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PRIMA is a general purpose extensible graphical user interface toolkit with a rich set of standard widgets and an emphasis on 2D image processing tasks. A Perl program using PRIMA looks and behaves identically on X11 and Win32.



For easy setup, run this:

apt-get install libgtk2.0-dev libtext-bidi-perl libgif-dev libjpeg-dev libtiff-dev libxpm-dev

Graphic libraries

Prima can use several graphic libraries to handle image files. Compiling Prima with at least one library, preferably for GIF files is strongly recommended, because internal library images are stored in GIFs. Support for the following libraries can be compiled in on all platforms:

  • libXpm
  • libpng
  • libjpeg
  • libgif
  • libtiff
  • libX11 - support for native X11 bitmap files


Modern Strawberry perl come with all of these libraries already, so nothing specific needs to be done. However for the older distributions, or ActiveState, or custom builds, CPAN contains binary distributions that can be installed just for this purpose:

it should work for all MSVC and GCC compilers and for native, cygwin, and mingw/strawberry perl runtimes.


To support bi-directional text input and output you'll need Text::Bidi module from CPAN. The module is not a prerequisite; it'll need the external fribidi library to build. On windows the library is not installed by default, you can grab it here:


Create a makefile by running Makefile.PL using perl and then run make ( or gmake, or nmake for Win32):

perl Makefile.PL
make test
make install

If 'perl Makefile.PL' fails, the compilation history along with errors can be found in makefile.log.

If make fails with message

** No image codecs found

that means you don't have image libraries that Prima supports in your path. See PREREQUISITES section.

If some of the required libraries or include files can not be found, INC=-I/some/include and LIBS=-L/some/lib semantics should be used to tell Makefile.PL about these. Check ExtUtils::MakeMaker for more.


It is recommended to build Prima with GTK3/GTK2 on X11 installations, because in that case Prima will use standard GTK fonts, colors, and file dialogs. By default Prima tries to build with it, but if you don't want it, run

perl Makefile.PL WITH_GTK2=0 WITH_GTK3=0


Available only for MSWin32. Please use installation from source for the other platforms.

To install the toolkit from the binary distribution run


You have to patch manually if you need to compile prima-dependent modules.


Try running the toolkit examples, by default installed in INSTALLSITEARCH/Prima/examples directory ( find it by running perl -V:installsitearch ). All examples and programs included into the distribution can be run either by their name or with perl as argument - for example, ..../generic or perl ..../generic . ( perl ..../generic.bat for win32 )

Typical code starts with

use Prima qw(Application);

and ends with

run Prima;

which is an event loop call. Start from the following code:

use Prima qw(Application Buttons);

new Prima::MainWindow(
   text     => 'Hello world!',
   size     => [ 200, 200],
)-> insert( Button =>
   centered => 1,
   text     => 'Hello world!',
   onClick  => sub { $::application-> close },

run Prima;

Or, alternatively, start the VB program, which is the toolkit visual builder.


The toolkit contains set of POD files describing its features, and the programming interfaces. Run 'podview Prima' or 'perldoc Prima' command to start with the main manual page.

Visit for the recent versions of the toolkit. You can use to keep in touch. The mailing list on the toolkit is available, you can ask questions there. See the Prima homepage for details.


(c) 1997-2003 The Protein Laboratory, University of Copenhagen



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