Amateur HowTo of GTK+ for Windows
Table of Contents
This HowTo is inspired from "
mini-Tutorial: How to install GTK+ on Dev-C++ 5"
by Kylek posted at forum on http://www.dropline.net
There is also good tutorial at http://www.dropline.net/gtk/support.php
But Still I found little difficult to start. Finally replies from Tor Lillqvist
<tml iki fi> to Suresh Kumar on subject "GTK+ and MinGw.............."
came to rescue me. And I found that actual procedure is a little more simple
than first two mentioned tutorial. The other drawback is that these tutorials
does not provides much insights. And they do not discuss MinGW. However I
should admit that these two tutorials also helped me lot. And I recommend
these links since my tutorial contains excerpts from them.
Why amateur HowTo? Because I am a newbie of all things like GUI programming,
GTK+, gcc, Linux, dos. Actually I am spoon-fed window user with some C programming
knowledge under my belt. Recently I have come across Open-source and I want
to persuade my friend to use GTK+. This howto comes out of help to him. Hence,
though I boasts of simplest procedure (but may not shortest to read), do
not assume that it works for all situations or best practice of using GTK+.
And always doubt my knowledge or insights.
Note: All in Bold Italic
are comments from me or modifications
The procedure, I describe, found working with Version
126.96.36.199 of both Runtime Environment and Development Environment on Windows
98 and Windows XP. The compilers I have used are MinGW-2.0.0-3 (which comes
with gcc version 3.2 (mingw special 20020817-1)
) and Bloodshed Dec-C++
5 beta 2 release 188.8.131.52 (which comes with gcc version 2.95.3-6 (mingw
Finding version of gcc in
DOS. The other software versions mentioned are given on download link
or mentioned in the name of set-up program or comes up while installing or
comes up on title-bar when you run installed program or on clicking About
I have chosen installation paths considering 8-character
limitation of directory of file name for the DOS. I have chosen 'C:\' drive
but you can install to any drive. (Following are the paths which should be
given during installation. They are often called as 'Base Directories'.)
GTK+ Development Environment: C:\GTK\develop\
GTK+ Runtime Environment: C:\GTK\runtime\
Bloodshed Dev-C++: C:\Dev-C++\
MinGW Compiler: C:\MinGW\
It is sufficient to install either MinGW or Dev-C++.
version of gcc in DOS
The file gcc.exe is located in 'bin' folder of base
directory of compiler system. If MinGW is installed to C:\Mingw
If Bloodshed Dev-C++ is installed at C:\Dev-C++
You can give direct command gcc -v
is in PATH variable discussed in
section DOS basics
GTK+ in Linux
You will get some more insights if you consider how
GTK+ works on Linux.
Copy the helloworld program from 'Getting Started' page at http://gtk.org/tutorial/
and paste in
suitable editor and save as helloworld.c to suitable folder. Then on command
line (terminal), change the working directory to the folder in which helloworld.c
lies. e.g. $cd \home\my_name\tutor. And run the below statement in above
gcc -Wall -g helloworld.c -o helloworld `pkg-config --cflags gtk+-2.0` \
`pkg-config --libs gtk+-2.0`
And to run the file, type
(excerpt from above mentioned tutorial)
pkg-config --cflags gtk+-2.0
will output a list of include directories
for the compiler to look in, and pkg-config --libs gtk+-2.0
output the list of libraries for the compiler to link with and the directories
to find them in. In the above example they could have been combined into
a single instance, such as pkg-config --cflags --libs gtk+-2.0
Note that the type of single quote used in the compile command above is significant.
(It is backquote. It is just above 'Tab' key on keyboard.
As Tor Lillqvist writes in reply to Suresh Kumar ( See mailing list mentioned
above), pkg-config isn't supposed to be an argument to gcc. Do you see those
backquotes (the ` "quotes" or "accents") in the command line? In Unix-style
shells, they mean that the stuff between backquotes is run as a command by
itself, and the *output* of that command is then pasted in instead. Please
note that the Windows Command Prompt (cmd.exe or command.com) doesn't understand
the Unix shell style
backquote syntax (the ` stuff). (So you have to run pkg-config with
appropriate options. Get the output and append it to gcc -Wall
-g helloworld.c -o helloworld.)
