|This article relies too much on references to primary sources. (November 2009)|
|Original author(s)||Tecgraf/PUC-Rio in collaboration with Petrobras|
|Stable release||3.17 / 2015|11|30|df=y|
|Type||Software development kit|
The IUP Portable User Interface is a computer software development kit that provides a portable, scriptable toolkit to build graphical user interfaces (GUIs) using the programming languages C, Perl, Lua and Nim. This allows rapid, zero-compile prototyping and refinement of deployable GUI applications.
IUP's purpose is to allow programs to run in different systems in unmodified form.
It provides this ability by binding Lua with its C/C++ code, or simply writing C to the application programming interface (API). It supports calling native Windows API graphics, native Motif-LessTif or GTK+ elements, or the developers' own CanvasDraw elements from the Lua scripts or natively in a C/C++ application.
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 prototype 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.
- Use of an event loop-callback mechanism. This main loop can be called inside Lua.
- 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. Or, the entire IUP state can be dynamically loaded via use of a Lua
package.loadlib of IUPLua.
The script(s) can later be compiled with the luac compiler if needed.
IUP has been in development at least since the 1.8 version issued in 1998. It was begun in collaboration with Petrobras.
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