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Re: [svg-developers] Re: SVG Widgets vs Native Widgets

From: Dave Horlick <hubbleparameter@yahoo.com>
Date: Thu, 9 Oct 2003 07:47:42 -0700 (PDT)
Message-ID: <20031009144742.25220.qmail@web20710.mail.yahoo.com>
To: Jon Ferraiolo <jferraio@adobe.com>, svg-developers@yahoogroups.com
Cc: www-svg@w3.org

This is not a new argument. I am sympathetic to the
usability concerns raised regarding lightweight
widgets. But here's the cold hard reality: no open
standard build to abstract-out the details of a
proprietary one is ever going to work well.

Even if by some miracle the open standard can
accommodate the precise (often undocumented)
implementation details of the underlying, proprietary
one, there is no guarantee that its manufacturer won't
go change everything, inadvertently or otherwise.

In my experience, API's that seek to support native
widgets are generally only successful at the cost of
relegating certain platforms to the status of
second-class citizens. The least common denominator,
lightweight platforms like Trolltech Qt, Flash, XUL,
and Swing have lots of detractors, but also have the
virtue of actually working.

Dave

--- Jon Ferraiolo <jferraio@adobe.com> wrote:
> Gavin,
> This is a very good example of why you *sometimes*
> want UI controls such as 
> popup menus to use native platforms facilities.
> (Kurt sent an email 
> explaining why other times you don't want native
> widgets.) In some cases, 
> as you point out, not only do you need the native
> look, but you all need 
> the native behavior. It would take a lot of
> JavaScript to simulate all 
> possible look&feel combinations.
> 
> Unfortunately, in some environments, native UI
> controls are only feasible 
> when your web page is both highly constrained (e.g.,
> all widgets must be 
> upright and on top) and with flexible layout
> (because you don't know at 
> author time the dimensions of native widgets). SVG
> goes against both the 
> upright constraint (e.g., with SVG, you can rotate
> anything, including 
> widgets) and the flexible layout requirement (with
> SVG, most things are 
> absolutely positioned and sized).
> 
> The SVG Working Group recognizes both the high
> desirability and the 
> technical difficulty of allowing native widgets
> within SVG. For now, the 
> Working Group is postponing work on the native
> widget issue because we have 
> plenty on our plate already, and it seems like we
> will have to figure out 
> how to add dynamic layout to SVG in order to make
> native widgets work. 
> Maybe the answer requires something like a combined
> HTML+SVG facility where 
> the HTML sometimes plays in an upright window, and
> only in the upright HTML 
> window would you have native widgets.
> 
> Jon Ferraiolo
> Adobe Systems, Inc.
> Member SVG Working Group
> 
> At 04:49 PM 10/7/2003 -0600, Gavin Kistner wrote:
> >One additional argument for why system-level
> controls are needed.
> >
> >Consider a drop-down menu (<select>) of US state
> abbreviations, like:
> >       AK
> >       AL
> >       AR
> >       AS
> >       AZ
> >       ...
> >
> >On Windows, focusing such a select and desiring to
> select "AS" through
> >the keyboard, the user keeps pressing "A" until AS
> appears.
> >"AAAA"=="AS". (And you don't even know how close
> you are...you just
> >have to keep watching each one change until you see
> the right one.)
> >Ludicrous, but that's how it works.
> >
> >On MacOS, you type "AS". Boom, done. Logical.
> >
> >If I wrote my own <select> widget and put in this
> keyboard feature,
> >what would I do? I'd choose the MacOS way. And then
> the Windows users
> >would keep pressing "A" and only getting AK, and
> wondering why it
> >doesn't work. If I choose the Windows way (the
> majority must be right)
> >then all the MacOS users would type "AS" and get
> "SC", and be really
> >confused.
> >
> >I have no idea what various Linux front-ends or
> BeOS or AmigaOS do. Do
> >you?
> >
> >There are many little difference like this from OS
> to OS. I accept that
> >some people want to make funky cool interfaces with
> new exciting
> >functionality. I accept that for others the point
> of their SVG
> >interface is not usability, but exploration. Please
> accept that SVG
> >also needs an integral way to hook into OS-specific
> widgets, for those
> >SVG applications where usability is key.
> >
> >
> >Yahoo! Groups Sponsor
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Received on Thursday, 9 October 2003 11:40:11 GMT

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