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Subject: Portable GUI Development Kits FAQ, part 3/4

This article was archived around: 2 Mar 1997 20:59:14 +1100

All FAQs in Directory: portable-GUI-software
All FAQs posted in: comp.windows.misc
Source: Usenet Version

Archive-name: portable-GUI-software/part3 Posting-Frequency: monthly Last-modified: 1997/03/02 Version: 3.1 URL: http://www.zeta.org.au/~rosko/pigui.htm
PLATFORM INDEPENDENT FAQ PART THREE _________________________________________________________________ Copyright 1996 Ross McKay. Last released $Date: 1997/03/02 09:04:40 $ Copyright 1993-1995 Wade Guthrie. Permission is granted to copy and redistribute this document so long as it is unmodified (including the part that explains where to get the FAQ free-of-charge) and the copyright remains in-tact. I'd appreciate it if you told me about any redistribution, but that's not strictly necessary. _________________________________________________________________ VI. VENDOR REPORTS - cont. The different PIGUI kits are classified by the language they support. These are the ones which support C and C++, with names O* to Z*. PIGUI kits for C and C++ from A* to N* can be found in Part 2 of the FAQ, and for other languages in Part 4 of the FAQ. _C/C++ from O to Z_ Open Interface Elements (Neuron Data) OpenUI Qt StarView Simple User Interface Toolkit TWIN / The Willows Toolkit V Visual Age Wind/U WM_MOTIF User Interface Library WNDX wxWindows XVT Portability Toolkit Yet Another Class Library zApp Zinc _________________________________________________________________ Open Interface Elements, Version 3.0 _VENDOR:_ Neuron Data 156 University Avenue, Palo Alto, California 94301 (800) 876-4900 (inquiries) (415) 321-4488 (voice) www http://www.neurondata.com/ _SOFTWARE CONFIGURATION:_ Open Interface is an emulated PIGUI with a C++ API (as of Open Interface Elements 3.0). The software also comes with a WYSIWYG GUI builder which includes a script language that can co-exist with C or C++. Their C++ approach no longer uses a wrappers approach! They include tons of extra widgets (which they call "Power Widgets") like business graphics (bar, pie, and line charts), images (all standard formats), a hypertext widget, and context-sensitive hypertext help. Other software in Open Interface includes international character support, portable drag-and-drop, multi-font support, full printer support, memory management, file I/O support as well as MS-Windows DDE support (the latter is, of course, non-portable). _OPTIONS:_ `Nexpertobject' is an expert systems tool intended for GUI development. `C/S Elements' is a client/server for tying UI components to one of many supported relational databases. This allows the UI to control the database and changes in the database to be propagated back into the UI. `Smart Elements' is for integrating knowledge-based systems with Neuron's GUI stuff. This allows changes to objects in the knowledge based system to be propagated to the UI and vice versa. In addition, these are integrated with a scripting language which causes changes in both the knowledge base and the UI. _COMMENTS:_ Open Interface is an emulated GUI, that attempts to superset the features from the various GUIs they support. Particularly if one looks at Neuron Data's optional products, one can see a leaning toward support of DBMS and expert systems. These guys claim to have 35% of the market share for PIGUI tools including some heavyweights like IBM, Microsoft, Hewlett-Packard, and AT&T). _WHAT THE USERS SAY:_ One user says, "[They've] Implemented all kinds of ideas such as being able to add items to scrolling lists using the += operator in C++ etc etc etc. Found some bugs, but support was brilliant, and new releases were always pushing the frontiers forward. All bug reports have met with speedy response. It is expensive, but worth it. Great for object-oriented development." Another user agrees, "The only one [PIGUI] I would recommend is Neuron Data's Open Interface." However, one user cautions, "I [only] recommend doing development on a UNIX box or a Mac with this tool. The person using our [MS] windows copy has had some problems with ND corrupting its own data files and/or crashing windows." Another complaint I seem to be seeing concerns slow and poor technical support. _________________________________________________________________ OpenUI, v4.0 _VENDOR:_ Open Software Associates 20 Trafalgar Square, 5th Floor Nashua, NH 03063 (800) 441-4330 (voice) (603) 886-4330 (voice) (603) 598-6877 (fax) email info@osa.com www http://www.osa.com.au/ _SOFTWARE CONFIGURATION:_ This interface