A Swift wrapper around gdk-3.x and gdk-4.x that is largely auto-generated from gobject-introspection. For up to date (auto-generated) reference documentation, see https://rhx.github.io/SwiftGdk/

macOS 11 build macOS 10.15 build macOS gtk4 build Ubuntu 20.04 build Ubuntu 18.04 build

What is new?

Support for gtk 4 was added via the gtk4 branch.

Version 12 of gir2swift pulls in PR#10, addressing several issues:

  • Improvements to the Build experience and LSP rhx/SwiftGtk#34
  • Fix issues with LLDB rhx/SwiftGtk#39
  • Controversial: Implicitly marks all declarations named “priv” as if they had attribute private=1
  • Prevents all “Private” records from generating unless generated in their instance record
    • -a option generates all records
  • Introduces CI
  • For Class metadata types no longer generates class wrappers. Ref structs now contain static method which returnes the GType of the class and instance of the Class metatype wrapped in the Ref struct.
  • Adds final class GWeak where T could be any Ref struct of a type which supports ARC. This class is a property wrapper which contains weak reference to any instance of T. This is especially beneficial for capture lists.
  • Adds support for weak observation.
  • Constructors and factories of GObjectInitiallyUnowned classes now consume floating reference upon initialisation as advised by the GObject documentation

Partially implemented:

Other Notable changes

Version 11 introduces a new type system into gir2swift, to ensure it has a representation of the underlying types. This is necessary for Swift 5.3 onwards, which requires more stringent casts. As a consequence, accessors can accept and return idiomatic Swift rather than underlying types or pointers. This means that a lot of the changes will be source-breaking for code that was compiled against libraries built with earlier versions of gir2swift.


Requires Swift 5.2 or later (Swift 5.3 is required for the gtk4 branch)
  • Uses the namespace referenced in the gir file
  • Wrapper code is now @inlinable to enable the compiler to optimise away most of the wrappers
  • Functions that take or return records now are templated instead of using the type-erased Protocol
  • ErrorType has been renamed GLibError to ensure it neither clashes with Swift.Error nor the GLib.ErrorType scanner enum



To build, you need at least Swift 5.2 (Swift 5.3 is required for gtk4), download from https://swift.org/download/ – if you are using macOS, make sure you have the command line tools installed as well). Test that your compiler works using swift --version, which should give you something like

$ swift --version
Apple Swift version 5.3.2 (swiftlang-1200.0.45 clang-1200.0.32.28)
Target: x86_64-apple-darwin20.3.0

on macOS, or on Linux you should get something like:

$ swift --version
Swift version 5.3.2 (swift-5.3.2-RELEASE)
Target: x86_64-unknown-linux-gnu

Gtk 3.22 or higher

The Swift wrappers have been tested with glib-2.56, 2.58, 2.60, 2.62, 2.64 and 2.66, and gdk/gtk 3.22, 3.24, 4.0, and 4.2. They should work with higher versions, but YMMV. Also make sure you have gobject-introspection and its .gir files installed.



On Ubuntu 18.04 and 16.04 you can use the gtk that comes with the distribution. Just install with the apt package manager:

sudo apt update
sudo apt install libgtk-3-dev gir1.2-gtk-3.0 gir1.2-gtksource-3.0 libgirepository1.0-dev libxml2-dev

If you prefer a newer version of gtk, you can also install it from the GNOME 3 Staging PPA (see https://launchpad.net/~gnome3-team/+archive/ubuntu/gnome3-staging), but be aware that this can be a bit dangerous (as this removes packages that can be vital, particularly if you use a GNOME-based desktop), so only do this if you know what you are doing:

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:gnome3-team/gnome3-staging
sudo apt update
sudo apt dist-upgrade
sudo apt install libgtk-3-dev gir1.2-gtk-3.0 gir1.2-gtksource-3.0 libgirepository1.0-dev libxml2-dev

On Fedora 29, you can use the gtk that comes with the distribution. Just install with the dnf package manager:

sudo dnf install gtk3-devel pango-devel cairo-devel cairo-gobject-devel glib2-devel gobject-introspection-devel libxml2-devel


On macOS, you can install gdk and gtk using HomeBrew (for setup instructions, see http://brew.sh). Once you have a running HomeBrew installation, you can use it to install a native version of gtk:

brew update
brew install gtk4 glib glib-networking gobject-introspection pkg-config


Normally, you don’t build this package directly (but for testing you can - see ‘Building’ below). Instead you need to embed SwiftGdk into your own project using the Swift Package Manager. After installing the prerequisites (see ‘Prerequisites’ below), add SwiftGdk as a dependency to your Package.swift file, e.g.:

// swift-tools-version:5.3

import PackageDescription

let package = Package(name: "MyPackage",
    dependencies: [
        .package(name: "gir2swift", url: "https://github.com/rhx/gir2swift.git", .branch("main")),
        .package(name: "Gdk", url: "https://github.com/rhx/SwiftGdk.git", .branch("gtk4")),
    targets: [.target(name: "MyPackage", dependencies: ["Gdk"])]

For gtk3 replace .branch("gtk4") with .branch("gtk3").


Normally, you don’t build this package directly, but you embed it into your own project (see ‘Usage’ above). However, you can build and test this module separately to ensure that everything works. Make sure you have all the prerequisites installed (see above). After that, you can simply clone this repository and build the command line executable (be patient, this will download all the required dependencies and take a while to compile) using

git clone https://github.com/rhx/SwiftGdk.git
cd SwiftGdk
swift build
swift test

Please note that on macOS, due to a bug currently in the Swift Package Manager, you need to pass in the build flags manually, i.e. instead of swift build and swift test you can run

swift build `./run-gir2swift.sh flags -noUpdate`
swift test  `./run-gir2swift.sh flags -noUpdate`


On macOS, you can build the project using Xcode instead. To do this, you need to create an Xcode project first, then open the project in the Xcode IDE:

open Gdk.xcodeproj

After that, use the (usual) Build and Test buttons to build/test this package.


You can find reference documentation inside the docs folder. This was generated using the jazzy tool. If you want to generate your own documentation, matching your local installation, you can use the generate-documentation.sh script in the repository. Unfortunately, at this stage jazzy only works on macOS (and crashes under Linux), so this will currently only work on a Mac.


Here are some common errors you might encounter and how to fix them.

Old Swift toolchain or Xcode

If you get an error such as

$ ./build.sh 
error: unable to invoke subcommand: /Applications/Xcode.app/Contents/Developer/Toolchains/XcodeDefault.xctoolchain/usr/bin/swift-package (No such file or directory)

this probably means that your Swift toolchain is too old. Make sure the latest toolchain is the one that is found when you run the Swift compiler (see above).

If you get an older version, make sure that the right version of the swift compiler is found first in your PATH. On macOS, use xcode-select to select and install the latest version, e.g.:

sudo xcode-select -s /Applications/Xcode.app
xcode-select --install

Known Issues

  • When building, a lot of warnings appear. This is largely an issue with automatic RawRepresentable conformance in the Swift Standard library. As a workaround, you can turn this off by passing the -Xswiftc -suppress-warnings parameter when building.

  • The current build system does not support directory paths with spaces (e.g. the My Drive directory used by Google Drive File Stream).

  • BUILD_DIR is not supported in the current build system.

As a workaround, you can use the old build scripts, e.g. ./build.sh (instead of run-gir2swift.sh and swift build) to build a package.