[messages] [Developers] Roadmap for VASSAL 4

Michael Kiefte mkiefte at dal.ca
Tue Mar 22 07:46:45 MST 2011

> I share this worry. It has disadvantages similar to Java being owned by
> Oracle.

Yes, but....  There is the KDE community and they're not about to give up
soon.  However, they probably don't give a damn about Windows or MacOSX as I

> I used Qt extensively for the board game program I was developing before
> becoming a VASSAL developer. I grew to hate it, because it required all
> sorts of weird build tools and macros, and was awful to debug as a result.

If I recall Qt has a special pre-preprocessor, doesn't it.  That didn't
bother me so much, but yes, it's weird.  Debugging wxWidgets is not a big
deal -- I've done it extensively in gdb and it's not bad.  I never really
had a problem, but it's been a while.

> According to a friend of mine, JavaScript is almost as fast as native
> these days. I don't much care about interpreted vs. compiled for things
> which aren't speed-critical; what I care more about is static typing, as
> non-statically typed languages are harder to write meaningful tests for.

It just feels primitive.  I admit, it's been a while since I looked at it.
None of the JavaScript games the kids play with seem terribly
sophisticated.  If someone can point me to a full-blown app in JavaScript,
I'd like to see it.

> There's some interesting stuff on the horizon w/r/t JavaScript, such as
> WebGL.

On the horizon. Not thrilled about running an app in a browser.

> I think the important aspects of language and library choice are:
> 1. We need a language (or languages, if the frontend and backend aren't
> necessarily in the same language) for which there are good libraries
> which handle
>  * smooth image scaling and rotation
>  * P2P networking

Well, OpenGL is platform independent.  As long as you can put up a frame
that allows direct rendering, you should be fine with whatever.  For
example, wxWidgets has a wxGLCanvas class and Qt has something similar, I

I don't know what P2P entails, so I can't address that.  I don't think
wxWidgets done anything, but we should be able to include additional
libraries. Same with Qt.

> 2. We need a language and libraries which have a developer community
> that isn't disappearing, and looks like it will still be viable some
> years from now.

Judging from the archives, wxWidgets is active. I know less about Qt except
that Nokia is losing interest.

> 3. We need a GUI toolkit which works on Macs, Windows, and Linux, and
> doesn't look awful.

Either wxWidgets or Qt (or JWT for that matter) are fine in that respect.

> 4. It would be helpful if all of these things were produced by groups
> not owned by any company.

That would leave wxWidgets.

> 5. It would be helpful if one could produce builds for all systems from
> Linux.

I know you can do this with wxWidgets with a cross compiler which is easy to
set up.  I suspect you can do this with Qt, but I don't know for sure.  JWT
is a no brainer of course.

- M.
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