If you need to develop a desktop application Perl probably should not be your first choice, but if you already have a Perl based application that has a CLI (Command Line Interface) and you'd like to add a GUI to it, it can be done.

It can even be done quite well.

As you know, with the help of a lot of bright people, I wrote one, an IDE in Perl for Perl. Unfortunately that project has not been maintained for quite some time, but you can still run it or at least you can still see the screenshots.

Anyway, what are your choices if you'd like to add a GUI (Graphical User Interface) to your application?

Modern Web

First of all before you start writing a GUI, are you sure that's what you need and not a modern web application written in Perl?

IF you are really sure you need and want a desktop application you can use:

Wx - wxWidgets

Wx also knonw as wxPerl or the Perl binding to wxWidgets is the most native-looking cross-platform toolkit. It can be used on MS Windows, Linux, and Mac OSX.

In the Padre project we used this.


Gtk2 is really nice. I used it some time for the Padre project before switching to wxWidgets. It felt easier to use than wxWidgets, but we felt the native look on wxWdigets on MS Windows was important.

This is the Perl binding to the Gnome Toolkit.


Perl Tk is the binding of the Toolkit from Tcl/Tk.


Tkx provides another Tk based interface.

It is the oldest and probably the least beautiful, but a very powerful and capable toolkit.


I only had a very short encounter with Prima, but I liked it. As far as I know it is a Perl-only framework. Unlike the others in the list that are all binding to some C-library that can and are used from other Programming languages as well.


There is also Win32::GUI. I don't remember ever using it. Sounds like a Windows specific library that is probabably better if you know you only have to use it on MS Windows.

What now?

While Perl might not be the best language for desktop applications, it is certainly a lot of fun creating GUIs with Perl. Enjoy!