Re: Windows dev-* environment

On Mon, 2008-10-06 at 23:47 +0300, Vlad Grecescu wrote:
> I think most of the people that use Gtk+ on Windows also use
> autoconf/automake (think Inkscape, Geany, Pidgin). Unfortunately they
> also use parralel Makefiles for win32.. having the opportunity to
> compile unmodified (vanilla) Gtk+ software in msys/mingw seems like a
> good idea to me.
> Also, Visual Studio for new projects is another target, but I think
> the difference is weather you're mainly developing on WIndows and
> regulary checking if it works on Linux/*nix etc. or the other way
> around.

I'm not thinking in terms of "the people that use Gtk+ on Windows" right
now.  They do what they do because there aren't many options, or because
they're developing Linux applications primarily but want to build them
on Windows.  Building applications using autoconf/automake/make on
Windows is extremely slow and painful, so in my opinion it makes for a
very sub-optimal development environment, but if you're primarily
developing on Linux it is tolerable for just building Windows binaries.
But when I compile the Gtk+ stack, I cross-compile with mingw on Linux
because it is probably 10 times faster (no, I didn't actually measure
the time I'm just taking a wild guess).

I think once the MSM/MSI projects are upstream, they'll be useful for
people developing on Windows with mingw.  But mostly I think they'll be
useful for distributing GTK-based applications.  The problem, as I see
it right now, is that there are a lot of applications that each bundle
GTK in their own way; they each have to figure out how to make
installers to distribute their apps.  You end up with five copies of Gtk
all over your system, all different versions.  I hear rumors that some
apps do some custom patching of Gtk on Windows, but I'm not sure how
true that is.  I think (and hope) that by encouraging an official
installer we can minimize that type of behavior, and encourage bug
reports into Bugzilla, etc.  Also people can stop focusing on the
distribution problems so much and just focus on writing awesome
applications with Gtk+.  (if you want to grab my current MSI build, I've
posted it at - let me know if
it's working okay for you with mingw and stuff if you like.. it's not
the latest version of Gtk+ yet.. I'll update it this weekend in Boston).

The Visual Studio support that we want to add later is really about
trying to make Gtk+ more appealing to developers who want to think about
cross-platform applications.  I think we want to increase the appeal of
Gtk+ to people outside the ones you listed above.  It's awesome that
Pidgin, Evolution, GIMP, etc all run on Windows.  But when new
developers come along and think, "I want to write an application.. I'm a
Windows user, but some of my friends use MacOS X and/or Linux so I might
as well try to write something in a portable UI toolkit."  This is the
type of developer that I think we can begin to attract if we provide
Visual Studio support.

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