But instead of typing
that by hand every time, at least put the command(s) in a .bat file. Preferably,
learn to use
Make. (I do not know about later.)
You can skip this section if you know about how to set
PATH, how to use batch files and how to redirect output to a file.
(excerpts from Windows help)
Sets the command path in the PATH environment variable,
which is the set of directories used to search for executable files.
path [[%path%] [Drive:]Path [;...]]
Specifies the drive and directory to set in the command path.
Separates directories in the command path.
Replaces %path% with the existing set of directories listed
in the PATH environment variable.
Using batch files
A batch file is an unformatted text file that contains
one or more commands and has a .bat or .cmd file name extension. When you
type the file name at the command prompt, Cmd.exe runs the commands sequentially
as they appear in the file.
Using batch parameters
MS-DOS provides the batch parameter expansion variables
%0 through %9. When you use batch parameters in a batch file, %0 is replaced
by the batch file name, and %1 through %9 are replaced by the corresponding
arguments that you type at the command line.
For example, to copy the contents from Folder1 to Folder2, where %1 is replaced
by the value Folder1 and %2 is replaced by the value Folder2, type the following
in a batch file called mybatch.bat:
xcopy %1\*.* %2
To run the file, type:
mybatch.bat C:\folder1 D:\folder2
This has the same effect as typing the following in the batch file:
xcopy C:\folder1 \*.* D:\folder2
Redirecting command output (>)
Almost all commands send output to your Command Prompt
window. To redirect command output from the Command Prompt window to a file
or device, use the > operator. For example, to redirect dir output todirlist.txt:
Use of pkg-config
utility is used for same purpose
as in Linux. But DOS has not facility of backquotes as in Linux (to best
of my knowledge). You have to use it in different way. Create a folder called
'tutor' on C: drive. We are going to store all our files in this folder.
Then type following commands in DOS.
pkg-config --cflags gtk+-2.0 >header.txt
pkg-config --libs gtk+-2.0 >linker.txt
You will get the files header.txt
contents of header.txt
on machine I work are as follows:
-IC:/GTK/develop/lib/gtk-2.0/include -IC:/GTK/develop/include/atk-1.0 -IC:/GTK/develop/include/pango-1.0
pkg-config --cflags gtk+-2.0
will output a list of include directories
for the compiler to look in.
(excerpt from Directory Options: GNU C Compiler User's Guide For GCC Version
Add the directory dir
to the head of the list of directories
to be searched for header files. If you use more than one `-I
the directories are scanned in left-to-right order; the standard system directories
Do not worry about '/' sign instead of '\' in above directory paths.
contents of linker.txt
-lgdk-win32-2.0 -latk-1.0 -lgdk_pixbuf-2.0 -lpangowin32-1.0 -lgdi32 -lpango-1.0
-lgobject-2.0 -lgmodule-2.0 -lglib-2.0 -lintl -liconv
pkg-config --libs gtk+-2.0
will output the list of libraries for
the compiler to link with and the directories to find them in.
(excerpt from Linker Options: GNU C Compiler
User's Guide For GCC Version 2.8.1
Search the library named library
when linking. The linker
searches processes libraries and object files in the order they are specified.
