[plt-scheme] Re: An Editors Tale

From: John Clements (clements at brinckerhoff.org)
Date: Thu Jan 29 09:37:04 EST 2004

On Jan 29, 2004, at 7:20 AM, Guenther Schmidt wrote:
> I previously posted an excert from Miguel de Icazas Lessons from the 
> PLC (http://primates.ximian.com/~miguel//texts/pdc.html):
> "And the reason is simple, XML might be a nice replacement for a few 
> lines of code, but doing GUI layout in code is always a boring, 
> error-prone, and most of the time the results are of low quality."

It appears to me that GUI-based GUI design (e.g., "click on the 
template window to place a button") what you're getting at here, and 
that this (based also on your earlier mail) was perhaps the "straw that 
broke the camel's back" as far as developing GUI applications with 
DrScheme was concerned.

The ironic thing to me is that the comment you quote above makes far 
more sense to me with the roles _reversed_.  Here's my claim:  "Doing 
GUI layout in a GUI is boring and error-prone, and most of the time the 
results are of low quality."

The basic problem I see with GUI-based GUI layout is that you can 
describe only one particular configuration of the GUI.  The first 
question is what happens if the user resizes the window.  Then you get 
into more troublesome areas like adding and removing buttons 
dynamically, etc.

As I see it, the advantage of a code-based GUI layout is that you can 
describe things structurally, rather than simply in terms of placement. 
  For instance, I can designate a list of "toolbar buttons," and 
describe how they fit into the window.  Adding and removing buttons 
from that list would then automatically reconfigure the window.

On the other hand, I can certainly see how a GUI-based tool gets you 
"up and running" more quickly.  Furthermore, it is indisputable that 
graphic design and layout has a "global" aspect, and a graphic designer 
may simply say "oh, with that configuration of buttons, there's too 
much weight on the left side of the window... can you balance it out 
somehow?"  I'm guessing it's the former that's bothering you, and not 
the latter.

Your comments are valuable to us in any case; thanks for discussing 

john clements

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