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Building a GUI Toolkit

 
 
Tim Diels
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      04-18-2010
Hi

I was thinking of writing a GUI toolkit from scratch using a basic '2D
library'. I have already come across the Widget Construction Kit.

My main question is: Could I build a GUI toolkit of reasonable
performance with the Widget Construction Kit, would it still feel more
or less lightweight? By reasonable I mean that the user wouldn't think
of the interface as being slow or unresponsive.

I've also thought of using pyglet to build widgets with, but this would
seem to be overkill. As a side question: by using opengl, the work would
be delegated to the GPU rather than the CPU; is this always a good
thing, or does it have downsides as well (performance, power usage, ...)?

Are there any other libraries that may be of interest to me?

Thanks in advance
 
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Martin P. Hellwig
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      04-18-2010
On 04/18/10 12:49, Tim Diels wrote:
> Hi
>
> I was thinking of writing a GUI toolkit from scratch using a basic '2D
> library'. I have already come across the Widget Construction Kit.
>
> My main question is: Could I build a GUI toolkit of reasonable
> performance with the Widget Construction Kit, would it still feel more
> or less lightweight? By reasonable I mean that the user wouldn't think
> of the interface as being slow or unresponsive.
>
> I've also thought of using pyglet to build widgets with, but this would
> seem to be overkill. As a side question: by using opengl, the work would
> be delegated to the GPU rather than the CPU; is this always a good
> thing, or does it have downsides as well (performance, power usage, ...)?
>
> Are there any other libraries that may be of interest to me?
>
> Thanks in advance


It probably depends on how low level you want to go, I have pondered
about the possibility myself to have an all python(ic) gui toolkit,
capable of writing a (x11) windowing manager itself with.
But I decided that using tkinter and just live with its rough corners is
more bang for the buck for me than to reimplement tkinter badly.

However as a thought exercise I did spend some energy on it and I had
the following ideas.
- Need to have direct access to at least x11, cocoa and win32gui;
or even lower than that (if possible/reasonable).
- Only need to abstract enough so I can display a borderless window full
screen or on any position/size.
- Need to provide a wrapper for the input devices too, e.g.: keyboard,
mouse, joystick, touchscreen, etc.
- Optionally graphical acceleration (OpenGL, DirectX, SDL?)
- It would be good that fonts, windows, decoration and icons are all SVG
so that all these items can scale independently.

I also had some more questions:
- How about providing an interface for video playback?
- How about audio?
- How about printing?
- How about multiple displays?
- How about odd sized displays (round, triangle, etc)?
- How to handle 'legacy' gui applications?
- Need to remain completely BSD licensed so that it is possible that it
might some day be incorporated in the standard distribution.

So I gave up on it as it seem to me much to much work for not enough
ROI, but I still would welcome anyone giving it a shot

--
mph

 
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Lie Ryan
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Posts: n/a
 
      04-20-2010
On 04/19/10 03:06, Martin P. Hellwig wrote:
> On 04/18/10 12:49, Tim Diels wrote:
>> Hi
>>
>> I was thinking of writing a GUI toolkit from scratch using a basic '2D
>> library'. I have already come across the Widget Construction Kit.
>>
>> My main question is: Could I build a GUI toolkit of reasonable
>> performance with the Widget Construction Kit, would it still feel more
>> or less lightweight? By reasonable I mean that the user wouldn't think
>> of the interface as being slow or unresponsive.
>>
>> I've also thought of using pyglet to build widgets with, but this would
>> seem to be overkill. As a side question: by using opengl, the work would
>> be delegated to the GPU rather than the CPU; is this always a good
>> thing, or does it have downsides as well (performance, power usage, ...)?
>>
>> Are there any other libraries that may be of interest to me?
>>
>> Thanks in advance

>
> It probably depends on how low level you want to go, I have pondered
> about the possibility myself to have an all python(ic) gui toolkit,
> capable of writing a (x11) windowing manager itself with.
> But I decided that using tkinter and just live with its rough corners is
> more bang for the buck for me than to reimplement tkinter badly.
>


Rather than writing a windowing toolkit from the low-level, I would
rather like to see some wrapper for existing windowing toolkit which
uses more pythonic idioms.

Most popular python GUI toolkit currently in use are only a simple thin
wrapper over the library they're wrapping and exposes a lot of the
design considerations of the language that the toolkit was originally
written in. Yes, even Tkinter that comes with the standard lib is a hack
on top of python and looks much more Tcl-ish than pythonic.

I have always had the idea of writing a windowing toolkit wrapper that
creatively uses python features for maximum expressiveness (e.g.
decorator, with-statement, for-each), but never got the time to write
anything like that.
 
