ocaml-4.05 or more
gtk+-3.18 or more
findlib 1.2.1 or more (for default install)
GNU make (there is no standard for conditionals)
LablGtk3 is still an experimental port of LablGtk2 to Gtk-3.
Currently it is more or less a subset of LablGtk2.
An important change in gtk-2 was the use of unicode (utf8) for
all strings. If you use non-ascii strings, you must imperatively
convert them to unicode. This can be done with the
Glib.Convert.locale_to_utf8 function. If your input is already in
utf8, it is still a good idea to validate it with
Glib.Utf8.validate, as malformed utf8 strings may cause segmentation
setlocale is now always called (except if you set
GTK_SETLOCALE to 0 in the environment), but
LC_NUMERIC is reverted
"C" to avoid problems with floating point conversion in OCaml.
Some widgets may be unsupported on your version of Gtk.
If you use them, you will get a runtime error:
Failure "Gobject.unsafe_create : type GtkActionGroup is not yet defined"
For unsupported methods, the error message is a bit clearer:
Failure "gdk_pixbuf_get_file_info unsupported in Gtk 2.x < 2.4"
There are two ways to compile:
For dune, just do
dune build && dune install. If you want also to
build examples, do
dune build @all. If you are in OSX please be
aware that you may need to set the
PKG_CONFIG_PATH variable, for
The following details the instructions for make.
You should normally not need to modify Makefiles.
In case you are using the SVN version you may have to first type
aclocal && autoconf.
./configure && make world
to compile with all supported options enabled (libgl,
libgnomecanvas, librsvg, native compilation, thread support).
You may use
./configure --help to check for the different
Lablgtk3 specific options are:
--with-libdir=/path: install libs in /path/lablgtk3 and /path/stublibs --with-gtkspell --without-gtkspell: override autodetected gtkspell support --with-gtksourceview3 --without-gtksourceview3: override autodetected gtksourceview3 support --enable-debug: enable debug mode
make install to install using findlib.
are copied directly to the configured executable directory.
The following findlib packages are provided (according to configuration):
You can alternatively use
make old-install or
make old-install DESTDIR=/my/prefix to use the old
installation procedure, which does not rely on findlib.
By default, the library is installed at +lablgtk3.
All installation paths are prefixed by
DESTDIR when given.
gdk.mllow-level interface to the General Drawing Kit
gtk.mllow-level interface to the GIMP Tool Kit
gtkThread.mlmain loop for threaded version
g[A-Z]*.mlobject-oriented interface to GTK
gdkObj.mlobject-oriented interface to GDK
applications/browseran ongoing port of ocamlbrowser
applications/camlircan IRC client (by Nobuaki Yoshida)
How to run the examples
In the examples directory just type:
If you want to run them before installing lablgtk3 you have to use
../src/lablgtk3 -localdir ???.ml
How to link them
The lablgtk3 script loads an extra module GtkInit, whose only contents is:
let locale = GtkMain.Main.init ()
You must either add this line, or add this module to your link, before
calling any Gtk function. With ocamlfind, use
ocamlfind ocamlc -package lablgtk3.auto-init -linkpkg -w s ???.ml -o ???
Otherwise, use something similar to:
ocamlc -I +lablgtk3 -w s lablgtk.cma gtkInit.cmo ???.ml -o ???
How to use the threaded toplevel
% lablgtk3 -thread Objective Caml version 4.07.1 # let w = GWindow.window ~show:true ();; # let b = GButton.button ~packing:w#add ~label:"Hello!" ();;
You should at once see a window appear, and then a button.
The GTK main loop is running in a separate thread. Any command
is immediately reflected by the system.
For Windows and OSX/Quartz, there are restrictions on which
commands can be used in which thread. See the windows port section
lower for how to use them.
When using threads in a stand-alone application, you must link with
gtkThread.cmo and call GtkThread.main in place of GMain.main.
Since 2.16.0, busy waiting is no longer necessary with systems
threads. (I.e., CPU usage is 0% if nothing occurs.)
If you use VM threads, you have to enable busy waiting by hand,
otherwise other threads won't be executed (cf. gtkThread.mli).