supports C, Pascal, (ish) COBOL, and Ada. Not only is the C type safe for C++, but they're willing to supply a native C++ API if there's enough demand. The software comes with a WYSIWYG GUI builder. They also have a `platform pack', a less-expensive, de-featured package which allows software developed with OpenUI to be ported to other platforms. Their code supports stand-alone as well as client (GUI) / server Logic) application development. A client/server application can be developed in stand-alone mode. When you purchase the product, you receive 90 days of fax and e-mail support. Purchased support adds-in phone access as well as product updates. In addition to GUI portability, OpenUI provides TCP/IP and DecNetsupport. _COMMENTS:_ Open Software Associates have rewritten their integrated development environment (IDE), added support for their OpenWeb product, and improved the cross-platform handling of bitmaps. There is an online `Knowledge Base' for registered users. I checked out the KB for their OpenWeb product, and it's pretty slim (e.g. no entries for Bug!) but the OpenUI KB might be bigger. Open Software Associates has been around since 1990. _WHAT THE USERS SAY:_ Says one user, "Support is brilliant, among the best I have ever seen in the computer industry. Comes with a [GUI] builder, allows generation of new GUI classes using a concept of soft-classes (not quite inheritance, but fairly powerful). Good for when multi- platform support is needed, but not as powerful as OI for a single GUI application. They will port to other hardware fairly quickly. We got the SUN port within a month." Problems include "no file, printing or memory management support", according to Richard Chimera (carm@cs.umd.edu -- from a report "Evaluation of Platform Independent Interface Builders", dated March 1993). [I have heard since that their printer support has improved - Ross] _________________________________________________________________ Qt 1.1 _VENDOR:_ Troll Tech AS Postboks 6133 Etterstad N-0602 Oslo Norway (+47) 2264 6949 email sales@troll.no www http://www.troll.no/ ftp ftp://ftp.troll.no/ _SOFTWARE CONFIGURATION:_ Qt is an object-oriented multi-platform GUI toolkit written in C++. It enables the developer to quickly create GUI applications from components, for delivery on Windows 95 and NT, and most UNIX/X11 systems. OS/2 is apparently in the works also. Qt is inherently customisable, and its object-oriented nature makes this fairly simple by extending existing components. Components interact using what Troll Tech call `signals/slots', rather than relying on callbacks, so components are able to interact on a more generic level. Good online documentation is available, so the developer does not have to search for the last place he/she left `that manual'. Both commercial and free software licenses are available. _________________________________________________________________ StarView 2.1 _VENDOR:_ Star Division 2180 Sand Hill Road, Suite 320 Menlo Park, CA 94025 (800) 888-8527 (inquiries) (415) 233-0142 (fax) email svinfo@stardiv.de www http://www.stardiv.de/ http://www.stardivision.com/ _SOFTWARE CONFIGURATION:_ _NB: see COMMENTS below! This is a full C++ class library that comes with their DesignEditor which creates resource files. Some of the classes include SplitBar (a splittable scrollbar like a spreadsheet uses), tool boxes, status bars, file dialogs, and MS-Windows bitmap support via file stream IO. Other features/portability capabilities include international language support (being a German company selling software in the states, this makes a lot of sense) but not multi-byte character sets, full printer support (including page preview), endian-aware classes, platform-independent file specification, and drag&drop support. This product also comes with several general-purpose C++ classes including Strings and a very complete complement of container classes (e.g., Queues, Lists, and Tables). These classes are included in a Microsoft Windows DLL for reduced memory usage. COMMENTS:_ StarDivision seems to be pulling this product from the market, to be used only for in-house work like their applications for Linux et al. One paid-up user can't even get email responses from them regarding this. More information as it comes to hand. These guys are using their own code (originally written in C++, I might add) to put together a multi-platform word processor. Their word processor guys keep their PIGUI guys informed of any incompatibilities. One really neat thing is that they've ported Microsoft's help to other platforms. They have special (though non-portable) Microsoft