gui toolkits: the real story? (Tkinter, PyGTK, etc.)

jim-on-linux inq1ltd at
Tue Oct 2 16:47:08 CEST 2007

On Monday 01 October 2007 21:04, bramble wrote:
> What is the backstory to why Python includes Tk bindings, as
> opposed to some other set of bindings?
> I've written a few little Tkinter-based apps, and it's nice and
> simple. I like it well enough. That said though, I keep feeling the
> gravitational pull toward GTK+. I've been meaning to get the whole
> glade+gtk+python thing happening with my own projects, as soon as
> time allows. Is there resistance in the upper Python echelons to
> GTK because of its LGPL licensing?
> Reading Alex's Nutshell book, right off the bat he comments that
> "The most popular Python GUI toolkit today is probably wxPython".
> But then he goes on for 45 pages on Tkinter... Seems like he wanted
> to write that chapter on wx instead...
> WxWidgets, the last time I looked at it, seemed awfully like MS
> Window's MFC. The licensing seemed vague at the time, and it looks
> like wx contains an extra layer of GUI library, so I didn't spend
> any real time on it. But, regardless, it seems to get good press
> among python folk (I think I remember ESR noting how it was his GUI
> toolkit of choice).
> PyQt has had that issue (IIRC) about needing to pay for it for
> commercial apps, so I can see how there might be resistance to it
> being considered the "standard Python GUI toolkit".
> So, it would seem to me that Tkinter *might* remain in Python
> proper, but that I probably wouldn't see much effort put into it.
> Well, the Python standard library docs tell a different story.
> There's stuff in there about Tix, ScrolledText, turtle, and then
> the "other GUI packages" doc page goes on about Python megawidgets
> (Tk-based) and Tkinter3000 Widget Construction Kit (WCK). Wow.
> Looks like Tkinter is still having serious support -- even though
> in that same doc at the bottom notes, "PyGTK, PyQt, and wxPython,
> all have a modern look and feel and far more widgets and better
> documentation than Tkinter."
> So, that leaves me wondering, why is Tkinter still getting so much
> focus in the Python standard library?
> Maybe a better question is, how has Tk managed to keep beating up
> the newer, more modern, more featureful, better documented toolkits
> encroaching on his territory? What's Tk's secret weapon?

Tkinter's secret weapon are pgmrs like me that would rather put 
pressure on the Tk people to improve what already is working.  Update 
and improve Tk, change the look and feel of it, add features.  Let me 
spend my time programming not trying to make existing programs 
compatible with the unknown. (Some change to who knows what.)   

On the other hand, questions like yours are exactly what keeps the 
pressure on the Tkinter people to upgrade.  I think they got the 
message with the recent announcement of some long awaited changes. 


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