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Creating Desktop Applications in C++ with Walnut Framework

03 December 2023

By Andrew Drue

Learn how to create powerful desktop applications in C++ using the Walnut framework. This article explores the features of Walnut, including its custom title bar functionality and GPU rendering capabilities.


Introduction to Walnut Framework


Walnut Framework is a powerful and versatile C++ application framework designed specifically for creating UI apps. Developed by the author, this framework offers a wide range of features and functionalities that enable developers to build robust and efficient applications with ease.


One of the standout features of Walnut Framework is its use of hardware rendering using Vulkan. This enables the framework to leverage GPU rendering for native applications, resulting in enhanced performance and visual quality. By utilizing the full capabilities of the GPU, applications built using Walnut Framework can deliver a seamless and immersive user experience.


The main goal of Walnut Framework is to provide developers with a framework that allows them to create UI applications similar to Hazel's editor. The author was inspired by Hazel's editor and sought to recreate its features and functionalities in a more accessible and customizable manner. With Walnut Framework, developers have the freedom to create their own unique applications that meet their specific requirements.


One of the best aspects of Walnut Framework is that it is available for free on GitHub. This means that developers can access the full source code, contribute to its development, and also benefit from the contributions of the wider community. The open-source nature of the framework promotes collaboration and fosters a sense of community among developers.


Key Features of Walnut Framework:


  • Hardware rendering using Vulkan for enhanced performance and visual quality

  • Support for GPU rendering, resulting in faster and smoother application performance

  • Customizable UI components that can be tailored to the specific requirements of the application

  • Easy integration with existing C++ codebases, allowing developers to leverage their existing knowledge and code

  • Extensive documentation, tutorials, and resources to assist developers in getting started and mastering the framework

  • Active and supportive community on GitHub, providing assistance and guidance to fellow developers


Getting Started with Walnut Framework:


To get started with using Walnut Framework, developers can visit the official GitHub repository and clone or download the source code. The repository contains all the necessary files and documentation to set up the framework and start building applications.


Once the framework is set up, developers can explore the various example projects and tutorials provided in the documentation to gain a better understanding of the framework's capabilities and how to use them effectively.


For developers who prefer visual and interactive learning, there are also video tutorials available that cover different aspects of using Walnut Framework. These tutorials provide step-by-step instructions and practical examples to help developers grasp the concepts and techniques used in the framework.


Walnut Framework is a powerful and versatile C++ application framework designed to simplify the process of building UI apps. With its use of hardware rendering using Vulkan and support for GPU rendering, the framework offers enhanced performance and visual quality.


By providing a wide range of customizable UI components, extensive documentation, and an active community, Walnut Framework empowers developers to create unique and innovative applications. Whether you are a beginner or an experienced developer, Walnut Framework has the tools and resources to help you bring your ideas to life.


Custom Title Bars with Walnut


Custom title bars are one of the most requested features in modern user interface design. They provide a sleek and polished look to any application or website. With the help of the ImGui library and the Win32 API, implementing custom title bars has become easier than ever. In this blog post, we will provide a step-by-step guide and code implementation details for creating custom title bars using Walnut.


Why Custom Title Bars?

Before we dive into the details of creating custom title bars with Walnut, let's understand why they are so popular and in demand. A custom title bar can give your application or website a unique and modern look. It allows you to differentiate your brand by adding your own logo, colors, and other branding elements. Custom title bars also provide a great opportunity to improve the user experience by adding custom functionality and controls.


The ImGui Library and Win32 API


When it comes to creating custom title bars, two important tools come to mind - the ImGui library and the Win32 API.


The ImGui library is a lightweight and easy-to-use library for creating graphical user interfaces. It provides a set of intuitive functions and classes that simplify the process of creating custom title bars. With I'm GUI, you can easily customize the title bar's appearance, add custom buttons and controls, and handle user interactions.


The Win32 API, on the other hand, is a powerful and feature-rich API provided by Microsoft for creating Windows applications. It allows you to access low-level system functions and perform advanced customization tasks. By leveraging the Win32 API, you can create custom title bars with full control over every aspect of their appearance and behavior.


