CLIM mail archive


I want widgets (was: Announcement by Franz Lisp - Any Comments ?)

After my posted "Announcement by Franz Lisp - Any Comments ?" of 21
March, I got some replies by people who were rather glad about that.
Concerning my question whether we will get a widget set like the
non-documented "ws:" abstract panes on page 86 of the 0.9 CLIM manual,
the feeling was that we won't get them right now. The few person who
replied also thought that we don't need them really so badly. 

I got some objections here:

(1) A lot of people see CLIM as a device for porting things from the
Symbolic to stock hardware. This is fine with me, since I also got
this problem. But CLIM must be more than that. It really should give
implementors a wider choice for user interaction. E.g. I have chosen
CLIM for a larger AI and education projet. The 4 people who work with
me have never programmed on a Symbolics or a Sun before. They are used
to modern looks and feels.  All the see on a Sun is things like
Framemaker and they want to program that kind of interface! And me too

The Symbolics interaction paradigm is very sound. The idea of having a
variety of interaction modes (comands, menus, highlighted objects) is
great, Framemaker has it too :) ...The idea of using a relatively
stable central window with several panes is very good, because it
gives the user some cognitive anchor. I won't comment on the
acceptation/presentation framework, since this is *the* reason for
using CLIM.

But accepting this philosophy does not mean that we should limit
user-interaction to *just* those widgets which are currently available
in Genera (and certainly not those *very* few in the Symbolics Cloe
CLIM prerelease or even the dw package).

(2) I think it is fine for Franz, ILA (and cooperating lisp vendors) to
produce *first* a stable version, where things like scrolling,
redisplay and such really work, and which has more presentation types,
e.g. "or". But I need more features *now*, and I'm really hoping that
I won't have to draw circles on the screen, accepting them and so on
to get a checkbox. After all, CLIM is supposed to be highlevel too.

* So here comes my suggestion: ILA could and SHOULD directly give out
* relatively portable source code for a minimal set of widgets for those
* people who do not just want to port symbolics software and who can't
* wait for CLIM 2.0. This code does not need to be garantueed by company
* lawyers, it could be declared unsafe and "proper risk involved" and
* so forth ... This distribution could be organized via anonymous FTP. No
* bureaucracy and tapes and such horrible things are needed. We don't
* need printed documentation either. Good documented sample code will
* do well enough.

Such a server also could be used to redistribute donations by
CLIM-programmers.  Maybe ILA (or whoever) does not want to program a
slider (I'm already happy if I can get highligthing, one-of checkboxes
and line-editing ....) but somebody may want to give out his slider.
Our group could give out some stuff too.

Finally I also want to address the problem of patches. Ok, since I
know that I got a "developpers prerelease" I'm not entitled to
complain, but I *do* feel a bit frustrated about the fact that Franz
(others I don't know, but it seems to be the same) and ILA never gave
out patches. (multiple layouts, scrolling graphics, accept symbol
really ought to work...!).  I can very well understand that they don't
have the ressources to mail around tapes, but again: why not using an
ftp server. Even remote places lost in, behind and under the mountains
can do ftp now... :)

Well, here is an incomplete widget wish-list (not in a very smart order):

(1) what we already got:
- layout panes ....
- user panes .....
- simple menus, accepting values
(2) from the Abstract panes on page 86 of the 0.9 CLIM manual:
- one-of-pane
- list-pane
- label-pane
- line-editor-pane
- label-button-pane
- radio-button-pane
(3) from the Symbolics:
- menus with POP-UP windows (having the right size !)
- multiple menu choose facility (*highlighting*)
- multiple choice facility (boxes)
- ....
(4) from ??
- a slider
- a gauges
- icon panes
... and more

and here are some other wishes:

 - the possibility to (semantically) connect other windows to an
application frame (sharing commands and mouse-handlers)

 - enough flexibility for building CLIM applications in another
language than English, i.e. being able to change the text of the "End"
and "abort" buttons in a menu into something more understandable like
"Ok" and "Cancel" or "Annullation or Sortir or ...". Don't forget
that the European market is bigger than yours !

                           - cheers   - Daniel

And here is a last question, so that I know whom I have to call up
to get heard. Is this new Franz 1.0 release built in cooperation with
ILA. Or is it this time just Symbolics and Franz. What is Lucid
and Harelequin and ... doing ?

Daniel K.Schneider, TECFA (Educational Technologies and Learning)
Faculte de Psychologie et des Sciences de l'Education, University of Geneva,
1211 Geneva 4 (Switzerland), Tel.(..41)22 705 7652, Fax. (..41) 22 20 29 27.

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I all I hope is that someday Lisp will given up in favor of Fortran.
We'd have solidarity among users and a *huge* library of everything we


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