Future Python Gui?

Paul Boddie paul at boddie.org.uk
Wed Apr 18 18:39:16 EDT 2007

bcwhite at pobox.com wrote:
> If Python doesn't declare an official Gui system, then it'll be
> fragmented, inconsistent, and unsupportable.

I don't agree. GUI frameworks are somewhat like Web frameworks, object-
relational mappers, and all the other things that work in different
ways, work better on various systems, appeal to different tastes and
so on. There are a number of cross-platform GUI frameworks which claim
some kind of native look and feel on every platform, but declaring one
the winner is not going to convince the satisfied users of the others
of its superiority. Meanwhile, some people don't care about more than
one platform and will quite happily target their chosen platform
intentionally, and it's worth remembering that anyone developing for,
say, a Free desktop environment will treat such an environment as the
means to provide "worthwhile" portability - targeting the Windows API,
for example, becomes an irrelevance.

There are a few technologies with an "official" GUI framework or APIs,
with Java being one of the more notorious at delivering either a
fairly weak set of features performing inconsistently across platforms
(AWT) or a more ambitious set of features wrapped up in a baroque
architecture, performing poorly and still managing to look alien on
most platforms (Swing). And before anyone mentions Delphi/Kylix, a
recent experience trying out a Kylix-based application on a Red Hat
system provided enough of an explanation as to why Borland dropped
that particular product.

As I've said often enough on the topic of Web frameworks, picking
winners gives only a temporary victory to those who want to avoid
making decisions. It's better to provide people with a means of making
an informed choice, and it should be realised that people will
approach this choice from rather different angles. It isn't always
going to be, "I want to write a Python application - what GUI should I
use?" Instead, it may be, "I want to write a KDE application - can I
do so in Python and what are my options?" Pretending that the answer
is always the same will frequently drive people to other technologies,
not attract them to a technology selling a vision that turns out to be
a mirage.


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