survey says: what's the best GUI toolkit, and how

Scott Walters scott at
Mon Feb 9 13:05:47 CST 2004

On  0, "Douglas E. Miles" <doug at> wrote:
> Sorry this is so late.  I've been having mail issues.

Want a account? =)

> Scott Walters wrote:
> > 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. 
> Can you refresh my memory?  I only remember a program listing.

Yes, the listing was what I was talking about. Sorry. Has anyone ever done
a hand-out that *wasn't* a listing at Phoenix.PM?

> > 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. 
> Not sure about this.  I got it running on OSX several months ago, but 
> did run into some issues.
> > 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. 
> My main beef with Tk (for the particular project I was working on at the 
> time) is that the widgets aren't native.  The widgets on windows mostly 
> look right, but not quite.  I needed something that looked exactly right 
> on Windows/Linux.

Let's not talk about the state of theming on Linux ;)

Or perhpas I'm the only one with Motif widget set based programs, Qt applications,
Gtk applications, and probably others...

Someone suggested Prima, and I'm really impressed with it. Compiled with no errors, the
examples work, the interface is clean (very important) and it does transparent windows/shapes!

wx isn't out of the running yet, nor is Gtk. I've been busy filing bug reports and if I
find that my platform suddenly starts working I'll be really impressed. 

Right now, it is between Win32::GDI, Prima, Tk, wxWindows (if I can make it go),
and Gtk (same). Re: Win32::GDI, I'm trying to hack the Cygwin port of the
libwin32 module (Win32::*) to work on Linux/BSD and link against winelib =)
That's kind of a neat hack if it goes but I don't know if it is really that pragmatic. It
has the advantage of using the native API on the most common platform.


> > 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.
> I've run into the same issue here. Several of the sample programs flat 
> out don't 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. 
> Bob did a little checking into another toolkit.  The name escapes me 
> right now.

More information about the Phoenix-pm mailing list