Beware that with VM threads, you cannot switch threads within
a callback. The only thread related command you may use in a
callback is Thread.create. Calling blocking operations may cause
deadlocks. On the other hand, all newly created threads will be run
outside of the callback, so they can use all thread operations.
Structure of the (raw) Gtk* modules
These modules are composed of one submodule for each class.
Signals specific to a widget are in a Signals inner module.
A setter function is defined to give access to set_param functions.
Structure of the G[A-Z]* modules
These modules provide classes to wrap the raw function calls.
Here are the widget classes contained in each module:
GPango Pango font handling
GDraw Gdk pixmaps, etc...
GObj gtkobj, widget, style
GData data, adjustment, tooltips
GContainer container, item_container
GWindow window, dialog, color_selection_dialog, file_selection, plug
GPack box, button_box, table, fixed, layout, packer, paned, notebook
GBin scrolled_window, event_box, handle_box, frame,
aspect_frame, viewport, socket
GButton button, toggle_button, check_button, radio_button, toolbar
GMenu menu_item, tearoff_item, check_menu_item, radio_menu_item,
menu_shell, menu, option_menu, menu_bar, factory
GMisc separator, statusbar, calendar, drawing_area,
misc, arrow, image, pixmap, label, tips_query,
GTree tree_item, tree, view (also tree/list_store, model)
GList list_item, liste, clist
GEdit editable, entry, spin_button, combo
GRange progress, progress_bar, range, scale, scrollbar
GText view (also buffer, iter, mark, tag, tagtable)
While subtyping follows the Gtk widget hierarchy, you cannot always
use width subtyping (i.e.
#super is not unifiable with all the
subclasses of super). Still, it works for some classes, like
#container, and allows subtyping without coercion towards
these classes (cf.
#container in examples/pousse.ml for instance).
Practically, each widget class is composed of:
a coerce method, returning the object coerced to the type widget.
an as_widget method, returning the raw Gtk widget used for packing, etc...
a destroy method, sending the destroy signal to the object.
a get_oid method, the equivalent of Oo.id for Gtk objects.
a connect sub-object, allowing one to widget specific
signals (this is what prevents width subtyping in subclasses.)
a misc sub-object, giving access to miscellanous functionality of
the basic gtkwidget class, and a misc#connect sub-object.
an event sub-object, for Xevent related functions (only if the widget
has an Xwindow), and an event#connect sub-object.
a drag sub-object, containing drag and drop functions,
and a drag#connect sub-object.
widget specific methods.
Here is a diagram of the structure (- for methods, + for sub-objects)
- coerce : widget - as_widget : Gtk.widget obj - destroy : unit -> unit - get_oid : int - ... + connect : mywidget_signals | - after | - signal_name : callback:(... -> ...) -> GtkSignal.id + misc : misc_ops | - show, hide, disconnect, ... | + connect : misc_signals + drag : drag_ops | - ... | + connect : drag_signals + event : event_ops | - add, ... | + connect : event_signals
You create a widget by
<Module>.<widget name> options ... ().
Many optional arguments are admitted. The last two of them, packing:
and show:, allow you respectively to call a function on your newly
created widget, and to decide wether to show it immediately or not.
By default all widgets except toplevel windows (GWindow module) are
For many constructor or method arguments, default values are provided.
Generally, this default value is defined by GTK, and you must refer
to GTK's documentation.
For ML defined defaults, usually default values are either
NONE``, according to the expected type. Important exceptions are `~show`, which default to true in all widgets except those in **GWindow**, and `~fill`, which defaults to true or BOTH``.
Note about unit as method argument:
O'Caml introduces no distinction between methods having side-effects
and methods simply returning a value. In practice, this is
confusing, and awkward when used as callbacks. For this reason all
methods having noticeable side-effects should take arguments, and
unit if they have no argument.
The GUtil module provides two kinds of utilities: a memo table, to be
able to dynamically cast widgets to their original class, and more
interesting ML-side signals.
