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Re: [XForms] Thanks for the great library!

From: Frank Cox
Subject: Re: [XForms] Thanks for the great library!
Date: Mon, 30 Mar 2015 18:28:52 -0600

On Tue, 31 Mar 2015 01:02:18 +0200
Jens Thoms Toerring wrote:

> > 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;-)
Those folks are all part of the "everyone else"  :)  I'm sure that the list of 
contributors, bug reporters and the like would fill a great many pages by now.

> XForms doesn't get the attention of
> other toolkits since it doesn't change too much and doesn't adopt
> all the newest fads, 

I came across xforms as a result of doing a bit of follow-up research based on 
a comment that someone posted on Slashdot a few weeks ago, containing a passing 
mention of xforms.  Had it not been for that comment, I'd still be in the dark!

> > 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? 

To the best of my knowledge, no.  Unless I'm missing something which is not 
beyond the realm of possibility either.

The rpmforge repo provides an outdated version of xforms (1.0.91) for Centos 6, 
but I don't think anyone provides it for Centos 7 at all.  Until now, that is.

Anyone please correct me if I've overlooked it somewhere, though.

> 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...

That paid off, since I don't remember having to do anything special at all to 
create the rpms that I posted on my website.  So it just worked.

> 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'll probably also be yelling for help with some of the basics a few times as 
well, since I really haven't done any object-oriented programming before other 
than the bit of playing around that I did with GTK+ a while back, and I don't 
really know what I'm doing with GTK+ either.

> 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).

The monitor on my main computer died recently.  Since I generally use that sort 
of thing as an excuse to get something bigger/better/faster than I had before, 
I replaced it with a 27" 2560x1440 model.  And then I had to set up my desktop 
all over again since everything turned into a flea circus.  And I can tell you 
that a lot of stuff that's a lot more high-profile than xforms doesn't seem to 
be built with super hi-res screens in mind.  To make Firefox usable, for 
example, I had to install the Zoom Page add-on and set the default to 133%.

xforms still looks pretty good, though a bit on the small side.  Nothing I 
can't live with at the moment, though.
> 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...

As I said earlier, I've never really done much with gui's to date, so this 
stuff is a whole new world for me.

MELVILLE THEATRE ~ Real D 3D Digital Cinema ~ www.melvilletheatre.com

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