Saturday, January 31, 2009

January 2009 Progress Report

As the post about wx progress in 2008 seemed to generate quite some interest, here is the promised update for the things we did in the first month of 2009.

The main new addition was probably the long-discussed support for persistent controls. This is not completely done yet but initial implementation of the basic support for persistence was checked in and now persistent adapters for more wxWidgets classes (currently only wxTopLevelWindow and wxBookCtrls are covered) can be added one by one.

Another important change was the integration of the type-safe events patch from Peter Most. Not only it makes the events safer but it also allows connecting anything as an event handler, not necessarily a method of wxEvtHandler-derived class. Unfortunately we hit some problems with building this code with all but the very latest compilers (we didn't even try to use it with VC6, but it was a bad surprise that VC7 template deduction was not smart enough for it neither) so currently it is still disabled but we plan to re-enable it a.s.a.p.

Speaking of the improvements to compile-time safety, Francesco has modified wxWindow::ProcessEvent to be protected at wxWindow level as it should never be called directly but only as win->GetEventHandler()->ProcessEvent() or, with the latest trunk, as win->ProcessWindowEvent() which does the same thing, to avoid skipping any event handlers pushed onto the window. Doing this allowed to find several places in wxWidgets itself where GetEventHandler() call was forgotten and there are certainly a lot of similar omissions in code outside of wx itself which this change will now allow to find during compile-time.

There was also more work done on the native headers (with nice support of sorting and column reordering) in wxDataViewCtrl and wxGrid (special thanks to Zen Fire for sponsoring this work!) and on wxDataViewCtrl in general. In particular the simple wxDataViewListCtrl wrapper was added and event-based API for drag-and-drop was implemented.

The last problems with support for custom controls in native file dialogs under Windows were solved thanks to Marcin so now only Mac support for this feature is missing. Speaking of Mac, the new OS X port kept progressing in leaps and bounds and I'm especially glad that several people have contributed to it recently -- thanks!

Then there were some improvements to MDI stuff. This code was not updated for a long time so I started reviewing and correcting it in last November and continued to do so, while adding some new features, now.

And finally some useless statistics: so far (the month is not quite over yet...) there were 850 check ins in January. 138 new tickets were created, 211 ones were closed (at least we're moving in the right direction!) and Trac records 365 ticket modifications in total from 93 different people (with Robin and me doing most of the damage with about 70 changes each).

On a completely unrelated note, I've installed, out of curiosity, beta of Windows 7 and tested some wx samples under it. They have no special support of Windows 7 (nor even Vista yet) but they still appear to be quite fine, only small details (e.g. owner drawn menu items) look out of place. I'm not sure if this can really be seen as our merit though, it's probably more a compliment to Microsoft for maintaining backwards compatibility. Although it also clearly shows the advantage of using native controls -- I doubt that the programs written using Qt, especially using its version from a few years ago, look as good as the ones written even very old wx versions under the new system. Other than that, my main impression of Windows 7 is that it's amazing that it still needs to restart when changing the workgroup name. I guess they didn't want to remove all old and familiar features at once...

And to end this post, some less technical news: we made a brief roadmap for 3.0 release. This is not much in itself but it does help to concentrate thoughts on it and hopefully gives a bit more visibility into the project future for people not reading this blog.

And I was extremely glad to learn that wxWidgets now has a new maintainer in Debian as I almost lost hope to ever see them there as the old maintainer spent his time only sabotaging the efforts by others to bring wx to Debian and spreading FUD about it in his spare time whereas the new maintainer has already released the updated packages which is great news for me both from a wx developer and a Debian user viewpoint. We also had a discussion with Dan HorĂ¡k, Fedora packager of wxGTK, about supporting multiarch (mostly x86/amd64) packages and making RPMs for wxWidgets 3.0 (interested people can already try these experimental pre-2.9 versions).
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