What GUI toolkit looks the best?

Brian Kelley bkelley at wi.mit.edu
Thu Dec 11 14:23:32 CET 2003


Paul Rubin wrote:

> I've been approached about writing a Windows app which will need a
> really professional looking GUI.  Forget TKinter, this has to actually
> look good (real artists will be available to get the visual stuff
> right).  Assuming I write in Python, what's the best toolkit to use?
> Some cost in implementation pain is tolerable if the finished
> interface looks better as a result.  It would be nice if the toolkit
> runs on multiple platforms rather than being Windows-only.

Why forget Tkinter?  I've seen Tkinter applications that look incredibly 
fabulous.  A lot depends on what you are trying to do.  If you are 
making a graphics-heavy application then Tkinter's canvas is pretty 
sweet.  I also think IDLE looks pretty good.

> I'm thinking Glade.  Is that reasonable?  I don't know squat about
> Windows and haven't done much fancy GUI programming since the early X
> days.

Glade isn't a GUI, it is a GUI builder that uses GTK.  In my experience, 
GTK doesn't look quite right on windows boxes, especially the menus.  Of 
course I have the same basic view of Qt and Swing so know you know my 
biases.

I tend to use Tkinter for canvas heavy applications and wxPython for 
other stuff.

As for application building, here are my rankings
1 Emacs :)
2 Glade with libglade and Mitch Chapman's python libglade wrapper
3 BlackAdder with Qt
4 Boa-constructor (largish learning curve here I think)
5 wxGlade (layout isn't quite right)

So let me ask what kind of application are you building?

The bottom line is that I have seen great looking and really poor 
looking apps in all of these  gui's.

Here is my humble opinions in a nutshell (missing a lot here):  wxPython 
has a grid control to die for and many, many classes, good printer 
support and looks like a native GTK app on Linux and a native app on 
windows and macintosh.  Qt is better for developing - it has a better 
class structure and I tend not to have to look up docs as often and can 
look really, really nice.  Tkinter has a killer canvas and great 
postscript output.  GTK is really quite fast.

but don't take my word for this, why don't you see what you like the best?

http://www.wxpython.org/
http://www.gtk.org/
http://www.scriptics.com/
http://www.trolltech.com/

Speaking of Qt, does anyone want to make a python binding to jakasha?
http://www.jahshaka.com/

Brian





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