Python as alternative to Visual Basic

Carlos Ribeiro carribeiro at
Mon Sep 20 22:07:37 CEST 2004

On Mon, 20 Sep 2004 09:47:04 -0700, Aaron Ginn <aaron.ginn at> wrote:
> The software package I'm developing will make calls to Excel and Access
> and requires a very usable GUI for users who are not particularly
> computer literate.  My first question is: what is the best choice for a
> GUI toolkit on Windows?  I've used Tkinter for UNIX to some degree of
> success, but I'm not sure this is the best choice for Windows.  Second,
> if I choose to make the application cross-platform (Windows and Mac OS X
> in particular), what would be the best choice for a cross-platform GUI
> toolkit?  I was thinking of looking at PyQt.  Is there a better option?

I'm in a similar position, and I've evaluated a lot of tools over the
past weeks. As far as connecting your app to Excel and Access, it's a
snap -- either using COM, or using any of the higher level libraries
available. In fact, using Python to use COM and OLE automation stuff
is so easy that one wonders at why did Microsoft not support it from
the beginning :-)

The GUI is another matter. There are good libraries, such as Qt and
wxPython. Most people will point you to wxPython because its cross
platform, and also because of licensing issues. But, as far as IDEs
are concerned, the scenario is not that good. For simple applications,
PythonCard is a good starting point. Boa Constructor is a promising
tool, and is very close to commercial IDEs in a lot of respects. In my
particular case, I found it a little slow (my machine is showing its
age now), and lacking a few features that I wanted -- but it might
suit your needs better than mine. You can also take a look at
BlackAdder (for Qt), but that's commercial. Besides that, you have to
use a non-integrated GUI design tool such as wxGlade or wxDesigner.

There is a promising approach to GUI building in the form of simple,
more pythonic, APIs that are intended to hide the complexity of the
real GUI toolkits (wxPython, for example). From the top of my mind, I
can point you to AnyGUI, PyGUI, and WAX. The problem is that these
tools are either abandoned or not mature enough. They were discussed
here over the past few days, take a look at recent archived posts to
check it out.

AnyGUI --
PyGUI --
Wax --

Carlos Ribeiro
Consultoria em Projetos
mail: carribeiro at
mail: carribeiro at

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