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If you are using the main C++ distribution of wxWidgets, Feel free to ask any question related to wxWidgets development here. This means questions regarding to C++ and wxWidgets, not compile problems.
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ignacvucko
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RAD tool advice

Post by ignacvucko » Thu Apr 03, 2008 11:58 pm

I'm returning to C++ wxWidgets Windows development after a 2 year hiatus.
Could the good people in this forum provide some feedback on tools that might be better than wxDesigner, which i've used in the past.

I'm not necessarily looking for an editor as I already have my favorite editor of choice. I'm checking to see if someone has built something better for C++ on Windows than wxDesigner in the last 2 years. If another IDE provides a lot more functionality, then i'de be willing to switch.

I'm also not concerned of whether it's a commercial app or free.

Specifically, what are the top 3 in the below list and why?
- wxDesigner
- VisualWX
- wxFormBuilder
- DialogBlocks
- Code::Blocks (aka wxSmith)
- wxHatch
- wxWorkshop
- other?

Thanks for reading this,
Ignac

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Post by tierra » Fri Apr 04, 2008 12:01 am


ignacvucko
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Post by ignacvucko » Fri Apr 04, 2008 12:05 am

Thanks tierra,

I had already researched those links.
I guess I'm more looking for people's opinions and feedback of what they liked / didn't like after working with one of more of them.

Have you used any of the above mentioned?
If so, I'de be greatly appreciative if you could share your experiences....i dont even mind if you rant about some of them :)

Thanks again for responding.
Ignac

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Post by tierra » Fri Apr 04, 2008 1:33 am

ignacvucko wrote:If so, I'de be greatly appreciative if you could share your experiences....i dont even mind if you rant about some of them :)
That was what I was avoiding... just trying to give them all a fair chance. :)

Besides that though, I'm hesitant to recommend a tool since you really haven't mentioned any kind of specific requirements you need. Are you going to use it as a full blown IDE? Do you need XRC or C++ output? Are you willing to pay for a tool, or stick with open source or free ones? Would you prefer to be able to use Visual Studio, Dev-C++, or Eclipse as you IDE, and just use a form builder for design?

I'm personally a fan of DialogBlocks.

I use Visual Studio 2005 Standard as my IDE (I honestly believe that there isn't a better debugger than Visual Studio's debugger), and only use DialogBlocks to design my dialogs, and a few other windows like my wxAUI panels, but not my main windows. I also only use the C++ output, and not XRC. DialogBlocks generates source and header files with strategically placed markers that allow you to write your custom code anywhere it would be needed, and still be able to open up DialogBlocks to make changes without overwriting your custom code.

In the time I've used DialogBlocks (for the last 4 years approximately), Julian has made several updates to it --- at one point it seemed like an update was made every 2 weeks or so. It has a very active development cycle, and anytime a new control or feature is added to wxWidgets, it's not long before it shows up in DialogBlocks as well. It's support for wxWidgets features seems more complete than any other tool I know about.

I've also had to make a few support requests in that time, and every single time I've had to, Julian was quick to respond, and always had a solution. I feel like I've gotten much more out of DialogBlocks than what I paid for it.

If all you need is XRC output though, it's very possible that XRCed will work just fine for your needs. It also has an active development cycle, and generally keeps up with wxWidgets features. It's also free, but it's not an IDE.

So this all really depends on your requirements.

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Post by Sof_T » Fri Apr 04, 2008 5:05 am

Everybody has there favourites and this discussion can get rather religious :D . My personal favourite on Windows is wxDev-C++ whaich can be used to generate just forms or as a complete IDE with RAD. I guess I like it because it mimics the Borland approach which I grew up with.

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Post by lotharbehrens » Fri Apr 04, 2008 5:53 am

I am developing on my own approach.

No code is handwritten - except the templates that create the code.

The idea in my main application is to use UML as an input source to generate a prototype for a database applicaton.

If the prototype looks ok then you export it to XML. With
that you could do anything. In my case generating code for
wxWidgets AND CodeBlocks for the GUI part.

So the last step is fine tuning of the controls in the forms.

It is not another IDE - it's another approach: Prototyping+MDA

http://sourceforge.net/projects/lbdmf

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Post by RJP Computing » Fri Apr 04, 2008 1:07 pm

I really suggest wxFormBuilder. :) (I am a developer of wxFB) We release about every two weeks while moving towards the official release of 3.0. It is very stable now. Almost complete for 3.0

It has a very good separation the GUI generation code and the code you implement. Plus it is the only GUI editor that I am aware of that is WYSIWYG. There is no need for a preview. (Except for XRC generation, because of the limitations in XRC)

To get a feel for using wxFormBuilder look at the wiki.
http://wiki.wxformbuilder.org

Here is a video of it in action.
http://wiki.wxformbuilder.org/uploads/M ... torial.avi
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Some comments of my own

