Visual Perl/Tk

 GUI development solution for beginners and professionals

 By Felix Liberman (
 English version editor: Uri Bruck (


 · Why Perl/Tk
   ­ Other languages/libraries
   ­ Comparison table
 · Alternative visual tools for Perl/Tk
 · What beginners need
 · Why experienced programmer need it
 · What VPTK offers
 · Features that are not supported (yet)
 · Demo

Why Perl/Tk

 · We are familiar with Perl, so a new GUI environment
ramp-up should not take much effort
 · Perl has big advantage against other languages ­ it
requires significantly less development and debug effort
 · Perl/Tk runs on all GUI-compatible platforms, so it could
be used when multiple platforms compatibility is critical
 · We should consider that for really big GUI projects the
Perl interpreter limitations could become a bottleneck,
but contemporary HW/SW trends make this
consideration increasingly outdated
 We use Perl mostly for console or web applications
development, while the GUI sector is already dominated by
GTK, QT and tcl/tk, so why does Perl/Tk still remain a good

Why Perl/Tk (Comparison table)

                 Perl/Tk  tcl/tk     Perl GTK    QT
 Cross-platform     +        +         ?         +
 Ready to run       +        +         +         +
 Easy ramp-up       +        -         +         -
 Development        ?        +         +         ?

Alternative visual tools for Perl/Tk

 · If our choice is Perl/Tk we need a good
tool for development automation
 · There are many commercial solutions, but
most are oriented to MS Win
 · Official CPAN project "ZooZ" appears to
be not quite ready for practical use
 · "GLADE" and other open-source tools are
too general, can't produce instant code
and require a specific platform or
additional installations

What beginners need

 · When starting to learn a new GUI development
package one wants to see what it offers and how
it "kicks" in real life (not in a book)
 · Beginners surely won't be familiar with geometry
managers and numerous widget options but
need some practical way to learn them
 · It's easier for a beginner to "play" with his design
interactively, without re-running the same
program thousands of times
 · For a beginner it's important to see what
generated code looks like ­ for future use of the
same tricks in "manual mode"

Why experienced programmers need it

 · Experienced programmers also need a
visual environment for design automation:
   ­ For GUI sketching when working with
   ­ For quicker development of small projects that
don't require special GUI tricks
   ­ For proof-of-concept experiments
   ­ For GUI project initial planning

What VPTK offers

 · Free, easy to install tool that works in every place where
Perl/Tk installed
 · Beginner-friendly context sensitive help based on Perl/Tk
 · User-side code support (callbacks & global variables)
 · Two output formats: ready-to-run executable and sub-
module code
 · On-the-fly generated code preview and debug
 · Geometry manager conflicts resolution (automatic)
 · Undo/Redo
 · Cut-'n'-Paste
 · Functional part before main loop
 · Balloons

Features that are not supported (yet)

 · Bindings
 · Non-static GUI tricks
 · Lists/trees/tables contents
 · Control over all widget's options
 · Extended widgets set (like mega-widgets)
 · Free input/output format
 · Drag-'n'-drop interface


 You can download for free VPTK (widget edition) here:

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