tix vs. Pycard? for lightweight GUIs

Andy Todd andy47 at halfcooked.com
Tue Jan 15 07:38:48 CET 2002

steve at ferg.org (Stephen Ferg) wrote in news:b16e4ef7.0201141505.7b15bac5

> I'm looking for a quicker, easier way to make simple Python GUIs for
> quick-and-dirty apps.
> I've heard good stuff about PythonCard, and now I just heard about
> Tix.  Does anybody have experience with both of them, to compare them?
>  Or make recommendations or warnings about them?  Or have
> recommendations for some other package that supports the coding of
> lightweight GUIs?
> Thanks mucho in advance!


In answer to your question, it depends. The two projects you mention have 
slightly different aims and are at different levels of development. I'm 
closer to PythonCard than to Tix but I'll have a stab;

Tix - adds extra widgets and commands on top of TK, which is really 
native to TCL, not Python. It aims to make the library easier to use, 
richer and more pythonic. But its still Tcl/Tk ;-) In this family I'd 
also look at Tkinter (and Tkinter 3000), browse on over to 
http://www.pythonware.com/products/tkinter/index.htm for more 
information. From what I understand Tix is mature and useable today.

PythonCard. This project is still in prototype and aims to provide a 
framework and development tool to make building simple GUI applications a 
lot easier than in any current GUI toolkit for Python (this includes TK, 
wxPython, PyQt, etc). It is now firmly wedded to wxPython 
(http://www.wxpython.org/) and provides a more useable and user friendly 
way to build applications. I would categorise PythonCard as the VB to 
wxPython's MFC (he says, ducking to avoid the flames). The eventual aim 
of PythonCard is to make building a GUI application as simple as painting 
a screen in an IDE (or defining it in a simple text file) and writing as 
little code as possible to control the behaviour of the application. 

In conclusion, your best bet is to try both (and other tools like Glade, 
Boa constructor, wxDesigner, PyQt) and see which truly fits your 

Of course, a lot depends on your definition of a lightweight GUI. If you 
mean easy to develop, I'd go for PythonCard, if you mean easy on 
resources then I don't think any tool I've mentioned will help you out. 

Other things to consider are; platform independence (does it really 
matter to you?), available resources (you can buy books on Tcl/TK but 
there isn't such a beast for PythonCard - yet), and how the toolkit fits 
in with your experience (people who have used Delphi love Boa, people who 
have programmed in swing easily translate to TK). I'm sure I've missed 
plenty of other factors but I'm sure that oversight will be quickly 

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