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Home » Eclipse Projects » DSDP - Real-Time Software Components (RTSC) » GUI designer tool for XGCONF?
GUI designer tool for XGCONF? [message #1236721] Mon, 27 January 2014 18:27 Go to next message
James Lockwood is currently offline James Lockwood
Messages: 27
Registered: July 2009
Junior Member
I have stumbled across MSP430 Grace .cfg files. It appears to be using XDCTool's XGCONF under the hood. What I find interesting is the mixing of the use of graphics and text editing controls inside these graphics on their forms. I'd like to do that sort of thing. I've looked at some of their .xml files, and I see a bunch of lines similar to this:

<control type="editbox" value="value:this.maxSignalBandwidth" align="right" left="1191" top="3094" width="2223" height="508"/>

Surely, the values for positioning and size were not entered by hand, but some sort of GUI designer generated them. However, I have no clue as to what tool was used to generate it. I haven't even been able to identify the specific dialect of XML that XDCTool's XGCONF is using for the form GUI.

Can someone tell me what is being used "under the hood" to interpret the .xml file, so I can look for an appropriate GUI editor that generates this .xml file? I would like to have an easier time developing my forms for configuring the modules I am writing.
Re: GUI designer tool for XGCONF? [message #1237509 is a reply to message #1236721] Wed, 29 January 2014 17:18 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Dave Russo is currently offline Dave Russo
Messages: 172
Registered: July 2009
Senior Member
On 1/27/2014 3:27 PM, James Lockwood wrote:
> I have stumbled across MSP430 Grace .cfg files. It appears to be using
> XDCTool's XGCONF under the hood. What I find interesting is the mixing
> of the use of graphics and text editing controls inside these graphics
> on their forms. I'd like to do that sort of thing. I've looked at some
> of their .xml files, and I see a bunch of lines similar to this:
>
> <control type="editbox" value="value:this.maxSignalBandwidth"
> align="right" left="1191" top="3094" width="2223" height="508"/>
>
> Surely, the values for positioning and size were not entered by hand,
> but some sort of GUI designer generated them. However, I have no clue
> as to what tool was used to generate it.I haven't even been able to
> identify the specific dialect of XML that XDCTool's XGCONF is using for
> the form GUI.
>
> Can someone tell me what is being used "under the hood" to interpret the
> .xml file, so I can look for an appropriate GUI editor that generates
> this .xml file?
Grace 2.x leverages "browser" capabilities that are built into the XGCONF tool. The XGCONF "browser" was initially created with a limited set of widgets and capabilities with required to support basic embedded software modules (such as those found in, say, SYS/BIOS). When Grace was introduced, these "browser" requirements were stretched to include much greater control of the layout and presentation. In the end we had created a proprietary "mini browser" that was difficult to document/support and could never keep up with the growing HTML5 capabilities _and_ development tools that users have been asking for.

As a result, we are in the process of replacing the XGCONF browser with a _real_ browser; one that can support HTML5 and allows use of a variety of tools to create pages that can interact with the configuration parameters defined by modules. At the same time, due to the "richness" of HTML5, we expect to continue to support simple "table-layout" pages that are used by SYS/BIOS today.

> I would like to have an easier time developing my forms
> for configuring the modules I am writing.

As you point out, it's quite difficult to layout a page of controls without some sort of "designer" tool. The Grace 2.x developers have been using Visio to do layout and then running an in-house tool that reads the Visio .xml output (which contains the positioning data and SVG images) to generate the simplified .xml that can be read by XGCONF. Definitely not a great or scalable solution.



Re: GUI designer tool for XGCONF? [message #1238573 is a reply to message #1237509] Sat, 01 February 2014 14:50 Go to previous messageGo to next message
James Lockwood is currently offline James Lockwood
Messages: 27
Registered: July 2009
Junior Member
>>The Grace 2.x developers have been using Visio to do layout and then running an in-house tool that reads the Visio .xml output (which contains the positioning data and SVG images) to generate the simplified .xml that can be read by XGCONF.

I was thinking about heading down a similar path to convert the .xml. It is valuable to me to know you used Visio to start with. Thanks.

>>As a result, we are in the process of replacing the XGCONF browser with a _real_ browser

Awesome to hear. Is there an estimated timeline? The timeline will determine if I will spend any efforts making a conversion tool that is guaranteed to become obsolete. If it is within the next year, I can definitely settle with simple user interfaces until then.
Re: GUI designer tool for XGCONF? [message #1238649 is a reply to message #1238573] Sat, 01 February 2014 19:56 Go to previous message
Dave Russo is currently offline Dave Russo
Messages: 172
Registered: July 2009
Senior Member
On 2/1/2014 11:50 AM, James Lockwood wrote:
>>> As a result, we are in the process of replacing the XGCONF browser
>>> with a _real_ browser
>
> Awesome to hear. Is there an estimated timeline?
We hope to have a first release sometime Q2 this year.

> The timeline will
> determine if I will spend any efforts making a conversion tool that is
> guaranteed to become obsolete. If it is within the next year, I can
> definitely settle with simple user interfaces until then.
It's probably best to wait on creating a conversion tool.

That said, HTML5 is not simple. I sometimes wonder if, for those that are not familiar with creating HTML applications, it might still be useful to have a limited functionality conversion tool.
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