[webkit-dev] Widget / Drawing API thoughts

Kevin Ollivier kevino at theolliviers.com
Mon Jun 27 17:51:58 PDT 2005

Hi Maciej,

On Jun 21, 2005, at 1:36 AM, Maciej Stachowiak wrote:


> For OS X at least, we intend to make the controls look and feel  
> just like the native ones to a pretty exacting level of detail. We  
> will only fall back to a generic look if the page specifies custom  
> styling info, this is desirable for web compatibility in any case.  
> So please do not assume the themed controls will look lame and  
> generic. In fact, I believe the Firefox controls look and feel very  
> much like the native ones on Windows, and even respect Windows  
> theming.

Sorry, I never meant to imply they would look lame and generic, but  
as you point out with Firefox, they put more effort into maintaining  
Windows theming than Mac theming. Thus the Firefox buttons look like  
Windows buttons, which is great on Windows but not much help on Mac.  
(Or take IE for Mac, where they still have Classic-style controls.)  
In this case, things would be the opposite way around. You could now  
see aqua (or possibly generic) buttons on, say, Windows, where it  
would look just as awkward as Firefox controls do on Mac.

> That being said, I can see how it might be a tough technical  
> challenge for some toolkits to implement the theme API, especially  
> multiplatform toolkits that rely on native widgets under the  
> covers. I am not sure what to do about that, as maintaininga dual- 
> track approach to form controls is likely to be painful in the long  
> run.

The challenge for us is not that we can't use native widgets, it's  
that emulating them successfully on several platforms, and platform  
versions, is a significant challenge. We'd have to be able to  
correctly emulate native look and feel for several GUI toolkits, and  
each major version of those toolkits that are still supported (along  
with special issues like themes on some platforms). If we can't make  
that work, which is likely too much work to get right, we'd have to  
settle for a button that's generic on almost all platforms. In short,  
maintaining emulated native controls for all these combinations, and  
getting it right, looks to be a pretty significant challenge. A lot  
of work that just using the native controls would save us the trouble  
of doing.

I don't know the API you're thinking of at the moment, so I can't  
really say how difficult this would be, but IMHO it would be ideal if  
we could come up with some way to at least have the option of letting  
a port use generic or native controls. Perhaps have a QPushButton  
that can optionally be set to use a theme or become "non-native" if  
it's given style properties, making the native/non-native distinction  
an implementation detail?



> Regards,
> Maciej

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