Easy Go GUI wrapper for interactive manipulation of visual algorithms/backend code.






go get github.com/TheGrum/renderview

Needs either Shiny (limited functionality), Gio, go-gtk, or gotk3. The latter two require the corresponding GTK library installed.


A tool to quickly and easily wrap algorithms, image generation functions, web services, and the like with an interactive GUI interface offering panning, zooming, paging, and editable parameters.

This is not meant as a replacement for a general GUI toolkit. It is meant for programmers who lack the time to invest in learning yet another graphical toolkit and all of its quirks and foibles just to throw up a quick interactive interface to get a feel for the behavior of back-end code.

YouTube demo of using renderview to create a Mandelbrot viewer


Basically, RenderView is a View+Controller combination that operates on a Model you write - except that for many tasks, the built-in models will suffice, and all you have to implement is an image generation function. (Technically, I suppose, it is actually splitting the View into two parts, one that you write for the image generation, and one that RenderView sets up for editing parameters.)


The eponymous control, this comes in multiple flavors, and handles window creation, view rendering, and control/event-handling.


Shiny is an experimental native cross-platform GUI package for Go. At the moment it is usable only as a framebuffer+event loop. If all you need is the output of your image generation function with panning and zooming, RenderView+Shiny supports that.

Build with -tags "shiny nogtk2" to use the Shiny backend.


Gio is an immediate-mode GUI package for Go. RenderView on the Gio backend supports automatic parameter editing widget generation in addition to the interactive image.

Build with -tags "gio nogtk2" to use the Gio backend.


go-gtk is a functional CGo based GTK2 binding. RenderView on the go-gtk backend supports automatic parameter editing widget generation in addition to the interactive image.

This is currently the default backend, so no -tags line is required.


gotk3 is a functional CGo based GTK3 binding. RenderView on the gotk3 backend supports automatic parameter editing widget generation in addition to the interactive image.

Build with -tags "gotk3 nogtk2" to use the gotk3 backend.


Each RenderParameter carries a type string, allowing the renderView code to read and set the values without reflection. There is also a blank parameter that is automatically returned when a missing parameter is requested, allowing the RenderView code to behave as if the parameters it uses are always present. By either including or omitting the default parameters, you can control whether your code pays attention to certain controller behaviors.

Hints can be provided to indicate whether parameters are only for use in communicating with the View and Controller, or should be exposed to the user.

ZoomRenderParameter in the Mandelbrot example provides a demonstration of using a custom parameter to react immediately to changes in a value and, by setting other parameters in response, implement custom behavior.


A means to observe a subset of RenderParameters and determine if they have changed since the value was last checked.


You can implement this to customize what information gets collected from the GUI and passed to your visualization code, and what gets returned.

Basically, this boils down to a bag of parameters and a Render function that the view calls.


In most cases, the BasicRenderModel will suffice. It provides a concrete implementation of the RenderModel interface and adds a throttling mechanism that ensures that requests for a new rendering from the view code only get passed through to your code when you do not already have a render in process, provided that you signal it by setting the Rendering bool appropriately at the start and end of your render.

It moves rendering to a separate Goroutine, preventing a long-running image generator from freezing the UI.


The TileRenderModel implements a RenderModel that operates on map tiles such as those used in the OpenStreetMaps project. Look in models/tile for a TileRenderModel specific README.md.


At its most basic, using RenderView with the BasicRenderModel can be as simple as adding a few lines of code:

    m := rv.NewBasicRenderModel()
    m.AddParameters(DefaultParameters(false, rv.HINT_SIDEBAR, rv.OPT_AUTO_ZOOM, -10, 10, 10, -10)...)
    m.InnerRender = func() {
    	// some number of m.Param[x].Value[Float64|Int|etc]() to gather the values your renderer needs
    	m.Img = your_rendering_function_here(param, param, param)

Alternately, you can fully specify your parameters, like so:

  			rv.NewIntRP("width", 0),
  			rv.NewIntRP("height", 0),
  		rv.NewIntRP("page", 0),
  		rv.NewIntRP("linewidth", 1),
  		rv.NewIntRP("cellwidth", 5),
  		rv.NewIntRP("mazewidth", 100),
  		rv.NewIntRP("mazeheight", 100))...)

Useful parameters

You can have as many parameters as you like, but certain paramaters if present have special meaning to the views.

  • left,top,right,bottom - these can be either int or float64, and when available, operate panning, and if float64, zooming. - two way, you can change these in your code to move the viewport if you are paying attention to them
  • width,height - these get populated with the window width and height - changing these in your code has no effect.
  • options - maybe more later, right now these just control the zooming (done with the scroll-wheel) const ( OPT_NONE = iota // 0 OPT_CENTER_ZOOM = 1 << iota // 1 OPT_AUTO_ZOOM = 1 << iota // 2 )
  • zoom - int or float64, this gets incremented/decremented when the scroll-wheel is turned, and can be used to implement your own zoom.
  • mouseX, mouseY - float64, these get populated with the current mouse position in the window
  • page - this gets incremented/decremented by PgUp and PgDown when the graphical window has the focus, allowing for a paged environment. You can manipulated these from a custom zoom parameter to tie scrolling to paging if desired.

See examples and cmd for more.

Some examples require -tags "example" to build.


More than an example, this is a tool that applies the automatic GUI creation concept to command line applications or, through the medium of curl and other url-grabbing applications, to web services. It uses Go Templates to perform argument rewriting, and exports all parameters to the environment as well.

    ./cmdgui -extraflags="func,string,sin(x);x" "./plot" "{{$.func}} {{$.left}} {{$.right}} {{$.bottom}} {{$.top}}"

This one line example takes a python command line plot generator, and turns it into an interactive function plotter supporting changing the function, panning, zooming, and hand-entering of plot axis dimensions.


Mandelbrot cmdgui plot maze maze2 lsystem map

  • help with setup

    help with setup

    seems to have a fairly strict list of depends

    i decided the lsystem demo looks like the easiest to try this out.

    go 1.7 on OSX

    x-MacBook-Pro:lsystem apple$ go run demo.go 
    # pkg-config --cflags pango
    pkg-config: exec: "pkg-config": executable file not found in $PATH
    # pkg-config --cflags glib-2.0 gobject-2.0
    pkg-config: exec: "pkg-config": executable file not found in $PATH
    x-MacBook-Pro:lsystem apple$ 

    Any chance you can update either the examples readme or the main reamd for the dependencies a bit ?

    This looks pretty cool btw. The text edit using the signit.ca/graphics looks pretty cool too.

    opened by joeblew99 7
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