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RE: Looking for a program

From: Joerg Raedler
Subject: RE: Looking for a program
Date: Wed, 10 Feb 1999 11:30:32 +0100

Matthew Valenta wrote:

>>I have recently become interested in developing a GUI toolkit for Octave
>that is roughly Matlab compatible.  I was actually leaning towards GTK+Gnome
>because of its potential future for Desktop & Corba integration.
>Ultimately, Corba would provide and excellent interface to a plotting
>program.  Unfortunately, at this time, such plotting programs are in very
>early stages of development.

I'm thinking about GUIs for Octave for a couple of months now...
My idea is to split these things into three *independent* packages:

1. the GUI: something like a terminal to run Octave with some menus around,
provides easy access to often used functions, has a help button, an exit
button etc.
This would make "first steps" in Ocatve easier, many novice users don't want to
start a terminal,then start octave and the only thing they get is a prompt...
The GUI can be coded for GNOME, KDE or with platform independent toolkits
like TCL/TK...
Communication with Octave can be via pipe that octave reads when readline is
idle, executes the requests and send the results back to the GUI. This
would need only small changes to Octave (the same executable can be used
with or without GUI) and the user still has the really powerfull Octave prompt!
(other idea: use something like the cut'n'paste buffer of X to pass commands
via terminal to octave, the user can see the commands -> tutorial-like and no
need to change the octave sources. ;-)

2. GUI elements callable from Octave: Provides what "dialog" provides to the
shell or TK to TCL. Can be used for many types of input and output from octave
programs and toolboxes. First step should be to develop a specification of the
functions to call from octave. Why not implement different toolboxes for this
(on demand), one with KDE/GNOME/Lesstif or TCL/TK, one for character based
terminals using something like the dialog utility, one with ... and all have
the same Octave interface...  x = yesnobox("Do you want a GUI?");

3. A 3D graphics toolbox: Used to visualize function graphs, vector fields or
even animations. OpenGL/Mesa may be a good choice for this. There are some
libraries/toolkits for interfacing rendering engines with applications. I 
already looked at VTK (visualization toolkit) and MAM/VRS (LGPL!). 
MAM/VRS seems to be the best choice for me.
This would be a really huge project, but maybe worth the work...

>Any thoughts?
>I would be very willing to code with someone on this as I will eventually
>need some sort of GUI interface for my work (and I'd like to avoid Matlab).

I'm *really* interested in contributing to those projects!


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