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Re: Aquamacs distro for OS X like behavior

From: David Reitter
Subject: Re: Aquamacs distro for OS X like behavior
Date: Tue, 5 Apr 2005 00:27:10 +0100

On 4 Apr 2005, at 18:47, David Kastrup wrote:

There is considerable leeway in those goals.  For example, different
file selection dialogs and similar are quite common, and in fact, the
whole widgetry stuff (like customize and co) could be made to make use
of the native widgets where available.

From a UI and an OS X perspective, customization buffers should definitely go into proper dialogues with native widgets.

Well, we do have something like customization themes IIRC, but I don't
know their extent and how they are used.  If a whole set of defaults
were to be changed by a single theme (and could be changed back at
will), then an out-of-the-box configuration that was different on
MacOSX would be quite tolerable.

I don't know if an out-of-the-box configuration for the default Emacs is needed - the idea of a distribution like what we demonstrate with Aquamacs might already do the job. People with other needs - a cross-platform compatible Emacs - will then be happy to use the 'conservative' version instead.

I see a trend towards the first - UI integration - because it's more comfortable when you use a lot of applications (and people use more applications, not less), and there has been a great uptake on mobile devices: people use laptops much more than they used to (say, 7 years ago), and people don't switch from one system to another as often. Of course, individual mileage will vary!

Either way, merely using a 'theme' with the on-board means, for example to make customization buffers look different, will IMHO not tweak the application UI enough. A user interface is more than just pretty buttons and a choice of colors. If you look at the way themes work in GNOME / KDE, you'll find huge emphasis on the graphics, and only little theme-defined behavior and pretty much no theme-defined layout.

Successful OS X software pretty much always uses the native user interface. Even though OS X has superb Java integration (at least for not-quite-cutting-edge Java versions), we don't see many wide-spread Swing based applications. Similarly, the XUL based browser versions from Mozilla aren't as popular as Safari and Camino - even though they offer good or better functionality.

Consequently, I'm arguing for native widgets wherever possible. For a new project - or one with less tradition and less importance, there is stuff like wxWidgets. In this case, I would be grateful if someone would implement more Carbon (or Cocoa) based UI stuff, and if better internal interfaces existed, for example to handle scrollbars correctly. This is stuff only developers experienced with Emacs code - yes, you! - can implement.

- Dave

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