List of widget toolkits
||This article may require cleanup to meet Wikipedia's quality standards. (January 2012)|
Low-level widget toolkits
Integrated in the operating system
- Mac OS X uses Cocoa. Mac OS9 and Mac OS X use Carbon for 32-bit applications.
- The Windows API used in Microsoft Windows. Microsoft had the graphics functions integrated in the kernel until 2006
As a separate layer on top of the operating system
- The X Window System contains primitive building blocks, called Xt or "Intrinsics", but they are used only by Motif and Xaw. Most other toolkits, such as GTK+ or Qt, bypass them and use Xlib.
- The Amiga OS Intuition was formerly present in the Amiga Kickstart ROM and integrated itself with a medium-high level widget library which invoked the Workbench Amiga native GUI. Since Amiga OS 2.0, Intuition.library became disk based and object oriented. Also Workbench.library and Icon.library became disk based, and could be replaced with similar third-party solutions.
- Since 2005, Microsoft has taken the graphics system out of Windows' kernel.
High-level widget toolkits
|Toolkit name||Windows||Mac OS X||Unix-like||Programming language||License|
|OWL (superseded by VCL)||Yes||No||No||C++ (Borland C++)||Proprietary|
|VCL (supersedes OWL)||Yes||No||No||Object Pascal (Delphi)||Proprietary|
|WTL||Yes||No||No||C++||Microsoft Public License|
|LCL||Yes||Yes||Yes||Object Pascal (Free Pascal)||LGPL|
|Pivot (WTK)||cross-platform||Java||Apache License|
|NTK||With third-party||With third-party||Yes||C++||LGPL|
- BOOPSI (Basic Object Oriented Programming System for Intuition) was introduced with OS 2.0 and enhanced Intuition with a system of classes in which every class represents a single widget or describes an interface event. This led to an evolution in which third-party developers each realised their own personal systems of classes.
- MUI: object-oriented GUI toolkit and the official toolkit for MorphOS.
- Zune (GUI toolkit) is an open source clone of MUI and the official toolkit for AROS.
- Cocoa - used in Mac OS X (see also Aqua).
- MacApp Macintosh framework.
- MacZoop Macintosh C++ framework.
- PowerPlant Macintosh framework.
- The Microsoft Foundation Classes (MFC), a C++ wrapper around the Windows API.
- The Windows Template Library (WTL), a template-based extension to ATL and a replacement of MFC
- SmartWin++, an MFC/WTL replacement using templates based on STL and Boost
- The Object Windows Library, Borland's alternative to MFC.
- The Visual Component Library (VCL) is Borland's toolkit used in its C++ Builder and Delphi products.
- Windows Forms is .NET's set of classes that handle GUI controls. In the cross-platform Mono implementation, it is an independent toolkit, implemented entirely in managed code (not wrapping the Windows API, which doesn't exist on other platforms).
- The Windows Presentation Foundation is the graphical subsystem of the .NET Framework 3.0. User interfaces can be created in WPF using any of the CLR languages (e.g. C#) or with the XML-based language XAML. Microsoft Expression Blend is a visual GUI builder for WPF.
Note that the X Window System was originally primarily for Unix-like operating systems, but it now runs on Microsoft Windows as well using, for example, Cygwin, so some or all of these toolkits can also be used under Windows.
- InterViews, a toolkit written in C++.
- Lesstif, an open source (LGPL) version of Motif.
- Motif used in the Common Desktop Environment.
- Xaw, the Project Athena widget set for the X Window System.
- Elementary, open source (LGPL), a part of the Enlightenment Foundation Libraries, a fast, stable, and scalable library that can be used to create both rich and fast applications that can be used on anything from every day desktop computers to small PDA's and set-top boxes.
- GTK+, open source (LGPL), primarily for the X Window System, ported to and emulated under other platforms; used in the GNOME, Rox, LXDE and Xfce desktop environments. The Windows port has support for native widgets.
- IUP, open source (MIT), a minimalist GUI toolkit in ANSI C for Windows, UNIX and Linux.
- Tk, a widget set accessed from Tcl and other high-level script languages (interfaced in Python as Tkinter).
- XForms, the Forms Library for X
- XVT, Extensible Virtual Toolkit
- CEGUI, open source (MIT License), configurable GUI designed for game development.
- FLTK, open source (LGPL), cross-platform toolkit designed to be small and fast.
- FOX toolkit, open source (LGPL), cross-platform toolkit.
- GLUI, a very small toolkit written with the GLUT library.
- gtkmm, C++ version of GTK+
- Juce provides GUI and widget set with the same look and feel in Microsoft Windows, X Window Systems, Mac OS X and Android. Rendering can be based on OpenGL.
- Qt, open source (GPL, LGPL) available under Unix and Linux (with X Window), MS Windows, Mac OS X, embedded Linux, Windows CE systems and Symbian S60; also available in commercial versions under these platforms; used in KDE.
