Last modified on 23 August 2014, at 18:49

Ruby Programming/GUI Toolkit Modules

Ruby GUI toolkits are typically 3rd party GUI platforms that are driven (wrapped) by a Ruby driver.

Ruby bindings are available for several widget toolkits, among them Tk, Gtk, Fox, and Qt.

FXRubyEdit

FXRuby is a Ruby binding for the Fox GUI toolkit written in C++. It is available for installation using RubyGems.

Advantages:

Disadvantages:

  • Non-native look and feel. It looks like Windows XP even on a Mac or in Windows 7.
  • Binary gems are available for Windows, OS X, and Ubuntu Linux but for other platforms, installing the gem requires you to compile native code.
  • Even with binary gems it has non-Ruby dependencies that cannot be packaged with the code thus requiring end users to manually download, compile, and install dependencies.

QtRubyEdit

  • QtRuby gives you Ruby bindings to the Qt toolkit (the one used in the KDE desktop system).

Advantages:

  • Has a book.
  • Has Qt designer for help designing.

Disadvantages:

  • While a gem is available for the Windows installation, only source code is available for other platforms.

ShoesEdit

"shoes":http://github.com/shoes/shoes was originally written by _why, and is now maintained by others. Its aim is to make ruby GUI development actually fun.

Advantages:

  • cool graphics, control at a lower level, simple interface, can be used to distribute redistributables easily, used to have examples available.

Disadvantages:

  • Disadvantages: No gem (current gem, 3.0.1, is a place holder that does nothing), still a bit rough around the edges since it attempts to support so many platforms. Lacks many of the more robust widgets common in other toolkits,

TkEdit

Advantages:

  • Bindings are built-in to some ruby distros (most MRI ones).

Disadvantages:

  • Since Tk 8.5 it has had native look-and-feel for Windows, *nix and Mac.
  • Has Ruby-DSL for interface declaration.
  • When you install Ruby from source code, you need to be sure you also have the Tk dependencies and make sure the compilation settings include Tk.

Example project: "arcadia":http://github.com/angal/arcadia "more information":http://wiki.github.com/rdp/ruby_tutorials_core/tk "a tk designer":http://www.eggheadcafe.com/software/aspnet/35719090/ann-design-tool-jeszra-01-for-ruby-tk.aspx

Gnome rubyEdit

Advantages:

  • native look

Disadvantages:

RubyCocoaEdit

Advantages:

  • well integrated with MacRuby, good balance between power and ease of coding. Good support for testing.

Disadvantages:

  • OS X only

IronRubyEdit

Using the IronRuby interpreter you have the full .net platform, meaning you can code Winforms and WPF(I have only tried Winforms). It is potentially cross platform since the mono platform exists.

JRuby toolkitsEdit

  • Note that you can use the "Rawr":http://rawr.rubyforge.org tool to cross-platform package any jruby application so that it includes all the code plus JRuby. The only real external dependency when using jruby+rawr is Java. Also working with jruby might integrate well with editing using NetBeans editor.

Swing wrappersEdit

Advantages:

  • Swing is built in to the JRI.
  • You can also create the UI using a traditional java visual developer, like NetBeans, then use it in Ruby.

Disadvantages:

  • Some wrappers libraries are a little rough

Raw SwingEdit

You don't have to use any toolkit to use swing. Here's a "simple swing circle with dots":http://www.ruby-forum.com/topic/211827#920652

Simple GUI creatorEdit

This simplifies common tasks like asking for user input, dropdown forms, etc, and even has its own "Text based" layout engine, see "here":https://github.com/rdp/ruby_simple_gui_creator

No longer maintained.

MonkeybarsEdit

Advantages:

  • JRuby, so cross platform, fully threaded; JRuby apps can be faster than MRI Ruby apps.
  • Can use rawr for bundling

No longer maintained.

SWTEdit

This is the eclipse widget library, a competitor to Swing, in the Java world, and can be transparently used from JRuby. A project using it that is pretty complete is "http://redcareditor.com" Also see https://github.com/danlucraft/jruby-swt-cookbook

Advantages:

  • Mature (used by Eclipse and supported), uses native widgets for the most part (like wxWidgets), cross platform.
  • Extensive Java documentation around the toolkit.

Disadvantages:

  • Jars must be bundled for cross platform deployment.

Disadvantages:

  • As of 2011.03.26 Limelight doesn't work with JRuby 1.6 on OS X 10.6 or 10.7. There is a problem ticket in but it hasn't been looked in almost a year.
  • Virtually non-existent documentation.

No longer maintained.