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wxPython object builder

Project description

What? Why?

wxWize is a GUI builder library that supplements wxPython. wxPython is very powerful and very flexible, but creating windows, sizers and events can be a bit cumbersone.

This is where wxWize comes in, providing a simple way of creating sophisticated wxPython designs in fewer lines of code, with vastly improved readability, and without sacrifising any of the expressive power of programmatic GUI building.

It’s a shallow wrapper, intended to be easily picked up by anyone who’s written wxPython applications before. Things are called the same as in wxPython/wxWidgets where possible.

Once frames and dialogs are created, wxWize steps out of the way, and the wxPython objects are all yours. You use them exactly the same as you’ve always done, using familiar methods like Bind, SetValue, GetValue, SetBackgroundColour etc.


  • wxWize uses the Python with statement to express object nesting.
  • Sizers and windows are integrated in a single hierarchy, meaning that you no longer need to type in all those sizer.Add calls – wxWize does that for you, based on relative positions in the with-statement hierarchy.
  • parent and id parameters are gone as required parameters for controls. parent is computed from the hierarchy position. They can still be set where needed using named parameters.


Copy to your site-packages directory.



Use the with statement to create sizers. Sizers and windows that are created within the scope of the with-statement, become children of the sizer, and automatically added.

Simple windows

To create a wx.Window control, use the identically named wize class. The __init__ parameters are the same as for the wxPython object, except for this:

  • There are only a 1-2 (or an occasional 3) positional parameters. parent, id, pos, size and style have been relegated to keyword-only.
  • parent can and should be omitted entirely (except for the top-level item).
  • flag and proportion parameters provide parent sizer Add arguments.
  • x, y, xspan and yspan provide additional parent sizer Add arguments, for when the parent sizer is a GridBagSizer.
  • EVT_* parameters provide an event binding shorthand.
  • init or cls are useful for subclassing.

Container windows

For windows that can have sub-windows (wize.Frame, wize.Dialog, wize.Panel, wize.StaticBox), use the with statement and nest other windows or sizers below it.

If needed, a BoxSizer is created automatically and passed to SetSizer. Use the orient parameter to set the direction.

If there is only one child and that child is a sizer, then no BoxSizer is created and the child is used instead.

Interfacing with ordinary wxPython code

wx.Frame/wx.Dialog implemented with wxWize

When implementing the whole of a top-level window using wxWize, define the wxWize hierarchy (of nested with-statements) in the __init__ of your wx.Frame/wx.Dialog subclass. Use the init parameter for the top-level call to wize.Frame/wize.Dialog.

Nesting a wxWize hierarchy within an existing structure

When implementing only a part of the frame/dialog using wxWize,
provide a parent argument to the top-level wxWize object, and the object returned from with .. as will be ready to put into a sizer in your own plain wxPython code.

Nesting an wxPython window

wxPython objects - windows and sizers - can be inserted into a wxWize hierarchy using ordinary Sizer.Add method calls - using the with .. as value from e.g. a wize.BoxSizer or wize.GridSizer. The wize.Parent function returns a suitable parent value for windows.

For windows, an alternative is to create a wize.Window with
a w parameter, and sizer parameters (flag,proportion) as needed. Then, wxWize handles the sizer Add. So you’d write e.g.:
my_win = CreateWindowSomeOtherWay(parent=wize.Parent(),...)
wize.Window(w=my_win, flag=wx.EXPAND, proportion=1)

Nesting a wxPython sizer

There’s no similar setup for inserting a sizer. But you can always

Getting at the wxPython objects

The sizers and windows created are ordinary wx.Sizer and wx.Window objects. with wize. as *variable* binds the wrapped wxPython object to variable.

All the wxWize classes are intended to be used in a Python with statement. The value bound with with .. as is the wrapped wxPython object, a wx.Window or a wx.Sizer.

For simple objects with no sub-objects – StaticText, TextCtrl, Choice etc. – the with statement can be omitted. In that case, to get at the wrapped wxPython object, use the wx property.

