Programers or Pretty Widgets

In developing the XMS system I found a few large holes in the Athena widget set. This forced me to write some of my own widgets. I have decided to complete this into a full library (since only a few functions are missing. The library will have build in support for 3D drawing with GC caching and XPM reader/converter and support for fancy backrounds.

Design goals:

Why a new widget set?

Becuase all the free sets I could find don't seem to have the functionality that is required to write high quality X windows applications. The ones that do look promising either do not use the Toolkit (this may be bad or good depending on your point of view), too restrictive, or cost money.

Why not drop in replacement for Xaw? First off there already are many of these. Second the limitations I found in Xaw are still in these. For example in Xms (which is being developed in parrelel with Xpw, I am finding that the application is shrinking as new widgets are completed. The Athena widgets require that you either call their convience routines or redo their translation tables. Two examples, with Athena, to do cascaded menus I had to overide translations and install my own event handles, with Xpw I just install a popup menu as a child of the menu with to be cascaded, the popmenu widget does all the right actions, including delayed popup of the cascade if the mouse stays on the entry. Second example is with the Toggle widget, (or Select under Xpw), to support only a single selection in a group it took about 100 lines of code to impliment this. Under Xpw, it took zero lines, and you only get called by the new selection not the old and the new then the old agian as under Athena.


Xpw will be release free for noncommercial use. Please contact me if you want to use Xpw in your commerical or shareware application, we can work out either a royaly or flat fee license depending on projected market volume. My hope is that in releasing the source for free it will allow for people to use the widget set and thereby make it more widely available. I feel this is one of the major hinderances to Motif and Xforms today.


The overall system will consist of the following widget:

Check here for descritions of individual widgets.

* Completed working widgets.
+ Widgets indevelopment.

Project status

All widgets marked as completed have been checked into RCS. Xcdplay released, also released a new binary of xmixer linked with current libraries. Currently working on finishing off SimpleText and man pages. Next app to be release will be xnotepad, a simple text editor and clipboard (test bed for SimpleText).

Sample Applications

Getting the source

When the software is stable enough the source will be made available. Keep a watch here. I'm not sure when I will be releasing the widget set, I still have to complete the SimpleText and AnsiText widgets. Additionaly I need to work out some legal and business issuses before they can be released. After the man pages and major widgets are complete, I may issue a time limited binary only release for developers to play with. Contact me if you would be interested in testing the widgets.


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Last updated: 1/28/97