Post by ignacvucko » Fri Apr 04, 2008 9:25 pm

Yesterday I downloaded and tried several of them:
- wxDesigner : very easy to use, very limited components
- VisualWX : very complex, buggy (alpha), no documentation
- DialogBlocks : seem very complete and simple to use
- wxFormBuilder : seems EXCELLENT, very intuitive
- wxHatch : more of a code completion tool, little RAD
- wxForms : didn't try since it's a plugin for Borland C++ Builder
- wxWorkshop : Doesn't seem to be maintained any longer
- wxDev-Cpp : very good, but requires that you use Dev++ as your IDE
- Code:Blocks/wxSmith : very good, but requires that you use Dev++ as your IDE

It's good to know that there are so many good options out there!

So, based on my research above, along with helpful comments by RJP Computing and tierra, I've narrowed it down to either DialogBlocks or wxFormBuider.

Before I decide, i'de appreciate any other comments anyone has on how they compare head to head.
I'm not trying to start a flame war here....simply gather facts:

1) Is there any feature in one that is not present in the other?
2) Have you had any problems with either of them?

Thanks,
Ignac

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Post by phlox81 » Fri Apr 04, 2008 9:50 pm

I use wxFormBuilder and wxSmith (C::B is my IDE).

I think both are pretty good. But in wxSmith its sometimes a bit tricky with positioning when you have several Sizers. (Also I can't move Items in the Tree, which I'd really like to).

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Re: Some comments of my own

Post by RJP Computing » Sat Apr 05, 2008 1:57 am

ignacvucko wrote: 1) Is there any feature in one that is not present in the other?
1. The clear separation of the GUI code and your event and application code.
2. I feel that being just a GUI editor is a plus, but I could see that some might not. Meaning wxFormBuilder does not control compilers in any way, it just focus's on being GUI editor.
3. wxFormBuilder is free.
4. wxFormBuilder supports plug-ins, so if you have a custom control you can add it to wxFormBuilder with a bit of code.
5. wxFormBuilder is very active and open-source, so if you report a bug it will be fixed fast. Plus if it isn't released you can build it.
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ignacvucko
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thanks for the feedback

Post by ignacvucko » Sat Apr 05, 2008 8:23 am

Thanks for everyone's help.

I've decided to go with wxFormBuilder.
Will come back in a few weeks and give an update of my experience with it.

Ignac

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Post by Deschamps » Sun Apr 06, 2008 5:39 pm

Hello, ignac.

As always, this question simply requires that you spend some time trying all the tools you have discovered, and then, after some weeks, use the one that makes you feel more comfortable and covers better your needs.

I'm absoulutely convinced that gnu-gcc (as compiler) + Code::Blocks (as IDE) + wxFormBuilder (as GUI builder) are the perfect tools for my wxWidgets development, both in Windows and Linux platforms. But, maybe it isn't your case. As I said, it will depend on your needs.

Particularly, in regards to C::B and wxFB, you'll find that, besides the fact of being mature and stable opensource applications, their respective developers are really approachable and always paying attention to the comments from their users. And this is enough for me for thinking that these are great choices.

Good luck.
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Post by timw4mail » Sun Apr 06, 2008 10:19 pm

Deschamps wrote:Hello, ignac.

As always, this question simply requires that you spend some time trying all the tools you have discovered, and then, after some weeks, use the one that makes you feel more comfortable and covers better your needs.

I'm absoulutely convinced that gnu-gcc (as compiler) + Code::Blocks (as IDE) + wxFormBuilder (as GUI builder) are the perfect tools for my wxWidgets development, both in Windows and Linux platforms. But, maybe it isn't your case. As I said, it will depend on your needs.

Particularly, in regards to C::B and wxFB, you'll find that, besides the fact of being mature and stable opensource applications, their respective developers are really approachable and always paying attention to the comments from their users. And this is enough for me for thinking that these are great choices.

Good luck.
Funny...I've always like Netbeans better...
My wxWidgets Program:Snaga

Platforms:Windows, Linux, Solaris, Mac
IDE/Compiler:Netbeans with MinGW/GCC, Sun Compilers for Solaris, Xcode for Mac
wxWidgets Version:2.8.7

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Re: Some comments of my own

Post by spicerun » Sun Apr 20, 2008 12:34 am

ignacvucko wrote: wxWorkshop : Doesn't seem to be maintained any longer
While its true wxWorkshop is being retooled, it isn't quite dead.

However, I guess until someone has the new code in hand, I guess there will always be happy to declare it dead without ever researching it. FYI - Look at late 2009 for the next version working with the latest wxWidgets and wxAUI libraries.

--Spicerun

PS - I'm working on the cause of the Unaccessible Protected Members in the current wxWorkshop code to get it to work with wxWidgets-2.8.7.

Questions? E-mail me at [email protected]

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