SchLibView KiCad Symbol Library Viewer – My First D Project

SchLibView is my latest GUI project. Its a simple viewer application for KiCad shematic symbol library files. It  can open and list symbols from multiple files at once. Its relatively easy to use. You can just drag&drop files. It doesn’t have much in terms of features at  the moment. And I don’t have any plans for it. This was mostly a practice project for the new language I’m learning.

It’s programmed in D language. For GUI I’ve used the GtkD library, this is a binding for Gtk+ (C) library for D. I really wanted to use Qt since that is my goto GUI solution. Unfortunately as of this moment there aren’t viable Qt bindings for D language. There are some solutions. But they are either obsolete (Qt4) or have an unpleasant/unstable API. GtkD on the other hand is very well put together from an API perspective. Although documentation was a bit lacking as it is with most bindings of the Gtk+ library it was still easy to discover and use. Also in my opinion, it fits well into the Ds way of programming, I mean it doesn’t feel out of place. When some years ago I tried to use gtkmm library (C++ bindings for Gtk+) I got frustrated because of heavy syntax required to use it. I want my code to look nice and be readable. That’s the main reason I got into the D programming language.

My experience with the D language itself was also very pleasant. It feels very powerful yet very easy to code. Standard library is awesome. You think “I wonder if this is gonna work?” and it works. I got genuinely surprised when I saw how easy it is to use meta-programming (*) features of the language, compared to mess that is C++ template programming. Although C++ significantly improved its game in recent years, I don’t think it will ever catch D’s simplicity. I’m very much looking forward to using this language in the future projects. It’s just what it is planned to be. A better C++.

(*) I haven’t used any meta-programming features in this project to be honest, but another project that I have been working on

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