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From Greg Brown <gk_br...@verizon.net>
Subject Re: The patchwork that is Pivot layout
Date Fri, 18 Mar 2011 02:56:54 GMT
> Well, first off, I apologize for the insult.  I really should have chosen a less aggressive
subject line.  It is certainly not my intent to insult the Pivot team, which has produced
a very impressive system with limited resources.  Nor do I wish to glorify WPF, which I agree
is a bloated beast.  But it happens to be a beast with which I am somewhat familiar, and not
long ago Chris invited me to discuss things from there or elsewhere that I thought might benefit
Pivot, so here I am.

Fair enough. Discussion is always welcome.

> > <BoxPane orientation="vertical" styles="{fill:true}">
> >   <BoxPane styles="{horizontalAlignment:'center'}">
> >     <Border preferredWidth="150" preferredHeight="150"
> >       styles="{color:'gray', thickness:4, cornerRadii:10}">
> >       <ImageView bxml:id="imgPhoto" styles="{fill:true}" />
> >     </Border>
> >   </BoxPane>
> >   <Label styles="{wrapText:true}" text="...Some long paragraph..." />
> > </BoxPane>
> ...
> > Am I missing something?  Is there an easier way?
> I might put the BoxPane in the Border rather than the other way around.
> Well, that wouldn't be less wordy, but I also don't think it works.  The Border would
fill the horizontal space.  And even if it didn't, I can't center it, since Border lacks a
horizontalAlignment property.

True. To center the border, you would need to put it in a BoxPane.

> You might also consider using TablePane as your outer container instead of BoxPane.
> It's true that I can get practically anything I want with TablePane, but it can be pretty
cumbersome.  The equivalent of a vertical BoxPane means adding a columns specification, and
wrapping each element in TablePane.Row.  In my particular example, unless I'm missing some
trick, it's more like
> <TablePane>
>   <columns>
>     <TablePane.Column width="1*" />
>     <TablePane.Column width="-1" />
>     <TablePane.Column width="1*" />
>   </columns>
>   <TablePane.Row>
>     <TablePane.Filler/>
>     <Border styles="{color:'gray', thickness:4, cornerRadii:10}">
>       <ImageView bxml:id="imgPhoto" styles="{fill:true}"
>         preferredWidth="150" preferredHeight="150" />
>     </Border>
>     <TablePane.Filler/>
>   </TablePane.Row>
>   <TablePane.Row>
>     <Label TablePane.columnSpan="3" styles="{wrapText:true}" 
>       text="...Some long paragraph..." />
>   </TablePane.Row>
>   <TablePane.Row>
>     <TablePane.Filler/>
>     <PushButton buttonData="Press Me" />
>     <TablePane.Filler/>
>   </TablePane.Row>
> </TablePane>
> But that's not quite right, because it ties the width of the imageview to the width of
the button -- if the image is wider than the button, the button is stretched to the width
of the image, while if the button is wider, the border is stretched to the width of the button,
leaving me no longer with a square border.  

It is fairly common to put BoxPanes in table cells to manage alignment. Another option we
have talked about is allowing a caller to specify the alignment of a table cell (similar to
HTML), perhaps via an attached property such as "TablePane.horizontalAlignment"/"TablePane.verticalAlignment".
We decided against it since the same results could be achieved via composition, but of course
it is still an option.

> So I really have to split it up into multiple tables:


Couldn't you just put the button in a BoxPane rather than in a separate 3-column table?

> * The XAML editor has Intellisense.  

That's a tooling issue though, not an inherent design limitation.

> * There's a visual designer, so in most cases I don't have to run my app to see whether
I got it right, or at least close.  

This is also a tooling issue. But I agree that these features are invaluable.

> * The connection between a XAML file and its backing class is handled automagically internally.

That's largely because XAML is compiled into a class, whereas BXML is loaded dynamically.
However, it's not unreasonable to consider "compiling" BXML at some point in the future.

> * Events are a bit simpler.  That's mostly Java's fault, not Pivot's, but it still is
a learning issue.  In WPF, if I want to be notified when my control is resized, I add a single
method (or even a closure) to the control; I don't have to write a ComponentListener with
11 (!) methods, 10 of which go unused.

Agreed on this point - though you can generally use an Adapter to avoid having to implement
every method.

> But if someone were to ask me my recommendation for a framework in which to build a GUI
app that they only ever wanted to run on a Windows desktop, I'd have to point them at WPF,
sorry.  On the other hand, for cross-platform apps, I *do* recommend Pivot, but it's with
a lot of caveats.

That's cool. I'd probably recommend WPF for Windows-only apps myself, if only because the
support is likely to be *way* better.  :-)

> So when there are things from WPF that I think would make Pivot more usable, I hope I
can bring them up.  Earlier I've mentioned such things as a ScalingPane (something I could
really use right now and have no idea how to implement myself) and simpler markup for document
spans of text (which you fixed in 2.0.1, thank you).  I often hesitate to do so, lest you
feel I'm casting aspersions on Pivot.  I'm probably coming off as way to much of a WPF fanboy
as it is, which is unfortunate, since I and my colleagues get mad at Microsoft all the time...

I wouldn't hesitate to continue making suggestions. Overall, the end result is positive.


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