"Stephen J. Turnbull" <stephen(a)xemacs.org> writes:
Marcus Harnisch writes:
> First of all, I would like to second the idea of switching to a
> single cross-platform toolkit.
It's a nonstarter until you tell us "What are the candidates?" AFAIK
Xt is as close as it gets; we can't ask people to build GTK on Solaris
or Mac or Windows, and not everybody is willing to use MacPorts or
Emacs hasn't found a satisfactory "cross-platform"
and they're still adding more toolkits (Cocoa/NextStep). Another
question is how do these cross- platform kits deal with native
What is the current state? Embarassingly, to a new user, Win32 support
appears to integrated best of all platforms. I am not talking about
technical details or internal functionality here! I am talking about
"look and feel". With changes in Unix desktop world over the past
couple of years, I fear that Unix support is falling behind.
And, BTW, what is "native look-and-feel" these days anyway? Thanks to
various skinnable and themeable applications (audio players, and
certain webbrowsers), this is a thing of the past. I had to switch to
Office2007 recently, which was definitely a long overdue upgrade (from
'97). But it took me *several minutes* until I figured how to print my
freakin' document. The new UI isn't bad it is just such a radical
change that makes you hate it. And again it looks completely different
from any other application.
There is always a split to be made between having a particular
application behave the same way on every platform, so that experienced
users will feel home immediatly even when switching from, say, Unix to
Windows or vice versa -- or whether that application should be as
tightly integrated into each platform's user interface to make it look
familiar to new users (experienced on the platform perhaps but not
with the application itself), even at the expense of confusing
> I am thinking of itches like the stupid Xft display residue
> and the like.
Xft is nowhere near cross-platform though. "Cross-platform" is a hard
problem, apparently harder than you think it is.
I am fully aware of this. Started looking into "Internals" and closed
the book rather quickly again. And that covers only the documented
Xft: Of course it is not cross platform. That's my point! We shouldn't
have to worry about stuff like that. We should rely on toolkit
functions for display the same way as we rely on the OS for file
I/O. And if they switch to Xft2 or something (assuming little changes
to the API), that should concern us about as much as it concerns us
whether #'find-file reads from Ext4, ZFS, or NTFS.
> A proper print dialog!
Don't Windows, GTK, and Carbon all have the native dialog?
Windows does have one. In fact I never noticed until just now, because
it only comes up when you use the menu item File->Print. And it does
work nicely, indeed.
On the other hand, the XEmacs idea that dialogs will only be used for
functions called via menu should be relaxed. Some functions on
platforms don't work reasonably well without a dialog. M-x
print-buffer/-region/etc. in Win32 should maybe have similar behavior
as the toolbar printer icon in other Win32 programs (use current
settings of print dialog).
GTK doesn't work for me since I prefer Xft in its current state over
an abandoned GUI toolkit. If it GTK uses native print, I wouldn't be
surprised if the behavior were similar to Win32.
> Font selection using a slightly less arcane interface than
> comes to mind.
Sure, I'm working on that. That's one of the main reasons I don't
really consider 21.5 to be releasable.
And with that, of course, I mean a native font selection dialog...
> Keyboard issues could be worked around more straightforward I
> (might have to be worked out with XEmacs low-level handling). Since my
> switch to Ubuntu I still don't get German Umlauts on a US keyboard the
> way I used to in my good old plain X11 set-up.
I have no experience of what you're talking about; a full bug report
would be appreciated. Japanese requires a full input manager, and
that I know a lot about. But accented keystrokes, maybe Aidan knows,
but I don't. And I don't use Ubuntu.
It might be that the world around us has moved on to XKB. Maybe I'll
find the time for a bug report over the weekend.
We should face the inevitable truth and not fool ourselves: Any
toolkit decision will cause grief for a subset of XEmacs users -- just
as the current situation does for some.
Thanks (also to the entire active developer crew)
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