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OCaml's long range graphical direction?
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Date: -- (:)
From: Xavier Leroy <Xavier.Leroy@i...>
Subject: Re: OCaml's long range graphical direction?
> Xavier,
> Please speculate on the future development direction of graphical support
> in OCaml.
> Do you anticipate both Tk and GTk being supported?
> Do you anticipate GTk support being ultimately more desirable and supported
> than Tk?  If so, what are some of the reasons?

I'm definitely the wrong person to ask, since I have never written a
full GUI for a program in all my life :-)  Other members of the OCaml
development team are much more qualified to answer your questions.

Still, let me play pointy-haired boss and comment on things I don't
fully understand.

I expect the Caml-TK interface to be supported (and included in the
standard OCaml distribution) for quite a while, but not actively
developed.  TK itself is quite stable and is available for many
platforms: Unix, Windows, and MacOS.  TK does well what it's been
designed to do: write quickly simple GUIs.  It starts to break apart
for really complex GUIs, as the development of the MMM Web browser
demonstrated.

I've heard lots of good things about GTK, and it looks more powerful
than TK, so it might be the wave of the future.  However, it is my
impression that the Windows port of GTK is lagging behind.  Also, the
Caml-GTK interface is still actively developed and hence might be less
stable than the Caml-TK interface.

> To what degree does threading affect the answer?

No idea.  I've heard plenty of claims that multithreading helps
building good GUIs (see e.g. BeOS), yet most popular GUIs (including
TK and I think GTK too) seem to manage fine without multithreading.  

If multithreading is a requirement, OCaml could probably cope with it
using the "systems" thread library.

Let us hear what other members of this list think about this.

- Xavier Leroy