[Pipet Devel] Web interface

J.W. Bizzaro bizzaro at bc.edu
Thu Jan 21 14:53:27 EST 1999

Carlos Maltzahn wrote:
> I don't know GTK/Gnome very well but how portable is it? Is that an issue?

It was made for Linux/UNIX.  It has been ported to Windows, and it was
designed to be portable to most architectures.  But the best support right now
is on Linux/UNIX.  You may disagree, but I think Linux/UNIX is the best
platform for developing Loci, and I consider Windows and Mac ports to be
important but not our primary consideration.

I think many compromises are made using a truly portable GUI widget set, such
as Tkinter or Java.  And this is underscored by many of the complaints people
have about these being bloated and slow.  I want to make an excellent
Linux/UNIX package first and then consider the other platforms later.  We may
even switch widget sets for other platforms.  That's the nice thing about
Python...we can do it.  But we'll see.

> I personally don't mind using GTK/Gnome but a powerful web interface that
> runs everywhere (using Mozilla) sounds also very interesting.

Yes, I think so ;-)  I recognize the limitations of a static HTML browser, so
we can't have just that.  Besides, NCBI and others already use HTML and do it
pretty well.  An HTML interface will be important for non-Linux/UNIX users.  I
think it helps solve our portability problem for now.  Will HTML someday be
good enough for Loci?  Well, if and when Word and Excel are ported to HTML, we
will port Loci.  I want Loci to be that dynamic, which HTML just isn't right now.

> Also, don't underestimate the things you can do with JavaScript and newer
> versions of HTML. I found
> http://developer.netscape.com/viewsource/index_frame.html?content=archive/archivelist.html
> useful to get an impression.
> See also
> http://developer.netscape.com/viewsource/goodman_drag/goodman_drag.html
> for (at least to me) surprising applications.

These are examples of both JavaScript and DHTML (Dynamic HTML).  The first is
Netscape's proprietary scripting language, and the other is Microsoft's
proprietary extension of HTML.  I am aware of how well they both work, and yes
they can do some amazing things.  The HTML interface can make use of these,
but I would like some feedback on using these proprietary languages in a GNU
project.  I had rejected doing that before, which is one of the reasons why we
aren't using Java or Tcl/Tk.  Maybe we should stick with open source everywhere...?

J.W. Bizzaro                  Phone: 617-552-3905
Boston College                mailto:bizzaro at bc.edu
Department of Chemistry       http://www.uml.edu/Dept/Chem/Bizzaro/

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