[Pipet Devel] An apology, Loci, gnome, and CORBA

J.W. Bizzaro bizzaro at bc.edu
Thu Jun 24 02:27:20 EDT 1999

Humberto Ortiz Zuazaga wrote:
> First an apology: I know I haven't really contributed anything to loci except
> a lot of hot air, but I've been busy, and for a while I thought I had bitten
> off more than I could chew with this project.

Same here.  I've been contributing hot air for over a year :-)

> I hope to contribute some real programs soon, I'm learning to use python (with
> Tkinter for now) and am starting to learn to use pygnome to write image
> viewers with the gtk canvas and imlib.

Cool.  I'm obviously getting into "PyG" by working on the Workspace, and I
really like it.  I have nothing but good things to say about Python and
Gnome/Gtk.  I think if you try the Gnome canvas, you'll like it too.

> When I start reading the mailing list, I'm appaled to find out that we need to
> have network aware apps, and workflow, and Gateways and Hubs, and PAOS, and
> lion and tigers and bears, oh my!

It has evolved quite a bit, and I think this is because we stumbled across a
whole new software frontier...or at least something that hasn't been done before

> Now, just so you grok where I'm coming from, I don't much like gnome, it seems
> big and slow and bloated, even compared to KDE. I've mainly heard bad things
> about CORBA too, even from the gnome developers, who scrapped MICO in favor of
> ORBit because it was too big and slow.

That has to be the most common knee-jerk criticism that I hear about software
people just don't like for some reason.  When was the last time someone said
they like such-and-such because it is small and fast, and just how much is
such-and-such really capable of doing?

> Having said that, a lot of other
> biowidget groups are into CORBA in a big way, as are the KDE and gnome
> developers.

Yeah, I have seen that, along with Java and Perl.

> "CORBA is used in GNOME to export the internal engine of an application to the
> rest of the system. Any CORBA client (GNOME compliant applications, regular
> Unix applications, remote clients running on a different operating system) can
> use the services that these application provides."
> Sounds like loci right?

A simpler approach would be to just say, "Hey this is Python so live with it." 
And we could just wrap some command-lines in Python and tada!  But how
successful can Loci really be if we ignore the masses of Perl, Java and C++
developers?  So, let's look into CORBA.

> "CORBA provides a standard, and easy to use Remote Procedure Call (RPC) system
> that allows different applications to communicate with each other."
> Just like we want to in loci.

I agree.

> "Bonobo is the GNOME Document model. It lets document-based applications embed
> themselves in each other. Its design is influenced heavily on OLE2 and Active
> X by Microsoft and has a similar functionality. It is currently in Alpha
> state, and should be used only by developers, but has been used successfully
> to embed a Guppi graph within Gnumeric.

This is the screenshot I mentioned the other day.

> For those unfamiliar with OLE2, it provides a framework for applications to
> embed themselves within the same GUI framework. This facilitates, for example,
> a graph to be embedded in a word-processing document, or a spell checker to be
> embedded in a plotting program. Bonobo also provides the ability to wrap
> GTK-style objects around a component, allowing an application developer to use
> one in his application. A more technical description is available in the
> BONOBO cvs repository."
> Damn, they've done it again. This is just how we want the figure builder to
> work.

You're in a sarcastic mood :-)

Pretty much.  Of course having it so that a Loci figure can be embedded in a
word processing doc would be swell.

> We could reinvent the wheel in developing loci, but it's best if we at least
> know what everyone else's wheels look like first. We've got most of the hard
> parts of loci done, let's try building loci over the top of the gnome CORBA
> layer, and if it's too slow then consider (a fixing ORBit, or b rewriting just
> the parts of CORBA we need).

Great.  Let's have at it.

J.W. Bizzaro                  mailto:bizzaro at bc.edu
Boston College Chemistry      http://www.uml.edu/Dept/Chem/Bizzaro/

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