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icon3.gif  RCP Application on AIX/Motif [message #549555] Tue, 27 July 2010 08:08 Go to next message
Michael Theurich is currently offline Michael Theurich
Messages: 3
Registered: July 2010
Junior Member
Hello,

(intro:) I am new to RCP, done extensive Swing before. My boss wants the next project implemented on RCP, for technology adoption reasons. Our one and only target is the (in-house) monitor&control system running on AIX 6.1. I have studied the RCP book by McAffer and have successfully created the GUI mockup of my app (with helios, using static data, which would otherwise come from a database), managed the packaging. But I am quite disappointed by the results when it comes to AIX, which I think is due to Motif. Everything looks nice on Windows, also good on Linux/GTK+, but Motif looks sad. There are also problems with emulated fonts (try a small bold Arial, it looks disgusting). In addition, the IBM Java runtime (both 5 and 6) does not like some of the code generated by the Sun JDK-6 (e.g. @override on interface methods), the AIX launcher by default uses commandline switches not accepted by the JRE, and so on.

For me, there are many reasons for not using RCP (*very* simple UI needed, just two tables filled by a DB query plus some form fields, *no* editing except entry of a few figures, no user customisation wanted, no menu, no view rearrangement wanted), but I really wanted to jump on the RCP wagon to learn this fascinating technology. I even converted to a little AJAX web frontend using RAP. But after experimenting a few days, I am short of getting into a fight with my boss over ditching RCP and implementing it in plain Swing.

So, after a long intro, here is my question: Are there successful (or good-looking) examples of stand-alone RCP applications, or can one say that AIX/Motif is not a first-class target of RCP. I know that eclipse-IDE runs on AIX (I am using it myself), but I am specifically looking for stand-alone apps. What else can I do to make the user experience on Motif more acceptable? I know that there are plans for 3.7 to run on AIX/GTK+, but this is only plans, and GTK+ is currently not available on our target systems.

Any advice is highly appreciated, since I am stuck between a rock and a hard place Confused

Thanks a lot,
Michael

p.s. Unfortunately I cannot attach a screenshot of what I am doing, but if you are interested, here is a link to it via anonymous FTP: ftp://ftp.eumetsat.int/pub/EPS/out/Theurich/aix-motif.jpg (also has the windows/gtk+, and swing versions)
Re: RCP Application on AIX/Motif [message #549674 is a reply to message #549555] Tue, 27 July 2010 13:59 Go to previous message
Grant Gayed is currently offline Grant Gayed
Messages: 2151
Registered: July 2009
Senior Member
Hi Michael,

You're not the first to consider Motif to be ugly, there has been a movement
for years towards using GTK instead. As you noted there is an eclipse 3.7
plan item under consideration for a GTK-based release for AIX, and I think
there's a strong possibility that it will make it onto the final plan and
will be implemented. However this does not help you now.

Since swt's mandate is to expose the native windowing system, which in this
case is Motif, there are only limited opportunities to deviate from it,
unless you want to implement your own custom widgets. There are a few
things you can consider. For one, swt provides some custom controls that
are emulated on all platforms, so you can get away from Motif if you use
(for instance) CTabFolder instead of TabFolder, CCombo instead of Combo, or
StyledText instead of Text. Secondly, Table and Tree provide callbacks that
facilitate custom drawing of items. Thirdly, the Nebula project provides a
library of emulated controls, which again, will not look like Motif.

If these do not help you enough and you want to use Swing instead then you
should be able to embed Swing widgets in an RCP app via SWT/AWT integration.

I don't know why you'd be seeing differences between the Sun and IBM JREs, I
haven't heard of this before. Is it possible that you were actually using
the IBM 1.5 JRE the whole time, and this was the guy that was choking on the
JRE 1.6 annotations?

Links:
- creating custom widgets:
http://www.eclipse.org/articles/Article-Writing%20Your%20Own %20Widget/Writing%20Your%20Own%20Widget.htm
- custom drawing Table/Tree items:
http://www.eclipse.org/articles/article.php?file=Article-Cus tomDrawingTableAndTreeItems/index.html
- Nebula project: http://eclipse.org/nebula/
- SWT/AWT integration examples: http://www.eclipse.org/swt/snippets#awt
- SWT/AWT note on AIX: http://www.eclipse.org/swt/faq.php#swtawtsolaris

HTH,
Grant


"Michael Theurich" <michael.theurich@eumetsat.int> wrote in message
news:i2m466$a5d$1@build.eclipse.org...
> Hello,
>
> (intro:) I am new to RCP, done extensive Swing before. My boss wants the
> next project implemented on RCP, for technology adoption reasons. Our one
> and only target is the (in-house) monitor&control system running on AIX
> 6.1. I have studied the RCP book by McAffer and have successfully created
> the GUI mockup of my app (with helios, using static data, which would
> otherwise come from a database), managed the packaging. But I am quite
> disappointed by the results when it comes to AIX, which I think is due to
> Motif. Everything looks nice on Windows, also good on Linux/GTK+, but
> Motif looks sad. There are also problems with emulated fonts (try a small
> bold Arial, it looks disgusting). In addition, the IBM Java runtime (both
> 5 and 6) does not like some of the code generated by the Sun JDK-6 (e.g.
> @override on interface methods), the AIX launcher by default uses
> commandline switches not accepted by the JRE, and so on.
>
> For me, there are many reasons for not using RCP (*very* simple UI needed,
> just two tables filled by a DB query plus some form fields, *no* editing
> except entry of a few figures, no user customisation wanted, no menu, no
> view rearrangement wanted), but I really wanted to jump on the RCP wagon
> to learn this fascinating technology. I even converted to a little AJAX
> web frontend using RAP. But after experimenting a few days, I am short of
> getting into a fight with my boss over ditching RCP and implementing it in
> plain Swing.
>
> So, after a long intro, here is my question: Are there successful (or
> good-looking) examples of stand-alone RCP applications, or can one say
> that AIX/Motif is not a first-class target of RCP. I know that eclipse-IDE
> runs on AIX (I am using it myself), but I am specifically looking for
> stand-alone apps. What else can I do to make the user experience on Motif
> more acceptable? I know that there are plans for 3.7 to run on AIX/GTK+,
> but this is only plans, and GTK+ is currently not available on our target
> systems.
>
> Any advice is highly appreciated, since I am stuck between a rock and a
> hard place :?
> Thanks a lot,
> Michael
>
> p.s. Unfortunately I cannot attach a screenshot of what I am doing, but if
> you are interested, here is a link to it via anonymous FTP:
> ftp://ftp.eumetsat.int/pub/EPS/out/Theurich/aix-motif.jpg (also has the
> windows/gtk+, and swing versions)
>
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