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ANNOUNCE: GNUstep Renaissance is out!


From: Nicola Pero
Subject: ANNOUNCE: GNUstep Renaissance is out!
Date: Thu, 26 Dec 2002 04:49:42 +0000 (GMT)

I am very excited to announce the first public release of GNUstep
Renaissance.

GNUstep Renaissance is meant to provide us with a new, revolutionary way
of writing GNUstep applications.

In a few words, GNUstep Renaissance replaces .nib (and .gorm and .gmodel)
files with .gsmarkup files.

.gsmarkup files are plain XML files with a syntax designed to be very
easily edited by hand.  Rather than encoding all the internal details of
objects to disk, in the way that .nib and .gorm (and, in a similar way,
.gmodel do), .gsmarkup files contain a simple logical description of what
the user interface is meant to be.

That way, .gsmarkup files are easy to edit, and avoid completely the
portability problems that affect all previous technologies (.nib, .gorm,
.gmodel).

.gsmarkup do not encode absolute positions and sizes of widgets in the way
.nib, .gorm and .gmodel do.  GNUstep Renaissance provides box objects and
intelligent default autolayout behaviour.  All widgets positions and sizes
are automatically computed at run time.

As another beneficial side effect, .gsmarkup are very easily translated.  
You just provide a .strings file with the translations, and GNUstep
Renaissance automatically replacese the strings with their translations at
run time.  No need to generate a separate interface for each language!

There is more than this :-) but I'm trying to make a very short summary
(and easy to grasp).

Just a last thing - outlets and connectors have been integrated really
neatly in the XML files.

I have personally ported GNUstep Renaissance to run on Apple OSX 10.2.3.  
This means that *any* application using .gsmarkup files for its interfaces
will compile and run exactly the same on GNUstep and Apple OSX.  GNUstep
Renaissance finally smashes down the .nib portability barrier!! :-)

As demonstrators, GNUstep Renaissance includes a few applications -
CurrencyConverter, Calculator, Finger - which use .gsmarkup files for
their interfaces, and compile, build and run without changes in source
code between GNUstep and Apple OSX.  I also ported Gomoku to run in the
same way, but I'd like to keep it separate.

Portability works - there is only one real tweak - menus need to be build
from separate files for the two platforms.  The reason is that the menu
layouts and conventions differ so much between the two platforms, that to
have your menus look & feel 'native', you really have to have
platform-specific menus.

The future of GNUstep Renaissance will include a graphical .gsmarkup
editor.  A clone of IB/Gorm if you want, possibly derived from Gorm.  The
application itself will be written using GNUstep Renaissance, and so will
hopefully run on both GNUstep and Apple OSX, putting a final end of the
story to any .nib portability problem.

Before starting work on the IB clone, I want to finalize the .gsmarkup and
autolayout API and documentation.

Last, I want to point out that GNUstep Renaissance is experimental
software, and the internals (and probably part of the public APIs too) are
bound to change a lot still.  Keep in mind that it's alpha software,
experimental, and I'm making it public not because it's finished but
because ... well because it's enough powerful and usable that it really
makes no longer sense to keep it locked inside my laptop(s). :-)

GNUstep Renaissance is free software (LGPL), and it's part of the GNUstep
suite; it is available on gnustep's CVS, under

 dev-libs/Renaissance

I suppose the CVS command to get it should be something like 

  cvs -d:pserver:address@hidden:/cvsroot/gnustep login

  cvs -z3 -d:pserver:address@hidden:/cvsroot/gnustep co dev-libs/Renaissance

If you want to try it out on Apple OSX, you need gnustep-make from CVS in
order to compile GNUstep Renaissance from sources (you don't need it to
use the framework, but I don't provide a binary distribution at the
moment).  Full instructions inside Renaissance.

If you want to try it out on GNUstep, just grab Renaissance.

I personally recommend that everyone interested in GNUstep with some spare
time gives Renaissance a quick try to get a feeling of what it's about.
:-)

I didn't want to release it :-) because I know there is still a lot of
work to do to bring it to real maturity and perfection.  But - but it's
nearly nine months I've started playing with it, and I can't keep it
locked in my laptop forever, so no matter how imperfect it is, it's now
time to make it public - and here it is, for your fun and delight,
Renaissance is out! :-)




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