OT other possible GUI route ... ideas for ex11?

Mon Jan 19 11:30:02 CET 2004

> ** widget framework should be independent of rendering system (X11 in this
> case), this way same widgets could be used for example with an OpenGL renderer
> (in Wings)

[Slightly off topic, but hopefully interesting nevertheless]

After deciding that gs/TCL/TK wasn't the best tool in the shed for GUI building
I launched into a lengthy search for other alternatives and ended up with ...
PicoGUI (www.picogui.org), driven by Erlang. Although this is originally
conceived for embedded devices, so it says, it seems to me to provide a very
nice GUI framework for the kind of apps that I'm looking at (needing a
distributed update of GUI elements, and a highly responsive UI).  I started this
just before Joe's announcement of ex11 (from which I'm holding off on because of
the !! change, as well as not really wanting to be bound to X).

In brief summary PicoGUI is a client/server setup, with an interface defined at
a TCP message level (although there is a C api library whicxh I use to research
how to use the message interface). The more interesting aspect is that all of
the widgets logic, layout matters and other appearance related stuff, lies
within the server and is therefore 1) no concern to application code, 2) uniform
across a suite of applications 3) easily changeable by run-time "theme"loading
4) doesn't need process switches when the user starts clicking the mouse around.

The server has different (plug-in) drivers to run on framebuffers/X.11/SVGA/LCD
matrix displays/etc etc and rather neatly separates the different issues of
content/presentation/display, IMHO.

I have, so far, only done some initial investigations and have the canonical
"Hello World" demo running from Erlang (I'll pass the horrible hacky code to
anyone interested) with Windows PicoGui server and Erlang. That means I can't
substantiate the various claims yet ... but progress should be fairly rapid.

If there is interest I'll keep the list in touch occasionally ....

Anyway, the original point of this post was related to the widget logic being
extremely well split off from the application logic.


ps: Fresco seems like a "grown up", larger (bloated?) framework with much the
same architectural goals, but the web site and mailing lists seem pretty much
comatose to me -- signs of a dying project maybe? Corba interface, so should be
easy to drive from Erlang ...

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