[GUI] I love GIO.

Axel Simon A.Simon@ukc.ac.uk
Mon, 3 Feb 2003 10:19:25 +0000

Good morning,

I had a look at GIO and my first impression is that it's interface is nice 
for application writers as well as for GUI toolkit implementors. What 
appeals to me (having a low-level GUI binding, gtk2hs) is that binding to 
such an API is actually worthwhile (i.e. it's more than just renaming 

Some questions, comments and critics about GIO:

1. Using IO (). 
All functions use the IO () monad unlike the proposed port of Object IO 
which introduces GUI (). I think this decision is the Right Thing (tm). 
(If other libraries insist of having their own Monad then it can become 
impossible to mix these two libraries.)

 2. The := operator.
 The =: function should say "assign to this property".  Is seems to be the
wrong way round. Is it possible to use the constructor := , or is this
conceptionally difficult?

3. The global mechanism to change widgets. 
 The set and get functions define a single mechanism to modify UI
components. This seems very neat to me. This is implemented via Haskell
classes. The distribution between functions and classes seem to be a
little ad-hoc, though. The two extremes are probably: a) Define a class
for every function and make each widget which supports this function an
instance of this class. Or b) define a class for every widget and make
every function this widget has a member of this class. Why do you use this 
mixed approach (e.g. class Able, Select, SingleSelect,...)?

4. Educational vs Professional.
 When browsing the drawing primitives, I noticed that you abandon the
explicit use of Pens (i.e. graphics contexts, GCs). GCs are used for
performance reasons as passing color, thickness etc. each time is said to
be inefficient. This is probably just one example begging the general
question: Are we aiming for an API which is easy to use or which enables
professional applications? It's the latter, right?

So far, there is probably more to debate, but I have to get some work done