Chapter 1. Getting the Right Look and Feel: An Overview

This chapter contains these sections:

About the IRIX Interactive Desktop Look and Feel

One of the most important things you can do to integrate your application into the IRIX Interactive Desktop environment is to get the right look and feel. This look and feel is largely based on IRIS IM, the SGI port of the industry-standard OSF/Motif toolkit. In particular, the look and feel is based on an enhanced version of IRIS IM and on the 4Dwm window manager (the SGI mwm-based window manager). The IRIX Interactive User Interface Guidelines explains the differences between the IRIX Interactive Desktop look and feel and the OSF/Motif look and feel.

Users have certain expectations of how applications appear and behave in the IRIX Interactive Desktop environment, and by meeting these expectations, you make your application much easier and more pleasant to use. The chapters in this part of the manual explain how to set up your application to provide the IRIX Interactive Desktop look and feel.

Getting the Right Look and Feel: The Basic Steps

To provide the correct look and feel for your application, be sure to:

  1. Recompile with libXm (the IRIS IM version that ships with IRIX 5.3 or later). If your application uses an earlier version of IRIS IM, recompile to make sure that it runs correctly. See the IRIS IM Release Notes for information on the differences between the current and previous versions of IRIS IM.

  2. Use the IRIX Interactive Desktop enhanced appearance. Turn on the IRIX Interactive Desktop “look,” which enhances the appearance of standard IRIS IM widgets and gadgets. See Chapter 2, “Getting the IRIX Interactive Desktop Look”, for instructions.

  3. Use schemes. The schemes mechanism is a simple method for providing user-selectable default colors and fonts for your application. For more information on Schemes, see Chapter 3, “Using Schemes”.

  4. Use the new and extended widgets (optional). SGI provides some new IRIS IM widgets, extensions of some existing widgets, and some mixed-model programming widgets (for use with IRIS GL and OpenGL). For more information, see Chapter 4, “Using the SGI Enhanced Widgets”.

  5. Set resources for correct window, session, and desks management. By setting a few important resources, you insure that your application includes the windowing, session management, and desks features that users expect. For instructions, refer to Chapter 5, “Window, Session, and Desk Management”.

  6. Customize minimized icons. SGI provides tools that allow you to easily provide your own look for minimize icons (icons for minimized windows). The tools for creating minimized windows are discussed in Chapter 6, “Customizing Your Application's Minimized Windows”

  7. Implement interapplication data exchange. Interapplication data exchange lets users cut and paste information between your application and other applications. For more information, see Chapter 7, “Interapplication Data Exchange”..

  8. Provide online help. SGI provides an online help system for integrating help with your application. Chapter 9, “Providing Online Help With SGIHelp”, describes how to use the online help system.

  9. Monitor changes to the filesystem (optional). SGI provides a File Alteration Monitor (FAM) that your application can use to monitor the filesystem. Chapter 8, “Monitoring Changes to Files and Directories”, explains how to use FAM.