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#1 cfoley  Icon User is offline

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Do you know a good language for writing GUIs?

Posted 17 September 2012 - 08:30 AM

Hi everyone,

I'm looking for a recommendation for a programming language, specifically one that is good for writing GUIs. I do most of my development in Java so most of my GUIs are done in swing. You can make Swing sing and dance and do some really cool stuff but it's time-consuming, mind-numbing work. A lot of my project ideas revolve around visualisations and user interaction so I'm looking for an alternative to Swing. I have a list below of features I think are important and another of features that would be nice to have. I realise that a language that is great for user interfaces might not be the best for some of the background work. It would be really cool of there is something that can be easily hooked up to other technologies so I can use another language for the back end.

Important

  • Easily create complex resizable layouts
  • Diverse selection of standard widgets
  • Customisable Displays (e.g. list and table cell renderers)
  • Powerful 2D graphics
  • Free (or possibly cheap)
  • Interoperable with other languages
  • Can make desktop apps


Some of these are me not wanting to lose the features I like in Swing (widgets, customisable displays, 2D graphics, free) but the really important one is the ease of making layouts. Java's Layout managers tend to be overly simple and a lot of nesting has to be done to achieve good results. At the other extreme, setting pixel coordinates for each item is too fiddly. Perhaps HTML hits the sweet spot with sensible default rules for laying out elements, customisable with style sheets, and pixel placement available if necessary. I'm open to suggestion here.


Nice To Have

  • Optional D&D form designer (sometimes all you really need is a window with some buttons in it)
  • 3D graphics
  • Native look and feel
  • Cross platform
  • Web applications
  • Interoperable with Java


Ideally, my language would be all of the above, but I would be willing to drop any or all of the nice-to-haves for the sake of getting all the importants.


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Replies To: Do you know a good language for writing GUIs?

#2 tlhIn`toq  Icon User is offline

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Re: Do you know a good language for writing GUIs?

Posted 17 September 2012 - 08:37 AM

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Sounds a lot like Windows Presentation Foundation.
The GUI's are done in XAML - as you said HTML hints that direction.
It has very strong 3d features.
Drag n drop but source code adjustments.
Free
Available to all the .NET langugages
Supportable across platforms by using mono
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#3 xclite  Icon User is online

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Re: Do you know a good language for writing GUIs?

Posted 17 September 2012 - 10:50 AM

I know it's not quite what you asked for, but I found MiGLayout to be useful for making form GUIs and such less painful in Swing. I'd still try to get out of Swing if I did any real GUI work, though.
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#4 cfoley  Icon User is offline

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Re: Do you know a good language for writing GUIs?

Posted 18 September 2012 - 03:22 AM

Thanks for the suggestions. WPF looks pretty impressive. It looks like it fits all my criteria.

I think I've been recommended MiGLayout before but never really acted on it. Thanks for the reminder. It could go some way to making Swing easier to work with. Another biggie will be lambdas in Java 8.

Are there any more suggestions, maybe something beyond the .NET world?
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#5 GWatt  Icon User is offline

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Re: Do you know a good language for writing GUIs?

Posted 18 September 2012 - 08:08 PM

Two C++ frameworks I can think of are Qt and wxWidgets.

I really like Qt and they have a pretty good GUI designer. The biggest downside is that it's sort of a pain on Windows.
I don't have much experience with wxWidgets other than it being the framework used to create codeblocks.
For plain C there's always gtk or WinAPI.
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#6 ishkabible  Icon User is offline

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Re: Do you know a good language for writing GUIs?

Posted 18 September 2012 - 09:17 PM

Qt, it's amazing.
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#7 darek9576  Icon User is offline

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Re: Do you know a good language for writing GUIs?

Posted 21 September 2012 - 12:41 PM

JavaFX. I heard it will be included in Java 9 so jump on it.
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