Whither DWT?

pragma pragma_member at pathlink.com
Wed Apr 19 07:13:03 PDT 2006

In article <e257hp$bsn$1 at digitaldaemon.com>, DBloke says...
>> Another possibility is basing a framework on some portable ground, like 
>> for instance SDL or OpenGL. But it wouldn't feel very "native", then ?
>> --anders
>This is something that would need to be agreed, do we want Native or X 
>Either choice would require significant effort IMHO, and require that 
>all different platforms be synced to maintain consistency if D goes the 
>X Platform route.
>D is X Platform so perhaps D's GUI should be also?
>SDL and OpenGL could be a useful starting platform, and D's GUI 
>Framework could leverage a lot of low level code from the two platforms, 
>and a bonus that it is written in C so will be easier to interface to in 
>theory and X Platform.

As much as I like the idea of using something that is guaranteed to exist on all
platforms (GL), there comes a rather stiff price for backing a raw graphics
library.  Most notably is the fact that any such development effort would have
to build its own rendering and event model from the ground up.  Also, meshing
with the OS's native capabilities, like cut-and-paste, would prove troublesome.

Beyond that, it's the one approach that yields the most advantages.
Applications would be guaranteed to behave *and* look the same on all platforms;
kind of like Swing.  Rendering and compositing would take advantage of hardware
where possible, so it'll likely be very fast if not efficent.  You get 3D
rendering for free, so it could double as a multimedia/gaming lib as well.
Skinnable interfaces, and paradigm bending concepts also become very possible -
the kind of stuff that makes X11 look like a tasteless joke.

So all in all, backing GL is the most ambitious path, but probably the one that
would yield the most promise.

I'll add that there seems to be an industry-wide paradigm shift that points
squarely at using GL for rendering the humble GUI.  From what I understand, OSX
already does this, and Linux is well on its way.  Windows GDI is a bloated
dinosaur, and I would not be suprised if MS did away with it in Vista (or at
least promoted a new model that is closer to the hardware while keeping GDI for
compatibility's sake). So for once, we'd be planning ahead.  

In light of all that, I reckon that a GL based D windowing lib would prove
easier to back-port to a native toolkit once this paradigm shift is in full
swing - provided that's even necessary.  After all, all three major operating
systems come with some kind of 3D or GL support out of the box already, right?

- EricAnderton at yahoo

PS, you could back DWT, Minwin, DUIT, etc on such a lib if you wanted to.

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