Python GUIs: Abandoning TkInter and welcoming wxPython?

Andrew Cooke andrew at
Sun Jun 27 10:31:56 CEST 1999

Tk isn't the standard GUI for Python - it's the standard GUI.  It's
been around for aeons and I, for one, would be a tad annoyed if I
had to learn a new GUI each time I learnt a new language.

There seem to be two problems with it:

1. Speed.  For most applications, is this an issue?  Python is, above
all, a scripting language.  Speed is not important.  What you can do -
and do fairly simply with Tk, once you know it, is build a GUI front-
end to whatever programs you are tying together.  The text widget, for
example, is amazingly flexible with very little code.

2. Widgets.  Tk certainly doesn't have a modern set of widgets.  There
are extensions, however.  And with Idle, it looks as though the range
included in standard Python is increasing (does anyone complain Idle
is slow?!)

If you are programming games or graphics-intensive code then sure, use
another (C-based) GUI - Python is designed to make this easy, just
as you can drop into C if non-graphics code is CPU intensive.

For others, I suspect the lack of good docs for Tk is a more serious
problem.  There is a pretty steep learning curve involved if you're
meeting Tk for the first time (and if you do know it, finding the
right way to express it in Python can still mean reading the Tkinter

I admit - I haven't used the alternatives (like the vast majority of
people who have been using computers for some time, I suspect - we
were brought up on Tk).  But I have read all this thread, and when
people start saying that wxWindows is better for "simple" graphics I
start worrying...


In article
<52B9C15E4136A939.DC364288A600C018.AB3BFEAACFF2E162 at>,
  mikael at (Mikael Lyngvig) wrote:
> Python v1.5 adopted TkInter as its standard GUI framework, even to the
> extent of including TkInter in the (Intel/Windows) installation
> package.  Unfortunately, TkInter appears to run sluggish [1] on all
> the Intel/Windows computers I've evaluated it on (which includes
> several Pentium II 400+ computers).
> I'd like some discussion on whether or not it is a good idea to
> abandon TkInter, before it gets too widely used, and instead adopt
> wxPython as the primary GUI framework for Python.

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