Why is Konfabulator "Pretty?"

Ken Ray kray at sonsothunder.com
Wed Dec 7 13:41:35 EST 2005

On 12/7/05 2:36 AM, "Bill Marriott" <wjm at wjm.org> wrote:


I think your final sentences really summed up your thoughts on this:

> Modern look-and-feel is undeniably one
> of Revolution's weaknesses. Improving this is one component of several
> things Rev should do to be successful and attract the next generation of
> developers.

And to this statement, I agree 100%. However related to additionalControls,
as Jacque mentioned, and I'll reiterate here, I think the issues are that
Rev doesn't come *prepackaged* with the controls that you've identified, and
that would certainly make life easier for us as developers. However some of
the controls you identified aren't even in the basic development package fro
something like VB Express 2005, and are supported by 3rd-party add-ons, or
by adding code to handle what you need (like calendar popups, notification
tray support, etc.).

I totally agree that these are hallmarks of current apps, and with tools
like VB Express and a large 3rd party marketplace you have the ability to
get all these things in place for development. But Rev has a much smaller
user base, and there is currently no easy way to create custom controls
(like the ones you see in ActiveX) as "plugins" for Rev. Sure, you can
script them and put out libraries that support them (heck, I do that
myself!) but it's not quite the same, and our "controls" are still exposed
to manipulation and modification by the end user.

In Rev's defense, we also have the tools we need to create most of these
"controls" from scratch so that *to the user* it appears as though we're
using the proper controls. I mean I have table, toolbar, icon list,
treeview, etc. controls that I've hand built that look exactly like their
"real" counterparts. However not having these are easy "plug-and-play"
controls mean that these things are not in a lot of applications that have
been developed simply because of the time it takes to create them.

But to your point - making controls by hand means that they don't get
recognized by the OS so that theme changes, etc. don't take effect - which
looks bad to the user.

So in a sense I feel it's the fact that "real" controls aren't built-in, or
easily able to be created by third parties, that causes Rev to appear behind
the times.

> Look at the menus in Microsoft Office 2003. That is the current state of the
> art. Look how Visual Basic Express creates menus that look exactly like
> those.
Now as to menus, I personally wouldn't look at Office 2003, or *any* Office
application for an example of the "current state of the art" - the reason is
that MS changes its mind in the UI each time it creates a new version of
Office, and I've noticed that third party developers are not even trying to
match Office anymore, but are just happy with matching the basic UI support
in the OS (that is, WordPad, Explorer, etc.), or just matching whatever they
can in MS Office. And VB Express? Well, Microsoft created it, so you'd
better believe they're going to make the UI match. But you're right that
icons in menus have been around for a long time and we need that ability as
well, regardless of how MS does it's thing. Once again, this can be
hand-rolled, but it's subject to the same issues as mentioned for non-"real"

Now some of these other items, Jacque tackled, but I wanted to make you
aware that there *is* a third-party browser control for Rev - it's called
altBrowser and put out by Altuit. And I have a notification tray application
for Windows that can be used with Rev (or any app that can create a text
file) but not seamlessly.

And one thing to keep in mind that RunRev needs to deal with, and that is
that every time they add something to the package, it needs to be working
cross-platform (at least to the current versions of Windows, Mac OS X, and
some flavor of Linux), so each addition takes 3x the effort (give-or-take),
*unless* it's a platform-specific addition (like Spotlight support). So it
will by definition take them longer to implement.

Bottom line is that you're right that we need these things in the package,
and that we need better abilities to create add ons for Rev that the OS will
recognize as "real" controls. And so your final statement (which I quoted at
the beginning of this post), is completely right, IMHO.

Ken Ray
Sons of Thunder Software
Web site: http://www.sonsothunder.com/
Email: kray at sonsothunder.com

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