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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.


use Prima qw(Application Buttons);

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

run Prima;



apt-get install libgtk3.0-dev libgif-dev libjpeg-dev libtiff-dev libxpm-dev libwebp-dev libfribidi-dev libharfbuzz-dev libthai-dev libheif-dev


zypper install gtk3-devel giflib-devel libjpeg-devel libtiff-devel libXpm-devel libXrandr-devel libXcomposite-devel libXcursor-devel libfribidi-devel libwebp-devel libharfbuzz-devel libthai-devel libheif-devel


Download and install Oracle Developer Studio as perl there is compiled with cc, not gcc.


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
  • libwebp,libwebpdemux,libwebpmux
  • libheif

(libheif is not widespread yet. See Prima/Image/ for details)


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.


You'll need homebrew, XQuartz, and a set of extra libraries.

  • install homebrew:

    /bin/bash -c "$(curl -fsSL"

  • install XQuartz:

    brew install --cask xquartz

  • install support libraries:

    brew install libiconv libxcomposite libxrandr libxcursor libxft fribidi fontconfig freetype giflib gtk+ harfbuzz jpeg libpng libtiff webp libxpm

Note: if Prima crashes in libxft, do this: remove libxft and install custom built xorg libraries, either very minimal

brew install dk/x11/xorg-macros dk/x11/libxft

or linux-homebrew's (not tested)

brew tap linuxbrew/xorg

brew install linuxbrew/xorg/libxft

Bidirectional input and complex scripts

  • To support bi-directional unicode text input and output you'll need the fribidi library. Additionally for unix builds you'll need harfbuzz library for output of complex scripts and font ligature support. Prima can compile and work fine without these libraries, but the support of the features will be rather primitive.

  • Thai language doesn't use spaces between the words in a sentence. To wrap thai texts properly Prima can be compiled with the libthai library. No special treatment of thai text is needed programmatically, text wrapper does everything under the hood. Get the libthai for strawberry at

Source distribution installation

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

Binary distribution installation

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.

Usage examples

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;

, the event loop. 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, the toolkit visual builder.

More information

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

(c) 1997-2022 Dmitry Karasik



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