This week, we’re releasing GTK 3.99, which can only mean one thing: GTK4 is getting really close!
Back in February, when 3.98 was released, we outlined the features that we wanted to land before making a feature-complete 3.99 release. This was the list:
- Event controllers for keyboard shortcuts
- Movable popovers
- Row-recycling list and grid views
- Revamped accessibility infrastructure
- Animation API
How have we done?
We’ve dropped animation API from our 4.0 blocker list, since it requires more extensive internal restructuring, and we can’t complete it in time. But all the other features have found their way into the various 3.98.x snapshots, with the accessibility infrastructure being the last hold-out that landed very recently.
Some of the features have already been covered here, for example Movable popovers and Scalable Lists. The others will hopefully receive some detailed review here in the future. Until then, you can look at Emmanuele’s GUADEC talk if you are curious about the new accessibility infrastructure.
What else is new ?
One area I want to highlight is the amount of work that has gone into fleshing out the new scalable list infrastructure. Our filter and sort models do their work incrementally now, so the UI can remain responsive while large lists are getting filtered or sorted in the background.
A new macOS GDK backend has been merged. It still has some rough corners that we hope to smooth over between now and the 4.0 release.
And many small regressions have been fixed, from spinbutton sizing to treeview cell editing to autoscrolling to Inspector navigation to slightly misrendered shadows.
Can I port yet?
GTK 3.99 is the perfect time to take a first look at porting applications.
We are very thankful to the early adopters who have braved the 3.96 or 3.98 snapshots with trial ports and provided us with valuable feedback. With so many changes, it is inevitable that we’ve gotten things wrong in the API, and getting that feedback while we can still address things will really help us. Telling us about things we forgot to cover in the docs, missing examples or gaps in the migration guide is also very much appreciated.
We are aware that some porting efforts will be stopped short by indirect dependencies on GTK 3. For example, if you are using a webkit webview or GtkSourceView or vte, you might find it difficult to try out GTK 4.
Thankfully, porting efforts are already well underway for some of these libraries. Other libraries, such as libgweather will need some work to separate their core functionality from the GTK 3 dependency.
Can I help?
As mentioned in the previous section any feedback on new APIs, documentation and the porting guide is very welcome and helpful.
There are many other areas where we could use help. If you are familiar with OS X APIs, you could make a real difference in completing the macOS backend.
We have also started to integrate an ANGLE-based GL renderer, but our shaders need to be made to work with EGL before we can take advantage of it. Help with that would be greatly appreciated.
We are committed to releasing GTK 4 before the end of year. Between now and then, we are doing more work on accessibility backends, improving the macOS backend, writing documentation, and examples.