Windows OLE and DDE classes. _FUTURE PLANS:_ OS/2 & NT in beta. They are working on OLE 2.0 classes as well. _WHAT THE USERS SAY:_ Most of the reports that I've seen on StarView have been extremely favorable with emphasis on their intuitive API. Ian Upright (Ian_Upright@mindlink.bc.ca), for example, says "If you're doing [PIGUI] development, I think you'd be insane to not check out StarView as an option. [...] The entire design of the library is very intelligent and VERY well thought out. [...] It also has system dependent hooks available. Such as the ability to trap [MS] windows messages of a HWND." Other users second this, "Their features for creating graphics and using output devices is marvelous." and "The class library is excellent. It's complete. [...] It's intuitive." "They have done a good job porting non-native user interface elements to other platforms." User support is their biggest problem. Even though they have two support people and their primary support guy is really helpful, this is still a major issue. "They've got one good tech support guy, Andreas [they've added another]. You may not be able to call and get an immediate answer, as they're not always in." Says another user, "The real disappointment with StarView has been their customer support. We've known times where they didn't return our calls for weeks. They've consistently been late with releases and shipments, and have made promises on the phone that were not kept." Another says that support is "abysmal" in the U.S. but good out of Hamburg (by phone). _________________________________________________________________ Simple User Interface Toolkit, v2.3 _VENDOR:_ University of Virginia email suit@uvacs.cs.virginia.edu www http://www.cs.virginia.edu/~suit/ ftp ftp://uvacs.cs.virginia.edu/pub/suit/ news comp.windows.suit _SOFTWARE CONFIGURATION:_ SUIT is a (free-of-charge with strings attached) C-language library. It comes with source, a 10 page tutorial, and a 160 page reference manual. SUIT's prime directive is ease of learning (estimated time to productivity is around 2 hours -- oh, and there is that thing about not interfering with the natural advancement of an indigenous life form, but we won't get into that here =^> ). The software has the unusual trait that its user-interface is editable even while a SUIT application program is running. SUIT is available with source for free for Universities and non-profit organizations (for-profit organizations can license SUIT for around $25,000). Anyone can download it via anonymous ftp from uvacs.cs.virginia.edu ( for evaluation purposes. For more information finger `suit@uvacs.cs.virginia.edu' _________________________________________________________________ TWIN / The Willows Toolkit _VENDOR:_ Willows Software 12950 Saratoga Avenue, Suite A Saragoga, CA 95070-4670 +1 415 777 1820 (phone) +1 415 777 1827 (fax) email info@willows.com www http://www.willows.com _SOFTWARE CONFIGURATION:_ TWIN is a cross-platform development kit based on the new APIW standard for cross-platform development (q.v.). Using TWIN's XPDK, you can port software written to the Windows API, to several Unix platforms and the Macintosh. The kit includes a library, drivers and a binary interface to allow developers to bring Windows API-based applications and dynamic link libraries to alternative platforms. The product includes debug and release versions of the library to support work in both environments. Also included are shell tools to port sources, resource compilers to include menus, bitmaps and icons in an application and a module definition compiler for building shared libraries. TWIN is different to most other API emulation toolkits, which will only enable developers to port software to which they have source code. Binary emulation enables the use of existing or third-party DLL's, VBX's and OCX's on the target platform. _SUPPORT:_ Willows offers several levels of support: Basic, Standard and Premium subscriptions, and `Strategic Consulting'. Basic, at $250 per annum, covers a CD-ROM subscription and some (unspecified) support. I will fill in the details on this level soon. Standard, at $1000 per annum, covers the CD-ROM subscription, 30-day installation support via e-mail and WEB, E-mail and WEB access for incident reporting and information, and access to on-line bug and resolution database via WEB for tracking status, for one developer. Premium, at $5000 per annum, includes Standard and adds: unlimited installation support, telephone support for 10 incidents per annum (additional incidents in blocks of 10 p.a. for $1500), for unlimited number of developers / contacts. _COMMENTS:_ TWIN is based on the new European standard for cross-platform development, called _Application Programming Interface for Windows_ (APIW). This standard was adopted by the European Computer Manufacturers Association (ECMA) on 15 December 1995, and is currently awaiting approval from the International Standards Organisation (ISO). APIW is based on the Microsoft Windows API. TWIN is available for download, for non-commercial purposes only, from their Web site. Non-commercial users can also purchase TWIN (source and binary) on CD-ROM for about $80. For commercial developers, TWIN is subscription-based software (see SUPPORT, above). Willows Software is backed by ex-Novell chief, Ray Noorda. _FUTURE:_ Future plans include support for Windows 95 (including the new controls), MFC and OWL class libraries and quicktime multimedia. A future version will feature a dynamic user interface, allowing users to choose between different user styles including WIN3.1, WIN95, Motif and MAC/OS. Using shared libraries, developers will be able to create and dynamically add additional interface styles. _________________________________________________________________ V _VENDOR:_ Dr. Bruce E. Wampler email wampler@cs.unm.edu vgui@cs.unm.edu - mailing list, use subject ADD and put your email address in the body www http://www.cs.unm.edu/~wampler ftp ftp://ftp.cs.unm.edu/pub/wampler _SOFTWARE CONFIGURATION:_ V is a C++ framework for simplifying the development of GUI applications. V was developed as a platform independent framework, and currently supports Microsoft Windows 3.1, Win32, and X Windows (using Athena widgets). V encapsulates a fairly complete set of the standard GUI objects (windows, buttons, lists, fields etc) as well as portable printing. V comes complete with source code, and will remain free to the public under the terms of the GNU Library General Public License. The distribution package includes source code, a compiled library for Windows 3.1, a 150 page manual in LaTex and PostScript, and several example programs. _COMMENTS:_ V was developed as a freeware GUI C++ framework, by Dr. Bruce Wampler. It is currently being used to teach programming to students of the University of New Mexico, both at the Junior level and for large projects at the Senior level. From looking at the Quick Reference online, it seems to be a well-constructed example of an Object Oriented framework (better than some of the commercial packages I've seen). I guess that's because it has been used as a teaching tool. I would be interested in hearing from anyone who has used V for a complex application; I'm sure it would have been successful. _FUTURE:_ An OS/2 version is being worked on. A Macintosh version is stated as being a "someday thing". Some tools are being developed to support V, including a dialog designer, a HTML-based portable help system, and an icon editor. Clipboard functionality should be added to V by the next release. _________________________________________________________________ Visual Age _VENDOR:_ IBM www http://www.ibm.com/ VisualAge is an Integrated Development Environment (IDE) for visually developing software using components. Whilst the purists may argue that it isn't a _true_ visual development tool, it's certainly more of one than the likes of Visual Basic and Delphi. VisualAge is available for either C++ or a Smalltalk. Both versions come with a comprehensive library of components for developing GUI and client / server applications across platforms. VisualAge for Smalltalk is available on Windows, OS/2 and AIX. Presumably, so is VisualAge for C++. _COMMENTS:_ I have to admit not knowing much about this product, and would appreciate hearing from anyone who has used or evaluated it. _________________________________________________________________ Wind/U v3.2 _VENDOR:_ Bristol Technology Inc. 241 Ethan Allen Highway Ridgefield, CT 06877 (203) 438-6969 (voice) (203) 438-5013 (fax) email info@bristol.com www http://www.bristol.com/ _SOFTWARE CONFIGURATION:_ Wind/U is an implementation of the Microsoft Windows API under Unix/Motif. Wind/U supports Win16 and Win32 and the Microsoft Foundation Classes 3.0 and 4.x (MFC, the API under Visual C++). It contains custom widgets to allow applications to utilize multiple document interface (MDI), combo boxes, dynamically linked libraries (DLLs), dynamic data exchange (DDE), WinSock, and PostScript and PCL4 and PCL5 (Hewlett Packard's Printer Control Language) printing. You can use your MS Windows Help file source on Unix with Bristol's HyperHelp. In addition, they support the Windows GDI graphics drawing interface, including