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Martin P. Hellwig
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Posts: n/a
 
      04-20-2010
On 04/20/10 19:53, Lie Ryan wrote:
<cut>
>
> Rather than writing a windowing toolkit from the low-level, I would
> rather like to see some wrapper for existing windowing toolkit which
> uses more pythonic idioms.
>
> Most popular python GUI toolkit currently in use are only a simple thin
> wrapper over the library they're wrapping and exposes a lot of the
> design considerations of the language that the toolkit was originally
> written in. Yes, even Tkinter that comes with the standard lib is a hack
> on top of python and looks much more Tcl-ish than pythonic.
>
> I have always had the idea of writing a windowing toolkit wrapper that
> creatively uses python features for maximum expressiveness (e.g.
> decorator, with-statement, for-each), but never got the time to write
> anything like that.


Well I suppose you could piggyback on tk for that and rewrapping tkinter
to be more pythonic is probably more doable than rewriting it from scratch.

--
mph
 
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Martin P. Hellwig
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Posts: n/a
 
      04-20-2010
On 04/20/10 21:15, Martin P. Hellwig wrote:
> On 04/20/10 19:53, Lie Ryan wrote:
> <cut>
>>
>> Rather than writing a windowing toolkit from the low-level, I would
>> rather like to see some wrapper for existing windowing toolkit which
>> uses more pythonic idioms.
>>
>> Most popular python GUI toolkit currently in use are only a simple thin
>> wrapper over the library they're wrapping and exposes a lot of the
>> design considerations of the language that the toolkit was originally
>> written in. Yes, even Tkinter that comes with the standard lib is a hack
>> on top of python and looks much more Tcl-ish than pythonic.
>>
>> I have always had the idea of writing a windowing toolkit wrapper that
>> creatively uses python features for maximum expressiveness (e.g.
>> decorator, with-statement, for-each), but never got the time to write
>> anything like that.

>
> Well I suppose you could piggyback on tk for that and rewrapping tkinter
> to be more pythonic is probably more doable than rewriting it from scratch.
>


On second thought, if you would like borderless windows (for example to
implement all widgets from scratch), you run into troubles, as
overrideredirect also affects the keyboard focus, so you can't use the
keyboard in any widget created. And also it would be ice to still have
an iconify option.

--
mph
 
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Дамјан Георгиевски
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Posts: n/a
 
      04-21-2010
> Rather than writing a windowing toolkit from the low-level, I would
> rather like to see some wrapper for existing windowing toolkit which
> uses more pythonic idioms.


Isn't PyGUI exactly that?
http://www.cosc.canterbury.ac.nz/greg.ewing/python_gui/


--
дамјан ((( http://damjan.softver.org.mk/ )))

Spammers scratch here with a diamond to find my address:
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Tim Diels
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      04-22-2010
On 20/04/2010 20:53, Lie Ryan wrote:
> On 04/19/10 03:06, Martin P. Hellwig wrote:
>> On 04/18/10 12:49, Tim Diels wrote:
>>> Hi
>>>
>>> I was thinking of writing a GUI toolkit from scratch using a basic '2D
>>> library'. I have already come across the Widget Construction Kit.
>>>
>>> My main question is: Could I build a GUI toolkit of reasonable
>>> performance with the Widget Construction Kit, would it still feel more
>>> or less lightweight? By reasonable I mean that the user wouldn't think
>>> of the interface as being slow or unresponsive.
>>>
>>> I've also thought of using pyglet to build widgets with, but this would
>>> seem to be overkill. As a side question: by using opengl, the work would
>>> be delegated to the GPU rather than the CPU; is this always a good
>>> thing, or does it have downsides as well (performance, power usage, ...)?
>>>
>>> Are there any other libraries that may be of interest to me?
>>>
>>> Thanks in advance

>>
>> It probably depends on how low level you want to go, I have pondered
>> about the possibility myself to have an all python(ic) gui toolkit,
>> capable of writing a (x11) windowing manager itself with.
>> But I decided that using tkinter and just live with its rough corners is
>> more bang for the buck for me than to reimplement tkinter badly.
>>

>
> Rather than writing a windowing toolkit from the low-level, I would
> rather like to see some wrapper for existing windowing toolkit which
> uses more pythonic idioms.
>
> Most popular python GUI toolkit currently in use are only a simple thin
> wrapper over the library they're wrapping and exposes a lot of the
> design considerations of the language that the toolkit was originally
> written in. Yes, even Tkinter that comes with the standard lib is a hack
> on top of python and looks much more Tcl-ish than pythonic.
>
> I have always had the idea of writing a windowing toolkit wrapper that
> creatively uses python features for maximum expressiveness (e.g.
> decorator, with-statement, for-each), but never got the time to write
> anything like that.


When (or if) I'd finish this low-level gui toolkit, I'd incorporate it
into my original plans, which were: writing a library that provides the
programmer with 1 API, yet can display the GUI in a terminal (curses),
on the desktop(X/win32/...) or in your web browser (DHTML). Terminal
support would likely be very limited though.

I think I'll go ahead and try to write a wrapper around pyglet and start
writing some basic widgets.
 
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