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Re: Object environment for windows question


From: Stefan Urbanek
Subject: Re: Object environment for windows question
Date: Mon, 30 Sep 2002 15:29:14 +0100

On 2002-09-30 14:09:48 +0200 Nicola Pero <address@hidden> wrote:


Hi all,

As a part of my thesis is going to be a simulation tool for multi-agent 
systems. Besides other key features it has to be easy to use and understandable
by non-computer literate and it has to work also on Windows, because
most of targeted people are using them. Environment I would like to use
has to be OO (for me) and easy to install (for the user). I am
considering GNUstep, some Smalltalk distribution, Squeak and
Swarm. Swarm is using ObjectiveC and tcl/tk interface, so it works fine
with windows and has single .exe installation file. Squeak also works
with windows, but it is like 'big monster', it runs in one window with
its own UI.

I would prefere GNUstep, because I am familiar with it and it provides me 
almost everything I need except portability to windows. I do not have 
experience with
windows programing so I would like to ask what is the state of Windows
backend? How it is usable?

You could try using the windows backend, and switch to use another sort of
interface (like tcl/tk, the same Swarm uses), if it turns out too
difficult/buggy.


I will give back-win a try when I install gnustep on windows.

Actually, you could rewrite Swarm to work on top of GNUstep ... replace
their custom basic classes with GNUstep ones, their custom libobjc with
the standard libobjc, etc ... <not sure how they would take it :-)>


This is what I wanted to do and as first I have to do is to get-into swarm 
library. Now it seems, from some discussions on their mailing lists, that their 
specific libobjc is needed no more.
The thing is, that swarm modelling classes do not fit well to what I need. Only 
thing that I wanted from swarm were collection and gui classes. Basicaly, swarm 
attracted me because it is using ObjC and has GUI on windows. I will dig deeper 
into swarm library and see what can be rewritten using GNUstep, if there will 
be same effor for rewriting as for writting new classes, then I will consider 
writting them a new.


Another question: how is it difficult for non-developer to install GNUstep? Is 
there any self extracting GNUstep-install.exe?

No - there is no self extracting GNUstep-install.exe, you're supposed to
compile everything from sources, and it's difficult at the moment.

But it could be made easy for end-users.  Once you've compiled everything
from sources on your machine and built binaries, I suppose you could then
create a self-extracting .exe file which just unpacks the (prebuilt)
binaries, ready for use.


Is there some 'make' target, like 'make install-exe'? Does an user have to 
install msys and gnustep or can it be statically linked (or included in the 
package)?
In other words, what the user has to do to use GNUstep application?

Users would then just download the self-extracting .exe, and need not work
with sources etc.  If they run applications and stuff via a wrapper script
which sets up the appropriate environment variables, it might be very user
friendly.

Work will be required in this area ... but with the benefit that it's
useful work which would benefit the project :-)

I'm willing to help you with the technicalities of gnustep-make if you
need help ... but unfortunately I don't run windows.


I would be thankful for any help, because I feel like lost in the Windows world 
:-)

My another reason for using GNUstep instead of some another environment 
(althought GS may not be the best choice for such thing) is that I whould like 
to
'advertise' GNUstep and to show that it can be also used for scientific
applications.

I quite like Swarm's idea/approach of using Objective-C dynamic features
to build simulations of multi agents systems ... I just wish they used
GNUstep rather than building their own base/gui class libraries. :-)


I think that GNUstep was not mature enough at the time swarm library was 
developed. The idea of swarm is nice, but there are many things that I am 
missing in swarm that are in GS or are not as nice as those in GS (like 
archiving, key-value coding or GUI).

Stefan






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