The linker searches a standard list of directories for the library, which
is actually a file named `liblibrary.a
'. The directories
searched include several standard system directories plus any that you specify
Creation of .bat file for using GTK+
I used contents of header.txt and linker.txt
and typed following contents in my favorite editor and saved file as
gcc -Wall -g %1 -o %2 -mno-cygwin -mms-bitfields -IC:/GTK/develop/include/gtk-2.0 -IC:/GTK/develop/lib/gtk-2.0/include
-IC:/GTK/develop/include/atk-1.0 -IC:/GTK/develop/include/pango-1.0 -IC:/GTK/develop/include/glib-2.0
-lgtk-win32-2.0 -lgdk-win32-2.0 -latk-1.0 -lgdk_pixbuf-2.0 -lpangowin32-1.0
-lgdi32 -lpango-1.0 -lgobject-2.0 -lgmodule-2.0 -lglib-2.0 -lintl -liconv
These are batch parameters. %1 is refers to C source file e.g. hello.c while
%2 refers to name of executable file (to be created) with extension. If current
directory is C:\tutor then use of above .bat file can be 'gtkdev.bat hello.c
' , where hello.c
is C source file to be compiled and
is executable file to be created.
According to Kylek in his mini tutorial
, this will make sure it doesn't
find incorrectly sized windows and such.
According to http://www.dropline.net/gtk/support.php,
If you're using gcc-2.95.x to compile, you'll need
to pass the -mno-cygwin and -fnative-struct options to the compiler. With
gcc-3.x, replace -fnative-struct with -mms-bitfields.
I am sorry because I can not give insights about this options. But it seems
that it is necessary to guarantee correct operations. If you know something
more then following excerpt from 'Using GTK+ in your own programs' athttp://www.gimp.org/~tml/gimp/win32/
may give clarification:
With gcc, you should use the -mno-cygwin and -mms-bitfields flags.
(Hint: struct field alignment. Hint 2: msvcrt.dll.) .......
This is path of gcc.exe. If you want to use (in DOS) compiler provided with
Bloodshed Dev-C++ , then type C:\Dev-C++\bin
instead of C:\MinGW\bin
The Bloodshed Dev-C++ 184.108.40.206 comes with gcc version 2.95.3-6 (mingw
which will require use of -fnative-struct
This is path of DLLs which provide GTK+ runtime environment. This is required
to execute last line of above .bat file i.e. %2 i.e. hello.exe if it
is provided as batch parameter. Because whatever executable file created by
is required to be dynamically linked with the DLLs lying in folder
Here ends the part of howto which you should do only once (not
Compiling in DOS
Go to http://gtk.org/tutorial/
Copy the helloworld program from 'Getting Started' page and paste in suitable
editor and save as C:\tutor\hello.c
. Then on command line (terminal),
change the working directory to where gtkdev.bat
and then run
gtkdev.bat hello.c hello.exe
After execution of command, a new window will open. Click on "Hello
World" on it and window will close printing "Hello World" to DOS screen.
(If you have not installed 'MS Sans Serif 8' font, you will get warning message
with indication of use of another font 'sans 8'. Program will execute normally
except the warning message. I found this problem on Windows 98.)
If gtkdev.bat lies in C:\tutor\, helllo.c lies in C:\temp1 and you want to
create hello.exe in C:\temp2, then run following commands:
gtkdev.bat C:\temp1\hello.c C:\temp2\hello.exe
If you want to develop a GTK+ program on Windows in an IDE, then a good choice
will be Bloodshed Dev-C++. Let us see How to compile program using Dev-C++.
Using Bloodshed Dev-C++
menu, select New
. In File
, type C:\tutor\helloworld.dev
. It is not necessary to select or fill other things, at least
for an easy start. Then a blank page appears in left pane. On Project
menu, click Project Options
. In Compiler
, type -mno-cygwin
and append to it the contents ofheader.txt,
created in section Use of pkg-config
. See note
In Linker Options/Optional Libs or Object Files
, past contents of linker.txt
, created in section Use of pkg-config
. (This process should be repeated per project). In blank
page in left pane, you can Copy-Paste hellworld program from 'Getting Started'
page at http://gtk.org/tutorial/
menu, click Compile
. Oops! Save File
box appears. In File Name
, type c:\tutor\hello.c
. Click Save
(I have to wait a little to complete the compilation process). The process
until will create helloworld.exe
in folder C:\tutor
menu, click Run
. Err! you will get missing 'xxxx.dll' message.
