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[Caml-list] Yet Another Compilation Question: lablgtk for windows + cygwin-mingw
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Date: 2002-08-06 (09:53)
From: Nicolas Cannasse <warplayer@f...>
Subject: Re: [Caml-list] Yet Another Compilation Question: lablgtk for windows + cygwin-mingw
> One last, general comment.  (Climbing on my soapbox.)  The GNU
> > compilers, OCaml, GTK. lablgtk, etc, are all software projects that
> > are developed primarily under Unix, and then ported to Windows.  While
> > each of these ports are done carefully and with considerable ingenuity,
> > Windows is not Unix and minor differences or inconsistencies remain in
> > each port.  These minor issues are usually workable when you use only
> > one port, but can become a real headache when you pile up port over
> > port over port.  What I am coming at is that unless you like to suffer
> > and are ready to solve these issues yourself, it doesn't make much
> > sense to develop an OCaml+lablgtk+GTK program under Windows.
> I've been planning to build an interactive application with OCaml that
> will be deployed primarily on Windows, so I'd like to understand your
> warning better.

As an windows ocaml user for some time now, I'll try to answer your

> 1. Is the risk just in developing (compiling, packaging) on Windows,
>    or also in deploying to Windows?

As Xavier answered, deploying under windows is easier than under Unix . You
can package binaries quite easily without even the need for the end-user to
install Ocaml ( DLL's since 3.04 simplified lots of things )

About developing, I'm currently compiling and running OCaml code from MSVC++
It's quite confortable this way, even if an OCaml IDE would be better.

> 2. What do you mean by "piling port after port"?  Do you mean
>    reworking the application to track changes as the various tools
>    (GNU+OCaml+labltk+GTK) evolve in successive releases?  Has this
>    been a big problem in applications such as Unison?  (Or any
>    other broadly deployed OCaml app?  I don't know of others.)
> 3. Is there some other GUI framework that you expect will entail less
>    suffering than lablgtk+GTK?

I've been developping Osiris, an OCaml class-based GUI system which is built
on top of the Win32 API OCaml Port (still partial, but complete enough to
work with). If you're willing to develop GUIs for windows-only, Osiris may
be a good choice. If you're willing to develop cross-platform applications,
I have been thinking for few month now to write a GTK port of Osiris... when
I'll have some free time :)

> 4. As the porting problem applies to the GNU compilers and OCaml
>    itself, are you warning us against developing OCaml applications
>    for use on Windows?

Don't worry, the ratio ( INRIA support ) / (number of window users) is quite
high :)

Nicolas Cannasse

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