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Original author(s) Julian Smart[1][2][3]
Developer(s) Various developers and contributors[4]
Initial release 1992; 24 years ago (1992)
Stable release 3.0.2 (6 October 2014; 15 months ago (2014-10-06)) [±][5]
Development status Active
Written in C++
Operating system Cross-platform
Type Development library
License wxWindows License
Website wxwidgets.org

wxWidgets (formerly wxWindows) is a widget toolkit and tools library for creating graphical user interfaces (GUIs) for cross-platform applications. wxWidgets enables a program's GUI code to compile and run on several computer platforms with minimal or no code changes. It covers systems such as Microsoft Windows, OS X (Carbon and Cocoa), iOS (Cocoa Touch), Linux/Unix (X11, Motif, and GTK+), OpenVMS, OS/2 and AmigaOS. A version for embedded systems is under development.[6]

wxWidgets is used across many industry sectors, most notably by Xerox, Advanced Micro Devices (AMD), Lockheed Martin, NASA and the Center for Naval Analyses. It is also used in the public sector and education by, for example, Dartmouth Medical School, National Human Genome Research Institute, National Center for Biotechnology Information, and many others.[7] wxWidgets is used in many open source projects,[8] and by individual developers. A wide choice of compilers and other tools to use with wxWidgets allows development of highly sophisticated applications.[7]

It is free and open source software, distributed under the terms of the wxWidgets License, which satisfies those who wish to produce for GPL and proprietary software.[9]


wxWidgets (initially wxWindows) was started in 1992 by Julian Smart at the University of Edinburgh.[1] He attained an honours degree in Computational science from the University of St Andrews in 1986, and is still a core developer.[2]

On February 20, 2004, the developers of wxWindows announced that the project was changing its name to wxWidgets, as a result of Microsoft requesting Julian Smart to respect Microsoft's United Kingdom trademark of the term Windows.[10]

Major release versions were 2.4 on 6 January 2003, 2.6 on 21 April 2005 and 2.8.0 on 14 December 2006. Version 3.0 was released on 11 November 2013.

wxWidgets has participated in the Google Summer of Code since 2006.[11][12]

The following table contains the release history of wxWidgets, showing all of its major release versions.

Version number Date Notable changes
Project started by Julian Smart 1992[13]
wxWindows 1
Alpha 1 5 April 1997[14]
Beta 1 24 December 1998[14]
wxWidgets 2
2.0.1 1 March 1999[14]
2.2.0 9 July 2000[15]
2.4.0 6 January 2003[15]
2.6.0 21 April 2005[15]
2.8.0 14 December 2006[16]
  • wxAUI library.
  • Generic wxRichTextCtrl.
  • wxComboCtrl with custom, graphical comboboxes.
  • Further functionality including wxAnimationCtrl, wxSimpleHtmlListBox, wxHyperlinkCtrl, wxColourPickerCtrl, wxDirPickerCtrl, wxFilePickerCtrl, wxFontPickerCtrl, wxCollapsiblePane, wxSearchCtrl, wxAboutBox, wxTreebook, tar streams.
wxWidgets 3
3.0 11 November 2013[14]
  • GTK+ 3 port
  • Transparent Unicode support
  • Unification of debug-release builds
  • Cocoa-based wxOSX port running in 64-bit mode
  • PersistentControls
  • Support for window-modal and application-modal dialogs
  • wxRibbon - ribbon implementation
  • wxPropertyGrid
Future versions
3.2 [17]
  • Drop Win9x platform support.
  • Drop Microsoft Visual C++ 6.0 support.


Further information: wxWindows License
wxWindows License
DFSG compatible Yes
FSF approved Yes
OSI approved Yes
GPL compatible Yes
Copyleft Yes
Linking from code with a different license Yes

wxWidgets is distributed under a custom made wxWindows License, similar to the GNU Lesser General Public License (LGPL), with an exception stating that derived works in binary form may be distributed on the user's own terms.[9] This license is a free software license approved by the FSF,[18] making wxWidgets free software. It has been approved by the Open Source Initiative (OSI).[19]

Official support[edit]

Supported platforms[edit]

wxWidgets is supported on the following platforms.[20][21]

  • Windows - wxMSW (32/64-bits Windows XP up to Windows 10)
  • Linux/Unix wxGTK, wxX11, wxMotif
  • OS X - wxMac (10.3 using Carbon, 10.5 using Cocoa), wxOSX/Cocoa(32/64-bits OS X 10.7 or later)
  • OS/2 - wxOS2, wxPM, wxWidgets for GTK+ or Motif can be compiled on OS/2
  • Embedded platforms - wxEmbedded[6]

External ports[edit]