the coordinate system choices. Finally, they support Common dialog DLLs as well as DDEML (Dynamic Data Exchange Management Library) DLLs. OLE was recently added. Recently, Wind/U added support for ActiveX and multi-threading under UNIX. Their toolkit includes several programmer tools including Wind/U Spy (an application that runs under Motif but looks like the MS-Windows Spy program), online documentation, a makefile generation program (to help compile your MS-Windows program under Unix), and other tools to help prepare your PC source for Unix. _COMMENTS:_ Bristol has entered into a source code license agreement with Microsoft. This agreement allows Bristol to incorporate MS-Windows code into their product. Bristol was founded in 1990 and has maintained a profit every quarter since 1992. _WHAT THE USERS SAY:_ One user says, "[Wind/U] is a fairly complete implementation of the Windows API for unix. There are some bugs, and some unimplemented features, but it seems to be getting better over time. Bristol's support for their product is truly excellent: they are very responsive and have been able to provide rapid turnaround for our problems." Others say "... remarkably unresponsive, ...their Win32 is *much* less complete than they [tell you]" _________________________________________________________________ WM_MOTIF User Interface Library, v4.1 _VENDOR:_ Software UNO, Ltd. 15 Bodwell Terrace 1259 Fernandez Juncos Ave. Millburn, NJ 07041 San Juan, PR 00907 (800) 840-UNIX (840-8649) (voice) (809) 723-5000 (809) 722-6242 (fax) email info@uno.com sales@uno.com www http://www.uno.com/ ftp ftp://ftp.uno.com/pub/uno/ ftp://ftp.uu.net/vendor/uno/ Compuserve 73710,3031; GO MAGMA _SOFTWARE CONFIGURATION:_ WM_MOTIF is a portable implementation of the MS Windows API for Unix Motif and character-based environments. It is a C library, but also supports popular C++ frameworks like Microsoft's MFC or Borland's OWL. A resource compiler is included to port MS-Windows resources to the Unix platforms. WM_MOTIF supports bitmaps, icons, and cursors; UIL is not required. Source code is available. Demo executables are available via anonymous FTP at ftp://ftp.uu.net/vendor/uno/. Software UNO also offers an evaluation library to allow developers to compile their own code with the library. _________________________________________________________________ WNDX 95 _VENDOR:_ WNDX Suite 418, 1167 Kensington Crescent N.W. Calgary, Alberta Canada T2N 1X7 (403) 283-5590 (voice) (403) 283-6250 (fax) (403) 283-6395 (bbs) email support@wndx.com www http://www.wndx.com/ _SOFTWARE CONFIGURATION:_ This is a C library which comes bundled with a resource builder (OPUS) capable of creating portable resource files. WNDX provides system-independent graphic drawing routines, window manipulation primitives, and user interaction management routines as well as dialogs, menus, editable and static text items, scrollbars, checkboxes, radio buttons, list items, selection items, icons, color selection items, icon and bitmap items. Programs generated with WNDX can be configured to use the native environment of the platform, or to be identical in appearance and behavior across all platforms. This is accomplished by the use of different `style guides' (source included) which define the look and feel of the particular `style'. For example, a simple menu option can change the look and feel of the OPUS application running in Windows from the Windows style guide to the Motif style guide. _COMMENTS:_ According to one article, they've altered concepts that most GUI developers consider conventional. All widgets have all the attributes defined for them (it's just that some of the attributes are meaningless and, therefore, ignored). WNDX describes it differently: The basis of the WNDX paradigm is the Window `object'. Each object has an attribute list. Other `objects' are derived from the basic window object and each kind of object adds different customized attributes to the attribute list. There are some problems, like colors are not fully editable and there's no way to put a picture on a button (without fudging). Other complaints include features (like icons) that require special non-portable effort to use in a native look-and-feel. In addition to the platforms supported, a source code license is available for programmers who need to port applications to other UNIX/Motif platforms. Contact WNDX for pricing. _________________________________________________________________ wxWindows, v1.65 _VENDOR:_ Dr Julian Smart Artificial Intelligence Applications Institute University of Edinburgh 80 South Bridge Edinburgh Scotland