A Step-by-Step Guide to Creating Custom Title Bars


Now that we have a basic understanding of custom title bars and the tools we'll be using, let's dive into the step-by-step guide to creating them with Walnut.


Step 1: Setting up the Development Environment


Before we can start creating custom title bars with Walnut, we need to set up our development environment. This involves installing the necessary software and libraries, such as ImGui and the Win32 API. Detailed installation instructions can be found in the Walnut documentation.


Step 2: Creating a Custom Title Bar


Once our development environment is set up, we can start creating our custom title bar. This involves creating a new class that inherits from the ImGui window class and customizing its appearance. We can override the window's painting function to draw our custom title bar and handle user interactions.


Step 3: Adding Custom Functionality and Controls


With the basic custom title bar in place, we can now add custom functionality and controls to enhance the user experience. This can include adding buttons for minimizing, maximizing, or closing the window, as well as any other custom controls specific to our application or website.


Step 4: Handling User Interactions


Handling user interactions is an important part of creating custom title bars. We can use event handlers and callbacks to respond to user actions, such as clicking on a button or dragging the window. By handling these interactions, we can add interactivity and improve the user experience.


Step 5: Testing and Troubleshooting


Once our custom title bar is complete, it's important to thoroughly test it and make sure it works as expected. We should test it on different platforms and devices to ensure it is responsive and compatible. If any issues or bugs arise, we can use debugging tools and techniques to troubleshoot and fix them.


With this step-by-step guide, you should now have a good understanding of how to create custom title bars using Walnut. Remember, custom title bars provide a modern and sleek look to any application or website, and with the help of the ImGui library and the Win32 API, implementing them has become easier than ever. So go ahead, give it a try, and customize your title bars to make your brand stand out!


Walnut Chat and Other Features


Walnut Chat is a recently developed instant messaging chat application that has been gaining popularity among users. Its developer has utilized the Walnut networking module to create a seamless and secure messaging experience. With continual extension and feature addition based on user requests, Walnut Chat aims to provide an enhanced communication platform for its users.


Instant Messaging with Walnut Chat


Walnut Chat offers a user-friendly interface for instant messaging. Users can easily connect with their friends, family, and colleagues through text-based conversations. The messaging platform supports both one-on-one and group chats, making it suitable for personal as well as professional use.


The Walnut Chat application is available for various devices and platforms, including desktop computers, smartphones, and tablets. This allows users to stay connected and have real-time conversations no matter which device they are using.


The Walnut networking module ensures that messages are delivered securely and reliably. Encryption protocols protect the privacy of users' conversations, preventing unauthorized access to sensitive information.


Collaboration and File Sharing


Walnut Chat goes beyond simple text-based messaging by offering collaboration and file-sharing features. Users can create and join virtual rooms where they can collaborate on projects, share files, and exchange ideas. This makes Walnut Chat a valuable tool for remote teams, freelancers, and anyone who needs to work together with others.


The file-sharing feature allows users to upload and download files directly within the chat application. This eliminates the need for additional file-sharing platforms and simplifies the collaboration process. Users can easily share documents, images, videos, and more, making Walnut Chat a versatile communication tool.


Continual Extension and Feature Addition


The Walnut Chat development team is dedicated to continually improving the application based on user feedback and requests. Regular updates introduce new features and enhancements to make Walnut Chat even more versatile and user-friendly.


The development team actively listens to user feedback and considers feature requests to ensure that Walnut Chat meets the needs of its users. This user-centric approach sets Walnut Chat apart from other instant messaging applications and contributes to its growing user base.


As Walnut Chat continues to evolve, users can expect new and exciting features that enhance their messaging experience. Whether it's improved security measures, enriched collaboration tools, or enhanced customization options, Walnut Chat strives to provide a truly exceptional instant messaging platform.


Walnut Chat is a feature-rich instant messaging chat application that offers a seamless and secure messaging experience. With the Walnut networking module at its core, users can enjoy reliable and encrypted conversations. The collaboration and file-sharing features further enhance the platform's versatility, making it suitable for a wide range of users.


