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The wxWidgets project started life in 1992 when Julian Smart was working at the University of Edinburgh on a diagramming tool called Hardy. He didn’t want to choose between deploying it either on Sun workstations or PCs, so he decided to use a cross-platform framework. Because the range of existing cross-platform frameworks was limited, and the department didn’t have a budget for it anyway, there was little choice but to write his own. The university gave him permission to upload wxWidgets 1.0 to the department’s FTP site in September 1992, and other developers began to use the code. Initially, wxWidgets targeted XView and MFC 1.0; Borland C++ users complained about the requirement for MFC, so it was rewritten to use pure Win32. Because XView was giving way to Motif, a Motif port quickly followed.
Over time, a small but enthusiastic community of wxWidgets users was established and a mailing list created. Contributions and fixes were sent in, including an Xt port by Markus Holzem. wxWidgets gradually picked up more and more users from all over the world: individuals, academics, government departments, and—most gratifying of all—corporate users who found that wxWidgets offered a better product and better support than the commercial products they had looked at or used. (more…)
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One area where wxWidgets differs from many other frameworks, such as MFC or OWL, is its multi-platform nature. wxWidgets has an Application Programming Interface (API) that is the same, or very nearly the same, on all supported platforms. This means that you can write an application on Windows, for example, and with very few changes (if any) recompile it on Linux or Mac OS X. This has a huge cost benefit compared with completely rewriting an application for each platform, and it also means that you do not need to learn a different API for each platform. Furthermore, it helps to future-proof your applications. As the computing landscape changes, wxWidgets changes with it, allowing your application to be ported to the latest and greatest systems supporting the newest features.
Another distinguishing feature is that wxWidgets provides a native look and feel. Some frameworks use the same widget code running on all platforms, perhaps with a theme makeover to simulate each platform’s native appearance. (more…)
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wxWidgets is a programmer’s toolkit for writing desktop or mobile applications with graphical user interfaces (GUIs). It’s a framework, in the sense that it does a lot of the housekeeping work and provides default application behavior. The wxWidgets library contains a large number of classes and methods for the programmer to use and customize. Applications typically show windows containing standard controls, possibly drawing specialized images and graphics and responding to input from the mouse, keyboard, or other sources. They may also communicate with other processes or drive other programs. In other words, wxWidgets makes it relatively easy for the programmer to write an application that does all the usual things modern applications do. (more…)