Cross-platform GUI development makes little sense


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Thread: Cross-platform GUI development makes little sense

  1. #1
    Claudio Friederich Guest

    Cross-platform GUI development makes little sense


    Using a cross-platform development system for GUI applications simply does
    not make sense. For cross-platform to work, the development system (language
    AND apis) must be platform neutral (otherwise, it is write once, modify and
    tweak everywhere). However, desktop applications are platform-specific by
    definition, no matter what. Ultimately, if we talk about GUIs, we must talk
    about dialogue boxes, cancel buttons, title bars, and OS shell functionality.
    These elements all differ between the platforms. User interfaces functionality
    on MacOS and Windows is very similar, but not identical. So a platform-neutral
    development system will only be able to target the functionality common to
    all platforms, and platform-specific UI features will be unuseable. This
    inflexibility is unacceptable. It will be a system which will work adequately,
    but not well, almost everywhere. I would rather have a system that does
    one platform well, rather than five platforms badly. Also, who needs cross-platform
    GUIs? You have a heterogeneous distributed enterprise system, fine. But
    what company uses multiple platforms for its desktop workstations? It would
    be ludicrous to do so, because of the added expense in tech support and administration
    to handle two platforms. Let's face it: the performance of Java has always
    been abhorant. On web pages, on the fastest available PCs, I sat waiting
    several seconds for a silly little applet containing only cosmetic navigation
    functions to start. The slowest, largest, VB3 apps were faster!

  2. #2
    Eddie Burdak Guest

    Re: Cross-platform GUI development makes little sense

    Claudio,

    Claudio Friederich wrote:
    > Using a cross-platform development system for GUI applications

    simply
    > does not make sense.


    Well I must admit I havent personally used

    http://www.gino-graphics.com/products/menu.htm

    but I know a few bods that do and would say it makes a lot of sense to
    them.

    > For cross-platform to work, the development
    > system (language AND apis) must be platform neutral (otherwise, it

    is
    > write once, modify and tweak everywhere). However, desktop
    > applications are platform-specific by definition, no matter what.


    Well if you're careful it should be simply a re-compile on the
    target - invariably someone sneeks in some code that is platform
    specific and you weren't aware that it was.

    > Ultimately, if we talk about GUIs, we must talk about dialogue

    boxes,
    > cancel buttons, title bars, and OS shell functionality. These
    > elements all differ between the platforms. User interfaces
    > functionality on MacOS and Windows is very similar, but not
    > identical.


    The box's dont have to look the same do they? They have to behave the
    same.

    > So a platform-neutral development system will only be
    > able to target the functionality common to all platforms, and
    > platform-specific UI features will be unuseable. This inflexibility
    > is unacceptable. It will be a system which will work adequately,

    but
    > not well, almost everywhere. I would rather have a system that does
    > one platform well, rather than five platforms badly. Also, who

    needs
    > cross-platform GUIs?


    People who are porting and want a GUI?

    > You have a heterogeneous distributed enterprise
    > system, fine. But what company uses multiple platforms for its
    > desktop workstations?


    We do. You can't expect a bog standard PC to crunch some serious
    numbers for FEM CFD do you?


    > It would be ludicrous to do so, because of the
    > added expense in tech support and administration to handle two
    > platforms.


    Well the box's are inplace and so far everything is ickety boo. But I
    do have to agree I expect there to be problems later downstream.

    >Let's face it: the performance of Java has always been
    > abhorant. On web pages, on the fastest available PCs, I sat waiting
    > several seconds for a silly little applet containing only cosmetic
    > navigation functions to start. The slowest, largest, VB3 apps were
    > faster!


    Oh its a JAVA thing you're on about?

    Eddie


  3. #3
    Mike Mitchell Guest

    Re: Cross-platform GUI development makes little sense

    On 11 Sep 2002 19:01:58 -0700, "Claudio Friederich"
    <friederir001@hawaii.rr.com> wrote:

    > The slowest, largest, VB3 apps were faster!


