Everything good about Python except GUI IDE?

Michael Torrie torriem at gmail.com
Sun Feb 28 20:24:29 EST 2016

On 02/27/2016 11:13 AM, wrong.address.1 at gmail.com wrote:
> On Saturday, 27 February 2016 18:08:36 UTC+2, Dietmar Schwertberger
>> As of today, there's no Python GUI builder comparable to VB 6.

> Thanks for stating this clearly. Everyone here has been trying to
> show me various ways to do the kind of things I will want to, but
> nobody clearly admits the limitations I will have to accept if I
> start with Python.

Every language and environment has limitations and tradeoffs, including
the venerable VB6 model.  In my opinion, no one including Microsoft has
ever duplicated the functionality of VB6.

> I am starting to wonder if VB.net would be a better solution for the
> time being. I have learnt enough VB.net to manage my work but it is
> bloated and Microsoft dependent.

Maybe you should post a small VB6 project on github (something that
isn't very secret and could be licensed in an open way perhaps) and then
see if we can come together here on the forum to convert it to Python
using one of the various GUI toolkits.  Could be a fun challenge and
would be instructive to you.

>> There are some like QtDesigner or wxGlade, but they either don't 
>> generate Python code directly or they can only be used if you know
>> the underlying toolkit good enough to create the GUI yourself. You
>> may try out some, but I can almost guarantee you that you will come
>> to the same result. If you want a GUI, create it yourself using
>> either wxPython or PyQt.
> I will check it. I got the impression that you can create a GUI but
> that has to be converted to Python, and then you need a wrapper to
> put these forms in, and then they can be compiled or converted to
> *.exe with py2exe. Not a good way for development/debugging.

You are laboring under some misconceptions in general I think.  All the
GUI designers talked about here work with XML definition files (each has
its own flavor) and then either generate Python code from it, or you can
load the XML file at runtime and the GUI is created under the hood from
that (similar to .nib files on OS X).  Compiling to .exe is an entirely
different matter.  If you think Python will help you easily create .exes
you might be barking up the wrong tree.

Python is an interpreted language (soon to be JIT'ed with PyPy).  It's
not a compiler.  You can edit and run the python files directly for
debugging.  You can use py2exe to create a final executable if you want,
but this is not compiling and it won't keep your code secret.

> In the 1980s everyone was happy with inputs from the command line on
> a line editor, but today people expect GUIs with graphics and often
> even animations.

Qt does this very well with less and less programming all the time.
QtQuick and QML can define pretty nice transitions and animations that
can then be combined with Python programming.

But there's more than one way to do things.  I use a program called
Glade3 for doing GTK+ apps in Python (I only use Linux).  In PyQt I use
the amazing QtDesigner.

> It is surprising that a language which seems very popular does not
> have GUI development infrastructure in place these many years after
> it got into common use.

Well it's just that the infrastructure is very different than you're
used to.  There are lots of different choices.  I think it turns out
that a VB6-style IDE just has never been necessarily for the vast
majority of Python programmers.  And there are very fancy, complicated
GUI apps written in Python.  For example, the calibre ebook management
program is a nice GUI with animations like coverflow, and it's entirely
in Python and PyQt. I'm sure the author uses Qt Designer to do GUI layout.

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