Creating Your First Mono Project
Upon firing up MonoDevelop for the first time, I was surprised to see it was possible to create a GTK-based project (see Figure 1). The Mono-specific version is called Gtk# (Gtk Sharp), giving developers access to a rich suite of cross-platform widgets.
Figure 1. Creating a Gtk# 2.0-based Project
After creating the new project, MonoDevelop will automatically provide the C#/Gtk# equivalent of "Hello, world" as a starting point. However, attempting to compile and run the skeleton application produced a number of errors regarding missing assemblies, all of which were pertinent to Gtk#. Additional research indicated that Gtk# is not installed by default alongside Mono. Another trip to the Synaptic Package Manager fixed the problem, and I subsequently successfully compiled and ran the application (see Figure 2).
Figure 2. Running "Hello, World"
The next step involved adding a few interface elements to serve as starting points for subsequently adding features. Fortunately, MonoDevelop is equipped with a great interface designer, which you can access by clicking the
Designer button located at the bottom of the editor (see Figure 3).
Figure 3. Click the Designer Button to Open the Interface Designer
When clicked, a window containing almost fifty interface elements will appear. To design the interface, all you need to do is drag and drop the desired elements atop the window. If you're not familiar with the behavior of layout managers, take the time to read this tutorial explaining Gtk#'s layout approach. After adding a menu bar and status bar, I was starting to see glimpses of my application prototype (Figure 4).
Figure 4. Adding a Menu and Status Bar
Wiring Events to the Controls
Continuing with the approach of continuous small victories, I next decided to implement the
Quit command found in the
File menu, and create a project description that appears when the user clicks the
About RadioRadio command found in the
About menu. Let's start with
Open the main window's interface designer and click the Quit menu item. When you do, the Properties window will appear (Figure 5).
Figure 5. Setting the Quit Menu Item's Activated Signal
We want to tie a signal to the
Activated event. When clicked, the method associated with the event will execute. Associate the name
OnQuit with the
Activated event. When you do, a method named
OnQuit will automatically be added to the
MainWindow.cs source. All you need to do is add the
Application.Quit() call, as depicted here:
protected void OnQuit (object sender, System.EventArgs e)
Next, let's create the about dialog. A special type of window called an
AboutDialog is native to Gtk#. It allows you to easily package all of the usual information about your application into a simple popup window, including the title, author and copyright data. Attach a method called
OnShowAbout to the
About menu item, and modify the
OnShowAbout method so it looks like this:
protected virtual void OnShowAbout (object sender, System.EventArgs e)
AboutDialog about = new AboutDialog();
about.Title = "About RadioRadio";
about.Copyright = "Copyright 2011 W. Jason Gilmore";
Rebuild and run the application. When you click on the
About menu item, you'll be greeted with the window found in Figure 6.
Figure 6. Creating an About Dialog
Where to From Here?
Mono and Gtk# are both actively developed projects boasting an enormous amount of documentation, making your investigatory work all the easier. Hopefully this short tutorial gave you some insight into how to get started!
If you want to keep tabs on my progress with RadioRadio, follow me on GitHub, as I'll be posting the files soon.