Vala API version is also used in the package name. For example vala-0.40-doc is the documentation package for the Vala 0.40 API.

The manual is a work in progress and we welcome corrections and additions from the user community. The current draft can be found at Vala Reference Manual [Draft].


Genie is another programming language supported by the Vala compiler with a syntax closer to Python.


Vala has bindings to over 250 libraries. A good starting place is to read This site holds bindings' API documentation generated by Vala's valadoc tool. The site is currently hosted by Elementary OS. A desktop focused operating system with apps written in Vala.

  • List Of Bindings - The list aims to be comprehensive. Bindings are listed by how they are distributed: upstream libraries; Vala; the Vala Extra VAPIs repository and individuals

  • Generating Bindings - Using GObject introspection to generate a binding

  • Vala and GObject Introspection - write in Vala and use from Ruby, Python, Lua, JavaScript and other languages

  • Writing VAPI files manually - A document that explains how to write VAPI files for a C library manually, without GObject introspection

Other Resources

Sample Code

If you have trouble compiling an example try the latest release of Vala. Some distributions ship with older versions of Vala which may lack some features. Also make sure that the respective libraries are installed along with their header files (e.g. *-devel packages on RedHat/Fedora/SuSE, *-dev packages on Debian/Ubuntu).

Language Features and Introductory Samples

Basics: Collections, Files, I/O, Networking, IPC

GUI Programming

Multimedia and Graphics

GNOME Platform

GLib Samples

Database Access


Projects Developed in Vala

Vala Specific

  • Autovala - A project manager for Vala that automatically creates and maintains CMake scripts.

  • Gee - Collection Library

  • gtkaml - An Application Markup Language for GTK/Vala.

  • Maja - Vala to Javascript compiler.

  • libmodulo - Dependency Injection / Inversion of Control

  • Sampala - A sample Vala application demonstrating Autotools and i18n

  • Vala Benchmarks - Compare Vala versus others languages à la

  • Valadate - Unit Testing Framework

  • vala-dbus-binding-tool - Create Vala D-Bus Interfaces from XML Specifications

  • Valadoc - Documentation generator for generating API documentation from Vala source code.

  • Valag - Vala Graphviz code tree and control flow graph generator

  • Val(a)IDE - Small IDE for the Vala language

  • ValaSwig - Vapi to Swig interface translator to create bindings for python, perl, ruby,.. from a vapi description.

  • ValaWinPKG - Vala Package manager, install needed MinGW libraries on Windows®.

Applications / Applets / Other Projects

  • AllTray - A program for docking software to the system tray/notification area

  • Almanna - Object-relation mapping (ORM) for Vala/GLib

  • Ambition Framework - A "next-generation MVC web application framework", written in and targeted at the Vala programming language

  • Asteroids_Vala- Simple game using OpenGl and SDL

  • Baobab - Disk usage analyzer

  • Birdfont - A font editor

  • Caméléon - Easy file converter.

  • Cheese - Cheese is an application that takes photos and videos from your webcam.

  • Chess - GNOME Chess game

  • Commandeer - A sysadmin tool to lock the desktop while a command runs.

  • Corebird - A modern Gtk Twitter client

  • Cornucopia - services middleware for mobile devices (2nd incarnation).

  • Cronopete - A backup utility, which aims to be a clone of Apple's Time Machine.

  • dconf editor - The dconf configuration editor

  • Déjà Dup - A backup utility.

  • Diodon - GTK clipboard manager.

  • DSync - Directory Sync - simple rsync frontend for Maemo and GNOME

  • DVB Daemon - Daemon to setup your DVB devices, record and watch TV shows and browse EPG.

  • Ease - Presentation authoring tool for the GNOME desktop.

  • elementary OS - Vala is the language of choice for elementary OS.

  • Epris music player - A D-Bus service and command line client to listen to music. Unlike xmms2 or mpd, it uses GStreamer and D-Bus.

  • FeedReader - RSS desktop client

  • Fillmore - A Multitrack audio recorder for GNOME

  • Final Page - A tool to reorganize, split and merge PDF documents.

  • Folks - A library that aggregates people from multiple sources to create metacontacts.

  • Calculator - GNOME Calculator

  • Games - Simple game launcher for GNOME

  • Geary - An email application built for GNOME 3.

  • Gitg - git repository viewer for gtk/GNOME.

