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Re: [Chicken-users] cross-platform gui toolkit

From: felix winkelmann
Subject: Re: [Chicken-users] cross-platform gui toolkit
Date: Mon, 5 Feb 2007 09:50:54 +0100

On 2/5/07, Brandon J. Van Every <address@hidden> wrote:

If you write your own huge GUI project from scratch, you still have a
huge glob of code that is constantly out of date.  The question is
whether you have a large number of people working on the problem.
Leveraging an entire mature community can be worth more here.  You may
be better off improving Chicken's binding technologies.

I don't want to write a complete GUI toolkit: just a common Scheme API
*over* some native toolkits. Nothing big, nothing huge.

If you cover lotsa different GUIs, you still have a lot of code going
out of date, chasing all the different projects around.  I don't see how
you avoid things going out of date, if you have massive numbers of
external dependencies.  Doesn't matter if those dependencies are broad
or deep.

Not all at once: just implementations for a common subset - we build
whatever is available on the user's system or what she choses.

> I don't need a super GUI. I just want some portable means of creating
> basic, simple GUIs (call them toys, if you want).

Has any GUI toolkit ever aspired to the minimalism you have in mind?

No. I've looked long and hard and didn't find it. It's like looking for
the ideal language implementation.

> Add a basic 2D graphics
> API, you can then create all the widgets in the world.

Which does most people no good, as nothing will be standard for a long time.

That's intended for the point when the standard widget set (which is likely
to be small) isn't enough.

> Binding Qt takes too much time, Qt is a big dependency for those who
> prefer Gnomish desktops, Qt is too large for some systems. Qt is also
> quite
> slow. Qt is proprietary.

Bind something else then.  I didn't say I cared about Qt.

I haven't found the one ideal 'kit. That's the whole problem.

> What I've found out so far: the one true C/C++ (native) gui toolkit
> does not
> exist, so I'd rather not bet a bunch of work on wxWidgets or Qt.

It may not exist for a good reason.  Like, people don't want simple,
minimalist GUI toolkits.  They want full-featured ones that they can
write every piece of enterprise software they have in mind.

I've come to the belief that this is wrong, and that many many have made the
mistake of "doing it right once and for all" and ending up with something
that does too much, but not good enough.

If I had a simple, GUI toolkit running on Linux, OS X and Windows, binds
native widgets, has a simple basic graphics API (OpenGL would be ideal),
is smaller than 1-2 MB,
provides text-editing (multiline), buttons, images, frames, checkboxes,
and a couple more widgets, simple menus, then I'd be happy.
FLTK could be the one, but is a bit flaky and why should a Linux user
that has Gtk installed hunt down the proper FLTK version?

There are weird GUIs like widestudio (which I don't understand) or
the various SDL based ones (Guichan, etc. which are all quite immature).

I simply don't believe that there is the perect one. There is no
perfect software.


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