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Provides a poor man's version of the GUI development environment created for original Smalltalk systems, including a console (workspace in Smalltalk), inspectors and a class browser.

GIF demo

It uses TkComponent to create the UI.


Add this line to your application's Gemfile:

gem 'tk_inspect'

And then execute:

$ bundle

Or install it yourself as:

$ gem install tk_inspect


Once added the gem to your project or global environment, you can launch the graphic console using

$ bundle exec tk_console

If you add tk_inspect_rails you will also get some goodies for playing with Rails applications inside the GUI playground.

WARNING: This is very much a work in progress. More documentation to come!!


Josep Egea

Why this?

I feel that Ruby is a fantastic language for building and interacting with GUI's.

It's expressive, flexible and easy to read. GUI's spend most of their time waiting for user input, so the actual performance of the language is not as important as the power it gives to the developer. To that avail, Ruby is a great fit, a true successor of Smalltalk, which was tightly integrated with a great GUI.

However, there's not much current GUI work in Ruby land. Most of developments happen in server side code, APIs and, of course, Rails.

I started writing TkComponent to make it easier to build GUI applications with Ruby.

But the more I played with that, and the more I learned about the Smalltalk systems they built in the 70s and 80s at Xerox's PARC, the more I felt that Ruby could have that, too.

So I started experimenting and playing and TkInspect is what came out of it.

This is still mostly experimentation, but I can see some useful outcomes from it, that I'll try to investigate further.

If you feel the same, I wish you find TkInspect useful. If you want to make it grow, your contributions will be quite welcome.

You can hear me talk more about these ideas in this talk I gave in the Madrid Ruby Users Group on January 2021.


Bug reports and pull requests are welcome on GitHub at This project is intended to be a safe, welcoming space for collaboration, and contributors are expected to adhere to the Contributor Covenant code of conduct.


The gem is available as open source under the terms of the MIT License.

Code of Conduct

Everyone interacting in the TkComponent project’s codebases, issue trackers, chat rooms and mailing lists is expected to follow the code of conduct.


A Ruby gem for UI introspection, in the spirit of SmallTalk browser



Code of conduct





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