Chapter 24. Glade and Gtk::Builder

Table of Contents

Although you can use C++ code to instantiate and arrange widgets, this can soon become tedious and repetitive. And it requires a recompilation to show changes. The Glade application allows you to layout widgets on screen and then save an XML description of the arrangement. Your application can then use the Gtk::Builder API to load that XML file at runtime and obtain a pointer to specifically named widget instances.

This has the following advantages:

  1. Less C++ code is required.
  2. UI changes can be seen more quickly, so UIs are able to improve.
  3. Designers without programming skills can create and edit UIs.

You still need C++ code to deal with User Interface changes triggered by user actions, but using Gtk::Builder for the widget layout allows you to focus on implementing that functionality.

Loading the .glade file

Gtk::Builder must be used via a Glib::RefPtr. Like all such classes, you need to use a create() method to instantiate it. For instance,

auto builder = Gtk::Builder::create_from_file("basic.glade");

This will instantiate the windows defined in the .glade file.

To instantiate just one window, or just one of the child widgets, you can specify the name of a widget as the second parameter. For instance,

auto builder = Gtk::Builder::create_from_file("basic.glade", "treeview_products");