Re: proposal: slight extension of gtkrc syntax for per-app settings

On Tue, 1 May 2001, Bill Haneman wrote:

 Hi Bill, 

 First of all, it's also possible to load different gtk theme on 
per-application basis by setting environment variable or (for gnome apps) by
putting gtkrc in the file under special name. And of course there is a
programmatic API for changing the style of a particlar widget. The
proposed change just provides much more user-friendly means for selecting
themes (and probably shooting themself in the foot) - but it doesn't provide
any additional means to app developers (they already have everything at their
  The advantages of the proposed changes will allow theme creators to
more elegantly (in single file) provide per-application theme tuning (in 
particular, to increase accessibility).
  Also, if not at the first hand, Gtk-2.0 allows changing widget properties
from gtkrc too! For example, power user will be able to control the default
directory for file selection dialog in Gnumeric spreadsheet to one directory
(say, ~/files/sheets/) and default directory for file selection dialog in
AbiWord to another directory! Or control default font of font selector on
per-application basis (or, hopefully, default buttons in various dialogs in
various apps or default state of checkboxes on per-dialog and per-app basis) -
and all this flexibility comes without any additional efforts from app
programmer! Also it won't be very difficult to write GUI configuration tools
that will allow to configure resource values interactively (e.g. user will be
allowed to point to widget in any dialog, configure properties, and save new
dialog defaults).

 So, that flexibility will open another dimension in ease of use and
configurability of gtk-2.0 based applications. Just to add, all apps that use
Xt-based widget sets already have it.

> >
> > Hi, 
> >
> > Nobody replied to original letter.
> > Does anybody have anything to say about this? Why shouldn't gtk apps 
> be as
> >easy customizable as apps using Xt-based widgetsets?
> >
> > Will the patch be accepted that will implement proposed features?
> >
> > Best regards,
> >  -Vlad
> Hi Vlad:
> Though the type of customization you suggest (if I understand you 
> correctly) adds great flexibility, its widespread use could create very 
> serious problems for the desktop.  It's generally considered important 
> for UIs to maintain consistent styles across applications on the 
> desktop, and you proposal would make it very easy to subvert this.
> An important functional aspect of this (as opposed to cosmetic issues) 
> is that a global theme which supported accessibility for low vision 
> users (or color blind users, etc.) could easily be broken this way.  If 
> styles and themes are not applied uniformly across the desktop then they 
> cannot be fully effective.  To be blunt, your feature would probably 
> break accessibility. 
> This concern is just as valid in Xt, use of .rc files to override 
> default styles is potentially very antagonistic to good user interface 
> design and presentation of a consistent-looking, usable desktop.  In 
> effect, giving applications (and app developers) more control over the 
> style of the toolkit effectively takes control away from the user - it's 
> a big tradeoff and not necessarily the right thing to do.
> Best regards,
> Bill
> ------
> Bill Haneman x19279
> Gnome Accessibility / Batik SVG Toolkit
> Sun Microsystems Ireland 

 Best regards,

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