Getting nodes by their path is cumbersome

Godot Version

4.2.1 .NET

Question

For my GUI I have a (relatively) deep hierarchy, to mimic the desired layout. Consider the following example:

Main
|-- ...
|-- GUI
  |-- SidePanel
    |-- VBoxContainer
      |-- DropDownContainerButton1
        |-- MarginContainer
          |-- GridContainer
            |-- Control1
            |-- Control2
            |-- Control3
            |-- Control4
      |-- DropDownContainerButton2
        |-- MarginContainer
          |-- GridContainer
            |-- Control5
            |-- Control6
            |-- Control7
            |-- Control8
      |-- ...        

Now, if I need to do something with, say, Control2 or Control7, I have to access them by path:

# GUI script
var node1 = $PanelContainer/VBoxContainer/DropDownContainerButton1/MarginContainer/GridContainer/Control2
node1.connect("signal", self, do_something)
var node2 = $PanelContainer/VBoxContainer/DropDownContainerButton2/MarginContainer/GridContainer/Control7
node2.connect("signal", self, do_something)

There are a few problems with that:

  • Whenever path changes (happens somewhat often during development), I have to update paths to different controls, even if each path is only referenced once.
  • It’s just tiresome and error prone to type this, even with completion (available only in GDScript)

I am wondering if there’s a better way of doing that? Maybe referencing a node not by its path, but by some other means. Or maybe shortening the paths. OR something completely different.

I came up with the solution when I add a metadata, say, “NodeId” to the desired controls (in the example above these are ControlN nodes) and I provide a function GetNodeByMetaId(id: string) which iterates through all children of GUI node (root node for app’s GUI), searches the ones that have metadata with the name "NodeId" and selecting a node that matches the id parameter.

But this looks more like a hackaround than a solution to this problem. Aany other things I may try?

Thanks.

You can enable Scene unique node in the nodes you need Scene Unique Nodes — Godot Engine (stable) documentation in English or use @export var my_control:Control and link them in the inspector.

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