Whither DWT?

Daniel Keep daniel.keep.lists at gmail.com
Wed May 3 22:11:39 PDT 2006

freeagle wrote:
> Hello,
> Im quite new to D, but reading a lot of posts lately and checking some
> websites about D i can say that the demand for good GUI API is quite
> high in the community (including me).
> And i must say i agree with the idea of using OpenGL for making a cross
> platform GUI. Having a modern GUI rendered using graphics hardware could
>    drag more attention to D. And problem of not native look of such API
> could be easily handled using different themes. When i checked Terra
> project source, the actual style of the widgets takes only few lines of
> code and a set of images. For me, OpenGL is the right way to go.
> Freeagle

Personally, I don't like these kinds of GUI toolkits.  Granted, they ARE
more portable, and easier to write, but:

A) Visuals.  Not one single self-rendered toolkit I've ever seen has
looked right.  GTK+, Swing... they all have small, subtle, but very
annoying quirks that allow you to say: "Hey, this isn't a native app!"
That should *never* happen.  Sun has had years to try to perfect this,
and yet they haven't.

What is worse, what are you going to do about Vista?  When that comes
out, all your work on the XP skin has to be re-done from scratch.  And
even then, given that Vista uses all those transparency effects, will it
even be possible without a major rewrite?

The problem is magnified if Vista has multiple themes.  Then you've got
to support each one separately... you get the idea.

And let's not forget the million and one themes of KDE and GNOME...

B) Operation.  Under Windows, I sometimes use IMEs (Input Method
Editors) to input text in Japanese.  Now, there's an option in Windows
to enable extra support for this in text boxes... the problem is that if
you're rendering the text boxes yourself, this support mysteriously
disappears.  You will never be able to cover the entire set of system
built-in functionality.  If you did manage to, you'd basically be
re-implementing the entire toolkit API on every native system... which
is much more work than just wrapping it in the first place.

That said, I still think projects like this are important.  For
applications that don't care one whit if they "fit" with the system or
not, they're a boon.  Such is true of things like media players, games,
and other applications that intend to have a distinctive look (or don't
need one at all :P)

But at the end of the day, I'd still prefer to have something like
wxWidgets or SWT for D (in addition to toolkits like Terra), so that my
programs will function properly :)

	-- Daniel "Foolish Swing!  Everyone knows that Windows tree views have
SQUARE swizzles, not round ones!  Your heinous deception is unmasked!" Keep


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