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PyGTK For GUI Programming

PyGTK is a Python binding for the GTK+ (GIMP Toolkit) graphical user interface library. It provides a powerful and flexible set of tools for creating cross-platform graphical user interfaces (GUIs) for desktop applications. In this article, we will explore the features of PyGTK and how to use it for GUI programming.


First, let's start with the installation process. PyGTK can be installed using the pip package manager. Open a terminal and type the following command:

Once the installation is complete, you can import the PyGTK module in your Python program.

Creating a Basic GUI

Let's start with creating a basic GUI using PyGTK. In PyGTK, a GUI is built by creating widgets and arranging them in a hierarchy. A widget is a graphical component such as a button, label, or text entry field.

To create a GUI, we need to create a window widget. A window widget is the top-level container for all other widgets in a GUI.

In the above code, we have created a window widget and set its title. We have also connected the "destroy" event to the gtk.main_quit function, which will be called when the user closes the window. Finally, we show the window using the show() method and start the GTK main loop using the main() method.

Adding Widgets to the GUI

Now, let's add some widgets to our GUI. We will add a label widget and a button widget to the window widget.

In the above code, we have created a label widget and a button widget. We have also connected the "clicked" event of the button widget to a method named on_button_clicked, which will be called when the button is clicked. Inside the on_button_clicked method, we have changed the text of the label widget to "Button clicked!".

Finally, we have added both the label and button widgets to the window widget using the add() method. We have also used the show_all() method to show all the widgets in the window.

Layout Management

In PyGTK, we can use layout managers to arrange widgets in a more flexible way. A layout manager is a PyGTK object that is responsible for positioning and sizing the widgets in a window. PyGTK comes with several built-in layout managers, including Box, Grid, Table, and Fixed.

Box layout manager allows us to stack widgets vertically or horizontally. Grid layout manager allows us to arrange widgets in a grid of rows and columns. Table layout manager is similar to the Grid layout manager, but it provides more control over the size and position of widgets. Fixed layout manager allows us to place widgets at specific pixel coordinates.

To use a layout manager, we need to create an instance of the layout manager and add the widgets to it. We can then add the layout manager to the window widget using the add() method.

Signals and Callbacks

In PyGTK, we can connect signals to callback functions. A signal is an event that is emitted by a widget when a certain action is performed, such as a button click or a key press. A callback function is a function that is called when a signal is emitted.

To connect a signal to a callback function, we use the connect() method of the widget. The connect() method takes two arguments: the name of the signal and the callback function.

For example, we can connect the "clicked" signal of a button widget to a method named on_button_clicked using the following code:

In the on_button_clicked method, we can perform any action that we want to take when the button is clicked.


In conclusion, PyGTK is a powerful and flexible tool for creating GUIs for desktop applications. It provides a wide range of widgets, layout managers, and signals that can be used to create professional-looking GUIs. PyGTK is also cross-platform and can be used on Windows, Linux, and Mac OS X. If you are looking to create desktop applications with Python, PyGTK is definitely worth checking out.

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