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wxDesigner. Python, UML, xml

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wxDesigner is a tool written to make creating dialogs for wxWindows based pr...

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Vendor Price: $ 29
License: Shareware
File Size: 4.01 Mb
Release Date: 26 Aug 2003
OS: Win95, Win98, WinNT 4.x, Windows2000
System Requirements: none
Company: Robert Roebling

wxDesigner is a tool written to make creating dialogs for wxWindows based programs easy and fast. wxWindows is a cross-platform toolkit and it thus cannot make use of native resource formats as they typically exist for many platforms. For that reason, wxWindows has been optimized over time to make writing dialogs by hand as easy as possible, but this approach has limitations as soon as dialogs reach a certain complexity. Even without the inevitable number of typos, writing nice looking dialogs is a hassle and reordering the items in a dialog often amounts to rewriting the dialog from scratch. In addtion to being quite some work, writing dialogs also requires a profound and exact knowledge of the syntax used for creating and positioning dialog items. Another problem when writing dialogs using the wxWindows library is that some users might want to make use of the RAD features of the Python bindings during development, but create a native binary using C++ at the end. This would entail rewriting (or at least reediting considerably) all dialog related code.

wxDesigner offers a solution to both problems. Its interface allows anyone somewhat familiar with wxWindows to create aesthetically pleasant and cross-platform dialogs in a matter of minutes. Higher-level features such as supporting copy/cut/paste, infinite undo/redo and previewing make quick testing easy and safe. Additionally, all dialogs can be used in both C++ and Python (and recently Perl) - making co-development easier than ever.

One of the most important problems of cross-platform dialog design is that dialog items (aka widgets) tend to have a different size on different platforms. Typically, a Motif widget has rather large borders, whereas a Windows control tries to use as little space as possible. Addionally, the user is often able to change the font size or choose a different 'skin' or 'theme' for all dialogs, resulting in different proportions etc. Last not least, the size of widgets can vary if dialogs get translated into other languages, as a word usually has a different length in different languages.

Many traditional dialog editors ignore these problems and leave the burden of rewriting or redesigning to the programmer, whereas wxDesigner uses wxWindows' smart layout system based on so called sizers, which treat dialog items as groups laid out in certain patterns, such as in a simple row or column or more complex grids. Since sizers query the controls about the individual size requirements at run-time, changes in font sizes etc won't do any harm, the dialog will grow or shrink accordingly. wxDesigner makes using sizers easier than ever, since it allows for changing the sizer type on the fly, inserting sizers into an existing hierarchy of sizers with a single mouse-click and copying any pasting dialog items or sizers containing various dialog items to and from the clipboard.

The next step when writing GUI programs and dialogs in particular is to add event handlers. This can only be done in the form of source code, and therefore wxDesigner supports generating source code, either new files, new classes, event handlers or getter functions to get access to the controls in the dialog. All this is integrated in a syntax-highlighting source code editor that is part of wxDesigner.

As it has become sort of trendy to use XML as a resource format, the wxWindows project is currently working on such a system as well. It is not yet ready for general use, but wxDesigner already has support for XML output and can import dialogs written in XML as well. The latter feature is particularly useful for importing a large number of dialogs written for Windows. The respective Windows resource files can be converted to XML and then imported into wxDesigner

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wxDesigner - Free Software Download