- TnFOX, open source (LGPL), a portability toolkit.
- Ultimate++ is a free Win32/X11 application framework bundled with an IDE (BSD license)
- The Visual Component Framework (VCF) is an open source (BSD license) C++ framework project.
- wxWidgets (formerly wxWindows), open source (relaxed LGPL), abstracts toolkits across several platforms for C++, Python, Perl, Ruby and Haskell.
- YAAF, open source (YAAF Open Source License), designed to facilitate creating cross-platform applications.
- Zinc Application Framework, cross-platform widget toolkit.
- GLUI (LGPL) is a GLUT-based C++ user interface library which provides controls such as buttons, checkboxes, radio buttons, and spinners to OpenGL applications.
- Clutter (LGPL) (in C) is an open source software library for creating fast, visually rich and animated graphical user interfaces.
- NUI (GPL) (C++) is based on 3D rendered dynamic layouts. Build your visual interface as a composition of widgets and behaviors.
- Adobe Flash allows creating widgets running in most web browsers and in several mobile phones.
- Adobe Flex provides high-level widgets for building web user interfaces. Flash widgets can be used in Flex.
- Flash and Flex widgets will run without a web browser in the Adobe AIR runtime environment.
- The free software reimplementation of Flash, GNU Gnash, which is under development, can also run Flash widgets outside of a browser.
- Independent software vendors propose to embed the flash application into an executable: MDM Zinc, mProjector and more. Those solutions are cross-platform (depending on the vendors solution).
- GladeXML with GTK+
- XAML with Silverlight or Moonlight
- XML User Interface A Java and XML toolkit for building rich Internet applications.
- AJAX Calendar.NET developer control
- Backbase Enterprise Ajax Framework
- Dojo Toolkit
- Sencha (formerly Ext JS)
- jQuery UI
- TIBCO General Interface, is a rich Ajax GUI components that include vector charts and is now also available through an open source BSD license.
- Ample SDK
- Cooee - discontinued
- Sencha (formerly Ext JS)
- Qooxdoo Could be understood as Qt for the Web
- Swing (Java)
- Google Web Toolkit
- FBML －Facebook Markup Language
- Web Application Markup Language
- YUI (Yahoo! User Interface Library)
- Sencha (formerly Ext JS)
- The Abstract Window Toolkit (AWT) is Sun Microsystems' original widget toolkit for Java applications. It typically uses another toolkit on each platform on which it runs.
- Swing is a richer widget toolkit supported since J2SE 1.2 as a replacement for AWT widgets. Swing is a lightweight toolkit, meaning it does not rely on native widgets.
- Apache Pivot is an open-source platform for building rich web applications in Java or any JVM-compatible language, and relies on the WTK widget toolkit.
- The Standard Widget Toolkit (SWT) is a native widget toolkit for Java that was developed as part of the Eclipse project. SWT uses a standard toolkit for the running platform (such as the Windows API or GTK+) underneath.
- Qt Jambi, the official Java binding to Qt from Trolltech. The commercial support and development has stopped
Based on Object Pascal
- IP Pascal uses a graphics library built on top of standard language constructs. Also unusual for being a procedural toolkit that is cross-platform (no callbacks or other tricks), and is completely upward compatible with standard serial input and output paradigms. Completely standard programs with serial output can be run and extended with graphical constructs.
- Lazarus LCL (for Pascal, Object Pascal and Delphi programming language via Free Pascal compiler), a class library wrapping GTK+ 1.2, Gtk+ 2.x and the Windows API (Carbon, Windows CE and Qt4 support are all in development).
- fpGUI is created with the Free Pascal compiler. It doesn't rely on any large 3rdParty libraries and currently runs on Linux, Windows and Windows CE. A Carbon (Mac OS X) port is under way.
- CLX (Component Library for Cross-platform), used with Borland's Delphi, C++ Builder, and Kylix, for producing cross-platform applications. It is based on Qt, wrapped in such a way that its programming interface is similar to that of the VCL toolkit.
- RAPID is the Rapid Ada Portable Interface Design tool. Current implementations utilize the TASH binding to Tcl/Tk, the GNAT to JVM compiler, the Microsoft .NET Framework, or GtkAda.
- GWindows is a GUI framework that mostly supports Windows development, but also has incomplete implementations for Mac OS X and Linux.
- QtAda, the official Ada binding to Qt.
Based on Objective-C
- EiffelVision is a cross-platform, object-oriented framework for graphical user interface development.