    I only left that bit in because I dislike quoting acres of earlier
    response. I do agree with much of what you wrote, though. However,
    when it comes to cross-platform and a lowest common denominator of
    functionality, surely a button is a button is a button? You click it -
    all GUIs do at least *that* - and something happens. In a similar way,
    input boxes obviously are for inputting stuff into, and lists of
    various kinds (including combos) are for selecting one or many from a
    lot. Most corporations, most public bodies, many individuals, don't
    give a stuff about look-and-feel. When it comes to planning, say, JIT
    parts provision for a production line, they don't care about the nice
    little variations between GUIs, or whether this or than skin has been
    implemented (after hours of "experimentation", of course!). All they
    care about is that when production unit A reaches point B on the
    conveyor belt, part C is available for operative D to screw it in
    place.

    Most differences in all GUIs are there for marketing purposes only.
    They don't further computer science. They often don't even improve
    ergonomics (but merely provide confusion). They are differentiated and
    made to look "pretty" or "cool" by marketing so that GUI vendor A
    sells more product than GUI vendor B. That's all. What these vendors
    don't appreciate is, most workers like playing games of some kind, but
    proper games, in their own time, whether computer games or ball games.
    But when at work earning a crust, which many only do under sufferance,
    game-playing is furthest from their minds. Increasingly, though, their
    work environment (the desktop) is made to look more and more like the
    control centre on Starship Enterprise, and most workers just don't
    give a ****. The kinds of things they're interested in is doing a
    reasonable job, office gossip, getting off with the secretary, what
    time's lunch and whether they can get away with only an hour's unpaid
    overtime today.

    MM

  4. #4
    Rob Abbe Guest

    Re: Cross-platform GUI development makes little sense


    Afraid of Java are you? Here is something for you to swollow. I can run
    Netbeans, JEdit and a number of other SWING based Java apps on 3 different
    platforms and it looks great and is very consistant on all 3. The performance
    is also quite good.

    Java rules plain and simple. You should be afraid, as there are few .Net
    jobs out there right now.

    "Claudio Friederich" <friederir001@hawaii.rr.com> wrote:
    >
    >Using a cross-platform development system for GUI applications simply does
    >not make sense. For cross-platform to work, the development system (language
    >AND apis) must be platform neutral (otherwise, it is write once, modify

    and
    >tweak everywhere). However, desktop applications are platform-specific

    by
    >definition, no matter what. Ultimately, if we talk about GUIs, we must

    talk
    >about dialogue boxes, cancel buttons, title bars, and OS shell functionality.
    > These elements all differ between the platforms. User interfaces functionality
    >on MacOS and Windows is very similar, but not identical. So a platform-neutral
    >development system will only be able to target the functionality common

    to
    >all platforms, and platform-specific UI features will be unuseable. This
    >inflexibility is unacceptable. It will be a system which will work adequately,
    >but not well, almost everywhere. I would rather have a system that does
    >one platform well, rather than five platforms badly. Also, who needs cross-platform
    >GUIs? You have a heterogeneous distributed enterprise system, fine. But
    >what company uses multiple platforms for its desktop workstations? It would
    >be ludicrous to do so, because of the added expense in tech support and

    administration
    >to handle two platforms. Let's face it: the performance of Java has always
    >been abhorant. On web pages, on the fastest available PCs, I sat waiting
    >several seconds for a silly little applet containing only cosmetic navigation
    >functions to start. The slowest, largest, VB3 apps were faster!



  5. #5
    MarkN Guest

    Re: Cross-platform GUI development makes little sense


  6. #6
    Brad O'Hearne Guest

    Re: Cross-platform GUI development makes little sense


    Hi Claudio, BradO (the author) here. Just wanted to post a response to you.

    "Claudio Friederich" <friederir001@hawaii.rr.com> wrote:
    >
    >Using a cross-platform development system for GUI applications simply does
    >not make sense.


    Actually, I would state the converse. Having to develop the same GUI functionality
    multiple times for each OS you want to support does not make sense, with
    the technology tools and expertise in the industry. Think about it: 3 dev
    teams, 3 dev efforts, 3 times the cost, 3 times the support, maintenance
    and upgrade requirements, different OS specific issues, etc.

    My general response to your post is that much in the way that XML has gained
    wide usage because of its system-independent means of exchanging data, a
    GUI should provide a system-independent way of exchanging input/output with
    a user. The fact that OS semantics currently differ,
    should be motivation for convergence, not further divergence. If there were
    some justifiable reason for different controls between operating systems,
    then perhaps you have a point -- but in your own words, the controls in question
    are common between OS's. So it is difficult for me to justify completely
    independent development efforts to address each OS, when there is a better
    way.

    BradO

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