[Pipet Devel] Gnome stuff

J.W. Bizzaro bizzaro at geoserve.net
Sat Dec 18 20:01:40 EST 1999

Brad Chapman wrote:
> 1. Bonobo: What are everyone's thoughts on the reliance of Loci on Bonobo?
> It sounds like, if I read the description correctly, Bonobo implements a
> wrapper around CORBA which allows linking of multiple objects or, to quote
> from the interview: 'Think "multi-directional pipes".' Is the plan for
> implementing Loci to make it a wrapper around Bonobo so that we have:
> (((Loci ((Bonobo (CORBA/ORBit) Bonobo)) Loci)))
> or rather, a wrapper around a wrapper around ORBit? I guess this falls into
> ID. and IE. in the ToDo outline: CORBA and Bonobo integration (well, and
> also VIC. python bindings for bonobo!)

Well, if you consider the relationship between a program and its library to be
the same as a wrapper and its 'wrappee', then yes...sort of.  Bonobo is just
one of the libraries we're using, and we're using it to...

    (1) Include non-python GUIs in the Workspace
    (2) Include Loci's GUI in other apps, if there is a need to do so

> 2. GConf: This is described in the interview as "an API for storing
> configuration data...for now just XML text files." Is this something that
> can be utilized for storing the core scripting language described in II. of
> the ToDo?

Hmmmm.  I understood GConf to be akin to the Windows Registry.  I can't
imagine trying to put all of our XML into it, especially if the script XML
includes the GUI XML, etc.

> 3. The as-yet-unamed replacement for the GMC file manager:

GFM: Gnome File Manager, right?  That's what I had seen.

> According to the
> interview this new manager "..is designed to be able to plug in Bonobo
> components so that you can install viewers for different types of files or
> different file systems altogether." Is this something that we should
> investigate for representing the Loci file system (ie. IIIA.) or am I
> totally off in thinking it does a simiar thing to what we need for managing
> files?

GFM is, disappointingly, a clone of Windows Explorer running with the Active
Desktop.  So, the viewers in GFM are 'just' giving you a preview/thumbnail of
the file in one corner of GFM's window.

I never really thought that Loci's 'file system', or the way files and
directories are shown, would provide previews or thumbnails.  It's an
interesting idea that we can pursue later.  But for now, I'd like to see each
directory on the file system be represented as a 'container locus'.  If you
double-click on such a container, you get a windowlet just like any other
locus.  But a container's windowlet is a 'list' widget that lists the contents
of the directory:

        | cont |                 <----- icon
        | ainer|
    |    file       |
    |    file       |
    |    file       |            <------ windowlet
    |    container  |
    |    file       |

Since the contents are either files or directories, and these are
automatically simple loci, a container is (by definition) a locus that
contains other loci.  And some of these loci inside of said container are
directories, which are again containers, so we have the directory heirarchy
represented as loci inside of loci ad infinitum (or containers inside of

For now the 'list' widget just gives the names and icons of the files and
directories (loci) held by the container.  And you can drag-and-drop loci
to-and-from the container's list and Workspace!

We need to start off with a sufficiently high level container/directory, say
the system's root directory (?)

>         Is there more stuff in there that could be useful to us? How about
> other gnome stuff that I haven't mentioned here? I guess I am not
> completely clear on how much Loci will be integrated into the GNOME project
> so if anyone could "throw me a friggin' bone" on this, I would be quite
> appreciative!

I wouldn't say that Loci is being integrated into Gnome, although the thought
of having Loci serve as the desktop for Gnome has surfaced recently (I think
it's unlikely to happen).  Gnome rather serves as some development tools for
Loci.  And communication with other Gnome applications can be facilitated via
CORBA and Bonobo.

>         Along these lines, if we are going to be using a lot of gnome
> libraries/programs, do you think it would be worthwhile to keep a listing
> of "useful gnome stuff" or something along those lines, to make it easier
> to dig into the gnome api's? Also, maybe this way we could divide up the
> process of understanding different parts of gnome and thus making the
> learning curve for diving into it a little less steep... (at least for me!)

For now, I'm sure we're using...

    gnome-libs           (what gnome-python wraps)

These are 3 distinct packages/parts to Gnome.  There is no need to look beyond
these, so our use of Gnome is less confusing than you may be thinking.

                      |           J.W. Bizzaro           |
                      |                                  |
                      | http://bioinformatics.org/~jeff/ |
                      |                                  |
                      |           THE OPEN LAB           |
                      |    Open Source Bioinformatics    |
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                      |    http://bioinformatics.org/    |

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