My question on Stackoverflow was blocked/closed/whatever because it was to unspecific but as a newbie I feel the need to ask for the bigger picture rather than for a specific task or problem.
So with that background, how is gui design approached in c++? I know that there are libraries but I can't wrap my head around how that's working.
How do I make use of a specific lib?
How do I place ui element ABC (checkbox for example) at ui position XYZ.
How are these elements styled like background-color, border-width, border-radius and so on....
Can ui design only be made with a specific wysiwyg application?
I want to modify and expand open source software projects to my likings, learn as I go and maybe even contribute to these projects at some point.
Ideally I would stay away from using an IDE for couple of reasons.
a) I'm comfortable with my editor
b) I wanna learn the mechanics myself in depth and not have some software do the work for me, so that I understand the topic independently of some hocus pocus IDE magic.
Can you guys share knowledge or point to resources that teach ui programming for my specific background and intentions?
As a first step I want to stick with Linux exclusively.
I suggest you do some internet searching for GUI frameworks and look at the documentation.
But what if we take the case of an open source project, a software that already has a gui. I assume that I need to use the same framework that is already been used, or not?
How do I figure out which one was used?
And once I know that, is it possible to just open the source code in my editor, make changes to the ui, compile and run or do I have to use a specific editor for framework xyz? Somewhere I read that the Qt lib comes with its own editor and is wysiwyg only, so you can't just make changes prgramatically. Would one go about programming the softwares logic in <favourite editor/ide>, program the gui in a separat wysiwyg editor and then somwhow merry them. Or is a gui application developed in the wysiwyg editor entirely because the ui and the logic are naturally entangled, so to speak.
That's all a very confusing topic for me.
Qt is really easy to use and it works on windows also. Highly recommended for a starting point.
Comes down to what you want to support, what you need it to look like, how complex it will be... a single window gui can be done straight up with minor work (don't even need a custom class at all) while a rich complex one will have classes upon classes developed to support the various windows and interactions.
Start small, do common things... add a menu, add a button bar, read and write to a text box, figure out the on-change event handling. I would just grab the tools and start playing, write hello world in a text box when a button is mashed, see if you can do that...
...while a rich complex one will have classes upon classes developed...
And that's probably the abstraction layer where I will start struggling.
I'm not so scared of hello world projects, where you have a window with a button that opens a popup with hello world, or so. But when it comes to custom classes/widgets, it's hard for me to imagine how that workflow should be. And there are a lot less tutorials about custom classes than for hello world projects.
That forum has a "Developers Help" category, which would seem relevant.
Its more of an experience thing, its hard to give a tutorial on a big project. Custom toys aside, just getting one window to update when something in another window changed or the mouse moved or whatever... the interactions and data sharing and all can be tricky. Your design has to allow for everything to be able to talk to each other where necessary yet organized and encapsulated etc so that it is clean and easy to work with. I have only made smallish guis; one was a little complicated but nothing industrial grade. I did the big one by having one master class that contained everything in the whole gui that did nothing except manage the communications across windows, where each window had its own class. Most of what I wrote had no UI at all, it started, it ran, it did its thing without humans needing to see in or touch anything, so I am as usual not the best person to ask.
writing your own widget isnt that bad. It should be self contained, and the gui stuff would just use it like a built in one. It can be complex, but at the gui design level, it should be a non-thing because the hard work is already done.