UI Look & Feel support
andre.schnoor at web.de
Sat Feb 7 20:54:28 UTC 2004
sorry to hear that no "conventional" GUI is currently available for Squeak.
Your Gtk2 project looks really interesting. However, I think a GUI framework
should be implemented in Smalltalk and be 100% inside of it. Going into and
out of external libraries or stuff written in other languages introduces a
lot of danger to an application that is deployed to thousands of people and
has to be maintained frequently.
Seems, I have to pay some $$$ to get all the comfort and maturity of a
system like VW or VAST in order to be able to run a one-man company (there
will be not much time left to struggle with unforseen software issues when
running a small business at the same time, providing support etc.).
Anyway, I'm curious how your project progresses.
----- Original Message -----
From: <goran.krampe at bluefish.se>
To: "The general-purpose Squeak developers list"
<squeak-dev at lists.squeakfoundation.org>
Sent: Saturday, February 07, 2004 3:58 PM
Subject: Re: UI Look & Feel support
> Hi Andre!
> "Andre Schnoor" <andre.schnoor at web.de> wrote:
> > Hi,
> > I'm an old Smalltalker and have been around with st80 since 1988. =
> > Currently I'm doing some work with VW, which is absolutely great, but =
> > too expensive for an early stage startup project.=20
> > I like the openness and portability of Squeak and am evaluating if it =
> > could be a platform for serious development and deployment of "shrink =
> > wrapped" end user applications on Win32, MacOS 9, OS X and Linux =
> > (knowledge based music composition in my case, hell of a complex domain
> > with a high demand on graphical user interaction).=20
> > I could not yet find any conventional UI and Look & Feel support for =
> > squeak. With "conventional UI" I mean something that an average user can
> > instantly recognize as something he is already familiar with.=20
> This issue pops up now and then - people talk, and up until now nothing
> has happened. It is of course due to the "need" - noone has yet felt a
> strong need.
> > I experienced that users decide within 30 seconds after opening a new =
> > application if they stay with it or go away. So I believe they should =
> > better see something familiar ;-)
> > Where can I find resources for such kind of UI for Squeak? Do they =
> > exist?
> Well, no - they don't exist *yet*. I know there was a Gtk/Qt-Squeak
> project done a long time back. Somewhere on my disk I probably have a
> tar-file with it. IIRC it was a hacked VM so it didn't really catch on.
> I also know that Lesser Software in Germany has made some stuff - but it
> is not available.
> Anyway - as a nice coincidence (talk about timing) - just the other day
> I decided to start playing with making a plugin for Gtk2!
> The idea is to make Gtk2 fully usable from within Squeak and thus have
> the ability to build Gtk2 apps that can run on at least Linux and Win32.
> I am taking the Simplest Thing That Could Possibly Work approach. What
> it can do currently is that I can use Glade (GTK UI designer tool) and
> build myself a UI, save that as a .glade file (XML), paste that XML into
> Squeak and call the plugin like this:
> GtkTest new loadXML: '<?xml version="1.0" standalone="no"?> <!--*- mode:
> xml -*-->
> <!DOCTYPE glade-interface SYSTEM "http://glade.gnome.org/glade-2.0.dtd">
> <widget class="GtkWindow" id="window1">
> <property name="visible">True</property>
> <property name="title" translatable="yes">Squeak GtkPlugin</property>
> <property name="type">GTK_WINDOW_TOPLEVEL</property>
> <property name="window_position">GTK_WIN_POS_NONE</property>
> <property name="modal">False</property>
> <property name="resizable">True</property>
> <property name="destroy_with_parent">False</property>
> <widget class="GtkButton" id="button4">
> <property name="visible">True</property>
> <property name="can_focus">True</property>
> <property name="label" translatable="yes">Tada!</property>
> <property name="use_underline">True</property>
> <property name="relief">GTK_RELIEF_NORMAL</property>
> The above is just a small UI - a single window with a button. But I have
> made more complex UIs and they work just fine. What happens when the
> above is run? Well, the plugin uses libglade (which in turn uses
> libxml2) which parses the XML description and builds a Gtk2 UI from it
> and opens it up in a window of its own. The UI is fully active, but
> doesn't "do anything".
> The next issue is the so called "event loop". Gtk2 needs to paint itself
> and handle events. The problem is that either we are executing in the
> plugin (and Squeak stands still) or we are in Squeak and the plugin
> stands still. The best solution is to spawn a thread in the plugin that
> is running Gtk2 - but I need to learn more to do that. :)
> But Gtk2 has a "call this function often to drive your own event
> loop"-mechanism which can be used instead. So I "solved" it by simply
> using a background Process in Squeak to call that function every say
> 5ms. It works pretty good for now.
> So far this is *very* little code. And I am a complete plugin newbie,
> and my C-knowledge is quite rusty. So even if the initial progress was
> fast I have no idea how long the next cruical step will take:
> - Hooking up the events/signals/callbacks so that the UIs can actually
> do something.
> I have a plan though. :) And lots of related code to look at. Perhaps I
> can get this to work in a week or two, not sure.
> Ok, so what do we have in a week or two?
> - We can build UIs in Glade (Glade runs on Linux and Win32 at least), we
> can of course handwrite the Glade XML too.
> - We can using the call shown above open up multiple Gtk windows from
> inside Squeak that run in their own windows.
> - We can handle the events in Squeak.
> - Apart from a normal Squeak you will have a very small Gtkplugin and
> the Gtk2 runtime. The full Gtk2 2.2.4 runtime for Win32 is a 5Mb
> download with a pretty installer. We can of course pick out the pieces
> we use in an app and bundle it.
> - We still can't manipulate the Gtk UI objects dynamically. That would
> need more plugin code.
> - I have this running in Win32 but AFAIK it should work fine on Linux
> and other unices and I think MacOS/X. MacOS 9 is probably a big no-no,
> haven't seen Gtk for that.
> Oh, right - I have "proof" here:
> Note that the window is Win32 native, but the widgets inside are painted
> by Gtk2. But since it uses a theme called "wimp" it looks pretty much
> like XP. Gtk2 is very, very themeable.
> regards, Göran
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