Desktop apps written in Ruby?

Discussion in 'Ruby' started by petermichaux@yahoo.com, Feb 18, 2006.

  1. Guest

    Hi,

    I've only used Ruby in the Rails framework. How about using Ruby to
    build desktop apps with fancy drag and drop GUI with directory trees
    and tabbed panes etc. Can such an app be developed as easily or easier
    than with Java/Swing?

    It looks like Tk is used for Ruby GUI. Is Tk as advanced as Swing?

    What sort of desktop app frameworks are their for Ruby?

    Thanks,
    Peter
     
    , Feb 18, 2006
    #1
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  2. On 2/17/06, <> wrote:
    > Hi,
    >
    > I've only used Ruby in the Rails framework. How about using Ruby to
    > build desktop apps with fancy drag and drop GUI with directory trees
    > and tabbed panes etc. Can such an app be developed as easily or easier
    > than with Java/Swing?
    >
    > It looks like Tk is used for Ruby GUI. Is Tk as advanced as Swing?
    >
    > What sort of desktop app frameworks are their for Ruby?
    >


    GTK and Qt are the most feature-rich Ruby-compatible frameworks, but
    there are many others (wxWidgets, Fox, Tk, etc.)
    Ruby/Qt even has a nice book now:
    http://www.pragmaticprogrammer.com/titles/ctrubyqt/index.html
     
    Wilson Bilkovich, Feb 18, 2006
    #2
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  3. Guest

    Thanks for the reply. From that QTRuby link "to create cross-platform
    GUI applications for Linux and OS X in Ruby". Unfortunately I will need
    to support Windows XP. Sounds like QTRuby can't do that. True?

    Peter
     
    , Feb 18, 2006
    #3
  4. Guest

    On Saturday 18 February 2006 12:49 pm, Wilson Bilkovich wrote:
    > GTK and Qt are the most feature-rich Ruby-compatible frameworks, but
    > there are many others (wxWidgets, Fox, Tk, etc.)
    > Ruby/Qt even has a nice book now:
    > http://www.pragmaticprogrammer.com/titles/ctrubyqt/index.html


    The toolkits are feature complete yes, but what matters is how frozen and
    stable each is for programming. ruby/tk is by far the most frozen and mature.
    ruby-gtk2 is frozen as well. qtruby's usage seems to be in a state of flux,
    but is stable to use. Others really don't match up due to base toolkit
    version which is bound doens't have UTF availability, frozen API, or
    incomplete bindings.

    Tsume
     
    , Feb 18, 2006
    #4
  5. Guest

    On Saturday 18 February 2006 01:08 pm, wrote:
    > Thanks for the reply. From that QTRuby link "to create cross-platform
    > GUI applications for Linux and OS X in Ruby". Unfortunately I will need
    > to support Windows XP. Sounds like QTRuby can't do that. True?
    >
    > Peter


    Unfortunately, there isn't a stable windows build, they've been working on it.
    I believe you should just use ruby-gtk, or ruby/tk(with tile. makes native
    widgets with tk) More information about Tile in the following email to
    ruby-talk.

    http://blade.nagaokaut.ac.jp/cgi-bin/scat.rb/ruby/ruby-talk/180329

    I described just about all the important facts about Tk, and would be an
    excellent choice if you can learn to use the API efficiently.

    I've used FOX, and even used fxruby for a very long time. There are great
    downfalls which made me use another toolkit. FOX is useless to me for having
    no decent UTF support, even though the support is slowly coming along.
    Ruby/GTK2 would be a good solution, especially if you're going to run the
    applications on unix, scim-gtk2-immodule is _very_ useful. I use GNOME, so
    creating GTK/GNOME based apps over Tk is a plus for me.

    Tsume
     
    , Feb 18, 2006
    #5
  6. Guest

    On Saturday 18 February 2006 02:21 pm, Scott Weeks wrote:
    > Why not just build the front end of the app in a windows language
    > (C++,VB,...) and then expose the APIs so that you can build the
    > business logic in Ruby?
    >


    Well, you are welcomed to use the Windows C API to build your applications,
    however designing the application might be a task.

