GTK hacking in Pike

Published 19 January, 2010 in Applications , Linux , Programming - 0 Comments

Tweepi, the Twitter client written in PikeI’ve found out that it’s great fun programming desktop applications and of course it gets more fun the more you learn. Now I’m doing a Twitter client in Pike – my favorite programming language – mostly because I wanted to try out GTK programming in Pike. I use the good Twitter client Pino – written in Vala – and I have borrowed the concept and layout from it. I call it Tweepi.

The only major difference between Tweepi and Pino – besides they are written in different programming languages – is that Pino uses WebKit to draw the status messages where I am using good old GTK widgets – and I guess there are no bindings to WebKit in Pike for that matter ;)

One thing I noticed is that the Gtk.Label widget sucks at displaying longer texts that line wraps. Since the label widget handles some HTML formatting I thought that it would be suitable for displaying the status messages, but the text looked like shit, line wrapping where ever it felt like. And the Gtk.TextView widget doesn’t handle formatting per default so I Googled some and found that you can format text in Gtk.TextViews by inserting Gtk.TextTags at desired positions. And since Pike has the most awesome HTML parser It was just a matter of sending the text through the parser and create some Gtk.TextTags and inserting them at the same position in the text buffer. (Well, actually it wasn’t that easy but with some help from a Python class I found on the web it was doable).

So now I have a start at something that is a Gtk.HtmlTextView – actually it inherits Gtk.TextView but has an additional method insert_html_text(string text) – and albeit quite simple at the moment it’s worth continuing on. The code for the HtmlTextView is available at my Github repository.

In general I find the GTK implementation in Pike to be pretty OK, but there exist some verbose, and tedious, stuff like getting the text from a Gtk.TextView:

2 lines of Pike
  1. Gtk.TextBuffer b = my_textview>get_buffer();
  2. string text = b>get_text(b>get_start_iter(), b>get_end_iter(), 0);

which in Vala and C# would be done like:

5 lines of Vala
  1. // Vala
  2. string text = my_textview.get_buffer().text;
  3. // C#
  4. string text = myTextView.Buffer.Text;

Anyway! Tweepi isn’t done yet but I think I have solved the most tedious stuff and it’s starting to become useful. It’ll probably be done in a couple of weeks and I will of course release the sources then.