  • Global Menu - A globally-shared menu bar for GNOME

  • Gmail Notify - A Gmail notification app

  • Gnome Encfs Manager - A manager and mounter for EncFS stashes

  • Gnome media applet - A GNOME applet to simply mount/umount removable media

  • Gnome Pie - A visual application launcher for the Gnome Desktop

  • GNOME Scan - A scan library for GNOME

  • gradio - "A GTK3 app for finding and listening to internet radio stations"

  • gst-plugins-cl - An OpenCL plugin for gstreamer written in vala

  • Gwibber - Microblogging client

  • GXml - An XML library

  • Haguichi - "Haguichi provides a graphical frontend for Hamachi on Linux", with an indicator for GNOME shell

  • Hum - A lightweight music player built on DBus, Tracker, and GStreamer

  • i4uc - An IDE for micro-controllers

  • Iagno - Strategy game

  • Komorebi - "Komorebi is an awesome desktop manager for all Linux platforms. It provides fully customizeable image and video wallpapers that can be tweaked at any time!"

  • LaTeXila - An integrated LaTeX environment

  • lekhonee-gnome - A desktop client for Wordpress

  • libgtkflow - A universal library for drawing flow graphs with Gtk 3

  • libvfcgi - FastCGI library for GObject/Vala.

  • Lights Off - Logic game

  • Lingo - A dictionary application

  • Listaller - A distro-agnostic application management and software installation tool based on PackageKit

  • Lucruri - Todo list and note taking application.

  • Mahjongg - Mahjongg game

  • Marlin - The sexiest fish in the large sea of file-browsers

  • Meiga - Light and easy content server for your desktop.

  • Mines - Minesweeper game

  • Mind Map Architect - Program for manipulating with mind maps

  • Mipsdis - MIPS32 disassembler for stripped ELF (without section tables)

  • moserial - A serial terminal for the GNOME desktop.

  • MPRIS Applet - MPRIS client panel applet/plugin for GNOME and Xfce.

  • Multiplication Puzzle - A puzzle game.

  • Mutiara - A motif designer based on fractals.

  • OMAP Media Apps - GStreamer and GTK based applications for the OMAP platform, written in Genie.

  • Paldo Installer - Installer for the Paldo Linux Distro.

  • openSage - a port of OpenSAGE from C# to Vala. OpenSAGE is a free, open source re-implementation of SAGE, the 3D real time strategy (RTS) engine used in Command & Conquer

  • Pantheon Mail - An email client application.

  • Pasang Emas - Traditional board game of Brunei.

  • PDF Presenter Console - A Keynote like multi monitor "Presenter Console" using PDF as input.

  • PDF PC - A fork from PDF Presenter Console with several new options and enhancements.

  • peek - "Simple animated GIF screen recorder with an easy to use interface"

  • People Project - Aims at providing an unified access to contacts for desktop applications.

  • Picsaw - Jigsaw puzzle game

  • Pino - A Twitter client.

  • Plank - The world's simplest dock

  • GNOME Pomodoro - "GNOME Pomodoro is a small application that helps managing time according to Pomodoro Technique", source code on GitHub

  • Postler - ultra simple desktop mail client

  • PSchema - A framework for investigating artificial intelligence through the use of Piagetian schema learning.

  • Quadrapassel - Tetris game

  • radare - Multi-architecture assembly code graph in Vala-Cairo.

  • RhythmPnP - Rhythmbox Universal Plug'N'Play Media Renderer Plugin

  • Rygel - A collection of UPnP/DLNA media devices for GNOME

  • Scratchpad - Spatial text editor for the GNOME desktop.

  • SevenUSBurn - Burn ISO images to USB devices.

  • Shishen Sho Mahjongg for Gtk and Maemo - A board game similar to Mahjong.

  • Shotwell - A photo organizer.

  • Simple Scan - Scanner application

  • SmartSim - Visual digital logic design and simulation package.

  • Steadyflow - A simple download manager.

  • Swell Foop - Puzzle game

  • Switchboard - Modular desktop settings hub.

  • Synapse - A semantic file launcher

  • systemd - Graphical frontend for the systemd system and service manager.

  • Tetravex - Puzzle game

  • Tuntun - A panel applet to control the OpenVPN daemon.

  • Vala - The Vala compiler itself is written in Vala.

  • ValaTerm - A lightweight terminal emulator.

  • Vala Terminal - A lightweight terminal based on VTE.

  • Valence - A simple PDF viewer.

  • Vinagre - A VNC Client for the GNOME Desktop. Parts of Vinagre is written in Vala.

  • Watray - A general purpose IDE.

  • XML Bird - XML parser

  • Xfmpc - A small MPD client.

  • Xfce4 Notes Plugin - A quick-to-scribble notes application.

  • Xfce4 Stopwatch Plugin - A plugin for the panel that keeps track of elapsed time

  • Xnoise - A media player.

  • Valum - Web framework for Vala. Inspired by sinatra and allows lua scripting.

  • Zeitgeist - Event logging framework

Projects/Vala/Documentation (last edited 2019-05-26 13:56:21 by AlThomas)