Friday, October 23, 2009

Old motif habits die hard

Just saw an e-mail today from our development group. They're planning on making a graphical dashboard for our proprietary application which runs on HP-UX. Everything on the backend has been CLI or text-based up until now, with the client running on Windows with MFC. But for that dashboard reserved to application administrators, developing a Motif application came out.

Yes, you read me right, Motif. Whew! Haven't seen development with Motif in a while.

Of course they didn't mean by this they would start develop in Motif right this morning (at least, I hope so). Maybe GTK+ would be more fit, and a good browser-based app would be even better.

My point is that Motif used to be associated with the commercial UNIX flavors for so long that saying "I'll make a Motif app on UNIX" is still a catch-all phrase like saying "I'll transfer files with FTP". Yes, these technologies have been there for a while and still work, but are clunky and outdated... and don't take me wrong, I used to root for Motif! That was in the mid 1990s. The Motif toolkit was, for its time, quite customizable using X resources. The no-frills window manager mwm offered a refreshing, KISS interface that actually worked on a workstation without crashing like Windows95 used to do twice a day.

All that was 15 years ago. Today, everything runs in a browser.

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