Introducing (Callicore) Writer

It's been a month since I've written, more actually. And I have been busy. I like to be organized. I think it has something to do with the fact that my brain is, well, mush most of the time. I have four kids, two cats, and a husband to keep track of, plus all the household stuff. It tends to fill up a brain.

So I've been looking for something to help with the current glut of files I have for all my stories and writing - folders of excel charts with character and setting information, outline files, files for every chapter, multiple formats of different files. Needless to say, it's a MESS and I also tend to lose stuff that way.

I started looking around for some sofwared to use. yWriter was probably the closest match to what I was looking for, but it has two problems. First of all, it's not open source. For most people that means nothing - but to me it means I can't fiddle with the source to get it to meet my needs. Secondly, I've been thinking about setting up a beta reading/workshop style website. So although yWriter gave me some good ideas for how to organize - the program itself fell short of my goals (and we won't mention the interface...)
What does that mean? Well, it means that I want a website where you can upload a chapter, have fellow authors do a certain style of editing review (that I've so originally labeled) and then download the edited chapter and integrate the changes as you'd like. You'd get points for doing an edit on someone else's work, and spend those points in order to upload your own chapters. Peer review is a great way to improve writing.

I had been working with the new release of php-gtk2-alpha. Php is something I feel comfortable with (my C code is scary) and I prefer the gtk toolset to the java equivalents. That and I like my braces and am not an OO geek, so python isn't really my cup of tea. gtk is cross platform, as is php, so anything I write should be usable on macs, windows, and linux/unix/bsd flavors. Score.

Enter Writer...

I decided that the best way to store the information would be in an sqlite db. It would mean all the random information for a story - characters, settings, scenes, outlines, whatever would be available in a single file (that might get big) but would be quick to access with php. The currently available sourcecode for the beast is in SVN, but not of all it yet. Here are a few small screenshots.

[photopress:screen1.jpg,thumb,pp_image] [photopress:screen2.jpg,thumb,pp_image] [photopress:screen1_1.jpg,thumb,pp_image][photopress:screen2_1.jpg,thumb,pp_image]
I still have a lot left to do, but I'm making progress. Right now I'm wondering if I want to try doing php bindings for gtkspell or just use php's aspell/pspell support and roll my own for the editor pane. Ah fun.

Currently running writer requires a gtk installation and a php-gtk installation which can be a bear on windows (welcome to dll hell). Probably the easiest way to do this right now is to download gnope - however later I plan to make available a windows version that doesn't need to mess with your windows path in order to work and won't break other things that use gtk on windows like gaim, gimp, et al. - the trick is to dump all the needed dll's in the same folder as the php cli. Right now I've been downloading the installer source for gnope and arranging the files as I need them so I don't break 1. my dev php server installation and 2. my gaim installation (trillians ui - watch me shudder in fear)
Well, it's off to more fun!


Hal Davey

Hi. I found your article on installing PHP-GTK interesting - but a little hard to follow. Do you have any newer thoughts about installing the current version?rnYour (Callicore) Writer project sounds neat - something I could use myself to keep track of the 1000s of scribbled plots, chapters and etc. rnSomething I ran across while looking for an up-to-date stand-alone desktop development package (I even re-installed VB6 last week and found out it will work with SQLite with a little work. However, I decided on PHP-GTK as my development package) is this scriptwriting application done with Mozilla Application Framework - Celtex - you might find it interesting.rnMost IT people today have a web-only mentality - but there are a lot of reasons for developing some kinds of desktop packages with embedded SQLite DBs. rnCheers,rnHal Davey

2006-11-04 7:26 am


The best way to install PHP-GTK2 on windows is currently . I simply want to create a similiar windows installer that 1. only does php-gtk2 (no pear, no other junk) 2. doesn't mess with any .dlls or the windows path on my system because I have a fairly fragile setup (I hate dll hell on windows)rnrn

2006-11-05 8:20 am

Dysmas de Lassus

Hello, if you have compiled php-gtk2 files for windows, couldn't it be possible to have them somewhere for others ? I am working for months with the alpha version, for our library database interface, and it is terrible to face so many limitations. And no new versions for months. It would be a great help to have a version where you change characters in styles. In the alpha version it doesn't work. rnrnAbout the documentation : There is an excellent Python-GTK tutotial which works very well for PHP-GTK. I would be lost without it. But I think it should not be very difficult to "translate" it for PHP-GTK, on ly syntax changes are needed. Everything I read there worked in PHP. For the every day user, this tutorial is more interesting than the full documentation because things are organized.

2006-12-16 2:04 am


I'm working on getting some of the extensions built and compiled for windows - but take a look at if you want some early precompiled stuff. I'll be posting about "adventures in compiling" later :)

2006-12-16 3:02 pm


the way I installed php-gtk2 for windows (with another install, that is my webserver) was to just create a php-gtk folder someplace, and copy my php(web) folder there, then I edited the php.ini to include the php-gtk.dll, and run all of the gtk2 apps from that directory, you can then enable any of the other extension's that php can use, and use them with gtk2, without it messing up the "regular" install of php and the web server. As far as I know, thats all that Gnope does, execpt it comes in a nice little package. If you have any questions on php-gtk2, you can email me, and I may be able to help.

2007-01-26 8:48 am

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