[XForms] Discussion concerning development

Jens Thoms Toerring jt at toerring.de
Fri Mar 14 07:16:11 EDT 2008

To subscribers of the xforms list


   going through parts of the code of XForms some things
got me puzzled and I would like to ask about your opinion:

a) It seems to be assumed that the compiler used to comile
   XForms isn't even ANSI C89 compatible. This might have
   been a problem at the time the XForms project was star-
   ted, but nearly 19 years after this standard came out
   is this something we still have to care about? Is there
   anybody out there still using a pre-C89 compiler and
   where for example realloc() called with a NULL pointer
   as the first argument isn't the same as a call of
   malloc() (i.e. the libc isn't ANSI C89 compliant)?

b) In lots of places fixed upper limits exist, starting with
   the maximum number of forms (a limitation I already have
   removed), the number of popup menus and there entries,
   number of file selectors, line lengths in text browsers
   etc. etc. I don't know if these "arbitrary limits" were
   introduced because the original authors didn't feel too
   comfortable with dynamic memory allocation or if it was
   assumed that having fixed sized arrays would simply be
   faster (especially in the "old times" when memory allo-
   cation handling wasn't that optimized as it tends to be

   I am rather strongly opposed to arbitrary limits where-
   ever they can be avoided since todays reasonable limits
   can be a headache tomorrow ("Who will ever need more than
   600kB of memory?") and would try to change the code as far
   as possible to abvoid them. On the other hand I may not
   be seeing the complete picture and these limits may have
   some beneficial effects I am not aware of. Does anybody
   see some good reasons for keeping them?

   Another point I am not too happy about some of the default
looks of XForms. For example I find that the default border
width of 3 pixels looks plain ugly - ten years ago pronounced
3D effects may have been the the rage, but nowadays it looks
to me pretty old-fashioned. Would anybody mind if I would re-
duce the default border width from 3 to 2 (I personally would
prefer 1, but that might be a bit too extreme a change)? You
can have kind of a preview of the effects if you start your
application with the "-bw 2" option, which changes the default
from 3 to 2.

The same question also arises for the use of bold, italic fonts
in popups and menus. Again I find them rather ugly and would
propose to use normal, non-italic fonts as the default...

                            Best regards, Jens
  \   Jens Thoms Toerring  ________      jt at toerring.de
   \_______________________________      http://toerring.de
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