This means that path of DLLs that should be linked (dynamically) during runtime
is not known. There are two solutions. First one is simple and have to be
done only once (not for every project). But second one, called 'Packaging',
has usage outside Dev-C++.
First solution is, as suggested by Kylek in his mini tutorial
menu, click Compiler Options
Click on Directories
and then Binaries
if not selected by default.
In bottom blank space, type C:\GTK\runtime\lib
(as per our example)
and click Add
. click OK
. On Execute
menu, click Run
(excerpt from 'Packaging' section at http://www.dropline.net/gtk/support.php
Since GTK+ doesn't install to a system directory by default, it will be necessary
to include its installation location in your application's path. To do this,
read the HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\GTK\2.0\Path registry key, append "\lib"
to the result, and write out the final value to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\App
Let us see what We have to do in our example. Click
, and then click Run
. In Open
, type regedit
. This will open window named 'Registry Editor'. In left pane,
click '+' sign in front of HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE
to expand it. Then proceed
similarly with Software
then App Paths
. After expanding App Paths
right-click on App Paths
then select New
. Press Enter key. You can see in right pane
the string '(default)' under the column Name
. Right-click '(default)'
, then click Modify
. In Value data
, type C:\tutor\helloworld.exe
. Now right-click 'helloworld.exe' in left pane, then
and click String Value
. Type path
Enter key. Right-click 'path' , then click Modify
. In Value
, type C:\GTK\runtime\lib. Click OK
. Close the 'Registry Editor'
After completion of above procedure, you can run helloworld.exe
in three ways.
- On Execute menu, click Run (in Bloodshed Dev-C++,
continuing process we paused).
- Click Start, and then click Run. In Open,
- In Windows Explorer, open folder C:\tutor and double-click
(For Bloodshed Dev-C++ 5 beta 6 release 220.127.116.11, first way above doesn't
responds to 'Packaging'.)
The Registry entry need to be done only once per project. You can modify
the project later and build it and run it without touching registry
again. Note that, the name and location of of .exe file depends upon name
and location of .dev file, entered while creating New Project. In our example,
we have entered C:\tutor\helloworld.dev
. If we have entered C:\temp1\myworld.dev
and done remaining procedure without change then Dev-C++ will create myworld.exe
(instead of helloworld.exe
) in folder C:\temp1
). And in Registry, we have to make key myworld.exe
(instead of helloworld.exe
) and its '(default)' string should have
to contain C:\temp1
(instead of C:\tutor
). But string
'path' will remain unchanged.
Note: When you have to run helloworld.exe
in DOS, the path of runtime
library must be in PATH variable. The execution does not depend upon registry
Development and Comments
I am keeping this document in public domain for further
development. I am not going to maintain or develop further this HowTo. As
I have said earlier, this HowTo is created out of help to my friend.
I want to make career in another field (Embedded systems) in which GUI programming
is useful only in Development phase. I am also novice in that field. And
I have to study much important things, other than GUI programming, as early
as possible. So I request you to further develop this tutorial , filling
the gaps remained. One of the gap, I want to point is 'Basics of Make' mentioned
in page above.
Also I do not know much about -mno-cygwin
. Next thing I do not know is
directory-structure of GTK+ Development Environment and Runtime Environment.
So it would be easy to solve problems with linking or other possible things.
I think it is job of developers who have ported GTK+ to Windows. Also
other job they are missing is to provide a Quick-Start tutorial. I do not
know they have done it or not but if they have done it then they should provided
it at base directory of installation or produce suitable links at Desktop.
Otherwise situation may become so chaotic that I and my friend were trying
to use runtime libraries for compiling helloworld.c
I got them on magazine CD with no information that they are runtime. We do
not know how to link DLLs. So I searched the net for 'using DLL' and read
some documents on it. Just before concluding that it is not possible to link
DLLs without .def
files, I luckily bounced on http://www.dropline.net
that I require Development Environment. However, things didn't work initially.
And I searched and tried more causing this document. That's all, folks! Have
a nice day!
This document is made using Mozilla 1.1.