Developer

10 PEAR classes that simplify your GTK application development

PEAR comes with a number of pre-built widgets that can significantly simplify your GTK application development. This document lists ten PEAR packages of specific interest to developers working in the PHP-GTK realm.

This article is also available as a TechRepublic download.

PHP developers familiar with windowing applications in *NIX will already be aware of PHP-GTK, an add-on PHP module that allows you to access GIMP Tool Kit (GTK) libraries and functions using an object-oriented interface. But if the thought of building combo boxes and scrolling tickers from scratch doesn't appeal to you, take heart in the fact that PEAR, the PHP Extension and Application Repository, comes with a number of pre-built widgets that can significantly simplify your GTK development. You can't beat the price either...they're free!

This document lists ten PEAR packages of specific interest to developers working in the PHP-GTK realm (Table A). Take a look, and try them out â€" you might find something that solves a problem you're currently facing!

Note: You can install PEAR packages directly from the Web site, by following the instructions provided.

Table A


Package Name

Description

GTK2_EntryDialog

This widget lets you create a simple alert box, with the additional facility to accept and process user input.

Use this package to add alerts and user input fields to your GTK application.

GTK2_FileDrop

This package provides a framework for adding file-drop functionality to GTK widgets. It provides the functions necessary to track file drop events, manage file types and process the file.

Use this package to add file drop functionality to your GTK applications.

GTK2_IndexedComboBox

This widget makes it possible to create an option list (similar to an HTML form select box) that supports both static values and key-value association.

Use this package to quickly create indexed selection lists for GTK applications that require user input.

GTK2_ScrollingLabel

This widget makes it possible to easily create scrolling tickertape, either as a visual element of the interface or as a label for an input field. It includes functions to change the direction of scroll, stop or restart movement, and alter the content of the text.

Use this package to quickly and easily create scrolling tickertapes in your GTK application.

GTK_MDB_Designer

This widget provides a visual database schema designer, which allows you to graphically build tables, fields and relationships. It also allows the schema to be saved as XML and can generate the SQL commands needed to translate the schema to reality.

Use this package to visually lay out or re-link your database schema and relationships.

GTK2_PHPConfig

This widget lets you build a graphical interface to configure different sections of the PHP configuration file php.ini. It includes functions to retrieve current settings, show progress bars and produce pre-defined option selection lists.

Use this package when you need a graphical tool to allow users to manipulate PHP configuration settings.

GTK2_VarDump

This widget provides a graphical tool to examine PHP data structures. It uses a visual tree metaphor to allow developers to drill down and view sub-variables and sub-objects in a class.

Use this package to create a graphical tool to investigate variable contents, usually when debugging.

PEAR_Frontend_GTK

This widget provides a visual interface to the PEAR installation system, allowing you to browse package documentation, install packages and set package configuration variables.

Use this package to build a graphical front-end for PEAR installation and configuration.

PEAR_PackageUpdate_GTK2

This widget allows developers to add auto-update features to their PEAR package. It includes functions to communicate with the master PEAR server, select update frequency and perform the update.

Use this package to build a graphical front-end for PEAR package update.

PEAR_PackageFileManager_GUI_GTK

A useful add-on to the PEAR_Frontend_GTK class, this widget allows developers to build a visual tree interface to PEAR package dependencies, set package file information and add/configure install-time variables.

Use this package to build a graphical tree-based administration tool for PEAR packages.

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