GUI programming with stklos-gtk-base package

Low Level GUI Programming

To program a GUI at the GTK+ level, you need the stklos-gtk-base package. This package is a simple wrapping of the GTK+ library in STklos.

Before installing this package, you can test that everything works with the following command:

$ stklos-pkg --test stklos-gtk-base

To install this package, just issue the following command:

$ stklos-pkg --install stklos-gtk-base

Programming with this package is very similar to programming a GUI in C. As a consequence, standard GTK+ documentation can easily be followed to build a GUI.


Once, the stklos-gtk-base package is installed, it is easy to build the following GUI.

This interface uses two callback procedures:

  • hello which is called whenever a button is pressed,
  • delete-event which is called when the window is closed.
The GTK+ events are managed here in a separate thread. This is particularly useful in an interactive environment where the GUI can be partially created and widgets are added once at a time.

The code to make this screenshot is:

(require "stklos-gtk-base")
(import stklos-gtk-base)

;;;; Callbacks
(define (hello widget data)
  (printf "Hello: ~S was pressed\n" data))

(define (delete-event widget event data)

;;;; Application

(define window #f)
(define button #f)
(define box1 #f)

;; Initialize GTK+
(gtk-init (void) (void))

;; Window
(set! window (gtk-window-new 0))
(gtk-window-set-title window "Hello Buttons!")
(g-signal-connect window "delete_event" delete-event 1)
(gtk-container-set-border-width window 10)

;; box1
(set! box1 (gtk-hbox-new #f 0))
(gtk-container-add window  box1)

;; button1
(set! button (gtk-button-new-with-label "Button 1"))
(g-signal-connect button "clicked" hello "Button 1")
(gtk-box-pack-start box1 button #t #t 0)
(gtk-widget-show button)

;; button2
(set! button (gtk-button-new-with-label "Button 2"))
(g-signal-connect button "clicked" hello "Button 2")
(gtk-box-pack-start box1 button #t #t 0)
(gtk-widget-show button)

(gtk-widget-show box1)
(gtk-widget-show window)

;; Here we go....
(let ((thr (make-thread (lambda ()
                           (eprintf "End of GTK+ thread\n")))))
  ;; thr is the GTK+ thread in charge of GTK+ event
  (thread-join! (thread-start! thr))
  ;; GTK thread is dead; we can exit
  (exit 0))

To compare the Scheme version to classical GTK+ programming, hereafter is a possible way to program this interface in C.

// simple.c         -- A Simple example in GTK+

#include <gtk/gtk.h>

void hello(GtkWidget *widget, gpointer data)
  g_print ("Hello again - %s was pressed\n", (gchar *) data);

gint delete_event(GtkWidget *widget, GdkEvent *event, gpointer data)
  gtk_main_quit ();
  return FALSE;

int main(int argc, char *argv[])
  // GtkWidget is the storage type for widgets
  GtkWidget *window;
  GtkWidget *button;
  GtkWidget *box1;

  // Initalize GTK+
  gtk_init (&argc, &argv);

  // Window
  window = gtk_window_new (GTK_WINDOW_TOPLEVEL);
  gtk_window_set_title (GTK_WINDOW (window), "Hello Buttons!");
  g_signal_connect (G_OBJECT (window), "delete_event",
                     G_CALLBACK (delete_event), NULL);
  gtk_container_set_border_width (GTK_CONTAINER (window), 10);

  // box1
  box1 = gtk_hbox_new (FALSE, 0);
  gtk_container_add (GTK_CONTAINER (window), box1);

  // button1
  button = gtk_button_new_with_label ("Button 1");
  g_signal_connect (G_OBJECT (button), "clicked",
                     G_CALLBACK (hello), (gpointer) "Button 1");
  gtk_box_pack_start (GTK_BOX(box1), button, TRUE, TRUE, 0);
  gtk_widget_show (button);

  // button2
  button = gtk_button_new_with_label ("Button 2");
  g_signal_connect (G_OBJECT (button), "clicked",
                     G_CALLBACK (hello), (gpointer) "Button 2");
  gtk_box_pack_start(GTK_BOX (box1), button, TRUE, TRUE, 0);
  gtk_widget_show (button);

  gtk_widget_show (box1);
  gtk_widget_show (window);

  gtk_main ();
  printf("GTK event loop terminated\n");
  return 0;
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Last update Sat Dec 31 14:28:22 2011.