Considerations and Conundrums of wxWidgets

Even though everything seems to be fixed now, the recent problems with my development environment have made me seriously reconsider why I chose wxWidgets (and to a lesser degree C++) for development.

I originally started with C++ because I wanted to move away from .NET Framework reliant languages like VB.NET, and after finding the C++ code that became the basis for dotNETInspector my path had been picked. I don’t even remember exactly how wxWidgets came into it – I think I was looking for a drag and drop interface designer that wasn’t Visual Studio and ended up finding wxDev-C++.

Fast forward a few years and my needs, and the tools available to me, have changed. wxDev-C++ seems to be dead or close to it, with no new releases for quite a while and a lot of obvious bugs outstanding, and I would prefer not to move to a closed source development environment like Visual Studio when an open source solution can still do the job. So I am contemplating some changes.

Over the last week I’ve been researching some newer web technologies I was unfamiliar with in preparation for Modern Web Conference that ended with me looking at a page of comparisons between a number of different solutions for using HTML, CSS and Javascript for desktop development. Some of them were no longer supported, others were not supporting the kind of thing I wanted to do, some appeared to be alright but further delving brought up a number of game-breaking issues. That left node-webkit – a standalone package of the webkit rendering engine (originally, it now uses Blink) and node.js that looks quite promising.

So here I am about to pull two all-nighters in a row for Modern Web Conference (it runs midnight to 8am in my timezone, as I write this it is 11:50pm) and I’ve already built a basic “Hello World!” with node-webkit and have automated building it with a batch script. I am loving the possibilities of using HTML, CSS, Javascript, jQuery and AngularJS for desktop development, so I think while I am listening and in between taking notes I will attempt to port one of my apps to run on node-webkit. I was going to try BitMaker, but maybe I’ll try one of my unreleased apps that requires no file system operations just to begin with.

Here’s for a long but hopefully productive night ahead.