  • Amiga - wxWidgets-AOS: AmigaOS port (Work In Progress)[22]

Supported compilers[edit]

wxWidgets is officially confirmed to work properly with the following compilers.[23]

Toolkit Compiler Version
wxMSW Microsoft Visual Studio - Visual C++ 5.0+
Borland C++ 5.5+
C++Builder 2006+
Watcom C++, OpenWatcom 10.6+
CodeWarrior 7+
Cygwin 1.5+
MinGW 2.0+
Digital Mars C/C++ compiler 8.40+
wxGTK g++ 2.95+
Clang++ 3.3+
Intel C++ Compiler 9.1+
Sun Studio C/C++ 5.9
HP aC++ 3.8
IBM XL C/C++ 8.0

Programming language bindings[edit]

wxPython logo

The wxWidgets library is implemented in C++, with bindings available for many commonly used programming languages.[24]

wxWidgets is best described as a native mode toolkit as it provides a thin abstraction to a platform's native widgets, contrary to emulating the display of widgets using graphic primitives. Calling a native widget on the target platform results in a more native looking interface than toolkits such as Swing (for Java), as well as offering performance and other benefits.[25]

The toolkit is also not restricted to GUI development, having an inter-process communication layer, socket networking functionality, and more.

RAD tools and IDEs for wxWidgets[edit]

CodeLite under Windows XP
Code::Blocks running under Ubuntu

There are many Rapid Application Development (RAD) and Integrated Development Environment (IDE) tools available, among them:[26][27]

Applications built using wxWidgets[edit]

Amaya under Windows 7

Notable applications that use wxWidgets:

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "About the wxWidgets Project". wxwidgets.org. Retrieved 2010-01-02. 
  2. ^ a b "About Julian Smart, www.anthemion.co.uk". Anthemion.co.uk. 1964-03-27. Retrieved 2009-06-08. 
  3. ^ "Julian Smart". Bookfayre.cz. Retrieved 2009-06-08. 
  4. ^ wxWidgets developers and contributors
  5. ^ "wxWidgets 3.0.2 Released". 6 October 2014. Retrieved 2 August 2015. 
  6. ^ a b "wxEmbedded: wxWidgets for embedded applications". Sourceforge.net. Retrieved 2007-04-23. 
  7. ^ a b "About Who uses wxWidgets?". wxWidgets.org. Retrieved 2011-04-12. 
  8. ^ "List of open source applications that uses wxWidgets". SourceForge.net. Retrieved 2011-04-22. 
  9. ^ a b ""License" page on website". The wxWindows License is essentially the LGPL, with an exception stating that derived works in binary form may be distributed on the user's own terms. 
  10. ^ Smart, Julian; Robin Dunn (August 2004). "Name change". Sourceforge.net. Retrieved 2007-04-23. 
  11. ^ Smart, Julian (2006-10-10). "Google Summer of Code 2006: wxWidgets projects summary". wxwidgets.org. Retrieved 2011-04-11. 
  12. ^ "Google Summer of Code 2006". Retrieved 2011-04-11. 
  13. ^ "History of wxWidgets". wxWidgets.org. Retrieved 2011-04-11. 
  14. ^ a b c d "wxWidgets Change Log". wxWidgets.org. Retrieved 2011-04-11. 
  15. ^ a b c "News". wxWidgets.org. Retrieved 2011-04-11. 
  16. ^ Sudiarto Raharjo, Willy (2006-12-14). "WxWidgets 2.8.0". Retrieved 2011-04-11. 
  17. ^ "wxWidgets Roadmap". Retrieved 2013-05-02. 
  18. ^ https://www.gnu.org/licenses/license-list.html#Wx
  19. ^ "Open Source Initiative OSI - The wxWindows Library Licence:Licensing". Open Source Initiative. Retrieved 2011-04-28. 
  20. ^ "wxWidgets: Introduction". docs.wxwidgets.org. Retrieved 2016-01-14. 
  21. ^ "wxWidgets: Platform Details". docs.wxwidgets.org. Retrieved 2016-01-14. 
  22. ^ "wxWidgets-AOS: AmigaOS port". Retrieved 2011-04-24. 
  23. ^ "Supported Platforms". wxwidgets.org. Retrieved 2011-04-24. 
  24. ^ "wxWidgets General Information". wxwidgets.org. Retrieved 2015-08-01. 
  25. ^ "WxWidgets Compared To Other Toolkits". wxwidgets.org. Retrieved 2010-01-02. 
  26. ^ "Tools for wxWidgets". wxWidgets.org. Retrieved 2011-04-12. 
  27. ^ "List of Integrated Development Environments". wxWidgets.org. Retrieved 2011-04-12. 

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]