[Bf-committers] Declarative UI Experiment

Roger Wickes rogerwickes at yahoo.com
Mon Aug 9 19:49:41 CEST 2010

Agreed with detractors; no argument here. XML is verbose; it is designed to be
anti-cryptic and expose everything without assumptions. 
XML is just a language spec; you are free to make your implementation
as bad as you want. I think the issue is that there is a lot of stuff to define 
when specifying (anything), even something deceptively simple as a little
panel in a UI. I would also point out to the xml detractors that the document 
would still need to know what to specify, and those terms are not exactly 
intuitively obvious anyway. So yeah, I'm not saying xml is perfect, just a step 

the right direction. 

XML editors are free and relatively easy to use. The next step, of having a
GUI layout tool with drag and dropfrom XML is not a clear path to me. 

The amazing refactor has made it possible for programmer end-users to define 
the UI. If we want to take it to the next step and make it easier for end-users
to create their own UI, then it makes logical
sense to take it to the next logical step down that path of abstraction. This 
of progression is everywhere in IT; witness the .ini file evolution. 
Going to human-readable text is the path that is normally taken for 
tailoring. If not XML, then what?


Having said all of that, a slightly more geeky but well-understood standard is 
CSS and HTML. We could have a UI layout system whereby we use 
HTML-like tags to define the panel contents and elements within the panels, 
and then a CSS style sheet to arrange them and set colors? I don't know of any 
GUI CSS layout tools, other than F5 :) but it would bring our layout challenge
into more of an accepted mainstream. 

Would that be a fair compromise?


> Full-blown XML is a pain in the ass to edit in a text
> editor, even with emacs/vim and/or tons of plugins. Not everyone who want's
> to fix the GUI has an XML editor at hand. JSON is a partial solution as it
> is less verbose.
Agreed. XML is verbose and implementations are inconsistent with one another.
As an EDI standard it sucks because there is no common agreement on nouns.


More information about the Bf-committers mailing list