EH1 1HN 0131 650 2746 (voice) email Julian.Smart@ukonline.co.uk www http://web.ukonline.co.uk/julian.smart/wxwin http://www.aiai.ed.ac.uk/~jacs/wx/wxpython/wxpython.html _SOFTWARE CONFIGURATION:_ This is a (free-of-charge) C++ library with source (there's also a version for the Python language). For a GUI builder, you can use wxBuilder (which is available under MS-Windows or Motif), another program they have to translate the output of DevGuide (Sun's XView GUI builder) into wxWindows format, or yet another one to allow one to use Liant's class browser with the library. A dialog editor is available under Windows, which is simpler to use and more robust than wxBuilder. This package includes hypertext help (including a new HTML-based help system), printer support (this is better than some packages you have to pay for), and some nifty graphics capabilities including splines, polylines, and rounded rectangles. It includes the standard menu bars, toolbars, pens, brushes, etc. In addition to all of that, it includes IPC features that includes DDE support under MS-Windows _AND_ Unix. A CURSES version is in alpha. In addition, wxWindows includes timers, filesystem portability features, as well as PROLOGIO which allows the user to create (apparently, with some limitations) object-oriented, Prolog- compatible data files, document/view classes, a charting library, an HTML canvas, and ODBC support under Windows. wxWindows now supports Windows 3.1, WIN32, Windows 95 (not all controls and features), Windows NT, XView, and Motif. A contributed Xt port provides a large subset of the features available in the 'official' wxWindows distribution. A Mac port is also now available, but seems to be trailing the main gang in features. A partial OS/2 port is available as a start for potential OS/2 contributors. _COMMENTS:_ To get this software, anonymous ftp it from ftp.aiai.ed.ac.uk; it's under /pub/packages/wxwin. Checkout the manual online (address above). This is free software, so one should expect that it has a couple of warts relative to the packages for which one would pay. It (according to the author) doesn't stick too closely to the style guides of the individual platforms, but "most people won't know the difference [... the software has] a long way to go before I've used all the features [of the various GUIs]". Still, the price is right, and to my mind it at least rivals (and in some cases, bests) the commercial offerings. _FUTURE PLANS:_ + A wxWindows CD-ROM in the summer of 1996 + further Win95 support + socket programming support + an OLE-2 class library _________________________________________________________________ XVT Portability Toolkit _XVT Development Solution for C++ (DSC++) 4.5_ _XVT Development Solution for C (DSC) 4.5_ _VENDOR:_ XVT Software Incorporated 4900 Pearl East Circle Box 18750 Boulder, CO 80308 (800) 678-7988 (inquiries) (303) 443-4223 (voice) (303) 443-0969 (fax) email info@xvt.com www http://www.xvt.com/ _SOFTWARE CONFIGURATION:_ XVT comes as either a C-language or C++ (called Power++) library. The C solution has bundled with it an interactive design tool and code generator. XVT provides printing support, drag-and-drop, portable help, portable bitmap support (palette control provides up to 24 bits of color), powerful portable typeface handling capability, and all the standard widgets (including toolbar, status bar, and tables). Version 4.5 adds tables, tree, dockable windows, and data-aware objects. The C++ solution includes a user interface layout tool (XVT-Architect) which includes a browser, a graphical layout tool and an object attributes manager. In addition, Power++ comes with the Rogue Wave product Tools.h++ (Tools.h++ provides 135 extra general-purpose classes). _OPTIONS:_ Source Code XVT Spreadsheet XVT Graphical Extensions _SUPPORT:_ Free (with updates) for one year. After that, call for pricing. _COMMENTS:_ XVT is the original PIGUI software. They seem to provide pretty solid support for all the platforms (and, there's a lot) that they support. In addition, the current incarnation of their C++ toolset is generally agreed to be substantially better than their original entry. XVT is receiving major applause for changing their PIGUI approach to be more consistent with the rest of the marketplace. They are getting away from a least-common denominator approach (check out their portable help for an example of strides in this area) and they are providing more complete packages with fewer optional extras (e.g., XVT now bundles their layout tool with their products). XVT was founded in 1987. _WHAT THE USERS SAY:_ The user's have said that the