Development Framework for Desktop App with GUI

Software Recommendations Asked by Mefitico on December 2, 2021

I’m tasked with developing a commercial closed-source application for desktop with GUI. I’m looking for a framework I could use.

Must have:

  • Free or very cheap to use (Qt is not an option)
  • Fast to execute, one execution of some external tools that need to be monitored may take days, hence fast execution is invaluable.
  • Allow Protecting source code: I’ll be importing proprietary third party software (even if possibly refactored to a different language) that can only be distributed in protected format. I also don’t want customers to see implementation details.
  • Allow creating GUIs
  • Allow creating and updating scientific graphs.
  • Allows developing for Linux

Nice to have:

  • C++ as language
  • Good documentation
  • Widely used on GitHub/StackExchange
  • Allow displaying and updating simple 3D graphics.
  • Allowing to develop for multiple platforms.
  • Statically linked libraries preferred, so I can have a single executable for the whole app.

I’ve been working with wxWidgets, but I don’t seem to find many questions on SO, nor plenty of code on GitHub, plus the documentation is confusion for me, and everything seems to have been made more than 5 years ago. I’ve considered using Qt, but my company does not qualify for their small-business plan, so it would end up being too expensive for starters.

The app I’m developing will interact with a lot of C code, and should run "fast" (which makes python a little undesirable), have a GUI and be preferably complied in a stand-alone executable. I cannot create a server-based application to run as a service, I need to deliver to the customer’s PC, which will be used in locations where internet access may be limited or non-existent.

One Answer

As far as I understand, you want a framework that does it all, that holy grail many are looking for. As I have been working lately with Gtk (more specifically, gtkmm, which is written in C++, in contrast to Gtk, which is in C), I can make a case for it. From what you mentioned, this is what gtkmm covers:

  • It's not only free, it's FOSS (free open source software)
  • It's written in C++ so it's moderately fast (I do not know of any benchmarks, so I can't confirm)
  • It is made with GUIs in mind
  • It's main target is Linux, even though it can run on Windows and OSX (Inkscape is an example of app which does that)
  • Again, the language is C++, but I think you can also use Python, in a flavour of it
  • Here is the documentation
  • The Python version is used in a number of GitHub projects

I know it doesn't answer your question, as being closed source was a must, but these are my two cents.

Answered by VannTile Ianito on December 2, 2021

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