Not in DOS anymore

I have to say, this app makes quite a jump from their old DOS-based UI. I would have no idea how to use it, but I’m sure it makes sense after you get training. Good to know one fewer company’s custom app is not tied to MSDN and Windows anymore, moving on to Free Software. I wish I could make applications look at that good.

And life gets a little better

You know the feeling. You’re happily sitting there, coding away at some graphics or other code in C+GObject, and then comes the point where you need to add a signal to your object. But your object doesn’t have any signals yet, so you have to go find and copy the boilerplate. Ok, not a big deal, you say to yourself, it only takes a minute or two. Then you notice your signal takes multiple parameters, and thus you need to generate a marshaler.

At that point you go to add one to your foo-marshal.list file, only to realize you don’t have one yet! Now you need to copy a chunk Automake boilerplate, and apparently if you want to do it really correctly it involves three times as much boilerplate involving stamp files and other monsters.

It’s around this point you’re probably thinking that finding medieval torture devices and using them on yourself on live television would be a less painful remunerative occupation than programming. But there is hope – the awesome jdahlin wrote a patch. The problem – it’s not in GLib yet, and it’s unclear when it will be.

So maybe you don’t buy into the the pitch about polyglot applications yet, but the new GObject Introspection release, because it already depends on libffi, contains a slightly tweaked version of jdahlin’s patch, known as gi_cclosure_marshal_generic. Depend on introspection, and never deal with marshalers and other torture devices again!

From Here To There

From Here To There is a quick introductory tutorial for people interested in building multi-level applications using the GObject stack, and having your own application be split between C and your choice of runtime. This tutorial uses Clutter and JavaScript, as we’re using for gnome-shell.

I’ve been working for a while now on two applications using the system (gnome-shell, and a personal project not yet ready for announcement), and while there is still a fair bit more introspection system work to do, so far I’m pretty happy with how it’s worked out for both projects. My personal project is actually a mashup of C for some graphics and system stuff, Java (JGIR) for the core application logic, and Groovy for some scripting and extensions. It’s quite polyglot; I’m practicing what I preach.