E.g. instead of writing: .. code-block:: python

with wize.BoxSizer(wx.HORIZONTAL):
with wize.StaticText(u’Enter name: ‘): pass with wize.TextCtrl() as name_input: pass

you can write, to the same effect:

.. code-block:: python
with wize.BoxSizer(wx.HORIZONTAL):
wize.StaticText(u’Enter name: ‘) name_input = wize.TextCtrl().wx

Specific features

EVT_* binding

Bind an event callback by using the event name as a named parameter, with the callback as its value. I.e. EVT_FOO=self.OnFoo is a shorthand for .Bind(wx.EVT_FOO, self.OnFoo).

Mixing in a window not created using wxWize

If for whatever reason you don’t want wxWize to create a window, but you still wxWize to handle the sizers, then create the window yourself and pass it to the w parameter. wxWize will then use the w-value you provided instead of creating a new window.

You can do this even if there’s no precise wxWize equivalent to the
type of window created. Use a superclass such as wize.Window or wize.Panel instead.

Automatic wx.ALL if border>0

If border is set, and none of the border flags (wx.TOP,wx.BOTTOM,wx.LEFT,wx.RIGHT) are set, then wx.ALL is assumed.

fgcolour, bgcolour and toolTip

Pass a fgcolour, bgcolour or toolTip parameter as a shorthand for .SetForegroundColour, .SetBackgroundColour or .SetToolTip.

wx.EXPAND and proportion=1 for sizers and panels

Sizers and panels have flag=wx.EXPAND as the default. (Controls have flag=0.) Additionally, panels have proportion=1 as the default.

wx.EXPAND and proportion>0 help sizers and panels be neutral intermediaries: If you e.g have a ListCtrl on a Frame, and you change that to be a ListCtrl on a Panel on a Frame, then the ListCtrl will resize with the frame if it did before.

Panels include wize.Panel and wize.SplitterWindow.

Changing defaults with Default

The Default classmethod temporarily changes the default value of one or more attributes. It’s a with-statement expression, and takes keyword parameters which are the new defaults for the class for anything created within the scope of the with statement.

For example, to revert the default flag value for a BoxSizer back to 0, instead of wx.EXPAND, do this:

with wize.BoxSizer.Default(flag=0):

GridBagSizer positioning

Grid position in a GridBagSizer is set using separate x and y parameters (which become the position=wx.GBPosition(y,x) argument to wx.GridBagSizer.Add). To span over more than one square, there’s xspan and yspan (which become the wx.GBSpan(yspan,xspan) argument to wx.GridBagSizer.Add).

If both x and y are omitted, then the item is placed to the right of the previous item, or just below. The value of the orient attribute determines which one: wx.HORIZONTAL, and it’s to the right, wx.VERTICAL, and it’s below.

One or both of x and y can be omitted, in which case the previous value is reused. Or, the previous value plus one. That happens if a new x value is provided that isn’t larger than the previous one, then y is incremented, and similarly, if the new y value is provided that isn’t larger than the previous one, then x is incremented.

This is perhaps better shown by example:

with wize.GridBagSizer():
    wize.StaticText("First", x=0, y=0)  # (x=0, y=0)
    wize.StaticText("Second", x=1)      # (x=1, y=0)
    wize.StaticText("Third", x=0)       # (x=0, y=1)
    wize.StaticText("Fourth", x=1)      # (x=1, y=1)
    wize.StaticText("Fifth", x=1)       # (x=1, y=2)

Although only the line number y=0 is explicitly given, “Third” and “Fifth” are moved to a new line, because the x value isn’t to the right of the previous x value.

Note that this could also have been written like this:

with wize.GridBagSizer(wx.HORIZONTAL):
    wize.StaticText("First")              # (x=0, y=0) is the default
    wize.StaticText("Second")             # (x=1, y=0)
    wize.StaticText("Third", x=0)         # (x=0, y=1)
    wize.StaticText("Fourth")             # (x=1, y=1)
    wize.StaticText("Fifth", x=1)         # (x=1, y=2)


The wize.StaticBox control combines wx.StaticBox and wx.StaticBoxSizer into one.


The default sizer flag is wx.EXPAND. A new parameter, ‘thickness’, sets the size to (-1,self.thickness) if the style is wx.LI_HORIZONTAL, or (self.thickness,-1) if wx.LI_VERTICAL. In combination, that means that e.g. within a BoxSizer(wx.VERTICAL)

wize.StaticLine(3, wx.LI_HORIZONTAL)

or, since wx.LI_HORIZONTAL is already the default, shortened to:


puts a 3 pixels high line horisontal line across the full width.


