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SunWorld: wxWindows: mature but little-known Portable C++ framework is the basis for successful applications

Dec 25, 2000, 14:38 (0 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Cameron Laird, Kathryn Soraiz)


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"Free GUI framework
Is that news to you? Is this the first you've heard of wxWindows? It's certainly not a newcomer to the development marketplace. Julian Smart created wxWindows in 1992 while doing research with the Artificial Intelligence Applications Institute in Edinburgh, Scotland. wxWindows is a "free C++ framework to make cross-platform programming child's play (almost)," according to its official Website. Its cross-platform capabilities already extend to Mac OS, Unix, and Windows."

"It's a bit unfair of us to present wxWindows exclusively as a GUI library, even though that is what Smart first released it as. Of course, we've set this series up as a comparison of different GUI toolkits, but each subject is not just a different toolkit, but a different kind of toolkit. Motif, the senior member of the group, is a GUI library and also a style guide and windowing manager, which bundles a user interface language (UIL). The others also have individual biographies. To keep the series manageable and coherent, though, our profiles focus primarily on the GUI-toolkit aspect."

"Even with that restriction, the wxWindows architecture demands some explanation. It is indeed a GUI toolkit, and developers use it as such without knowing more about it. Bundled with its GUI functionality, though, are several distinct elements that are powerful advantages for certain projects: standard drag-and-drop functionality, an online help system, special-purpose persistence, printing, portable threading, and a higher-level networking layer that supports FTP and HTTP."

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