Jul 20, 2023

C++ wrapper for ATK API library

C++ wrapper for Atk.

In the world of FreeBSD, one might come across a seemingly cryptic term - “atkmm”. As cryptic as it may seem, atkmm is actually an insightful tool related to accessibility that stems from the ports collection of FreeBSD. This piece aims to guide you about the port atkmm, its benefits, and how you can master its use.

Introduction to atkmm

atkmm is a wrapper for the ATK library, which is one of the essential parts of the GNOME accessibility project. ATK is an abbreviation for Accessible ToolKit - it provides the set of accessibility interfaces that are implemented by other toolkits and applications.

The port atkmm is part of the larger gtkmm project that encapsulates the entire GTK+3 functionality in C++. atkmm exposes parts of the GNOME3 accessibility architecture that are essential for creating accessible software which can seamlessly operate with assistive technologies like screen readers.


Before we delve into how to use atkmm, it is pivotal to understand how to install it. In FreeBSD, the ports collection is a package management system which compiles software from the source code.

Here are the steps you need to follow

cd /usr/ports/accessibility/atkmm/
make install clean

You must ensure that you have root permissions to install this package. Alternatively, you can simply use the package management tool pkg to install it

pkg install atkmm

This will make atkmm ready for use on your FreeBSD system.


In C++, you need to include the atkmm.h header file in your project, as shown here

#include <atkmm/init.h>

By virtue of atkmm, you can create custom AtkObjects that describe your application’s user interface components to assistive technologies.

Benefits and Importance

The atkmm allows developers to provide additional information about user interface elements that are effective for enabling assistive technologies like screen readers or magnifiers. It is an invaluable resource for developing accessible software applications.

Through the use of interfaces and other aids, it can enhance the level of interaction between end-users and the software. This is particularly crucial for users with disabilities, such as those with visual impairment or motor challenges.

Furthermore, as part of the overarching gtkmm project, this particular library contributes to the maintenance of a uniform structure and method usage, boosting the consistency of GNOME desktop applications.

Wrapping Up

FreeBSD’s port collection is a massive toolbox waiting to be explored. Whether it’s securing IT networks where one might resort to a tool like [nmap]https//, or crafting accessible software with atkmm, the FreeBSD ports lay down an extensive road-map for robust and accessible software solutions.

The atkmm port is not just a technical tool, but a tool of empowerment that enables the development of accessible software, making the digital world more inclusive. The port may well be your first step into the world of creating more accessible tools and applications, so start exploring it today!

Checkout these related ports:
  • Yasr - General-purpose console screen reader
  • Wlsunset - Day/night gamma adjustments for Wayland
  • Wl-gammarelay-rs - Adjust color temperature/brightness under Wayland via DBus
  • Speech-dispatcher -
  • Sctd - Set color temperature (sct) daemon
  • Sct - Utility to change screen temperature
  • Rubygem-atk - Ruby binding of ATK
  • Redshift - Adjusts the color temperature of your screen
  • Qt6-speech - Accessibilty features for Qt6
  • Qt5-speech - Accessibilty features for Qt5
  • Py-speech-dispatcher - Python bindings for Speech Dispatcher
  • Py-papi - ATK accessibility wrapper for python
  • Py-atspi - Python API for the D-BUS based SPI framework
  • Orca - Scriptable screen reader
  • Linux-c7-atk - Accessibility Toolkit (Linux CentOS ${LINUX_DIST_VER})