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Writing Gnome Applications

by John R. Sheets

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Book Description

GNOME is coming of age, offering developers the opportunity to write remarkably powerful graphical applications for Linux and other platforms, using 100% open-source technology. But until now, finding detailed, practical information for GNOME development has been extremely difficult. Writing GNOME Applications fills the gap, giving developers expert guidance and extensive sample code that demonstrates exactly how GNOME works, and how to make the most of it. Expert GNOME developer John R. Sheets begins by introducing the GNOME project and all of the tools that go with it, including editors, compilers, debuggers, autoconf, automake, and how GNOME builds on the X Window System. The book's across-the-board coverage includes GTK+, Glib, the GNOME Build Environment, and each key element of a GNOME interface, including menus and toolbars, dialogs, and the GnomeMDI multiple document interface. Sheets reviews session management, explains how graphics are implemented in GNOME, and reviews the GNOME Canvas. He demonstrates how to make the most of GNOME's internationalization features, and shows how to use -- and even write -- GNOME documentation. For all developers who want to build graphical applications for Linux.

Book Info
(Pearson Education) A handbook for Linux programmers for using GNOME and understanding how to write real-world applications. Focuses on the essentials, teaching the how and why of each GNOME function, from menus and toolbars to X Window graphics. Softcover. DLC: Application software--Development.

From the Author
The process of authoring Writing GNOME Applications was very organic, much like the process of an open source project like GNOME. I started off with a huge, ambitious goal to cover everything under the sun (or toadstool as the case may be), but eventually whittled my ideas down to a clearer, more focused presentation than would have occured to me in the early stages. Like many software projects, this book took on a personality of its own.

GNOME's perpetual undercurrent of change didn't make it any easier to plan out a book. With the GNOME 1.2 platform constantly on the verge of release, and my deadline hovering ever closer, I had to live on the edge a bit, monitoring the many helpful mailing lists, and writing about features that I wasn't sure would be released in time for the book. In particular, the section about the gdk-pixbuf library was a gamble, since it didn't exist as part of the GNOME 1.0 platform, but was one of the shining stars of the new GNOME 1.2 platform. In order to have a cutting-edge book, I needed to cover gdk-pixbuf, but if the book went to press before the API stablized, I could end up with a disaster on my hands.

Fortunately, GNOME 1.2 hit the streets a few short weeks before the book went into the final copyediting stage, and I was able to send it off with a clear conscience.

My fervent hope is that this book will be useful to people as a learning tool, and as a reference guide. I've done my best to offer clear descriptions of how things work, while at the same time provide complete API listings and enough hands-on examples to give you a good intuitive feel for things.

Feel free to contact me and let me know what you think about the book. I plan to maintain this book as if it were an ongoing software project (at openbooks.sourceforge.net) and continue to track the GNOME platform as it evolves.

Thanks, John R. Sheets

From the Back Cover

The GNU Network Object Model Environment (GNOME) is a free, open-sourced desktop and application programming environment that provides consistent appearance and functionality, a smaller code base, and better integration for UNIX/Linux-based applications. Although powerful and elegantly constructed, GNOME is large and complex, with a steep learning curve.

Writing GNOME Applications will help Linux programmers learn the basics of GNOME and understand how to write real-world applications using this important programming environment. Focusing on the essentials, this book guides you through GNOME's fundamental elements and explains how and why these elements function as they do. Rather than serving as an exhaustive reference, the book offers detailed discussion on the most important function calls, demonstrating how to put them to work in application development.

You will also find important background on UNIX and the X Window System, upon which GNOME is based. Writing GNOME Applications also presents the essentials of GTK+, GNOME's GUI toolkit. Featuring GNOME 1.2, the latest version, this book provides a comprehensive overview of the GNOME development environment and then discusses in detail such vital GNOME programming topics as:

  • Menus and toolbars, focusing on the GTK+ and GNOME menu systems
  • Dialogs, featuring the GnomeDialog Widget
  • Session management
  • Graphics, including X Window graphics, GdkRGB, Libart, and GdkPixbuf
  • The GNOME canvas for scrolling, mouse control, and grabbing, dragging, and dropping
  • Documentation, focusing on HTML help systems for applications

Sample applications throughout the book illustrate how these elements function in practice. You will come away from this book with a solid grounding in GNOME fundamentals and the knowledge you need to write a complete GNOME application from front to back.


About the Author

John R. Sheets has been following the GNOME project on a day-to-day basis for more than two years. He is a software developer for Code Weavers, Inc., where he ports applications from Windows to Linux. In his free time, he is helping the WorldForge project to create a free online multiplayer gaming environment.




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