12.4 Adding a GUI to a Plugin Using MForms

MySQL Workbench is implemented with a C++ core back-end, and a native front-end for each supported platform. Currently the front-end is implemented with Windows Forms on Microsoft Windows, GTK+ on Linux, and Cocoa on Mac OS X. This approach permits the application to have a native look and feel, while reducing the amount of work required to maintain the project. However, the GUI functionality required by MySQL Workbench can be met by a subset of graphical operations. These are implemented in a cross-platform GUI library, MForms. This further reduces the development effort because plugin developers can use MForms rather than writing front-end specific code for each supported platform. This also helps consistency of operation across all platforms. MForms is coded in C++, but provides a Python interface. To use it, the Python code must import the mforms module.

MForms Containers

Given the problems of using an absolute coordinate system across different platforms, MForms employs containers that perform automatic layout. The basic containers that MForms provides include: