GUI: The future of...?

This is a discussion on GUI: The future of...? within the Tech Board forums, part of the Community Boards category; I've been involved in IT for a number of years, and have been programming for a while. One thing that ...

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    GUI: The future of...?

    I've been involved in IT for a number of years, and have been programming for a while. One thing that has always surprised me is programming GUI's with Win32.

    Win32 still seems to me to be the past, present and for a short time still the future of GUI programming, but what else exists, or what excites me more, what are the more radical options? OpenGL gui's for example, 3D guis? etc.

    I haven't much experience programming GUIs or knowledge of alternatives, but that is partly because it bores me a little when compared to other types of programming, but I would like to know what is out there.

    Can anyone offer me any suggestions on different options out there for GUI programming, the more radical the better, but also what competitors are there to the Win32 api?

    Also, Does anyone here actively avoid programming with the Win32 api?

  2. #2
    Cat without Hat CornedBee's Avatar
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    I avoid programming GUIs in general because they bore me to death.

    I'd say that declarative GUIs are the path of the future. XUL and XAML, or Adobe's Adam & Eve, stuff where less imperative code is written. Imperative code is supremely unsuited to GUI programming.
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    I've heard only praises about the Mozilla framework. Might want to take a look at it. It's based around XML if I recall.

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    I would argue that the Win32 API (by which I mean the vanilla C api) has now been almost entirely phased out of GUI programming. Even Microsoft itself is actively pushing people to stop developing with it in favour of its new .NET APIs and its flagship language C#.
    My guess into the (immediate) future of GUIs would be to look into Widgets and their toolkits/libraries (such as wxWidgets). Incidentally, I think most widget toolkits do use OpenGL to create their widgets. Of course it probably is nowhere near as effecient/fast as using Win32 to natively create controls, but you can't beat its portability and standard interface.

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    Frequently Quite Prolix dwks's Avatar
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    Incidentally, I think most widget toolkits do use OpenGL to create their widgets. Of course it probably is nowhere near as effecient/fast as using Win32 to natively create controls, but you can't beat its portability and standard interface.
    There are lots of widget libraries available for the SDL (the only ones I'm currently interested in), which usually use DirectX under Windows AFAIK. Of course, you're probably right about them not being as fast as native Win32 controls, but the portability won me over.

    Or you can always create your own! I started doing that with one of my projects, and it was quite interesting in my opinion . . .
    dwk

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    I've been working with XUL for about 6 months now, and I have to say it's a pretty solid framework, although horrendously under-documented. I'd definitely agree, though, that these xml-based languages are a better way to approach GUI programming than imperative code.

    I worked with Java Swing for quite a bit, too, and felt it was generally quite complete and solid, not to mention cross-platform.
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    Yea, I've read a little about XUL, I do want to take a look at it sometime, but (and forgive my ignorance) - won't every application look like firefox/thunderbird? - on the upside though, am I correct in thinking that one gui created using XUL will work across mac, windows and unix?


    Also, what is the general consensus on developing gui's using X Windows? - I've seen bits about it over the years and it seems to be hanging around still despite being first created in the 80's.

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    Firefox's user interface isn't all that different from other programs, juts what additional features it has that sets it apart.

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    Cat without Hat CornedBee's Avatar
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    Well, X Windows itself is little-used, only for some essential apps that need to work on every X system. What is widely used is libraries on top of X, because X is the "native" windowing API of most Unix-like systems. GTK+ and Qt, in their Unix versions, build on top of X.
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