Created: 2008-12-04 19:24
Updated: 2018-11-30 17:12
License: mit


Glimmer (The Original One And Only)

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Glimmer is a cross-platform Ruby desktop development library. Glimmer's main innovation is a JRuby DSL that enables easy and efficient authoring of desktop application user-interfaces while relying on the robust platform-independent Eclipse SWT library. Glimmer additionally innovates by having built-in desktop UI data-binding support to greatly facilitate synchronizing the UI with domain models. As a result, that achieves true decoupling of object oriented components, enabling developers to solve business problems without worrying about UI concerns, or alternatively drive development UI-first, and then write clean business components test-first afterward.

You may learn more by reading this article: Eclipse Zone Tutorial



    shell {
      text "Example"
      label {
        text "Hello World!"


JRuby (supporting Ruby 2.3.0 syntax)

Easiest way to obtain is through RVM

With RVM installed on your system, please run this command to install JRuby:

rvm install jruby-


Please follow these instructions to make the glimmer command available on your system.

Option 1: Bundler

Add the following to Gemfile:

gem 'glimmer', '~>'

And, then run:

bundle install

Option 2: Direct RubyGem

Run this command to get directly:

gem install glimmer -v



glimmer [--setup] [application_ruby_file_path.rb]

Example 1:

glimmer hello_combo.rb

This runs the Glimmer application hello_combo.rb (if the SWT Jar is missing, it downloads it and sets it up first.)

Example 2:

glimmer --setup hello_combo.rb

This performs setup and then runs the Glimmer application hello_combo.rb (downloads and sets up the SWT jar whether present or not)

Example 3:

glimmer --setup

This just downloads and sets up the SWT jar even if already present.

Girb (Glimmer irb)

With Glimmer installed, you may run want to run girb instead of standard irb to have SWT preloaded and the Glimmer library required and included for quick Glimmer coding/testing.


Check the "samples" folder for examples on how to write Glimmer applications.


Ruby is a dynamically-typed object-oriented language, which provides great productivity gains due to its powerful expressive syntax and dynamic nature. While it is proven by the Ruby on Rails framework for web development, it currently lacks a robust platform-independent framework for building desktop applications. Given that Java libraries can now be utilized in Ruby code through JRuby, Eclipse technologies, such as SWT, JFace, and RCP can help fill the gap of desktop application development with Ruby.


Glimmer comes with a Ruby Logger accessible via Glimmer.logger Its level of logging defaults to Logger::WARN It may be configured to show a different level of logging as follows:

Glimmer.logger.level = Logger::DEBUG

This results in more verbose debugging log to STDOUT, which is helpful in troubleshooting Glimmer DSL syntax when needed.

Example log:

D, [2017-07-21T19:23:12.587870 #35707] DEBUG -- : method: shell and args: []
D, [2017-07-21T19:23:12.594405 #35707] DEBUG -- : ShellCommandHandler will handle command: shell with arguments []
D, [2017-07-21T19:23:12.844775 #35707] DEBUG -- : method: composite and args: []
D, [2017-07-21T19:23:12.845388 #35707] DEBUG -- : parent is a widget: true
D, [2017-07-21T19:23:12.845833 #35707] DEBUG -- : on listener?: false
D, [2017-07-21T19:23:12.864395 #35707] DEBUG -- : WidgetCommandHandler will handle command: composite with arguments []
D, [2017-07-21T19:23:12.864893 #35707] DEBUG -- : widget styles are: []
D, [2017-07-21T19:23:12.874296 #35707] DEBUG -- : method: list and args: [:multi]
D, [2017-07-21T19:23:12.874969 #35707] DEBUG -- : parent is a widget: true
D, [2017-07-21T19:23:12.875452 #35707] DEBUG -- : on listener?: false
D, [2017-07-21T19:23:12.878434 #35707] DEBUG -- : WidgetCommandHandler will handle command: list with arguments [:multi]
D, [2017-07-21T19:23:12.878798 #35707] DEBUG -- : widget styles are: [:multi]

Mac Support

In order to run Glimmer on the Mac, you need to pass an extra option to JRuby. For example: jruby -J-XstartOnFirstThread samples/hello_world.rb

Contributing to Glimmer

Please follow these instructions if you would like to help us develop Glimmer:

  1. Download and extract the "SWT binary and source".
  2. Add swt.jar to your Java CLASSPATH environment (e.g. export CLASSPATH="$CLASSPATH:/path_to_swt_jar/swt.jar")
  3. Download and setup jRuby 1.5.6 (rvm install jruby-
  4. Install bundler (gem install bundler)
  5. Install project required gems (bundle install)
  6. Write a program that requires the file "lib/glimmer.rb" (or glimmer gem) and has the UI class (view) include the Glimmer module
  7. Run your program with bin/glimmer or jruby (pass -J-XstartOnFirstThread option if on the Mac)



  • Annas "Andy" Al Maleh (Founder)
  • Dennis Theisen


Copyright (c) 2007-2017 Annas Al Maleh. See LICENSE.txt for further details.

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