Ruby Student wrote:
> [Note:  parts of this message were removed to make it a legal post.]
> 
> Hello all you happy GUIsher!
> 
> Does anyone know of a good, well written book to learn one of the GUI
> supported by Ruby?

I believe the only Ruby-specific GUI books are for FxRuby (2008) and 
Qt-Ruby (2005, documents previous version Qt3):

http://www.pragprog.com/titles/fxruby/fxruby
http://www.pragprog.com/titles/ctrubyqt/rapid-gui-development-with-qtruby

> I want something simple or at least well documented. 

Several have OK Ruby-specific API documentation (eg GNOME2, Wx, Fox), 
but less of the kind of book-type material that guides you topic by 
topic to understanding the toolkit's principles.

> Preferable drag and
> drop. I would like to worry just about the ruby code and not necessarily
> about the creation of the widgets.

Most of the toolkits offer one or more GUI builders to design layouts. 
Typically, you visually design the layout then write your code in a 
separate tool (eg an editor) and load the layout in Ruby and attach code 
to handle the user interaction.

However, few offer close integration between the GUI design and the 
code: XCode (for OS X/Cocoa development) comes closest, but is of course 
not cross-platform.

> Something close to what Visual Basic provides. I know this is wishful
> thinking. 

Yes, for now, at least for cross-platform development.

> I would purchase the book or even purchase the GUI software (if it
> is reasonable). But all the tools I mentioned have their limitations and
> documentation is so so at best. I wish the tool to be cross-platform with
> native look and feel.

> I know about the recent GUI survey, which I think was very nice. The
> question is, what's next?


Given that most of the cross-platform toolkits are developed by quite 
small volunteer teams they progress, but not usually at a revolutionary 
speed.

Like most people, you want all the good stuff from a toolkit: powerful, 
simple, Ruby-ish, cross-platform, native, stable, with great tools and 
better documentation. In the same way, many hope to meet that special 
someone with an enchanting laugh, hot body, high IQ, beautiful eyes, fat 
salary, and a tireless appetite for partying. Though in real life it 
rarely comes in one package, one can still find something where it 
clicks and works ...

I'd think over what you want to do with GUI programming in Ruby: do you 
want to make a profitable application, or create and share an 
open-source tool, or scratch an itch and have some fun? And consider 
what you think you *most* need - eg, do you need to get your head round 
general principles of GUI development, like "event-driven programming" 
or "model-view separation", or use a RAD tool, or have the "best" 
cross-platform appearance and behaviour.

Perhaps, using the survey and what else you know, choose two or three 
toolkits that seem best fitted to your needs, then try to create the 
same simple application using each of those. Then decide which you 
enjoyed using the most (this is really important), and which had the 
result most pleasing to you.

If you're more than casually interested in GUI, you're doing well to 
invest a little time: the APIs are often large and so a GUI toolkit can 
be long-term relationship. I've been doing Wx since 2004 and I still get 
nice surprises (and a very occasional nasty one).

hth
alex