SplitterWindow(wx.HORIZONTAL) puts the two nested windows side by side with a resizing sash between. SplitterWindow(wx.VERTICAL) puts the two nested windows on top of one another. (Don’t call SplitVertically or SplitHorizontally, it’s automatic.)

The default of sashGravity=0.5 makes the subwindows equal sized, and the default of minimumPaneSize=1 ensures that the second subwindow doesn’t disappear unexpectedly. (Use minimumPaneSize=0 to restore the wxWidgets default behaviour that a double click on the sash hides the second window.)


When defining a new subclass of a wxPython class, the new subclass does not have an implementation in wxWize. The obvious fix is to create a such a class, a wize.Control subclass to wrap your wx.Control subclass.

That’s not at all hard to do. If you look in, you can see how it’s done for the standard controls and do something similar.

But there are other options: For wx.Frame and wx.Dialog subclasses, define the wxWize object hierarchy by using nested with’s in __init__. For the root of the with-hierarchy, use a wize.Frame or wize.Dialog with init=self.

Finally there’s cls, which is an option, if the subclass __init__ parameter list is identical to the parent __init__.

Subclassing with init

The init parameter provides a way to use wxWize from within the __init__ of a wxPython window subclass. It goes like this:

Instead of calling parent __init__ from within the subclass __init__, create a wxWize object using init=self instead. Now wxWize will call the parent __init__ with the same parameters it would otherwise have used to create a new object.

Subclassing with cls

If the subclass __init__ takes the same parameters as the parent class, then you can use an existing wxWize-class with cls=MyNewSubclass. The cls parameter tells wxWize to create the window using this class instead of the normal wxPython class.

Isolating with Isolate

wxWize uses global state to track the current wxWize parent. with Isolate(): temporarily sets the wxWize parent to None, so that objects created in the context do not become linked into the current hierarchy, but stand on their own.

List of classes

Class name Positional parameters
BoxSizer orient
Button label
CheckBox label
Choice choices
ComboBox value, choices
CommandLinkButton mainLabel, note
Control w
DatePickerCtrl dt
Dialog title
FlexGridSizer rows
Frame title
GradientButton label, bitmap
ListBox choices
MaskedNumCtrl value
MaskedTextCtrl value
Menu label
MenuBar parent
MenuCheck text, callback
MenuItem text, callback
MenuRadio text, callback
MenuSeparator text, callback
Page text
Panel proportion
PopupMenu parent
RadioButton label
Spacer size
SpinCtrl min, max, initial
SplitterWindow orient, minimumPaneSize
StaticBox label, orient
StaticLine thickness, style
StaticText label
TextCtrl value
TopLevelWindow title
Window w

Parameters not in the wxWidgets docs

The wxPython/wxWidgets documentation for creating objects can be used with wxWize as well, since all the documented __init__ parameters are available.

Here’s an overview of the additional parameters that are specific to wxWize:

Parameter name Description
w Pre-created wxPython object.
cls Subclass of the wrapped wxPython class to use.
init init=self if using wxWize to initialise the parent class in __init__
proportion Sizer Add parameter.
flag Sizer Add parameter.
border Sizer Add parameter.
orient Panels and top-level windows can also take this BoxSizer parameter.
fgcolour Triggers a SetForegroundColour method call.
fgcolour Triggers a SetBackgroundColour method call.
toolTip Triggers a SetToolTipString method call.
x GridBagSizer column number.
y GridBagSizer row number.
xspan GridBagSizer column span.
yspan GridBagSizer row span.
orient Layout of children, wx.VERTICAL or wx.HORIZONTAL
callback EVT_MENU action for MenuItem’s
thickness StaticLine line width.
InterpClass_args *args for Shell to pass to InterpClass
InterpClass_kwargs **kwargs for Shell to pass to InterpClass
sashGravity SplitterWindow.SetSashGravity parameter
minimumPaneSize SplitterWindow.SetMinimumPaneSize parameter
EVT_* Set an event callback.

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