REBOL 3.0

Simple, Clean VID Requirements

Carl Sassenrath, CTO
REBOL Technologies
6-May-2008 16:48 GMT

Article #0132
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Over the years, I've written a lot about VID, the REBOL Visual Interface Dialect. VID is important because it is how we create GUI's in REBOL.

We are now ready to complete VID3 for R3.

We want to be sure we get it right. How do we measure "right"? Well, we each have different requirements, but in general, we should all be happy with it. And, I need to be happy with it too, which is critical.

My VID requirements can be boiled down to just a few lines, not even one page. Of course, we want all the normal features like speed and reliability, but here are the requirements I think are essential:

Requirement

Details

Easy to build a "page"

We know how HTML pages are built. Simple ones are fairly easy. I want VID to be even easier, and it can be. It is not difficult, and only in this way can we get a lot of people, even non-programmers to build VID pages.

All the basic GUI elements

We need all the basic GUI elements as a standard part of VID. What elements do I mean? Well, we need at least the HTML basic widgets/gadgets. I want to be able to create a selection text list or a table with just a few words - and, nothing complicated about it. (Of course, we will add a lot more than just the basic HTML widgets, since most apps need more than that.)

Smart defaults and options

We want VID to make smart choices for the common patterns. We know what these patterns are. VID2 taught us that. So has the web. If we are forced to specify the same argument or attribute multiple times, then we have failed this requirement. I would also include the need for smart options. If I want to limit a text field to just numeric entry, it should only require a special option word, not code. We can build a lot of GUI's quickly this way.

Not difficult to extend

We do not want VID to be difficult to modify or add new styles, new looks, and new behaviors. Any user should be able to change the look of something just as easily (and maybe easier) than they would change a CSS (style sheet) in HTML. If an "average scripter" cannot understand how to do this, then we failed our design.

Easy application interface

The GUI is just the front end of an application. It must be attached to application code that does something useful (what is often called the "model"). This "attachment" needs to be fairly simple and clear in VID. There are different methods depending on the type of application. In a quick script, I may want to place code in the GUI itself. For larger apps, I may want to keep the GUI well-isolated from any app code.

So those are the requirements that we will use to evaluate our VID 3 design. If I've missed any critical ones (we know there are many less critical ones), please let me know, and if I agree, I will add it to the above list.

Detailed discussion of this topic is in the R3-Alpha AltME world. Or, post your comments here.

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