WxWidgets - an amazing cross-platform GUI library

wxWidgets is a library which can be used to write GUI applications using different programming languages. Writing a graphical application from the scratch is not at all an easy task, so using popular libraries like wxWidgets can ease the process and help you create your apps quicker. Read on to know more about the features of wxWidgets.


wxWidgets was written in 1992 by Julian Smart. He developed the library to help developers create applications that are portable across different platforms like Unix and Windows. Now wxWidgets has grown popular with so many developers contributing to this amazing library and adding their own features to it.
As you may already know that writing a simple console application in almost any programming language can be a nightmare for most of the average coders out there. So, creating a GUI application can become next to impossible to them. So, it is always a good idea to use a graphics library developed for that programming language to be used. What this library does is that it has all the common graphics APIs for different platforms pre-written in it. All that you need to do is to call the methods (functions) and use them with the syntax that is specified by wxWidgets.
When using wxWidgets you don't have to worry about machine-level details and how each pixel in the window is drawn on the screen. All these low-level things are done for you. You just need to think about the logic of the application and how to implement it. There are many reasons why wxWidgets should be used instead of other graphics libraries. One of the reasons is that it is now a popular library and there are lots of tutorials and documentation, there are also a lot of contributors in the community who are ready to help users with difficulty.
Now let us take a look at some of the features of wxWidgets.


  • Cross-platform: One of the great features of wxWidgets is that it is cross-platform. You can create an application for different platforms with almost the same lines of code. All the integral coding which are necessary to be written for different platforms are written by wxWidgets itself. You just need to create the application using the APIs of wxWidgets. This can save you a lot of money, time and effort.

  • Native Look and Feel: Another important feature of wxWidgets is that when you write some code using the APIs of wxWidgets your applications will get the native look and feel of the platform that you are running it on because it uses the platform's native API rather than emulating it using the GPU. For example, if you port your application to a Windows 8 system, the windows, buttons, etc. will look like the default windows components. At the same time, if you port it to a Macintosh, it will look like a default Mac application.

  • Sound and Video Playback: Sound and video playback is possible with wxWidgets. So, you can create applications which work on audios and videos. This capability can bring more features to your application.

  • Open Source: wxWidgets is open source and so you can get access to the source code of the library. This helps you as a developer to see what is going on under the hood when you code using wxWidgets. This also gives you the ability to add your own features to it.

  • Multithreading: Multithreading is one of the practices that is used more often now-a-days. Multithreading means more than one task can be completed simultaneously using different cores of the modern multi-core CPUs. Multithreading is necessary for applications which are real-time and require some task to be completed quick or in a limited time period. Applications regarding audio and video can also be coded well using multithreading. wxWidgets supports multithreading and so, you can create the application that you need without having to compromise the performance of it.

  • Support: wxWidgets comes with an HTML help file which contains demos, information and syntax of all the classes and methods available in wxWidgets. The wxWidgets community is now large and there are so many experienced users in it who can help you sort your problems or fix the bugs you have encountered.

  • High Performance: Since most of the components of wxWidgets are written using C++ rather than languages like Java, they perform as fast as the native toolkits.

  • Support for different languages: wxWidgets is written in C++, but it has bindings for different programming languages like Python, Perl, and C#. So, you don't have to worry about learning one specific language for working with wxWidgets.

Who uses wxWidgets?

If you are serious about creating an important project, you should definitely check out who are using the tools that you intend to use. So, I am going to let you know which organizations are using wxWidgets and also which popular software applications are developed using wxWidgets. It has been used by tech companies to creating leading-edge chips, to control pilotless aircraft, to drill for oil, and to test components of space telescopes. Some of the popular organizations who depend on wxWidgets are AOL, AMD, Lockheed Martin, Xerox, NASA and more.
Some popular applications developed using wxWidgets include AVG AntiVirus, Audacity – an amazing free audio editing tool, Filezilla – a file sharing software, iPodder and more. So, if you are planning to get started with wxWidgets or switch to it from other libraries you should definitely do it. wxWidgets has lately moved to Git from Subversion and you can access their repository from their Github page.


wxWidgets is an amazing graphics library for those of you who need to write software that has the native look and feel of the platform and also has great performance. A large number of APIs are present in this application and you can learn all of them from the help file provided by them. There is also an ebook called Cross-Platform GUI Programming With wxWidgets by Julian Smart and Kevin Hock which is also a great resource to get advanced knowledge about the library. So, if you are a developer, I would highly recommend you to check wxWidgets out. Happy coding.


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