survey says: what's the best GUI toolkit, and how do I use it?

Scott Walters scott at
Thu Feb 5 21:15:50 CST 2004

Hi folks,

I need to pick one windowing toolkit for use on Mac, Wintel, and Unicecesez.

Doug, a while back did a lovely presentation on wxWindows, most of which 
I've forgotten, and I lost my handout. Doug, can do you have a link to that
handout? Or a copy? I'd like to put it on the web, too. 

But Mac people tell me that the MacOSX wxWindows does *not* work well, and
it failed to even compile for a friend when I was going to have him do more
specific testing. 

Perhaps it is still rapidly evolving? Or has it leveled off?

Tk is the most popular, and probably the most stable, but Doug has been
frustrated by it and bitten by bugs, and it takes information encoded in
strings rather than some sort of enum or symbolic constant, making the
interface error prone and klunky. 

Gtk is really popular, and Glade sounds nice, though I haven't been able to get
it to compile for me on NetBSD. It is reasonably well ported, though it should
be a lot more portable. The Gtk bindings for Perl just leave me scratching
my head - they're documentation free, or else 100% automatically generated,
completely unhelpful, method signature listings. Personal experience with Gtk at
all? There are some tutorials care of Google and I'm going to play with it,
of course. 

X11::Motif is pretty nifty but out of date and Windows and Mac people
would have to install a lot of stuff to get it to fly. And of course there
is raw X11::Protocol =)

SDL and SDL_perl is another option for simple UI stuf and easy access to GL,
but again, the Perl bindings seem to be not-quite-there. I built and installed
and it only comes back with errors on the sample programs. Someone else who
installed it on Linux said they had to find a binary distribution but it
did work.

So, I'm very open at this point. I'll settle on something eventually, but early
input might keep me from going off in a bad direction or keep me from missing
a good one =) Any insights, comments, thoughts, or suggestions are most welcome. 


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