IPP Seminar


"The SquidKit Windowing Architecture"

Ronald J. Mann, Sun Microsystems, Inc.

Thursday, April 19, 2001 at 4:00 P.M.

Lubrano Conference Room

The demand for a portable execution environment, demonstrated by the success of the Javaš Virtual Machine, has sparked the reexamination of traditional methodologies for supplying graphical user interfaces (GUIs). Adopting fixed sets of static complex objects for individual classes of devices has had the unintended side effect of imposing limitations on one of the most powerful aspects of Java; Universality. Although the GUI toolkit model has dominated workstation environments of the last twenty years, it represents a lackluster design pattern for crossing the bridge to the next generation of computing environments. Constructing a singular GUI infrastructure that can span the needs of workstations, PDAs, communications devices and network appliances requires adopting an architecture capable of dynamically adapting to its host environment.

This talk details a multi-tiered approach for providing GUI support to any arbitrary host platform capable of supplying a reasonable JVM TM implementation. We supplant the notion of a fixed toolkit, replacing it with a flexible infrastructure designed to provide the application developer with a beans-like approach to screen and interface design. This methodology allows for the creation of interfaces capable of addressing multiple classes of physical devices without resorting to the development of individual application instances. We outline the SquidKit (Scalable Customizable Graphical User Interface Development Kit) architecture whose principle elements are a low-level core layer that embodies a common window abstraction for portability, a lightweight middle tier capable of generating complex window constructions on the fly providing flexibility and an upper tier designed to interface to third party development tools ensuring scalability.

Note: The speaker will be available to answer questions about the company.

Host: Michael Black

Slides from the talk are available for viewing.