With ML-side signals, you can combine LablGTK widgets into your own
components, and add signals to them. Later you can connect to these
signals, just like GTK signals. This proved very efficient to
develop complex applications, abstracting the plumbing between
various components. Explanations are provided in GUtil.mli.
The GToolbox module contains contributed components to help you build
Important efforts have been dedicated to cooperate with Gtk's
reference counting mechanism. As a result you should generally be
able to use Gdk/Gtk data structures without caring about memory
management. They will be freed when nobody points to them any more.
This also means that you do not need to pay too much attention to
whether a data structure is still alive or not. If it is not, you
should get an error rather than a core dump.
The case of Gtk objects deserves special care. Since they are
interactive, we cannot just destroy them when they are no longer
referenced. They have to be explicitely destroyed. If a widget was
added to a container widget, it will automatically be destroyed when
its last container is destroyed. For this reason you need only
destroy toplevel widgets.
Since too frequent GC can severely degrade performance, since 2.18.4
it is possible to change the contribution of custom blocks to the
GC cycle, using the function
GMain.Gc.set_speed. The default is 10%
of what it was in 2.18.3. If you set it to 0, custom block allocation
has no impact, and you should consider running the Gc by hand.
IMPORTANT: Some Gtk data structures are allocated in the Caml heap,
and their use in signals (Gtk functions internally cally callbacks)
relies on their address being stable during a function call. For
this reason automatic compation is disabled in GtkMain. If you need
it, you may use compaction through
Gc.compact where it is safe
(timeouts, other threads...), but do not enable automatic compaction.
LibGlade support: not available in Gtk3 (replaced by GtkBuilder)
GL extension: not available in Gtk3
SVG support: not available in Gtk3
GnomeCanvas support: not available in Gtk3
GtkSourceView 3 support:
This binding was contributed by Benjamin Monate, and
adapted by Hugo Herbelin.
It requires libgtksourceview-3.x.
See examples in examples/sourceview/*2.ml
The executable must be linked with lablgtksourceview3.cma.
See README.win32 for detailed information on installation.
If you want to use threads, you must be aware of windows specific
restrictions; see for instance:
I.e. all GTK related calls must occur in the same thread, the one
that runs the main loop. If you want to call them from other threads
you need to do some forwarding. Fortunately, with a functional
language this is easy. Two functions,
val async : ('a -> unit) -> 'a -> unit val sync : ('a -> 'b) -> 'a -> 'b
are available in the GtkThread module to help you. They will forward
your call to the main thread (between handling two GUI events). This
can be either asynchronous or synchronous. In the synchronous case,
beware of deadlocks (the trivial case, when you are calling from the
same thread, is properly avoided). Note also that since callbacks
are always called from the main loop thread, you can freely use GTK
in them. Also, non-graphical operations are thread-safe.
Here is an example using the lablgtk toplevel with threads:
% lablgtk3.bat -thread Objective Caml version 4.07.1 # open GtkThread;; # let w = sync (GWindow.window ~show:true) ();; # let b = sync (GButton.button ~packing:w#add ~label:"Hello!") ();; # b#connect#clicked (fun () -> prerr_endline "Hello");;
Since Darwin is Unix, this port compiles as usual.
Note however that Quartz imposes even stronger restrictions than
Windows on threads: only the main thread of the application can do
GUI work. Just apply the same techniques as described above, being
careful to ensure that your first call to
GtkThread.main occurs in
the main thread. This is done automatically in the threaded toplvel.
Jacques Garrigue email@example.com
Benjamin Monate firstname.lastname@example.org
Olivier Andrieu email@example.com
Adrien Nader firstname.lastname@example.org
Jun Furuse email@example.com
Maxence Guesdon firstname.lastname@example.org
Stefano Zacchiroli email@example.com
Hugo Herbelin Hugo.Herbelin@inria.fr
Claudio Sacerdoti Coen firstname.lastname@example.org
Christophe Troestler Christophe.Troestler@umons.ac.be
Emilio Gallego email@example.com
build & >= "18"
>= "1.4.0" & != "1.7.0" & != "1.7.1"
>= "4.05.0" & < "4.09"