IUP (software)

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The IUP Portable User Interface is a computer software development kit that provides a portable, scriptable toolkit for GUI building using C, Perl, Lua and Nim. This allows rapid, zero-compile prototyping and refinement of deployable GUI applications.

It provides this functionality by binding Lua with its C/C++ code, or simply writing C to the API. It supports calling native Windows graphics, native Motif/Lesstif or GTK+ elements, or the developers' own CanvasDraw elements from the Lua scripts or natively in a C/C++ application.


Original author(s) Tecgraf/PUC-Rio in collaboration with Petrobras
Stable release 3.15 / 2015-07-06
Operating system Cross-platform
Type Software Development Kit
License MIT
Website IUP

IUP's distinguishing features include:

  • Built in support for Lua scripts calling IUP functions (controlled by Lua script) on Windows, and Linux installations of IUP,
  • Can also be used from native ANSI C, one of the few plain C capable toolkits,
  • Removal of the restriction of class/instance object types, but retaining the Lua-style hierarchy of inheritance.
  • An abstract layout model, in which sizes and positions are calculated from horizontal and vertical containers, rather than explicit X and Y coordinates. (Coordinate-based layout is also supported with a third container type.)
  • Small API, on the order of about 100 functions.
  • Interface elements are created before they are mapped to the native elements. This is the reverse of the usual situation for assembling GUI elements.
  • Available as source or pre-built static or dynamic libraries for wide variety of compilers, including turnkey example source.

The Lua scripting is done by binding Lua and IUPLua in (at least) a small C program called a host application. This program creates a Lua state, passes the Lua state to IUPLua for initialization, and then opens and executes a Lua script against the Lua state. Alternatively, the entire IUP state can be dynamically loaded via use of a Lua 'require' or 'package.loadlib' of IUPLua.

The script(s) can later be compiled with the luac compiler if desired.

Support for UTF-8 was added to the Windows target in November 2013 with the release of version 3.9. [1]


IUP is liberally-licensed for free use, modification, sale, and redistribution under the MIT license.[1]

IUP has been in development at least since the 1.8 version issued in 1998. It was begun in collaboration with Petrobras.

Project sites[edit]