[nycphp-talk] good language for small GUI app?

Paul A Houle paul at
Tue Mar 9 11:56:56 EST 2010

David Mintz wrote:
> Here's a question I know you're all gonna love.
> I'm considering writing a small desktop GUI app for my psychotherapist 
> wife to manage her patient records. It will run on Linux but I guess 
> it would be good if it's cross-platform. I think sqlite would be a 
> good choice for the backend. What's a good programming language for 
> the front? It looks like Python is a popular choice for this kind of 
> scenario.
    I'd question the wisdom of creating a GUI app for this.

    Us PHPers build web-based apps for this sort of business application 
all the time.  This kind of app can be deployed on a distant web server 
via https (which means she can access the app from anywhere she goes) or 
it can be deployed to a machine in her office (behind the firewall) 
running Apache or IIS.  Compatibility with Linux,  Mac, Windows and 
maybe even things like iPads is no problem.  Odds are you're going to 
wind up with a better UI in a web app than in a desktop app,  especially 
if it's the first desktop app you've written in years.

    In my mind,   the niche for desktop apps is small and always 
shrinking:  really,  they only make sense for cases where a web app 
can't do the job.  When you ~do~ want to make a desktop app,  the 
purpose is to make something really awesome that pushes the edges of the 
platform you're running on,  which means the native widget set.  
Cross-platform GUI toolkit have a special role for programmer's tools 
(Eclipse,  jEdit) because a lot of us like to take our toolset around,  
but other than that,  I think they serve a disappearing market.


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