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Portable GUI Development Kits FAQ, part 4/4

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Archive-name: portable-GUI-software/part4
Posting-Frequency: monthly
Last-modified: 1997/03/02
Version: 3.1

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    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.

   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++:
          Screen Machine
          Common Lisp Interface Manager
          Java Abstract Window Toolkit
          Tcl/Tk 4
  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
          parters are:
          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.
          Voice: 1-805-685-1006
          Fax: 1-805-685-6869
          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
          Microsoft Windows.
          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
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          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
          Motif look.
          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
          Sun Microsystems
          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.
          Technoparkstr. 1
          CH-8005 Zurich
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          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).
          Direct-to-COM compiler
          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.
  Tcl/Tk 4
          Sun Microsystems Laboratories
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          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
          Unix platforms.
          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
          The Tk toolkit has also been modified to work with Perl and
          other languages. For details, check out

  VisualWorks v2.5
          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
          supported platforms.
          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
          not defined).
          + Business Graphics - pie, bar, line, etc., charts
          + DLL & C Connect - parse C header files, call out to DLLs and
            shared libraries
          + Oracle Connect 2.0
          + Sybase Connect 2.0
          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
   go for.
   Wade can still be contacted at, 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 (,
   '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,
       pp. 172-178
     * Richard Chimera,, "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,
       1994, p21
    Ross McKay
    $RCSfile: pigui4.txt,v $; $Revision: 3.1 $; $Date: 1997/03/02
    08:36:20 $

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