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Re: [XForms] Thanks for the great library!

From: Jens Thoms Toerring
Subject: Re: [XForms] Thanks for the great library!
Date: Tue, 31 Mar 2015 01:02:18 +0200
User-agent: Mutt/1.5.21 (2010-09-15)

Hello Frank,

On Mon, Mar 30, 2015 at 03:09:42PM -0600, Frank Cox wrote:
> And a few weeks ago I finally found xforms.
> I'm thrilled.  Really.
> I think it looks pretty too -- I don't mind that old-school X11/CDE style. 


> Thanks, Jens Thoms Toerring and everyone else who's worked on and
> contributed to this library over the years. I am truly grateful to you.

Thanks for your kind words. But since you name me please keep in
mind that I'm not the author of this library, but just the current
maintainer. As far as I know XForms was started by Mark Overmars,
now a professor of computer science at Utrecht University, and then
single-handedly expanded and improved by Dr. T.C. Zhao for a long
time, at a later stage with help from Steve Lamont. My role (and
that of the previous maintainers, Jean-Marc Lasgouttes and Angus
Leeming) is more that of fixing bugs and introducing small changes,
with the major aim of not breaking existing programs (which, admit-
tedly, sometimes can be a bit of a tight-rope walk;-)

> Now I'm wondering how I managed to overlook xforms for so many years since
> it really is just what I've been looking for.

Probably not too astonishing - XForms doesn't get the attention of
other toolkits since it doesn't change too much and doesn't adopt
all the newest fads, so it's seriously lacking in eye-candy - and
also some features people started to expect missing (and then many
people seem to be a bit repelled by the X11/CDE style).

> Incidentally, if anyone needs or wants Centos/RHEL 7 rpms for xforms, I've
> made them available here: http://www.melvilletheatre.com/articles/el7/

That's kind of you! But doesn't RHEL/Centos ship XForms anymore? I
had some discussion with one of the CentOS guys on how to make it
simpler for them to build RPMs and spend quite a bit of time on
doing that not too long ago...

And the obligatory warning: you get what you pay for;-) That means
that there's no guarantee that XForms will always be maintained, it
depends on at least a few people still being enough interested in
keeping it alive and useful. If you become one of them, maybe by
testing if new versions don't break any of your code that would
be great! Plese don't hesitate to complain about very problem
you may find, even if it looks like just a minor inconsistency.

I see at least one issues on the horizon that will require quite
a lot of changes in XForms, and that's high-resolution screens
becoming cheaper and more common. XForms works more or less ok
with 75 and 100 dpi screens, but with 'retina displays" etc. a
lot of defaults currently built into it will have to change quite
a lot - currently all the window and object sizes are in pixels,
but that will have to be done away with earlier or later. But
since this is something very deeply ingrained into XForms it
will be a major effort (and may unfortunately, may require brea-
king some programs that depend on that assumption).

Of course, if long-term stability is your main goal and the GUI
is just an add-on, then it is probably prudent to write your pro-
grams in a way that they are command-line driven, and only make
the GUI a wrapper around that, so that switching to a different
GUI toolkit is less of an issue...

                          Best regards, Jens
  \   Jens Thoms Toerring  ________      address@hidden
   \_______________________________      http://toerring.de

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