manuals are good and extremely well organized and that the Designer's test mode actually tests the logic (a really helpful feature). Their tech support is also reportedly pretty good ("wonderous", says one user). In the arena of software development, one user says "...at the end of 2 weeks we had a fully-functional [medium-sized] application on Mac and MOTIF", he goes on to say that the the user-interface was redesigned half way through. Power++ is said to be a fantastic improvement over their old C++ product (Design++). One user has a list server running, on xvtdev@adc.com, To subscribe, just send some mail to Majordomo@adc.com _________________________________________________________________ Yet Another Class Library, v1.5 _VENDOR:_ M. A. Sridhar Department of Computer Science University of South Carolina Columbia, SC 29208 (803) 777-2427 (voice) (803) 777-3767 (fax) email sridhar@usceast.cs.scarolina.edu ftp ftp://ftp.cs.scarolina.edu/pub/sridhar/yacl/ www http://www.cs.sc.edu/~sridhar/yacl.html _SOFTWARE CONFIGURATION:_ YACL is a freely available C++ class library that includes: + a suite of container and data storage classes for general-purpose programming + high-level GUI classes based on Model-View-Controller paradigm. The GUI class protocols are designed in a platform independent manner, and are implemented under Motif 1.2 as well as under Microsoft Windows, Windows NT and OS/2. The YACL distribution includes numerous demo programs. YACL supports a multitude of compilers, and its distribution includes makefiles for all supported platforms and compilers. _COMMENTS:_ YACL is available via anonymous ftp from ftp.cs.scarolina.edu in /pub/yacl _________________________________________________________________ zApp, V3.0 _VENDOR:_ Rogue Wave Software 260 SW Madison P.O. Box 2328 Corvallis OR 97339 (800) 487-3217 or (541) 754-3010 email info@roguewave.com www http://www.roguewave.com/ _SOFTWARE CONFIGURATION:_ A set of four software packages: zApp Factory, a WYSIWYG visual screen designer/ code generator; the zApp Application Framework, a set of over 200 classes for everything from geometry management to frames and panes; the zApp Interface Pack a set of high level custom controls; and zHelp, which provides portable context sensitive help to zApp Applications. The zApp Developer's Suite ships with the following documentation: Programmer's Guide, Programmer's Reference manual, a platform guide, zApp Factory manual and zApp Interface Pack manual. Version 3.0 adds progress bars, tabbed dialogs, tree, multi-selection lists, and better zHelp. zApp now also requires RogueWave's Tools.h++ class toolkit. _OPTIONS:_ Rogue Wave Software offers a full range of consulting and training to help your development group attain productivity. _SUPPORT:_ Technical support is provided through the phone, fax, email, compuserve and Rogue Wave's BBS. Purchase of a technical support contract provides priority support for one year as well as all upgrades (even major upgrades) at no additional charge. Prices for support for each zApp Developer's Suite are as follows: Windows 95/NT, OS/2 $714.00 Unix $1194.00 Full Platform Solution $1908.00 _FUTURE PLANS:_ Future versions will offer integration with Rogue Wave libraries such as DBTools.h++ and Net.h++ zApp for the Macintosh is _still_ scheduled ... _COMMENTS:_ Inmark, the originators of zApp, recently merged with RogueWave. I see this as only good news for zApp users, as RogueWave has quite a good reputation for quality cross-platform component software. The prices seem to have gone up with this, but then support more than likely has also. _WHAT THE USERS SAY:_ zApp receives many plaudits. Many users really like their class structure. One user says "zApp contains without a doubt the absolute best C++ code I have ever seen. It is an amazingly simple, intuitive interpretation of GUI and OOP interfaces". Another user says, "zApp is an EXCELLENT platform-independent API. If you truly must write your code `once' for multiple platforms, zApp is the C++ solution to get." Also revered is the zApp Factory tool. A big complaint seems to be that zApp is quite apparently MS-Windows-oriented. Many of their classes and idioms don't translate well (or at all) to other platforms. For example, one user says "my disappointment [with zApp] stems from my Mac expectations." Another user agrees, "The [MS] Windows version works rather better than the OS/2 version". A, possibly anachronistic, comment I've heard is "it has A LOT of memory leaks". On the other hand, [Inmark] has been listening to the complaints of it's customers, "We have been very diligent in