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Re: Native widgets (was: Re: So, honestly, is GNUStep a viable developme

From: Aria Stewart
Subject: Re: Native widgets (was: Re: So, honestly, is GNUStep a viable development option?)
Date: Thu, 15 Nov 2007 11:58:19 -0700

I don't agree here. Using native file chooser or other common dialog
panels will be break the look and feel of a GNUstep application. OK, you
may not like this look and feel, but at least within an application it
should be consistent. Using native dialog panels would also inhibit the
accessory view mechanism, not that we are doing that great with it
It would be fairly easy to add native dialog panels on windows, but how
would you do it on Unix systems? We have different ones for KDE and
Gnome, other environments don't even provide a shared one. What kind of consistency would we gain by using a KDE (or QT) file chooser in a Gnome

Integration is worth a lot. A whole lot.

There's two modes Gnustep gets used in, and supporting both is something I'd say is pretty smart: Gnustep as a main environment -- probably using Windowmaker as a window manager. The other is under whatever environment the user already uses. Sensing that and adjusting, so that apps feel right no matter where they are would be excellent.

Both KDE and GTK's file browser widgets, as an example, can be extended. Some of the APIs to do so will be a bit unpleasant to meld with Gnustep, but there's a win there: Making the user feel at home. Stop keeping the reputation as stuck-in-the-80s-purists, and get on to being user-focused.

Then when there are sufficient apps that a fully native desktop starts to feel right, let users start switching.

This runs deeper, too, and into the theming issue. Providing a GNUstep GTK theme and QT theme might be a win too, though plenty of work. Add all the tools to make things feel integrated, and then embrace and extend.

What we could try to do is move the gui code for these dialog panels
into NIB files (or Gorm files if you are a bit old fashioned :-) and
thereby offer the opportunity to replace them with layouts more suited
for the current environment. Anybody interested in taking this task? It
will be a great chance to learn more about Gorm.

That'd be smart. I wonder how hard it would be to add a library or protocol that lets one use NSNativeFileChooser or whatever, as a widget in those files. Absolute positioning can be a small issue there, but I think it's solvable. It might add some constraints to the file chooser widget, but ultimately, I think that's a low price to pay.

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