Book Image

Python GUI Programming Cookbook, Second Edition - Second Edition

By : Burkhard Meier
Book Image

Python GUI Programming Cookbook, Second Edition - Second Edition

By: Burkhard Meier

Overview of this book

Python is a multi-domain, interpreted programming language. It is a widely used general-purpose, high-level programming language. It is often used as a scripting language because of its forgiving syntax and compatibility with a wide variety of different eco-systems. Python GUI Programming Cookbook follows a task-based approach to help you create beautiful and very effective GUIs with the least amount of code necessary. This book will guide you through the very basics of creating a fully functional GUI in Python with only a few lines of code. Each and every recipe adds more widgets to the GUIs we are creating. While the cookbook recipes all stand on their own, there is a common theme running through all of them. As our GUIs keep expanding, using more and more widgets, we start to talk to networks, databases, and graphical libraries that greatly enhance our GUI’s functionality. This book is what you need to expand your knowledge on the subject of GUIs, and make sure you’re not missing out in the long run.
Table of Contents (18 chapters)
Title Page
About the Author
About the Reviewer
Customer Feedback


In the second edition of this book, we will explore the beautiful world of graphical user interfaces (GUIs) using the Python programming language. We will be using the latest version of Python 3. All of the recipes from the First Edition are included in this edition. We have added a few new recipes to the Second Edition, which you might not easily find via a Google search. I think these new recipes will be useful and interesting to the reader.

This is a programming cookbook. Every chapter is self-contained and explains a certain programming solution. We will start very simply, yet throughout this book we will build a working application written in Python 3. Each recipe will extend building this application. Along the way, we will talk to networks, queues, databases, the OpenGL graphical library, and many more technologies. We will apply design patterns and use best practices.

The book assumes that the reader has some experience using the Python programming language, but that is not really required to successfully use this book. This book can also be used as an introduction to the Python programming language, if, and only if, you are dedicated in your desire to become a Pythonic programmer.

If you are an experienced developer in any other language, you will have a fun time extending your professional toolbox by adding writing GUIs using Python to your toolbox. Are you ready?

Let's start on our journey…

What this book covers

Chapter 1, Creating the GUI Form and Adding Widgets, explains how to develop our first GUI in Python. We will start with the minimum code required to build a running GUI application. Each recipe then adds different widgets to the GUI form.

Chapter 2, Layout Management, explores how to arrange widgets to create our Python GUI. The grid layout manager is one of the most important layout tools built into tkinter that we will be using.

Chapter 3, Look and Feel Customization, shows several examples of how to create a good look and feel GUI. On a practical level, we will add functionality to the Help | About menu item we created in one of the recipes.

Chapter 4, Data and Classes, discusses saving the data our GUI displays. We will start using object-oriented programming (OOP) in order to extend Python's built-in functionality.

Chapter 5, Matplotlib Charts, explains how to create beautiful charts that visually represent data. Depending upon the format of the data source, we can plot one or several columns of data within the same chart.

Chapter 6, Threads and Networking, explains how to extend the functionality of our Python GUI using threads, queues, and network connections. This will show us that our GUI is not limited at all to the local scope of our PC.

Chapter 7, Storing Data in Our MySQL Database via Our GUI, shows us how to connect to a MySQL database server. The first recipe in this chapter will show how to install the free MySQL Server Community Edition, and in the following recipes we will create databases, tables, and then load data into those tables as well as modify these data. We will also read the data back out from the MySQL server into our GUI.

Chapter 8, Internationalization and Testing, shows how to internationalize our GUI by displaying text on labels, buttons, tabs, and other widgets in different languages. We will start simple and then explore how we can prepare our GUI for internationalization at the design level. We will also explore several ways to automatically test our GUI using Python's built-in unit testing framework.

Chapter 9, Extending Our GUI with the wxPython Library, introduces another Python GUI toolkit that currently does not ship with Python. It is called wxPython, and we will be using the Phoenix version of wxPython, which was designed to work well with Python 3.

Chapter 10, Creating Amazing 3D GUIs with PyOpenGL and PyGLet, shows how to transform our GUI by giving it true three-dimensional capabilities. We will use two Python third-party packages. PyOpenGL is a Python binding to the OpenGL standard, which is a graphics library that comes built-in with all major operating systems. This gives the resulting widgets a native look and feel. PyGLet is another such binding that we will explore in this chapter. We will also show some code that directly uses the PyOpenGL library. This is a low-level approach that might open some doors for the interested reader.