tracking memory leaks and memory issues with zApp. The latest versions of zApp have been verified with [an in-house product, SmartHeap, BoundsChecker, and Purify]." _________________________________________________________________ Zinc, V4.2 _VENDOR:_ ZINC Software Incorporated 405 South 100 East 2nd Floor Pleasant Grove, UT 84062 (800) 638 8665 (inquiries) (801) 785-8900 (voice) (801) 785-8996 (fax) (801) 785-8997 (bbs) email info@zinc.com www http://www.zinc.com/ _SOFTWARE CONFIGURATION:_ This is a full C++ class library that comes with the Zinc Designer (a WYSIWYG GUI builder). Their classes include a rather nice error system, geometry management, print support, VROOM support (for Borland heads), index tabs, status bars, sliders, spinners, some graphic capabilities, and a portable, if rudimentary, help system. Also included is the source for the library (and for the Designer). In addition to the usual GUI stuff, Zinc also provides international character support (they have a Unicode version for extra bux) and some container classes. The software comes with 4 manuals. These include 2 reference manuals, a getting started manual, and a document covering their designer. _OPTIONS:_ A set of database classes is now available, providing a database independance layer for C++ utilising several major data access methods, including ODBC. A Unicode version (key) is available for bux, allowing you to write truly internationalised code which includes Asian languages. Zinc also provides a video training series (this gives lots of Zinc internals detail, but not a lot of relief for the novice programmer) for $499. _COMMENTS:_ Zinc's direction seems to be the international market along with support for the marketeers-do-the-GUI-while-programmers-do-the-code crowd. That said, they promise that they'll not forget about the applications and scientific programmers as they grow. To use their product to its fullest, you have to use their GUI builder (the only way you can get icons on all platforms, for example, is through the Designer). Zinc has made big changes to their Designer (their GUI builder) targeted, it seems, to provide a comfortable GUI design environment for non-programmers. The updates include easing the addition of user-defined widgets to the designer, parallelizing the main-design-screen/image-editor/help-editor, and replacing flag names with more user-friendly english descriptions. They have completely rewritten their manuals (and the crowd goes wild...) to reduce the learning curve associated with this product. Zinc was founded in 1990. _FUTURE PLANS:_ The utilization of the native help system and improved graphics support. _WHAT THE USERS SAY:_ Users praise the look and feel under DOS. Native look-and-feel on target platforms also seems to be well met, in most cases. Many complain about the lack of intuitive feel of the API. Personally, I think that the API is pretty good but the documentation does a really poor job of explaining it. Zinc is based on message passing, similar in nature to how MS-Windows, OS/2 and Macintosh do it, but generalised to be portable across multiple platforms. Those of you who are more used to using callbacks may need to adjust. Some users say that the class hierarchy is not very Object Oriented. Others disagree, saying that subclassing is reasonably well supported, even to a limited extent within the Designer (GUI builder). There are some serious bugs associated with the table / spreadsheet object, UIW_TABLE. It seems they got it out the door too quickly. For lists with no in-place editing, you can get away with using a vertical list and owner-drawn elements but when you need a spreadsheet object, you're stuck with UIW_TABLE. _SUPPORT:_ Zinc provides free email support for all customers, as well as limited phone and fax support. Zinc also offers a Customer Assurance Plan (CAP) which includes free phone, fax, email, BBS and Compuserve support, free upgrades and maintenance releases, and Beta test releases. Zinc's email support is quite responsive, especially for simple How-To questions. Several users have commented that Zinc is slow to fix bugs, but they are also open to negotiation for contract work. _REVIEWER'S IMPRESSIONS:_ Once you get used to the paradigm, it _is_ pretty straight-forward to program. Their improved documentation is a big help and shows off some of Zinc's more powerful features. In addition, the software is becoming more robust with each release. _________________________________________________________________ Ross McKay email:rosko@zeta.org.au $RCSfile: pigui3.txt,v $; $Revision: 3.1 $; $Date: 1997/03/02 08:37:38 $