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[XBoard-devel] ICS Interaction window in XBoard-GTK

From: h . g . muller
Subject: [XBoard-devel] ICS Interaction window in XBoard-GTK
Date: Sun, 2 Feb 2014 22:04:04 +0100
User-agent: SquirrelMail

I experimented a bit with text colorization in GTK. This turns out to be
not that difficult. In the hgm.nubati.net source repository I now pushed a
commit that has an experimental output widget added to the ICS Input box,
with the following properties:

* Only active in the GTK build
* Uses same foreground and background colorization as the xterm
* the xterm still works as well
* text attributes are still ignored
* like the entire GTK version, there is no user control over the font
* unfortunately the default font is proportionally spaced, which is bad
for ICS output

I wonder what the future of this feature should be, in relation to the
Chat Window. The extended ICS Input Box is very similar to the Chat
Window, the difference being that the latter has an extra row of buttons
and a Chat Partner entry near the top, which can be used to switch the
function of input and output widgets between the various chats (capturing
specific tells / shouts).

I wonder if the two windows should be integrated. I once made an attempt
to use one of the chats as the general ICS Console, but this would get
very complex, because each time you switch to another chat the
colorization gets lost. So to switch XBoard would not only have to
remember the text, but also all color tags in it, so that it can restore
them if the text is loaded back into the output field because the user
switche to chat window to console.

I am also not sure whether it would be wise to hide the console
completely, to view other chats. So perhaps a better design would be to
add an extra output widget to the Chat window, rather than to the input
box. Make it switchable between one and two output panes, like the Engine
Output window (except that this one will have the signle-line input field
at the bottom and the selection buttons at the top). One of the buttons
could then be permanently be dedicated to 'ICS Console', switching to a
single double-size output pane displaying the console, and assigning the
input field to it for giving commands. The other buttons would call up the
various active chats, as they do now, but switching to two-pane mode. One
pane would show the selected chat, the other would continue to show the
general console. The ICS Input Box could be abandoned completely in this

Would this design be an improvement, or would it just be confusing? It
seems to me that the confusion could be minimized by using the lower
output pane in two-pane mode for the selected chat, so that the input line
is closest to the chat output, and would thus better create the impression
that it belongs to the chat, rather than for giving ICS commands. In
single-output-pane mode it would border on the text of the general ICS
Console, and could be used for giving commands.

In the future the general console output pane should be equipped with a
context menu similar to WinBoard's, integrating the clicked texts in its
menu commands (replacing what is now the ICS Text Menu dialog).

Comments from ICS users would be welcome.

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