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Subject: Portable GUI Development Kits FAQ, part 4/4
This article was archived around: 2 Mar 1997 21:00:42 +1100
PLATFORM INDEPENDENT FAQ PART FOUR
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 languages other than C and C++. PIGUI
kits for C and C++ can be found in Part 2 and Part 3 of the FAQ.
PIGUI Kits for languages other than C and C++:
Common Lisp Interface Manager
Java Abstract Window Toolkit
Common Lisp Interface Manager, V2.0
Well, this gets kind-of complicated. It was started by a
company called `Internation Lisp Associates', or ILA, but was
adopted by several Lisp vendors. The current active CLIM
Franz, Berkeley, CA
CLIM is a de-facto extension to the Common Lisp language. It
supports standard shape-drawing primitives with a portable
color model. Full 2D affine transforms are supported. In
addition, a platform-independent typeface specification
mechanism is included.
CLIM contains an intensional type system, known as
presentations, whereby any piece of output can be associated
with an application-object. On input, the same type-system
allows context-sensitive input, driven by the
CLIM also contains high-level facilities for table-formatting,
graph-formatting, window layout, dialogs, etc.
CLIM operates through a back-end for each underlying GUI.
Back-end efforts exist for Motif (which is shipping), OpenLook,
the Macintosh and MS-Windows. CLIM can also run in a
CLIM-look-and-feel mode as a fallback.
For additional information, see the comp.lang.lisp FAQ, part 7.
I have been advised that a former "active CLIM partner"
Symbolics have "gone Chapter 11", risen again, but probably
have little time now for CLIM.
Also, Lucid Lisp, from another former "active CLIM partner",
has been acquired by Harlequin.
EiffelVision is a platform-independent GUI framework developed
by ISE for ISE Eiffel. The EiffelVision library provides
classes for the standard widgets (buttons, fields, panels,
geometry management) as well as graphical functionality (lines,
polygons, circles etc.)
EiffelVision is currently available for Motif, Open Look and
A graphical application builder called EiffelBuild, which
generates Eiffel code utilising EiffelVision classes.
This product is apparently stronger on Motif than on Windows,
but the current efforts for the next version will redress that.
Macintosh support is on the way, and a greater level of
abstraction in the GUI classes to increase platform
Carnegie Mellon University
email@example.com - to get on the mailing list
Garnet is a GUI development environment for X/windows and
Macintosh, under Common Lisp. Garnet is an acronym for
_G_enerating an _A_malgam of _R_eal-time, _N_ovel _E_ditors and
_T_oolkits, and was developed by the User Interface Software
Group of Carnegie Mellon University.
Garnet provides basic API emulation, a fairly complete set of
widgets (GUI objects), and some tools for WYSIWYG design. Two
look-and-feel's are provided for: Garnet's custom look, and the
Garnet works with MCL 2.0.1 on the Macintosh, and any Lisp for
Unix that implements CLX (X11), including: Allegro, Lucid, CMU,
Harlequin Lispworks, AKCL, CLISP, TI Explorer Lisps.
Garnet can not be supported by the UISG at Carnegie Mellon any
longer, because the people who know enough about Garnet to
support it have either left the UISG or have been moved on to
Garnet's `successor', Amulet. There is still a good number of
users out there who can help with problems and bug fixes
though, and they are accessable through the above email and
Garnet does not use CLOS, instead using a system called KR
(Knowledge Representation). I don't know if that means it is
incompatible with CLOS though; can anyone fill me in ?
Java Abstract Window Toolkit 1.0
2550 Garcia Ave.,
Mtn. View, CA 94043-1100 USA
Java is an Object Oriented language developed by Sun
Microsystems, out of a project targetting smart devices such as
TV set-top boxes. The Java language describes a Virtual Machine
(VM) to which Java source code is compiled, providing a
platform-neutral binary format for Java programs. All that is
needed to port programs written in Java (excluding GUI) is an
implementation of the Java VM for that platform. So far, SunOS,
Solaris, Win32 and MacOS for PowerMac have VM interpreters.
