Introduction and toolkit abstraction

Dave Cridland dave at
Wed Sep 1 12:06:05 EEST 2004

On Wed Sep  1 03:30:21 2004, Sean Middleditch wrote:
> To be honest, there already is a fairly popular cross-platform 
> toolkit
> that uses native widgets - wxWindows.  It supports GTK+ and, I 
> think,
> Qt.  (And if it doesn't, nothing stops that from changing.)  Why 
> aren't
> most major Linux apps written in wxWindows?  Of all the apps I've 
> ever
> used, only *one* was written in that toolkit.  I don't know why - 
> but
> maybe if you found the answer to that one you'd have more insight 
> into
> the problems of making an "official toolkit abstraction library."

I don't know why either. I really like wxWidgets, as it now has to be 
called thanks to the glories of Microsoft trademarks. Specifically, I 
like wxPython. It's seamless across UNIX, Windows, and (almost?) Mac. 
It'll handle a bunch of native toolkits, or be a toolkit in its own 

I think it's fantastic. I'm a big fan. It's GPL compatible, but a 
permissive license for the commercial apps (of which there are many, 
such as the AOL software). Sure it's not perfect, and the C++ is 
weird enough that I use the wxPython binding instead, but it works.

I don't know why, when I mention it in the pub, people screw up their 
faces - people whose views I generally respect.

FWIW, it doesn't handle Qt, primarily because it's designed to be 
cross-platform, and hence it seems to trip up on licensing clauses 
somehow - I've never quite figured out why. A Qt port was started 
before the licensing tripped it up and stalled it into oblivion, from 
what I've read in archives and places. Maybe this licensing issue has 
cleared up now.

Personally, I think that an application wishing to be multi-desktop 
could do much worse than use wxWidgets, and let the user decide which 
desktop and toolkit to actually integrate with.


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