Volume 6C: Motif Tools
Streamlined GUI Design and Programming with the Xmt Library
By David Flanagan
Publisher: O'Reilly Media
Final Release Date: August 1994
Pages: 1024

Motif Tools and the Xmt programming library that accompanies it on CD-ROM offer resources that will empower Motif programmers and dramatically speed up application development with the X Toolkit and Motif.

David Flanagan, author of both the book and the library, writes: "The need for a convenience toolkit is something that not enough programmers and managers realize--Motif is too often viewed as a complete GUI development package, when in fact it was designed only to provide a standard base level of functionality. This is where the Xmt library comes in; it provides many of the widgets and functions that are implemented over and over again by developers. My aim was to put programmer ease-of-use first (something the designers of Motif obviously did not do) and create a library that really simplifies GUI development."

The Xmt library contains nine custom widgets and over 250 convenience routines that handle many tricky aspects of GUI programming. The Layout widget, for example, is an incredibly flexible manager widget that makes the confusing and awkward Motif Form widget a thing of the past. And a single Menu widget will create an entire pulldown menu system for your application by reading a special menu description from a resource file or your C code. Other features of the library dramatically simplify the use of Motif XmStrings, automate the transfer of data between the fields of an application's data structures and the widgets of its dialog boxes, and make it possible to automatically create a widget hierarchy completely described in a resource file.

Motif Tools is a complete programmer's guide and reference manual for the Xmt library. But the book is not just a dry volume about programming mechanics; it also describes a holistic philosophy of application design and development. It guides the reader through the development of a complete application: from first conception, through design and implementation, and on to the finishing stylistic touches--the myriad little details that make the difference between an application that looks sharp and one that just looks ordinary, between one that is a pleasure to use and one that is just usable.

Scattered throughout the book, and collected on the CD, you will also find programming tips and tidbits submitted by Motif programmers from around the world. The price of this book includes a single-programmer license to use the Xmt library source code. Additional licenses may be purchased at a nominal cost.

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5.0

Xmt Rocks!

By Jim Cakalic

from St. Louis, MO

About Me Designer, Developer

Verified Reviewer

Pros

  • Accurate
  • Easy to understand
  • Helpful examples
  • Well-written

Cons

    Best Uses

    • Intermediate

    Comments about oreilly Volume 6C: Motif Tools:

    X/Motif development can be hard. There's a lot of code that goes into wiring together a widget hierarchy and containment model. Xmt makes that dead simple by allowing the entire hierarchy to be declared as resources. Add to that color icon support and an easy plugin model for custom components and you have a decent X/Motif prototyping tool that transitions directly into production code. This library saved us hundreds of hours of development and allowed us to build a much higher quality user experience than would have otherwise been possible. If you're doing X/Motif development, do yourself a favor and try the Xmt library.

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