    > Honestly as good as Ruby is for so many things it's not the language to
    > be building GUI's in. TK and QT etc... always feel clunky compared to
    > native windows or mac apps. I know there's a Ruby- Objective C bridge
    > for the Mac but I don't know what's available for windows.
    >


    Many developers writing software for other operating systems feel the APIs
    used to write GUI based software with GTK, QT, and Tk are very suitable. Of
    course people care about look, but if look is so important you want to
    capture the exact feel, then the programmer should be using the
    supported/managed languages for the specified OS. Windows would be using
    the .NET languages. On MacOSX Objective-C, the application language, should
    be used to write software. However, users don't expect native look, they
    expect a easy to use interface. Sure, you've read the articles on how making
    your own pixmap GUI interface renders the program useless, but only because
    people have been writing about the interfaces which fail. The only person who
    is accountable for making a bad interface is the programmer itself. There are
    several pixmaps interfaces which work very well. I know printers now have the
    LCD when you want to perform some task, those are well designed GUI
    interfaces. There is the Jasc photo imaging software meant for the user,
    TheraWriter.PT is another good example which doesn't use standard GUI
    guidelines, Dentrix is another great example for having a decent mouse based
    interface to describe the teeth of a patient. Native look has absolutely
    nothing to do with making a good application, just a convenience. Even using
    a toolkit like WideStudio, a good application interface may be created. I
    believe many programmers try blame the software on bad interfaces, when the
    one accountable is the programmer itself.

    Tsume
     
    , Feb 18, 2006
    #6
  7. On 2/18/06, <> wrote:

    > guidelines, Dentrix is another great example for having a decent mouse ba=

    sed
    > interface to describe the teeth of a patient.


    Teeth sure. Everything else... forget it!

    Dentrix looks like newspaper shavings and toothpaste and oil mixed together=
     
    Gregory Brown, Feb 18, 2006
    #7
  8. Tsume Guest

    On Sat, 2006-02-18 at 18:11 +0900, Gregory Brown wrote:
    > On 2/18/06, <> wrote:
    >
    > > guidelines, Dentrix is another great example for having a decent mouse based
    > > interface to describe the teeth of a patient.

    >
    > Teeth sure. Everything else... forget it!
    >
    > Dentrix looks like newspaper shavings and toothpaste and oil mixed together.
    > ( We've got a C#/Ruby frontend to our Dentrix database backend to
    > spare our clients the pain that is Dentrix ;) )
    >
    > In fact... some of that is what Ruport is designed for. Reporting on
    > dentrix / dx1 crud.
    >


    What pain have you had with Dentrix? Did it drill a hole in the users
    heads? The interface looks rather nice and easy to use, also the third
    party software for the xray machine works wonders, which works very well
    with dentrix. The only part I dislike about dentrix is the restriction
    for ease of use is demolished if the patient information has not been
    entered by the receptionist. When there were dental assistants trying to
    chart someones mouth, they were freaking out when right click, chart
    didn't work. Tsume to the rescue, aka. Wonder Boy! :D

    Tsume
     
    Tsume, Feb 18, 2006
    #8
  9. On 2/18/06, Tsume <> wrote:

    >
    > What pain have you had with Dentrix? Did it drill a hole in the users
    > heads? The interface looks rather nice and easy to use, also the third
    > party software for the xray machine works wonders, which works very well
    > with dentrix. The only part I dislike about dentrix is the restriction
    > for ease of use is demolished if the patient information has not been
    > entered by the receptionist. When there were dental assistants trying to
    > chart someones mouth, they were freaking out when right click, chart
    > didn't work. Tsume to the rescue, aka. Wonder Boy! :D


    You haven't peeked at the database... have you? ;)
     
    Gregory Brown, Feb 18, 2006
    #9
  10. Tsume Guest

    On Sat, 2006-02-18 at 23:23 +0900, Gregory Brown wrote:
    > On 2/18/06, Tsume <> wrote:
    >
    > >
    > > What pain have you had with Dentrix? Did it drill a hole in the users
    > > heads? The interface looks rather nice and easy to use, also the third
    > > party software for the xray machine works wonders, which works very well
    > > with dentrix. The only part I dislike about dentrix is the restriction
    > > for ease of use is demolished if the patient information has not been
    > > entered by the receptionist. When there were dental assistants trying to
    > > chart someones mouth, they were freaking out when right click, chart
    > > didn't work. Tsume to the rescue, aka. Wonder Boy! :D

    >
    > You haven't peeked at the database... have you? ;)
    >


    Well, no. Supposedly its huge. I probably shouldn't look.