The Java AWT is a platform-independent class library including
classes for data primitives, containers, system objects,
communications, and GUI (among other things). When the Java VM
is ported to a platform, the Java AWT is ported with it.
Sun, Borland, Microsoft, Symantec, and a raft of others have
produced nice IDE's for Java, allowing developers to build Java
applets and Web pages `visually' in much the same style as
Visual Basic et al.
By now, most people know _something_ about what Java is, even
most software developers! Java is being [over]hyped as the
[latest] silver bullet for cross-platform, distributed, client
/ server, object oriented, Web-enabled and generally
buzzword-compliant systems for today's applications. In truth,
it looks like it actually can deliver this, and certainly is
worth consideration when developing platform independent
While the class library could be considered quite comprehensive
in a general sense, there is not much in the way of high level
GUI objects. For example, there is a text field object, but no
number or date fields. There are no high-level dialog objects
either. If you need these (and most business apps do) then you
must either find a third-party source or subclass your own from
the AWT classes. For a good list of third-party tools, check
Much of the push behind Java is getting application code
running in Web browser pages. Netscape, Internet Explorer,
HotJava, and the latest Mosaic all support embedded `applets'
in HTML pages. What is often overlooked about Java is that you
can also write stand-alone applications in it, which don't rely
on a Web browser.
Oberon Microsystems, Inc.
firstname.lastname@example.org - subscribe to mailing list
Oberon/F is a commercial implementation of Niklaus Wirth's
Oberon language, including an Integrated Development
Environment and a platform-independent framework. Oberon/F
currently supports MS-Windows 3.1, Win32, and Macintosh.
Oberon/F supports the typical GUI objects (windows, dialogs,
fields) and supports unlimited undo/redo, direct Win API / Mac
Toolbox calls, Windows DLLs or Macintosh code fragments,
hypertext help. A form/dialog editor is included, which
generates resource files (in Oberon/F format).
Source-code analyser and Profiler
Arbitrary Sized Integer Library
SQL subsystem (single-user ot client/server)
Email assistence is available in 10-packs for about $450, and a
training course is also available.
Oberon/F is available for download free for non-commercial use.
Screen Machine, V1.43
Objective Interface Systems, Inc.
1892 Preston White Drive
Reston, Virginia 22091-5448
(800) 800-OIS7 (inquiries)
(703) 295-6500 (voice)
(703) 295-6501 (fax)
This is an Ada PIGUI which includes a WYSIWYG GUI builder.
The product fully supports Ada's built in multi-threading
capabilities (protects against non-re-entrant code in the
native windowing systems). This allows SQL applications and
such to continue processing input from the user while waiting
on one or more database transactions.
Screen Machine (I have to give them two points for the name
alone) includes an Ada code generator that generates layered
Ada GUI code that follows the presentation/dialog/application
Free (with updates) for one year. After that, call for pricing.
OIS is currently developing an Ada95 (fully O-O) parallel
implementation of the CORBA-based Fresco/C++ (the new Xt
replacement technology in X11R6). This technology is part of
OIS's Acumentor product development suite and is known as
Acumentor/GUI will offer the same:
+ object embedding (via CORBA)
+ multi-threading support
+ resolution independence
+ multiple look-and-feel emulation, and
+ structured graphics
in the C++ version of Fresco. The CORBA interface will allow Ada
applications to transparently interoperate with C++
applications. OIS is extending the product to include a full
MVC paradigm and fully automatic memory reclaimation. Windows
95/NT versions are in progress in addition to the VMS and Unix
X Windows versions.
Sun Microsystems Laboratories
http://www.neosoft.com/tcl/ - archives
ftp://ftp.neosoft.com/pub/tcl - archives
Tk is a graphical user interface toolkit for adding X/Windows
GUI objects to Tcl, a scripting language. Tcl and Tk were
developed by Dr. John Ousterhout at the University of
California, Berkeley. He now works at Sun Microsystems who have
employed him to do some further development of Tcl / Tk.
