Structure and Interpretation of Computer Programmers

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Tuesday, May 9, 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.

posted by Graham Lee at 13:46  


  1. Isn’t that done using multiple thin windows?

    Also hasn’t Apple patented this?

    Comment by Anonymous — 2006-05-09 @ 14:16

  2. Chris:

    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.

    Comment by Graham Lee — 2006-05-09 @ 14:20

  3. He’s clearly a complete luminary!

    Comment by Anonymous — 2006-05-09 @ 14:23

  4. as luminary as a hatstand.

    Comment by Graham Lee — 2006-05-10 @ 17:39

  5. 17 years, actually.

    Comment by Anonymous — 2006-05-29 @ 15:46

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