Graphics Interface Kit/2 and The Developer Connection for OS/2

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by Seth Eilbott

So, how does one go about choosing a product to develop a graphical user interface for a new product? We did it by accessing our needs and researching our options. Our tool of choice was the IBM Graphics Interface Kit/2 (GIK/2) product. This article gives some perspectives on a real-life use of GIK/2.

One of the great features of GIK/2 is its ability to separate the handling of the graphics from the handling of the code. Here are two examples:

  • GIK/2 was able to handle all of the aspects of graphics manipulation, which freed up the User Interface team from worrying about the details of the graphics. That meant we could concentrate on writing the code to implement features. For example, a collapsed (closed) category is shown as a closed CD-ROM jewel case, while an expanded category is shown as an open jewel case. Both images first were created as standard OS/2 icons. Then, GIK/2's design tool let us import these icons into separate parts of the category symbol. To change a category graphic from one state to the other, The Developer Connection user-interface code simply had to tell GIK/2 to hide one part and to show the other. No PM calls were required of our code; GIK/2 magically handled the code details.
  • GIK/2 was able to hide the details of the product icon manipulation in a similar manner to the graphics manipulation. Even though different icons are shown for the different products, we actually used only a single symbol definition. At runtime, we issue a single GIK/2 call that loads a different icon for each product and shows that icon in the window.

Another feature we liked was the ability to use our interface as an editor. While this mode is not part of the distributed interface, we used this mode of GIK/2 to create the catalog that you see. In edit mode, we have incorporated drag-and-drop support, so that we can place the categories and product in the exact order we want. We can also use edit mode to enter all the details for each of the categories.

In a nutshell, IBM's GIK/2 drastically reduced our development time. It allowed us to concentrate on the internal processing of The Developer Connection user interface, without worrying on the external processing.

Reprint Courtesy of International Business Machines Corporation, © International Business Machines Corporation