Checking out FLTK

I've been using a lot of UI libraries in the past, from pure Win32 C code to MFC, AWT, SWT, Swing, Irrlichts own gui stuff, Qt, wxWidgets, and a lot more. Today I wanted to write a small test program for my game audio library which would need some simple user interface, and all of these libraries didn't really meet my requirements. I also wanted to make the test program open source as example program later, so the requirements for the UI library I had were the following: Small, fast, simple, with all the basic widgets, based no C++ or C, free or LGPL at maximum and cross-platform: Because irrKlang runs on these platforms I needed it to work on Linux, MacOSX and Windows. Sounds though, but I found some candidates, and after studying the web pages of them, I decided to give FLTK a try.

I downloaded it, and after very short time, I had a basic program with a window, some buttons and other widgets on it running, as can be seen on the right. The program should already compile and work on all three platforms, but I only tried it out on Windows yet. FLTK doesn't seem to use native widgets and does everything itself. The result is that the API is a bit unusual (you have to care for widget redraws for yourself for example), and that the widgets look somehow a bit strange, but for small applications, FLTK really is a good choice IMO. It features a UI Designer which generates C++ code, you only need some very few lines of code to set up your UI and the programs created with it, even if statically linked are very small - so there is a reason why it is named 'Fast Light Toolkit'. ;) I think I will use it for other small UI progams in the future too, because it is really handy.

six comments, already:

Did you use the 1.1.* branch (which only gets bugfixes but no new features) or the 2.* branch?
wolfgke - 25 10 07 - 22:28

Isn’t that Windows Vista :-P. Anyways FLTK sounds like a cool UI lib.
leo () (link) - 26 10 07 - 10:15

yes, used the 1.1 version, because I didn’t see that much differences to the 2.0 version and prefered a stable version.
niko - 26 10 07 - 13:58

Where did you get the UI designer for fltk?
Joe () - 26 10 07 - 19:42

It’s named ‘fluid’, it comes with the SDK
niko - 29 10 07 - 23:30

Yes FLTK is quite good, I think I’ll probably use it for my next projects. The main drawback of FLTK is that it doesn’t have cross-platform printing support… yet.
Raedwulf () - 30 10 07 - 09:42


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