Project Setup

There are two recommended ways to set up your workstation in order to develop gtk-rs applications. Let us go through them one by one.


Cargo is Rust's build system and package manager. If following the book is all you care about, using only Cargo will work fine for you.

Let us begin by installing all necessary tools. First, follow the instructions on the GTK website in order to install GTK 4. Then install Rust with rustup.

Now, create a new project by executing:

cargo new my-gtk-app

Add the following lines to your dependencies in Cargo.toml, where X.X should be replaced with the most up-to-date version of the gtk4 crate.

gtk = { version = "X.X", package = "gtk4" }

Per default gtk4-rs is compatible with all GTK 4 releases. If you want to use functionality that has been added to later releases, you have to specify this as a feature. If you want to use functionality of GTK 4.6, you would add the following to your gtk dependency in Cargo.toml.

gtk = { version = "X.X", package = "gtk4", features = ["v4_6"]}

This will only work if your available GTK version is indeed >= 4.6. You can get the version by executing the following command:

pkg-config --modversion gtk4

Now, you can run your application by executing:

cargo run

Cargo + Meson

Cargo is almost enough, but it is not well suited for handling resources such as icons or UI definition files. That is why we recommend to use Meson on top of it. It is cross-platform, and its syntax is very readable. Meson takes care of

Here as well, you first follow the instructions on the GTK website in order to install GTK 4. Then install Rust with rustup. Finally, install Meson by following the instructions on the Meson website.

You can download a ready-to-use gtk-rust-template here. Follow the instructions in the README to initialize your own application. Then configure your project.

meson setup builddir

In order to compile and install it run the following command. You have to execute it every time you modify your application.

meson install -C builddir

Now, the application should be in a folder included in your system path. You can either start it with the application launcher of your choice or from within your terminal.