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Author Topic: Easy Small Free Windows Language that does cool GUIs??  (Read 6322 times)

MilesAhead

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Easy Small Free Windows Language that does cool GUIs??
« on: April 22, 2009, 06:54:10 PM »
I went to install Delphi 5 for the umpteenth time today, and I just took it back off.  I'm trying to find a free Windows programming language, environment etc.. that easily creates GUIs with cool graphics, non-rectangular forms, etc..  I have VS 2008 Express but I'm looking for something, even if interpreted, can compile to a stand-alone exe wrapper or be natively compiled.

The dialog box lookin' app is just too old fashioned now.  Need something where I can do glass or skins without having to get a degree in GDI+ if you know what I mean.  Drag & drop IDE would be ideal.  Hopefully pretty conventional syntax would be good also.  I tried Perl and although I could do a lot with a few lines, 10 minutes later I almost lost my mind trying to remember how I did it!! :)

wraith808

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Re: Easy Small Free Windows Language that does cool GUIs??
« Reply #1 on: April 22, 2009, 09:24:49 PM »
If you're familiar with Delphi, then you might try Lazarus

From the site:
Quote
So just what is Lazarus?

Lazarus is the class libraries for Free Pascal that emulate Delphi. Free Pascal is a GPL'ed compiler that runs on Linux, Win32, OS/2, 68K and more. Free Pascal is designed to be able to understand and compile Delphi syntax, which is of course OOP. Lazarus is the part of the missing puzzle that will allow you to develop Delphi like programs in all of the above platforms. Unlike Java which strives to be a write once run anywhere, Lazarus and Free Pascal strives for write once compile anywhere. Since the exact same compiler is available on all of the above platforms it means you don't need to do any recoding to produce identical products for different platforms.
Yeah, but what about the GUI? What widget set are you using?

That is the neat part. You decide. Lazarus is being developed to be totally and completely API independent. Once you write your code you just link it against the API widget set of your choice. If you want to use GTK+, great! If you want it to be Gnome compliant, great! As long as the interface code for the widget set you want to use is available you can link to it. If it isn't available, well you can write it.

For example. Let's say you are creating a product on Windows using the standard Windows widgets. Now you want to create a Linux version. First you decide what widget set you want to use. Let's assume you want to use gtk+. So you copy the code over to your Linux development machine, compile, and link against the gtk+ interface unit. That's it. You've now just created a Linux version of the Windows product without any additional coding.

At this point in the development we are using gtk+ as our initial API widget set. Some work is also being done with Qt and the Win32 API. As soon as Lazarus reaches a 1.0 release developers will be able to start to create the interface unit to tie the LCL (Lazarus Component Libraries) to other widget sets.
So is this thing really RAD like Delphi?

It sure is. Is it totally completed? No not yet. The forms design portion is still in need of a great deal of development. The over all IDE is complete and can be used for most programming needs. Several aspects of the project are still in need of help. Hint. Hint.
Can I use my existing Delphi code?

Some of it yes. If the code is standard Delphi pascal and it uses the standard components found in Delphi then the answer is yes. If it uses some specific database, OCX, or DCU then the answer would be no. These items are specific to Windows and would only work on and within Windows. However, if you are only looking to create a Windows product using Free Pascal and Lazarus then the answer would be yes. This hasn't been added to the LCL yet but it should be possible in the future.
Can I create commercial products with this?

Yes. The code for the Free Pascal compiler is licensed under the GPL. This means that it is open source, free, whatever name you want to stick to it. You can modify the code if you wish but you MUST distribute those changes or make them available to others if they wish to use it.

The FCL (Free Pascal Component Libraries) and the LCL (which will eventually become part of the FCL) are licensed under a modified LGPL. In a nut shell this means that you can write your own proprietary software that just links to these libraries. You can sell your application without the need to supply or make available your code. However, as with the compiler if you make modifications to the FCL or LCL you must make those changes available to the general public and the world.

If you'd rather a more stable project, and can use C#, then I'd also recommend checking out SharpDevelop.
« Last Edit: April 22, 2009, 09:26:40 PM by wraith808 »

mouser

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Re: Easy Small Free Windows Language that does cool GUIs??
« Reply #2 on: April 22, 2009, 10:18:29 PM »
Autohotkey comes to mind.. at least for smaller utilities.

