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Re: NSToolbar (was Re: Portability/Compatability betweenGNUstep<--->Coc

From: Jeff Teunissen
Subject: Re: NSToolbar (was Re: Portability/Compatability betweenGNUstep<--->Cocoa...)
Date: Wed, 14 Jan 2004 11:30:52 -0500

"Philippe C.D. Robert" wrote:

> Jeff Teunissen wrote:
> >>Btw. somebody already pointed out that toolbars have been part of the
> >>NeXT Interface ever since (even NSToolbar as private class)
> >
> > Both of them (two people -- Phillippe Robert, and Greg Casamento --
> > not one) were wrong, and as I said earlier, I don't have a problem
> > with toolbars being in GNUstep.
> >
> > To expand on that first sentence:
> >
> > NeXTstep did not have toolbars.
> > OPENSTEP did not have toolbars.
> > In the OPENSTEP days, NeXT had a private framework that implemented a
> > class called NSToolbar, which was nothing like the class that we know
> > of today as NSToolBar. NSToolbar provided Mail v4 and Project Builder
> > with their toolbar-like icon lists, which were: 1. not
> > user-configurable, and 2. just another view, which is the reasonable
> > way to implement them in a NeXTish UI.
> Sorry but we are not wrong, you are - you even contradict yourself above
> by saying:
> "OPENSTEP did not have toolbars" vs. "...NeXT had a private framework
> that implemented a class called NSToolbar..."

The two statements do not even come within shooting distance of being in
conflict with each other, and both are accurate descriptions of history.

There is a class in the NeXTApps framework, called NSToolbar, which is
nothing like NSToolBar -- or in fact any other description of the word
"toolbar". Because of that last clause, it is ridiculous to suggest that
it's the same thing, or even similar enough to suggest that it provides
validation for NSToolBar. Further, it was not in any API provided by the OS.

In addition, the dump of the class suggests that it was purely a convenience
class, without any significant functionality. This is not remotely like a
"real" toolbar, and was written significantly after there WERE real toolbars
in existence and in heavy use. One would almost think that they were
intentionally not writing one...

> BTW as you note, the NEXTSTEP GUI made use of toolbars, PB.app or
> Mail.app (didn't I type this days ago...uhm).

So now every row of icons is a toolbar? No. Every toolbar has one particular
feature, and some others that are common.

1. A toolbar is always a single control, distinct from the rest of the UI.
2. A toolbar may be enabled or disabled. (optional)
3. A toolbar may be configurable. (optional, but expected)
4. A toolbar may be detachable and/or reorientable. (optional, but common)

Not one of NeXT's uses of their NSToolbar class has even one of these
features. In fact, one of the uses (the 3.3 Interface Builder) acts just
like TABS -- so much so that in the next version, the "toolbar" was replaced
by a very nice tab view.

> The fact that these early toolbars were not as powerful as todays
> version does not mean they did not exist!

They weren't anywhere near as "powerful" as the toolbars of the day either!
Wouldn't you think that after 10 years, the wholesale replacement of their
entire API and millions in development, they might have come up with a
toolbar class that even came CLOSE to the functionality of _anything_ else
in the market, in an area where they were clearly besting nearly everyone
else in nearly every way?

The answer is clear; NeXT intentionally didn't create one.


| Jeff Teunissen  -=-  Pres., Dusk To Dawn Computing  -=-  deek @ d2dc.net
| GPG: 1024D/9840105A   7102 808A 7733 C2F3 097B  161B 9222 DAB8 9840 105A
| Core developer, The QuakeForge Project        http://www.quakeforge.net/
| Specializing in Debian GNU/Linux              http://www.d2dc.net/~deek/

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