Provided by: libprima-perl_1.28-1.1_amd64 bug


       Prima::tutorial - introductory tutorial


       Programming graphic interfaces is often considered somewhat boring, and not without a
       cause. It is a small pride in knowing that your buttons and scrollbars work exactly as
       millions of others buttons and scrollbars do, so whichever GUI toolkit is chosen, it is
       usually regarded as a tool of small importance, and the less obtrusive, the better. Given
       that, and trying to live up to the famous Perl 'making easy things easy and hard things
       possible' mantra, this manual page is an introductory tutorial meant to show how to write
       easy things easy. The hard things are explained in the other Prima manual pages ( see
       Prima ).

Introduction - a "Hello world" program

       Prima is written and is expected to be used in some traditions of Perl coding, such as
       DWIM ( do what I mean ) or TMTOWTDI ( there are more than one way to do it).  Perl itself
       is language (arguably) most effective in small programs, as the programmer doesn't need to
       include lines and lines of prerequisite code before even getting to the problem itself.
       Prima can't compete with that, but the introductory fee is low; a minimal working 'Hello
       world' can be written in three lines of code:

               use Prima qw(Application);
               Prima::MainWindow-> new( text => 'Hello world!');
               run Prima;

       Line 1 here is the invocation of modules Prima and Prima::Application. Sure, one can
       explicitly invoke both "use Prima" and "use Prima::Application" etc etc, but as module
       Prima doesn't export method names, the exemplified syntax is well-suited for such a

       Line 2 creates a window of Prima::MainWindow class, which is visualized as a screen
       window, titled as 'Hello world'. The class terminates the application when the window is
       closed; this is the only difference from 'Window' windows, that do nothing after their
       closing. From here, "Prima::" prefix in class names will be omitted, and will be used only
       when necessary, such as in code examples.

       Line 3 enters the Prima event loop. The loop is terminated when the only instance of
       Application class, created by "use Prima::Application" invocation and stored in
       $::application scalar, is destroyed.

       Strictly speaking, a minimal 'hello world' program can be written even in two lines:

               use Prima;
               Prima::message('Hello world');

       but it is not illustrative and not useful. "Prima::message" is rarely used, and is one of
       few methods contained in "Prima::" namespace. To display a message, the MsgBox module is
       often preferred, with its control over message buttons and pre-defined icons. With its
       use, the code above can be rewritten as

               use Prima qw(Application MsgBox);
               message('Hello world');

       but where "Prima::message" accepts the only text scalar parameters,
       "Prima::MsgBox::message" can do lot more. For example

               use Prima qw(Application MsgBox);
               message('Hello world', mb::OkCancel|mb::Information);

       displays two buttons and an icon. A small achievement, but the following is a bit more

               use Prima qw(Application MsgBox);
               message('Hello world', mb::OkCancel|mb::Information,
                       buttons => {
                               mb::Cancel => {
                                       # there are predefined color constants to use
                                       backColor => cl::LightGreen,
                                       # but RGB integers are also o.k.
                                       color     => 0xFFFFFF,
                               mb::Ok => {
                                       text    => 'Indeed',

       The definition of many object properties at once is a major feature of Prima, and is seen
       throughout the toolkit. Returning back to the very first example, we can demonstrate the
       manipulation of the window properties in the same fashion:

               use Prima qw(Application);
               my $window = Prima::MainWindow-> new(
                       text => 'Hello world!',
                       backColor => cl::Yellow,
                       size => [ 200, 200],
               run Prima;

       Note that the "size" property is a two-integer array, and color constant is registered in
       "cl::" namespace. In Prima there is a number of such two- and three-letter namespaces,
       containing usually integer constants for various purposes. The design reason for choosing
       such syntax over string constants ( as in Perl-Tk, such as "color => 'yellow'" ) is that
       the syntax is checked on the compilation stage, thus narrowing the possibility of a bug.

       There are over a hundred properties, such as color, text, or size, defined on descendants
       of Widget class. These can be set in "new" ( alias "create" ) call, or referred later,
       either individually

               $window-> size( 300, 150);

       or in a group

               $window-> set(
                       text => 'Hello again',
                       color => cl::Black,

       In addition to these, there are also more than 30 events, called whenever a certain action
       is performed; the events have syntax identical to the properties. Changing the code again,
       we can catch a mouse click on the window:

               use Prima qw(Application MsgBox);
               my $window = Prima::MainWindow-> new(
                       text => 'Hello world!',
                       size => [ 200, 200],
                       onMouseDown => sub {
                               my ( $self, $button, $mod, $x, $y) = @_;
                               message("Aww! You've clicked me right in $x:$y!");
               run Prima;

       While an interesting concept, it is not really practical if the only thing you want is to
       catch a click, and this is the part where a standard button is probably should be

               use Prima qw(Application Buttons MsgBox);
               my $window = Prima::MainWindow-> new(
                       text     => 'Hello world!',
                       size     => [ 200, 200],
               $window-> insert( Button =>
                       text     => 'Click me',
                       growMode => gm::Center,
                       onClick  => sub { message("Hello!") }
               run Prima;

       For those who know Perl-Tk and prefer its ways to position a widget, Prima provides pack
       and place interfaces. Here one can replace the line

               growMode => gm::Center,


               pack     => { expand => 1 },

       with exactly the same effect.