Through continual extension and feature addition based on user requests, Walnut Chat aims to provide a user-centric and evolving messaging platform. Users can look forward to exciting updates and new features that enhance their communication experience. Whether it's for personal use or professional collaboration, Walnut Chat strives to be the go-to messaging application for users worldwide.


Exploring Walnut and Getting Started


Welcome to the world of Walnut, a powerful framework that allows you to create stunning web applications with ease. In this blog post, we will explore Walnut and get you started on your journey to becoming a Walnut expert.


Walnut Framework: Download and Exploration


The first step in getting started with Walnut is to download the framework from GitHub. Walnut is an open-source framework, which means that it is freely available for anyone to use and contribute to. By downloading Walnut, you gain access to its entire codebase, documentation, and community support. This makes it easy for developers of all levels to explore and understand how Walnut works.


Once you have downloaded Walnut, you can start exploring its various features and capabilities. Walnut is designed to be easy to understand and use, even for beginners. Its well-organized codebase and intuitive API make it a pleasure to work with. Whether you are building a simple blog or a complex web application, Walnut has all the tools you need to get the job done.


Example Project: Custom Title Bar and Other Features


To help you get started with Walnut, the author has provided an example project that showcases some of the framework's key features. One of these features is the ability to create a custom title bar. With Walnut, you can easily customize the appearance and behavior of the title bar to match the style of your application. This allows you to create a unique and eye-catching user interface that sets your application apart from the rest.


But the custom title bar is just the tip of the iceberg. Walnut offers a wide range of features and functionalities that enable you to build highly interactive and engaging web applications. From responsive layouts to form validation, Walnut has it all. The example project serves as a great starting point for exploring these features and understanding how they can be used in real-world scenarios.


Acquiring and Setting Up Walnut


Once you are ready to dive deeper into Walnut, the author provides scripts and instructions to help you acquire and set up the framework. These scripts automate the installation process, ensuring that you have all the necessary dependencies and configurations in place. With just a few simple commands, you can have Walnut up and running on your development environment.


Furthermore, the author's instructions provide guidance on how to structure your Walnut project, organize your code, and leverage best practices. Following these instructions will not only help you get started quickly but also set you on the path to writing clean, maintainable, and scalable code.


In conclusion, exploring Walnut and getting started with the framework is an exciting journey. With its powerful features, intuitive API, and helpful resources provided by the author, Walnut empowers developers to build amazing web applications. So why wait? Download Walnut, dive in, and unlock the full potential of this remarkable framework.


Benefits of Walnut Framework


The Walnut Framework offers numerous benefits that make it a popular choice for developers. Whether you are building a web application or a native mobile app, this framework provides the tools you need to create a customized and high-performing user interface. Let's explore some of the key advantages of using the Walnut Framework.


Full Control over Application's UI and Customization Options


One of the major benefits of the Walnut Framework is the level of control it provides over the application's user interface. Unlike other frameworks that offer limited customization options, Walnut gives you the freedom to design and build your application exactly how you envision it. With Walnut, you can easily create unique and stunning user interfaces that align with your brand's identity.


Allows for GPU Rendering and Native Application Development


Walnut goes beyond just providing UI customization options. It also offers GPU rendering capabilities, allowing your application to leverage the power of the user's graphics processing unit. This results in improved performance and smoother animations, ultimately enhancing the user experience. Additionally, Walnut enables native application development, giving you the ability to create applications that seamlessly integrate with the device's operating system and take advantage of its features.


Continual Improvements and Code Cleanup Planned by the Author


The author of the Walnut Framework is dedicated to continuously improving and refining the codebase. This commitment ensures that you will have access to updates, bug fixes, and new features, making it easier to maintain and enhance your application in the long run. With Walnut, you can rest assured that you are using a framework that is actively supported and regularly updated.



The Walnut Framework offers full control over your application's UI, allowing for extensive customization options. It also supports GPU rendering and native application development, resulting in improved performance and a seamless user experience. The author is committed to continuous improvements, ensuring ongoing support and updates for the framework.

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