Your Linux Data Center Experts

It's Thanksgiving and we get the day off, so of course I spent it with friends and family… And, you know, coding… One of the things I played around with today was various programming tools, still looking for the ultimate GUI builder system. Including looking at KDeveloper, QT-Designer, PythonCard, Quanta, and BlueFish.

PythonCard is a system I've been watching for a while. It's hard to tell how nice it's going to be for building GUIs, but it's Python based and looks interesting. There's a sample application for doing hotel reservations that's very pretty. It's very big as well though, the graphics looks to be a kilo-line.

Boa Constructor has a great name, but hasn't made much progress. It promises to be the Delphi for Python. Plus, they just released a new version. At 17 months between releases, it's going to be a while.

KDeveloper is a part of the KDE system, and mostly seems to be an “IDE” without any sort of GUI functionality. I guess it's nice enough, but no apparent “vi” emulation, and I am not really that interested in IDEs anyway.

WXGlade looks interesting. I've had luck with glade in the past, in general, and liked it. Fairly basic, but worked. The big problem I had was in the change from glade 1 to glade 2 my code all broke and I couldn't get it working again. Not sure if WXGlade helps that, or if glade has stabilized, but it might be worth a look.

QT Designer looks like it has a whole ton of support for widgets, but it didn't look like it could help with building a Python application.

Quanta is an HTML editor. I've been doing a fair bit of HTML work, with our web site and all. Quanta looks ok, but I looked at it after BlueFish, and I think BlueFish is much more customizable for my needs…

BlueFish is also an HTML editor, but the thing I noticed right away was that it was easily customizable. It has modes for dealing with tables and other common HTML fragments. However, it also has an ability to be customized. For example, JOTWeb with TAL has some kind of complicated syntax for input form fields. It will pop up a dialog and ask you to fill in field names and the like, then you can use those values in the HTML fragments that are inserted into your document.

Brining all of the above together, is XUL is implemented in Mozilla. Some other implementations (with varying degrees of compatibility are available). It's XML which allows you to design a dialog box, with JavaScript used for the logic behind it. For an example of what XUL can do, see this Amazon lookup program. Of course, this requires Mozilla or similar to view. The down side is that it's around a thousand lines of XML and 5,000 lines of JavaScript.

I'm pretty excited about XUL, but it's even worse as far as GUI builders available for it right now. An application you can run in a browser, that can talk back to the server could be useful. You don't need to deploy PythonCard, or WXGlade, on all the clients, etc. However, with 5k lines to deal with lookups at Amazon seems a bit steep.

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