Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Complex things possible

I was once told by a local Human-Computer Interface luminary (who claims to have in-depth knowledge of the way NeXTStep's UI works) that it's not possible in any existing GUI to have lines connecting separate windows.
Allow me to introduce a decade-old piece of scotch mist.


Chris Ridd said...

Isn't that done using multiple thin windows?

Also hasn't Apple patented this?

leeg said...


well yes, in that everything on the Quartz display is a window (similar to the way everything on the X display is a window), the line between the two (Aqua) windows on this screencap is indeed a set of (Quartz) windows. On NeXTSTEP, it was a lump of postscript drawn over the top of everything else's output.

And yes, Apple own a patent on it but in fact it's part of NeXT's patent portfolio, so Apple didn't patent it </pedant>. I mentioned to said luminary that this was why the technique was seen in NeXT/Apple apps and not in anyone else's (look at GORM, for instance); but he reiterated that it isn't possible to do this on NeXT or any other platform.

Chris Ridd said...

He's clearly a complete luminary!

leeg said...

as luminary as a hatstand.

Anonymous said...

17 years, actually.