Re: XForms: Why xforms?

From: Steve Lamont (
Date: Fri Mar 09 2001 - 10:06:38 EST

  • Next message: Steve Lamont: "Re: XForms: Why xforms?"

    # To subscribers of the xforms list from Steve Lamont <> :

    > Well, this might sound a bit blasphemous but I have to ask anyway.
    > Why should one choose to use the xforms library as opposed to something like
    > say java.

    We are moving toward Java here in our lab -- especially Java3D for our
    visualization work.

    The downside of Java from my perspective is that the Java GUI
    development environments I've seen (including Forte' from Sun) stink.

    They generally force you into working entirely in their development
    environment, which means learning yet another editor (`emacs' does
    everything I want and if it doesn't I can hack some elisp code or do a
    on-the-fly keyboard macro, thankyouverymuch) with all the annoyance
    that generally entails.

    I'm certainly not against learning new things -- that's why I'm
    working for a university rather than some or driving a truck
    -- I just hate the idea of having a whole environment stuffed down my
    throat when I just want to design a GUI.

    You are semi-right about Java not being compiled. It is compiled but
    into something called byte code (harkening back to the days of UCSD
    Pascal -- ugh!) which is then interpreted on by the JVM (Java Virtual
    Machine). You can write native code classes but do that and there
    goes the portability, which is putatively Java's big advantage --
    write once, run anywhere.

    Another problem with Java that I've encountered is that not all
    vendors support Java as well as others. For example, the Macintosh
    doesn't support Java3D, which is a major factor in our work. Of
    course, the Mac doesn't support XForms, either (or at least not until
    OS X???? -- I'll have to ask my Mac guy what his insights are about
    that), so that's a push.

    But we're basically talking about interfaces here, not graphics

    If there was an XForms-like GUI builder which allowed you to generate
    interfaces but didn't otherwise get in your way, I'd be on it right

    I like the fact that I can whomp up a quick and not entirely dirty
    application in XForms with `fdesign', which (at least at my current
    point in the Java learning curve) I can't in Java.

    Java Swing does make pretty interfaces once you get the hang of it.
    But getting the hang of it is a great big pain and you have to tweak
    everything by hand, which makes for large quantities of code.

    As I say, we're moving to Java here, but for other reasons than GUI

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