Chapter 11, Best Practices, explores different best practices that can help us to build our GUI in an efficient way and keep it both maintainable and extendible. Best practices are applicable to any good code, and our GUI is no exception to designing and implementing good software practices.

What you need for this book

All required software for this book is available online and is free of charge. This starts with Python 3 itself, and then extends to Python's add-on modules. In order to download any required software, you will need a working Internet connection.

Who this book is for

This book is for programmers who wish to create a GUI. You might be surprised by what we can achieve by creating beautiful, functional, and powerful GUIs using the Python programming language. Python is a wonderful, intuitive programming language, and is very easy to learn.

I invite you to start on this journey now. It will be a lot of fun!


In this book, you will find a number of styles of text that distinguish between different kinds of information. Here are some examples of these styles, and an explanation of their meaning.

Code words in text, database table names, folder names, filenames, file extensions, pathnames, and user input are shown as follows: "Using Python, we can create our own classes using the class keyword instead of the def keyword."

A block of code is set as follows:

import tkinter as tk    
win = tk.Tk()           
win.title("Python GUI") 

Any command-line input or output is written as follows:

pip install numpy-1.9.2+mkl-cp36-none-win_amd64.whl

New terms and important words are shown in bold. Words that you see on the screen, in menus or dialog boxes for example, appear in the text like this: "Next, we will add functionality to the menu items, for example, closing the main window by clicking the Exit menu item and displaying a Help | About dialog."


Warnings or important notes appear in a box like this.


Tips and tricks appear like this.

Reader feedback

Feedback from our readers is always welcome. Let us know what you think about this book-what you liked or disliked. Reader feedback is important for us as it helps us develop titles that you will really get the most out of.

To send us general feedback, simply e-mail [email protected], and mention the book's title in the subject of your message.

If there is a topic that you have expertise in and you are interested in either writing or contributing to a book, see our author guide at

Customer support

Now that you are the proud owner of a Packt book, we have a number of things to help you to get the most from your purchase.

Downloading the example code

You can download the example code files for this book from your account at If you purchased this book elsewhere, you can visit and register to have the files e-mailed directly to you.


You can download the code files by following these steps:

  1. Log in or register to our website using your e-mail address and password.
  2. Hover the mouse pointer on the SUPPORT tab at the top.
  3. Click on Code Downloads & Errata.
  4. Enter the name of the book in the Search box.
  5. Select the book for which you're looking to download the code files.
  6. Choose from the drop-down menu where you purchased this book from.
  7. Click on Code Download.

Once the file is downloaded, please make sure that you unzip or extract the folder using the latest version of:

  • WinRAR / 7-Zip for Windows
  • Zipeg / iZip / UnRarX for Mac
  • 7-Zip / PeaZip for Linux

The code bundle for the book is also hosted on GitHub at We also have other code bundles from our rich catalog of books and videos available at Check them out!

Downloading the color images of this book

We also provide you with a PDF file that has color images of the screenshots/diagrams used in this book. The color images will help you better understand the changes in the output. You can download this file from


Although we have taken every care to ensure the accuracy of our content, mistakes do happen. If you find a mistake in one of our books-maybe a mistake in the text or the code-we would be grateful if you could report this to us. By doing so, you can save other readers from frustration and help us improve subsequent versions of this book. If you find any errata, please report them by visiting, selecting your book, clicking on the Errata Submission Form link, and entering the details of your errata. Once your errata are verified, your submission will be accepted and the errata will be uploaded to our website or added to any list of existing errata under the Errata section of that title.


To view the previously submitted errata, go to and enter the name of the book in the search field. The required information will appear under the Errata section.


Piracy of copyrighted material on the Internet is an ongoing problem across all media. At Packt, we take the protection of our copyright and licenses very seriously. If you come across any illegal copies of our works in any form on the Internet, please provide us with the location address or website name immediately so that we can pursue a remedy.


Please contact us at [email protected] with a link to the suspected pirated material.


We appreciate your help in protecting our authors and our ability to bring you valuable content.


If you have a problem with any aspect of this book, you can contact us at [email protected], and we will do our best to address the problem.