Studio Architecture


  • Formation is a design tool intended to make the work of tkinter UI designers easy by providing an intuitive drag drop interface. It allows designers to employ all layout managers (Pack, Place and Grid) to flexibly achieve various design goals. For ease of implementation the designer itself is written in what we like to call contemporary tkinter provided by the hoverset library. You can view the widget catalogue at hoverset.ui.widgets. The supported widgets have been organised into families of widgets referred to here as widget sets and include:

    • Tkinter default (Legacy)

    • Tkinter ttk extension (Native implementations of tkinter widgets)

    • Extension set (Incomplete)

    • Hoverset widget set (Incomplete)

Features Description

A feature is a complete tool window providing means to manipulate the design file. Below are core features implemented in the formation studio:

  • Drag drop designer: Formation provides an easy to use drag drop designer. The designer can be expanded to full screen display to allow focus on design. The designer allows widgets to be moved from parent to parent as needed to simplify the design process. The designer supports manipulation using the following layout strategies:

    • pack (formerly LinearLayout)

    • grid (formerly GridLayout)

    • place (formerly FrameLayout)

    • TabLayout (for py:class:tkinter.ttk.Notebook)

    • PaneLayout (for PanedWindows)

supported layouts
  • Component library The component library allows designers to search through the supported widget sets and add them to the designer. They can filter the components based on their widget sets.

  • Component Tree Display the Widget hierarchy and select widgets that may be (due to design) difficult to access directly from the design pane. Access the context menu of the widget from the component tree which is basically just an extension/handle of the widget.

  • Style pane Access the style and layout attributes of selected widgets. The layout attributes automatically switch to match the layout manager currently handling the widget. Easily manage a wide range of properties using intuitive editors such as:

    • Color: Modify color in RGB, HSL and HSV and hex notation as well as pick colors from anywhere on your computer screen even outside formation itself

    • Anchor: Intuitively set anchors as well as sticky attributes

    • Text: Write out text values with ease

    • Choice: Get all options valid for a given property

    • Dimensions: Handles all tkinter dimension notations

    • Boolean: Toggle between boolean attributes with a click

  • Menu editor Create and edit menus using easy to use drag and drop gestures. Access all attributes applicable to the various types of menu items and preview the modified menu with the click of a button.

  • Variable pane Create tkinter control variables, access and assign them to widgets in the designer. Modify the values of the variables on the fly from the manager window. Any control variables added from the manager immediately reflect in the style pane allowing the designer to assign them to as many widgets as they desire. Control variables provide an elegant way to set values to connected widgets which rely on the same value.


  • studio.feature : Contains implementation of the various key components of the designer such as:

    • studio.feature.component_tree


    • studio.feature.components

    • studio.feature.stylepane

    • studio.feature.variablepane

These components all implement studio.feature._base.BaseFeature which abstracts all Feature behaviour and manipulation which can then be built upon if special behaviour is needed. It contains methods that are to be overridden so as to handle events broadcast by the main application such as change in widget selection or deletion of a widget among others.

  • studio.lib : Contains implementation of widget sets, complete definitions of their properties, behaviour. It also has implementation for the various layouts used by the designer. Definitions and implementation of menus and properties that can be applied to the menu components can also be found here. The files under this folder are:

    • studio.lib.layouts: layout implementation

    • studio.lib.legacy: classic tkinter widget definition

    • studio.lib.native: ttk themed widget extension widgets

    • definition for all widget properties modifiable by the style pane.

    • studio.lib.pseudo: Base classes for widgets used in the studio designer with added functionality to allow for easy manipulation. Definition for container widgets can also be found here

    • Utilities and definitions for handling menus in the studio

    • studio.lib.variables: Classes for managing tk variables in the studio

  • studio.parsers : Contains implementation for classes that handle conversion from various designated file formats to design view and vice versa. Currently on only xml defined in studio.parsers.xml format is supported but if any other formats are to be added this would be the package location

  • studio.ui: Contain implementation of widgets and user interface components used in the studio. The included are:

    • studio.ui.editors: The ui elements used to modify various widget properties as explained in the style pane feature

    • studio.ui.geometry: Access, analyse and manipulate position and sizes of widgets used by various studio routines

    • studio.ui.highlight: Transient widgets used to guide designers to which widgets currently have focus. Also contains implementations for resizing and moving widgets in the designer

    • studio.ui.tree: Implementation of base class for the tree view widgets used in the studio which allows easy manipulation using drag drop gestures

    • studio.ui.widgets: Assortment of special widgets used in the studio

    • studio.ui.about: The about window for the studio

  • studio.main: Contains the entry point of studio user interface. Implementation for general functionality and the coordination of feature windows can be found inside the studio.main.StudioApplication class