Widgets overview

       Prima contains a set of standard ( in GUI terms ) widgets, such as buttons, input lines,
       list boxes, scroll bars, etc etc. These are diluted with the other more exotic widgets,
       such as POD viewer or docking windows. Technically, these are collected in "Prima/*.pm"
       modules and each contains its own manual page, but for informational reasons here is the
       table of these, an excerpt of "Prima" manpage:

       Prima::Buttons - buttons and button grouping widgets

       Prima::Calendar - calendar widget

       Prima::ComboBox - combo box widget

       Prima::DetailedList - multi-column list viewer with controlling header widget

       Prima::DetailedOutline - a multi-column outline viewer with controlling header widget

       Prima::DockManager - advanced dockable widgets

       Prima::Docks - dockable widgets

       Prima::Edit - text editor widget

       Prima::ExtLists - listbox with checkboxes

       Prima::FrameSet - frameset widget class

       Prima::Grids - grid widgets

       Prima::Header - a multi-tabbed header widget

       Prima::ImageViewer - bitmap viewer

       Prima::InputLine - input line widget

       Prima::Label - static text widget

       Prima::Lists - user-selectable item list widgets

       Prima::MDI - top-level windows emulation classes

       Prima::Notebooks - multipage widgets

       Prima::Outlines - tree view widgets

       Prima::PodView - POD browser widget

       Prima::ScrollBar - scroll bars

       Prima::Sliders - sliding bars, spin buttons and input lines, dial widget etc.

       Prima::TextView - rich text browser widget

Building a menu

       In Prima, a tree-like menu is built by passing a nested set of arrays, where each array
       corresponds to a single menu entry. Such as, to modify the hello-world program to contain
       a simple menu, it is enough to write this:

               use Prima qw(Application MsgBox);
               my $window = Prima::MainWindow-> new(
                       text => 'Hello world!',
                       menuItems => [
                               [ '~File' => [
                                       ['~Open', 'Ctrl+O', '^O', sub { message('open!') }],
                                       ['~Save as...', sub { message('save as!') }],
                                       ['~Exit', 'Alt+X', km::Alt | ord('X'), sub { shift-> close } ],
               run Prima;

       Each of five arrays here in the example is written using different semantics, to represent
       either a text menu item, a sub-menu entry, or a menu separator. Strictly speaking, menus
       can also display images, but that syntax is practically identical to the text item syntax.

       The idea behind all this complexity is to be able to tell what exactly the menu item is,
       just by looking at the number of items in each array. So, zero or one items are treated as
       a menu separator:

               [ 'my_separator' ]

       The one-item syntax is needed when the separator menu item need to be later addressed
       explicitly. This means that each menu item after it is created is assigned a (unique)
       identifier, and that identifier looks like '#1', '#2', etc, unless it is given by the
       programmer. Here, for example, it is possible to delete the separator, after the menu is

               $window-> menu-> remove('my_separator');

       It is also possible to assign the identifier to any menu item, not just to a separator.
       The other types (text,image,sub-menu) are discerned by looking at the type of scalars they
       contain. Thus, a two-item array with the last item an array reference (or, as before,
       three-item for the explicit ID set), is clearly a sub-menu. The reference, as in the
       example, may contain more menu items, in the recursive fashion:

                       menuItems => [
                               [ '~File' => [
                                       [ '~Level1' => [
                                               [ '~Level2' => [
                                                       [ '~Level3' => [

       Finally, text items, with the most complex syntax, can be constructed with three to six
       items in the array. There can be set the left-aligned text string for the item, the right-
       aligned text string for the display of the hot key, if any, the definition of the hot hey
       itself, and the action to be taken if the user has pressed either the menu item or the hot
       key combination. Also, as in the previous cases, the explicit ID can be set, and also an
       arbitrary data scalar, for generic needs. This said, the text item combinations are:

       Three items - [ ID, text, action ]

       Four items - [ text, hot key text, hot key, action ]

       Five items - [ ID, text, hot key text, hot key, action ]

       Six items - [ ID, text, hot key text, hot key, action, data ]

       Image items are fully analogous to the text items, except that instead of the text string,
       an image object is supplied:

               use Prima qw(Application MsgBox);
               use Prima::Utils qw(find_image);

               my $i = Prima::Image-> load( find_image( 'examples/Hand.gif'));
               $i ||= 'No image found or can be loaded';

               my $window = Prima::MainWindow-> new(
                       text => 'Hello world!',
                       menuItems => [
                               [ '~File' => [
                                       [ $i, sub {} ],
               run Prima;

       The action item of them menu description array points to the code executed when the menu
       item is selected.  It is either an anonymous subroutine, as it is shown in all the
       examples above, or a string.  The latter case will cause the method of the menu owner ( in
       this example, the window ) to be called. This can be useful when constructing a generic
       class with menu actions that can be overridden:

               use Prima qw(Application);

               package MyWindow;
               use vars qw(@ISA);
               @ISA = qw(Prima::MainWindow);

               sub action
                       my ( $self, $menu_item) = @_;
                       print "hey! $menu_item called me!\n"

               my $window = MyWindow-> new(
                       menuItems => [
                               [ '~File' => [
                                       ['~Action', q(action) ],

               run Prima;

       All actions are called with the menu item identifier passed in as a string parameter.

       Another trick is to define a hot key. While its description can be arbitrary, and will be
       displayed as is, the hot key definition can be constructed in two ways. It is either a
       literal such as "^A" for Control+A, or @B for Alt+B, or "^@#F10" for
       Control+Alt+Shift+F10. Or, alternatively, it is a combination of "km::" constants either
       with ordinal of the character letter or the key code, where the key code is one of "kb::"
       constants. The latter method produces a less readable code, but is more explicit and

               [ '~Reboot', 'Ctrl+Alt+Delete', km::Alt | km::Ctrl | kb::Delete, sub {
                       print "wow!\n";
               [ '~Or not reboot?', 'Ctrl+Alt+R', km::Alt | km::Ctrl | ord('R'), sub {}],

       This concludes the short tutorial on menus. To read more, see Prima::Menu .


       Dmitry Karasik, <>.