Aduct is a toolkit to design graphical applications that can be dynamically changed with a little work as possible. It is designed by inheriting objects provided by Gtk and thus by following principles of Aduct with Gtk, one can make powerful applications that are easy for a developer to develop, third-party person to improve and end user to use.
Let us assume you make an amazing application. As its core developer, you design the interface in such a way that it looks awesome to you. In other words, it has an interface that reflects your ideas on how a graphical user interface should look. Apart from the code (which nobody cares when your application is closed-source), the where and how widgets are arranged in the user interface is also important (which everybody cares except you).
After designing the application, naturally you get more comfortable with the interface, so it doesn’t look strange to you in any way. But this isn’t the case with users. There are also certain challenges that you often need to overcome after publishing or improving the application :
- You need to add a feature New features become a nightmare when it involves a lot of rewrites. The problem with adding the new feature is the doubt if it will be accepted by users or whether they will work properly with other parts of application.
- Allowing third-party plugins The developer of the plugin may not have the same thinking you do. Sometimes by mistake, they completely spoil the working of your application. Also a plugin is not always cooperative with other plugins. It may inhibit the working of other plugins.
- Impressing the users Unfortunately there is also a good chance that your users may be totally against the interface of your application. For them, you need to have an interface that can be changed at their will. Some applications may even have a different layout of interface for each file. So you need to make an application whose interface can literally be saved and ported.
How can you tackle these hurdles? Let us try to describe the sudden solutions that comes to your mind.
For the first issue, the complexity depends on your code and interface. Depending on that, adding a new feature could be simple as adding a few lines of code or a complete rewrite of your entire application. But what if you want a solution that doesn’t depend on the complexity of your application?
The second issue can be avoided by dividing your application interface into loosely coupled parts. Then you allow the plugins to affect only certain parts of the application. Mostly it is some panel situated at one edge of the application, where the plugin gets its place. In other words, you place a restriction on the scope of a plugin, so that it doesn’t interfere with other blocks of application. If a plugin wants a central representation in your application, how can you achieve that? Can you design an approach that gives your plugin all the essential freedom?
The issue with users is the most important one to take care. To make an interface that can be easily changed by users is the most irritating. Sorting out the requirements, checking whether a feature will be useful or not is also difficult to resolve. For you, placing the toolbox at right seems plausible, but there could be a creepy user who wants it at bottom. Possibilities exist. Saving the interface is another headache. Which widget was modified ?, which should be saved ?, how to save ?, all questions makes you think.
There are more such issues which doesn’t go easy with a developer.
Aduct can be used to kick-out the above mentioned issues. Some developers may be think that such issues can be avoided by writing a few more lines of code. And yes, Aduct is such a package made with a few lines of code. It is very small, but when you follow its approach, it saves your essential time and resources, which can be instead used in improving other concepts of your application.
Aduct’s design principle is very simple. You make widgets that are independent of each other. Make a basic layout of the interface, then sit back and relax, because Aduct now takes care of other requirements. We believe in “take care of small things and big things will automatically be taken care”. It should not be hidden that at first you may have trouble writing independent widgets, but once you are able to make one, then you hardly need to focus in its working with interface.
To The Point¶
Aduct is inspired by Blender’s interface. Blender has such an awesome one where it is possible for a user to customize it in any way they want. Aduct, which tries to mimic the behavior, is written in Python using Gtk. We will cover the working and making of interfaces with Aduct later. For now, what you need to understand is that in Aduct, we have two things that work together. A provider that can produce widgets and a view, that can hold and display them. Views come with various tweaks, which just need to be enabled. When the requirements of both are satisfied, you get a good interface that can suit all the use cases. The description so far may seem so absurd and you may not have even able to get a single point. It’s okay, continue reading, you will understand.