PyGUI as a standard GUI API for Python?

lkcl luke.leighton at
Tue Oct 14 13:45:41 CEST 2008

> Although using browser technologies for desktop applications is
> interesting (and not new by any means), there are a few things with
> regard to layouts which are very difficult with Web technologies (and
> aren't getting any easier, either) but which are almost trivial with
> classic graphical user interface toolkits, and of course there are
> cases where the roles are reversed.

 if it wasn't for luis pamirez's brilliant work, porting pygtk to
pyjamas, i would be absolutely agreeing with you, 100%.

see this:

luis has demonstrated that it's possible to have your cake and eat it.

effectively - incredibly - he's ported pygtk ... to the browser!

so your python pygtk application gets compiled, along with his
reimplementation of, etc., into javascript (using the
pyjamas compiler) and - unmodified - your pygtk app gets to run in
every major web browser.

that's just... stunning.

regarding what you say about web technologies being more difficult to
do layouts than traditional desktop apps - i'm really sorry to say
that, from my experience with using the pyjamas widget set API, i
couldn't agree less.

HOWEVER - if this were pure HTML and CSS, i would utterly, utterly be
agreeing with you - 100%.   the first paragraph of my talk for ukuug
2009 says it best:

it was _such_ an abortion trying to do a simple centred layout.  and
it's for exactly this reason that GWT was created (and then pyjamas
ported from GWT).

when you're using javascript to manipulate the DOM model (or, in the
case of pyjamas-desktop, manipulating the DOM model directly) then
it's an _entirely_ different matter.  then, when you put "standard"-
like widgets which include layout manager on top of _that_, which have
identical functions and functionality to those of Desktop Widgets...

... the distinction between "web" and "desktop" suddenly becomes...
moot. especially in the context of luiz's work.

there isn't a _single_ thing that pyjamas can't do that pygtk2,
wxWidgets or pyqt4 can do.  there are _lots_ of things that pyjamas
can do that pygtk2, wxWidgets and pyqt4 can't do (as they stand.
without extra work and/or extensions e.g. derivative customised
classes based on QAbstractLayout)

ok - i'm exaggerating a little :) you can't access standard python
modules from pyjamas apps in a web browser, because javascript is a
restricted execution environment, so you have to make do (and you can
make do _extremely_ well with what's available) with the provided
implementation of builtins.  so, if you don't mind using
XMLHTTPRequest to communicate with the rest of the world - even if
it's on http loopback - _then_ you're ok :)  and yes, XMLHTTPRequest
is supported in pyjamas-desktop (it has to be).

also, writing new layouts and new widgets, which  _happen_ to operate
underneath on the DOM model of a browser (or a browser-kit-library
such as PyKDE or PyWebKitGTK) is trivial.  _really_ trivial.  i've
outlined how to write your own widget, here:
and it's interesting to compare that to writing one for pygtk (there's
a "stars" example which is easy to find "python gtk tutorial" i think
it's hit number 3).

the only thing i _can_ say, for definite, is that because pyjamas is
missing an equivalent of glade, the UI-generator, and those GUI-based
UI editors / designers, it _is_ at the moment a bit more... hard work
doing the UI design manually, if you're used to using a GUI tool to
design your UI.

but i'm sure that will change.


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