There are versions of Tcl/Tk for X-Windows (many platforms),
MS-Windows 3.1 (Win32s), Win32, Macintosh; and ports underway
for OS/2 and MS-DOS.
A GUI builder tool called SpecTcl is available from Sun, for
Tcl/Tk presents the X/Windows look-and-feel, regardless of what
platform it is run on. There is some effort underway to get
native look-and-feel on Windows and Macintosh, but it's a
little way off yet.
Because Tcl has been designed as an embeddable language, you
can use Tcl/Tk from C, C++ and Java quite easily. The Tk
functions can be called from these languages directly, and
extensions to Tk can be supported by creating a callback which
has some embedded Tcl.
There is a shell for calling Tk from Ada, called TASH (Tcl Ada
SHell). For details, see http://www.ocsystems.com/xada/tash.
The Tk toolkit has also been modified to work with Perl and
other languages. For details, check out
1-800-759-7272 or 408-481-9090
VisualWorks is a Smalltalk application development environment
and class library for client-server GUI products. The
VisualWorks software includes a set of interactive development
tools to help you, well, develop your GUI software
interactively. In addition, one can use the Chameleon View
product to preview the look of an application as if it were
running under different windowing managers on the various
In addition to all of this, VisualWorks includes an external
database interface, currently for Oracle and Sybase.
Advanced Tools - performance benchmarks, complex numbers,
extended browser, metanumbers, parser compiler, space use
profiler, class analysis and reports (e.g., variables used but
+ Business Graphics - pie, bar, line, etc., charts
+ DLL & C Connect - parse C header files, call out to DLLs and
+ Oracle Connect 2.0
+ Sybase Connect 2.0
_WHAT THE USERS SAY:_
Some users simply prefer programming in Smalltalk over C++
anyway, others say that language differences aside, VisualWorks
is a better toolset than any C++ kit they've seen.
Apparently (I haven't seen the article, personally) the June
14,1993 issue of Computerworld ranks ParcPlace pretty highly.
Many thanks to the previous maintainer and original author of this
FAQ, Wade Guthrie. Wade has done a marvellous job since the inception
of the Platform Independent GUI FAQ, aka Portable GUI FAQ, and I
personally owe him a debt of gratitude for the assistance he has given
me in getting this FAQ out the door. I also have benefited from his
FAQ over time, in making the tough decision about which PIGUI kit to
Wade can still be contacted at email@example.com, where he is
probably just settling back into a nice cold beer right now and
enjoying return to a FAQ-reduced life. Please leave Wade in peace, and
address all correspondence related to this FAQ to me,
Thanks to the many netters that have helped give information and
general impressions of the software packages listed here. Also thanks
to the vendors for keeping this FAQ accurate and up-to-date.
In specific, I'd like to thank Eric Raymond (firstname.lastname@example.org),
'cause [Wade] stole his UNIX FAQ format for use here. Thanks, Eric.
Some articles which have contributed to the pool of knowledge about
Platform Independent GUI programming:
* Steve Apiki, "Paths to Platform Independence", Byte, January 1994,
* Richard Chimera, email@example.com, "Evaluation of Platform
Independent Interface Builders", Human-Computer Interaction
Laboratory, University of Maryland, dated March 1993.
* Carl Dichter, "One For All. . .", UNIX Review, October 1993, pp.
* Thomas Murphy, "Looking at the world through cheap sunglasses",
Computer Language, February 1993, pp. 63-85
* UNIX Review Staff, "Outstanding Products of 1993", UNIX Review,
December 1993, pp. 47-54
* Scott Mace, "Windows-to-Mac bridge now open", InfoWorld, Nov. 7,
$RCSfile: pigui4.txt,v $; $Revision: 3.1 $; $Date: 1997/03/02