MilesAhead

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Re: Easy Small Free Windows Language that does cool GUIs??
« Reply #3 on: April 23, 2009, 12:06:08 AM »
If you're familiar with Delphi, then you might try Lazarus

Thanks. I installed the 64 bit IDE and I'll mess around with it.  Right now any free 64 bit IDE is a good 64 bit IDE.  ShowMessage('Hello World!'); worked as expected to it might be fun to mess with it.

MilesAhead

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Re: Easy Small Free Windows Language that does cool GUIs??
« Reply #4 on: April 23, 2009, 12:08:17 AM »
Autohotkey comes to mind.. at least for smaller utilities.

Do you know if there are any quick and dirty toolbar or non-square or frameless window libs around for it?  I'm just trying to be as lazy as possible as I experiment with some funky lookin' windows. :)

Target

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Re: Easy Small Free Windows Language that does cool GUIs??
« Reply #5 on: April 23, 2009, 12:11:54 AM »
have a look at WinSet in the documentation

rjbull

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Re: Easy Small Free Windows Language that does cool GUIs??
« Reply #6 on: April 24, 2009, 03:36:56 AM »
Maybe PureBasic?

[edit]
Oops...  looks like there's no free version any more.  I think they had a limited free version a few years ago.
[/edit]
« Last Edit: April 24, 2009, 07:21:38 AM by rjbull »

app103

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Re: Easy Small Free Windows Language that does cool GUIs??
« Reply #7 on: April 25, 2009, 12:10:44 AM »
If you like Delphi but want something newer than v5 and you want it for free, you could try the Turbo Delphi Explorer.

Of course you are not going to be able to just drag & drop and have magical custom shaped GUI's. You are going to have to learn how to code them.

I have done some interesting image based GUI stuff in Delphi, coding all the stuff for the buttons & everything myself, in Delphi 6.

Attached is a demo of what I did (buttons don't actually do anything, but it does display how they look when clicked). Eventually, when I finish what I want to do with it (might not be for a long time), I plan on releasing it as a set of components, but don't hold your breath waiting on that.

kartal

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MilesAhead

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Re: Easy Small Free Windows Language that does cool GUIs??
« Reply #9 on: April 25, 2009, 10:06:52 AM »
Thanks for the suggestions.  I'll check 'em out.  :Thmbsup:

wraith808

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Re: Easy Small Free Windows Language that does cool GUIs??
« Reply #10 on: April 25, 2009, 01:02:24 PM »
If you like Delphi but want something newer than v5 and you want it for free, you could try the Turbo Delphi Explorer.

Of course you are not going to be able to just drag & drop and have magical custom shaped GUI's. You are going to have to learn how to code them.

I have done some interesting image based GUI stuff in Delphi, coding all the stuff for the buttons & everything myself, in Delphi 6.

Attached is a demo of what I did (buttons don't actually do anything, but it does display how they look when clicked). Eventually, when I finish what I want to do with it (might not be for a long time), I plan on releasing it as a set of components, but don't hold your breath waiting on that.

Well, that wouldn't work, would it?  You can't install 3p components in Turbo Delphi Explorer...

pao

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Re: Easy Small Free Windows Language that does cool GUIs??
« Reply #11 on: May 06, 2009, 08:15:12 AM »
Depending on what you mean by "cool GUIs," you might give Processing a look.  It's particularly good at artistic or data-driven graphical displays.  Not sure about unusually-shaped windows, however.
Patrick O'Leary

app103

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Re: Easy Small Free Windows Language that does cool GUIs??
« Reply #12 on: May 06, 2009, 02:13:32 PM »
Well, that wouldn't work, would it?  You can't install 3p components in Turbo Delphi Explorer...

No, but the OP said he had Delphi 5, into which he can install 3rd party components. That's only 1 version behind the version I used to make that demo.

wraith808

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Re: Easy Small Free Windows Language that does cool GUIs??
« Reply #13 on: May 06, 2009, 02:49:22 PM »
Ahh... I get it :)

MilesAhead

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Re: Easy Small Free Windows Language that does cool GUIs??
« Reply #14 on: May 06, 2009, 05:09:21 PM »
Thanks to all for the suggestions.  I got my money's worth out of Delphi 5.  Guess it's time to forget about if it runs on Win9x and just go for XP and later.  Not everything should look like a text editor.  Guess I'll try to pay more attention to appearance. I enjoy using stuff like RocketDock myself, so why not? :)