ObjGTKGen is a utility that generates Objective-C language bindings for ObjFW using GObject Introspection (parsing GIR files). ObjGTKGen is free software, licensed under the GNU GPL.
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ObjGTKGen is a utility that generates Objective-C language bindings for GNOME GLib/Gobject based libraries using GObject Introspection (GOI), which it does by parsing GIR files.

ObjGTK is a fork of CoreGTK(Gen) by Tyler Burton for use with ObjFW by Jonathan Schleifer.


objgtkgen currently is meant to be run within a local directory like the one given in this repository. Next to the binary it expects a Config dir containing the two files provided and it is going put its output into a directory specified in global_conf.json.

Run it like so:

./objgtkgen </path/to/file.gir>


./objgtkgen /usr/share/gir-1.0/Gtk-3.0.gir

This will generate the library definition for GTK3 into the output dir, including all the library dependencies specified by Gtk-3.0.gir.

The generator is going to lookup these dependencies recursively at the path of the gir file specified as argument. You may exclude library and class dependencies of each library by modifying global_conf.json and library_conf.json.

Dependencies and building


  • You need ObjFW.
  • The GIR files required for your library. You may generate them manually, but the easiest way usually is to use those provided by your Linux distribution. F.e. for Debian and GTK3 use apt install gir1.2-gtk-3.0
    • see packages starting with gir1.2 for further library introspection provided by Debian you may use to generate ObjC/ObjFW bindings
  • For building a generated library you need OGObject.


  • chmod +x autogen.sh && ./autogen.sh && ./configure && make


ObjGTKGen is free software. Its source files Tyler Burton originally released under GNU LGPL 2.1 or later. This licensing was kept for the files existing and for the directory LibrarySourceAdditions, which is meant to be part of the generated libraries and is NOT part of the generator.

In consent with Tyler Burton the generator itself is released under GNU GPL 3.0 or later.

Regarding GTK3 (and 4 or any other library wrapper) the generator is meant to generate wrapper source files which may be distributed under LGPL 2.1 or later.

Code base

The code base of ObjGTK should be compatible with the Objective C dialect of GCC ("Objective C 2.0") as introduced as of Mac OS X 10.5. So there should be no need to use clang. There are plans to implement advanced support of clang language features, especially memory management via Automatic Reference Counting (ARC).

Currently there are only untested, unstable preview releases of ObjGTK. Take care when using. API is going to change. See milestones for the further release plan.

How it works

The generator does the following currently:

  1. Using XMLReader it parses a GIR file (.gir) into object instances of the GIR classes (see directory src/GIR) (source models)
  2. Gir2Objc then maps the information of the GIR models into the models prefixed with OGTK (see directory src/Generator) (target models). Please note that these models still hold API/class informationen using C names and types as used by the Glib/GObject libraries. These models provide methods to transform their Glib ("c") data/names/types into Objective C classes/names/types.
  3. It does the same for further libraries iterating recursively through all the libraries specified as dependencies by the gir file given.
  4. When all library and class definitions are held in memory necessary to resolve class dependencies correctly using OGTKMapper, then OGTKLibraryWriter is called to first invoke OGTKClassWriter.
  5. OGTKClassWriter is going to write out the ObjC class definitions. It does so by resolving GObject types to Objective C / OGTK types (swapping them) using the class mappings and definitions hold in multiple OFDictionarys by OGTKMapper.
  6. When all classes are written, additional manual source files, that may be added at LibrarySourceAdditions are added to Output (the generated library) to actually make it compile and run. Please note the classes at LibrarySourceAdditions are not part of the generator itself. You may add your own code by creating new directories which naming convention needs to meet that of the corresponding gir file.

You will find the main business logik preparing data structures in Gir2Objc.m and Generator/OGTKMapper.m as Gir2Objc calls OGTKMapper for multiple loops through all the parsed (Gobj) class/API information to complete dependency information (naming of parent classes) and the dependency graph (parent classes, depending classes). This is necessary to correctly insert #import and @class statements when generating the ObjC class definitions without getting stuck in a circular dependency loop.

For the actual generation and composition of the source files see Generator/OGTKLibraryWriter.m and Generator/OGTKClassWriter.m.