Not yet categorised
Comparison of widget toolkits
|This section does not cite any references or sources. (August 2008)|
|Toolkit||Initial release||Latest release||Main language||Bindings||Tools||License||Pros||Cons||Back-end|
|Agar||C||BSD||portable, unique across platforms, fast, low-level||no property grid|
|Xaw / Athena||1983||C|
|Clutter||2006||C||Perl, Python, C#, C++, Vala, Ruby||LGPL||GTK+ and WebKit embedding|
|FLTK||1998||C++||Python (pyFLTK), Perl (FLTK.pm), Ruby (Ruby/FLTK), Tcl (Tcl Fltk), Guile (guile-fltk), Eiffel (IFLTK)||FLUID (Fast Light UI Designer)||LGPL (with an exception that allows static linking)||fast, small enough to static link||limited widget selection|
|FOX||1997||C++||Ruby (FXRuby), Python (FXPy), Eiffel (EiffelFox)||consistent across platforms||non-native look and feel|
|GNUstep||1994||2010||Objective-C||Java, Ruby, Scheme||Gorm (computing)||GPL for the apps, LGPL for the libs||X11|
|IUP||1992||2011||C||Lua (IupLua)||LEDC: a compiler for LED||MIT||Portable, lightweight, use the native API, native look&feel, free licence||Non‑Unicode (only plain ASCII) |
|KWWidgets||C++||Tcl/Tk, Python||VisualStudio, gcc||BSD||portable|
|Motif / Lesstif||1980s||C||BX Pro|
|MWT Multi-Platform Widget Toolkit||2000-11-15||2009-10-20||C/C++||Ruby, Perl, Python, Java, Objective Caml||WideStudio Application Builder, Eclipse/NAB||MIT License||very portable, many language bindings (incl. embeded systems)|
|Nana||2007||2011-12-05||C++||VisualStudio, Dev-C++, Code::Blocks, GCC||portable, lightweight, C++ style|
|NTK||2012||2012||C++||LGPL||Free license, portable, stable, fast|
|Qt||1991||2011-05-04||C++||Ruby (QtRuby), Python (PyQt, PySide, PythonQt), Ada (QtAda), c# ( Qyoto), Java (Qt Jambi), Pascal ( FreePascal Qt4 ), Perl (Perl Qt4), PHP(PHP-Qt), Haskell (Qt Haskell), Lua (lqt, QtLua), Dao ( DaoQt), Tcl ( qtcl ), Common Lisp (CommonQt), D (QtD), Harbour (hbqt)||Qt Designer, Qt Creator||GPL, LGPL.||Portable, rich widget set, GUI builder, free license, stable API||Partially native only.|
|SWT||Java||D (DWT[disambiguation needed])||Eclipse||portable|
|Swing||1996||Java||Eclipse, NetBeans||Portable (Java), advanced widgets, GUI builders|
|Tk||Tcl||Ruby (RubyTk), Python (Tkinter), Perl (Perl/Tk), Ada (TASH), CommonLisp (LTk), Erlang (etk), ... |||BSD||very portable, many language bindings|
|Ultimate++||2004||C++||TheIDE||BSD||portable, NTL, free license|
|Windows Forms||CLI languages||CLI languages||Expression, Visual Studio||portability issues, no MVC|
|WPF / XAML / Silverlight||2007||CLI languages||CLI languages||Expression, Visual Studio||Portability issues|
|MFC / WinAPI||1992||C++||Visual Studio||not portable (but Wine implements it for X Window)|
|ATL / WTL||2004||C++||Visual Studio||not portable|
|XVT||1989||2010||C and C++||Design for C and architect for C++||C ross-platform, rich widget set, C and C++ GUI builders, very stable|
|NUI||C++||Yapuka||GPL and proprietary|
|tekUI||C / Lua|
|Toolkit||Initial release||Latest release||Main language||Bindings||Tools||License||Pros||Cons|
- Microsoft: MS Windows NT Kernel-mode User
- Techworld: Microsoft to move graphics outside OS kernel
- This version provides the core API of the .NET Framework 2.0, but its implementation of this API is still incomplete.
- Qt Software to discontinue Qt Jambi after 4.5 release
- Migrating to client-side windows: “GDK looks for the GDK_NATIVE_WINDOWS environment variable and makes all windows native if it is set. It also tries to be more compatible with the way prior versions worked in some other ways.”
- Coding Horror: Non-Native UI Sucks: “[…] has a cross-platform UI based on GTK, which produces predictably bland, least-common-denominator results:”
- Comparing IUP with Other Interface Toolkits: “[…] it does not have support for Unicode characters.”
- LGPL License Option Added to Qt
- Nokia Announces Qt 5 Plans - Slashdot: “Qt doesn't use native widgets. They never have. What they have recently changed is using the native drawing APIs. That is not the same thing.”
- WxWidgets Compared To Other Toolkits: “Qt doesn't have true native ports like wxWidgets does. Qt does not use system provided widgets, but emulates it with themes. What we mean by this is that even though Qt draws them quite realistically, Qt draws its own widgets on each platform.”
- The GUI Toolkit, Framework Page, comparing some of the modern GUIs out there.
- Survey of Widget sets (for the X Window System) (Edward Falk)
- GUI Toolkits for The X Window System (Leslie Polzer, freshmeat.net, 27 July 2003)
- Overview of Microsoft Windows GUI libraries