    Tsume
     
    Tsume, Feb 18, 2006
    #10
  11. Tsume Guest

    On Sat, 2006-02-18 at 23:25 +0900, Gregory Brown wrote:
    > On 2/18/06, Gregory Brown <> wrote:
    > > On 2/18/06, Tsume <> wrote:
    > >
    > > >
    > > > What pain have you had with Dentrix? Did it drill a hole in the users
    > > > heads? The interface looks rather nice and easy to use, also the third
    > > > party software for the xray machine works wonders, which works very well
    > > > with dentrix. The only part I dislike about dentrix is the restriction
    > > > for ease of use is demolished if the patient information has not been
    > > > entered by the receptionist. When there were dental assistants trying to
    > > > chart someones mouth, they were freaking out when right click, chart
    > > > didn't work. Tsume to the rescue, aka. Wonder Boy! :D

    > >

    >
    > Also, to keep this more on topic... (about GUIs) the appointment
    > schedules are kind of awkward and just don't really fit our needs
    > well. It's easy enough to integrate with it (with some pain), so I
    > suppose that's a good thing.
    >


    Huh? Well Dentrix Appointment works better than Office Hours. They use
    the overcomplicated rubbish downstairs. Office Hours is a good example
    over what I was talking about. NDC uses native widgets, but just a
    horrible overcomplicated design. People keep switching the views from
    master to single rows, which is a completely pointless feature. I
    haven't had any problems with dentrix appointment, because the interface
    is simple. Its like comparing Windows to MacOSX/or GNOME. People really
    need to use the KISS method.

    Tsume
     
    Tsume, Feb 18, 2006
    #11
  12. Scott Weeks Guest

    On 18/02/2006, at 5:05 PM, wrote:

    > On Saturday 18 February 2006 02:21 pm, Scott Weeks wrote:
    >> Why not just build the front end of the app in a windows language
    >> (C++,VB,...) and then expose the APIs so that you can build the
    >> business logic in Ruby?
    >>

    >
    > Well, you are welcomed to use the Windows C API to build your
    > applications,
    > however designing the application might be a task.
    >


    How is this so? I'm not a windows developer and I've only done a few
    things in VC++ but the "physical" design of the application is a breeze
    compared to juggling everything else (message passing and whatever
    other strange beasts lie beneath the surface). I was hypothetically
    speaking though as far as using Ruby as a backend. I tried it for one
    particular application and it was a bear to try to handle windows
    messages appropriately.

    I also tried the Ruby Cocoa bridge for OS X about a year and a half ago
    but I couldn't quite get that to do what I wanted it to.


    >> Honestly as good as Ruby is for so many things it's not the language
    >> to
    >> be building GUI's in. TK and QT etc... always feel clunky compared to
    >> native windows or mac apps. I know there's a Ruby- Objective C bridge
    >> for the Mac but I don't know what's available for windows.
    >>

    > However, users don't expect native look, they
    > expect a easy to use interface.
    >


    This is dead wrong.

    I really don't mean to be inflammatory but users care very much about
    consistency. In fact consistency is probably the are with the greatest
    effect on the outcome when designing user interfaces. If you were to
    magically drop a well designed Cocoa application in the middle of a
    Windows environment it would confuse the hell out of users, no matter
    how well it was engineered for usability.

    However, if you are building an internal corporate app then it doesn't
    matter too much because people can be trained to use and accept
    whatever they are given. In that case it's generally better to optimise
    for developer time than to optimise for user experience.

    As well Windows users are more used to pain so they are more forgiving
    when it comes to non-native interfaces. I do know that Mac apps that
    aren't native stick out like dogs balls and there is very little chance
    people will go near them (the sole exception that I can think of is
    Firefox).

    It (like anything else) depends on the task at hand, and I certainly
    don't mean to come off in the wrong way. I just think it deserves a bit
    of reflection and I really think that GUI development in Ruby could be
    amazing if the proper bridges were built to native systems rather than
    just being Yet Another Language with TK support.

    Cheers,
    Scott
     
    Scott Weeks, Feb 18, 2006
    #12
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