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Re: GUI-unfriendliness (was Re: [vox-tech] "bring to front" X-windowcommand)
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Re: GUI-unfriendliness (was Re: [vox-tech] "bring to front" X-windowcommand)

Jeff Newmiller wrote:
I detest programs designed to behave this way... from "helpful" cpu status
displays to "Did you really want to quit this program?" dialog boxes to
"Your Windows resources are running low" to "We are backing up your
data... please wait" dialog boxes... they all suffer from either hubris or
programmers who couldn't handle multitasking. Please stop trying to take
control away from the users ... there has to be a way to avoid this
unfriendly behavior in your software ... be creative and find it.


I appreciate your comments. Let me explain a little bit more about my problem. I am helping with a 3D visualization add-on (octaviz, built on VTK) for a numerical math package (octave). Octave typically runs as a command-line interpreter in a shell window. Graphing commands (and now visualization commands) generate new windows that contain graphs/graphics. 2D plots can be exported in some vectorized format, of course. The 3D visualizations, however, are complex, opengl rendered objects with mouse interaction to rotate, zoom, etc. Image "snapshots" of the windows are often the only way to get a desired export of the visualization. There are functions in VTK to do just this, but the rendered window MUST be on top to work; otherwise, it exports whatever screen image is over the top of the VTK window. And yes, I do consider this to be a feature problem in VTK, but I do not have the technical expertise nor time to make changes to VTK.

So... a quick and easy fix for me is to force the window on top before my export command saves the window as an image. I did spend all weekend looking through Xlib programming docs to see if I could get around this some way, for example by keeping the window data in memory when it is covered up. Another option is off-screen rendering, but that path isn't short either.

If anyone has further suggestions, I would be happy to hear them. For now I /try/ to bring the window to the top and have a warning in the user docs about this.

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