How to make a GUI for bash scripts?


I want to make some graphical dialogs for my script but don't know how. I hear something about GTK-Server or something like that. If someone knows how to link Bash with tcl/tk I also be satisfied.

Please do not post something like "change to C++" because my project must be a script in Bash; there are no other options.

Any ideas?

EDIT: Thanks for answers but I don't want "graphics" as in colors in the console, but graphical windows which I can move, minimize etc. I will test xmessage, but I don't think that will be what I am searching for.

EDIT 2: I don't want make a simple dialog like yes/no, but some interface like progress bars and buttons, something like a game.

2/4/2012 2:39:04 PM

Accepted Answer

Before actually using GUI dialogues, consider using console prompts. Quite often you can get away with simple "y/n?" prompts, which in bash you achieve via the read command..

read -p "Do something? ";
if [ $REPLY == "y" ]; then
    echo yay;

If console prompt's just won't cut it, Zenity is really easy to use, for example:

      zenity --error --text="Testing..."
      zenity --question --text="Continue?"

This only works on Linux/Gnome (or rather, it'll only be installed by default on such systems). The read method will work on pretty much any platform (including headless machines, or via SSH)

If you need anything more complex than what read or Zenity provides, "change to C++" is really the best method (although I'd recommend Python/Ruby over C++ for such shell-script-replacement tasks)

I want to do simple interface for some strange game, the progress bar for health or something is the example for what I want. Variable "HEALTH" is 34, so make progress bar filled in 34/100

As a command-line script, it'd use Python:

$ export HEALTH=34
$ python -c "import os; print '*' * int(os.environ.get('HEALTH', 0))"

Or to normalise the values between 1 and 78 (so you don't get line-wrapping on a standard terminal size):

$ python -c "import os; print '*' * int((int(os.environ.get('HEALTH', 0)) / 100.0) * 78)"

Zenity also has a Progress Dialog,

echo "10" ; sleep 1
echo "# Updating mail logs" ; sleep 1
echo "20" ; sleep 1
echo "# Resetting cron jobs" ; sleep 1
echo "50" ; sleep 1
echo "This line will just be ignored" ; sleep 1
echo "75" ; sleep 1
echo "# Rebooting system" ; sleep 1
echo "100" ; sleep 1
) |
zenity --progress \
  --title="Update System Logs" \
  --text="Scanning mail logs..." \

if [ "$?" = -1 ] ; then
        zenity --error \
          --text="Update canceled."

As I said before, if Zenity cannot do what you need, look into writing your game-thing as a "proper" script in Python/Ruby/Perl/C++/etc as it sounds like you're pushing the bounds of what a shell-script can do..

2/19/2016 12:55:12 PM

If you want to write a graphical UI in bash, zenity is the way to go. This is what you can do with it:

Application Options:
  --calendar                                     Display calendar dialog
  --entry                                        Display text entry dialog
  --error                                        Display error dialog
  --info                                         Display info dialog
  --file-selection                               Display file selection dialog
  --list                                         Display list dialog
  --notification                                 Display notification
  --progress                                     Display progress indication dialog
  --question                                     Display question dialog
  --warning                                      Display warning dialog
  --scale                                        Display scale dialog
  --text-info                                    Display text information dialog

Combining these widgets you can create pretty usable GUIs. Of course, it's not as flexible as a toolkit integrated into a programming language, but in some cases it's really useful.

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