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Motif and CDE 2.1 Style Guide

The Motif User Interface

The Motif user interface is a graphical user interface for the X Window system. By providing a consistent interface for the UNIX environment, Motif enables users to work with multiple applications that have consistent and similar characteristics.

Motif and the Common Desktop Environment

The Common Desktop Environment (CDE) is a specification and reference implementation of a common UNIX desktop user environment and has many cross-process relationships. By comparison, the process relationship between an application, a window manager, and the X Window System server is much simpler than in CDE.

The area covered by CDE is broad, and although the layering in the system is not as rigorous as that of Motif, the relationship between high-level system components is more diverse. This is primarily due to the ToolTalk extensions that have been built into CDE. (For more information on ToolTalk, see the ToolTalk User's Guide and CDE ToolTalk Messaging Overview.)

CDE, however, uses Motif as its underlying toolkit. Applications developed for CDE must adhere to the same style guidelines as Motif applications running under another window manager as well as to CDE-specific style guidelines (see "Common Desktop Environment Guidelines" for more information). Figure 1 shows the relationship of applications with and without CDE.

Figure 1. Relationship of Applications With and Without CDE.



View figure.

History of Motif

Motif was developed to fill a growing need for a consistent graphical user interface for the X Window system. To develop such an interface, the Open Software Foundation (OSF) solicited technical input from the computer industry in 1989. Table 1 outlines the history of Motif and the Motif Style Guide.

Table 1. History of Motif and the Motif Style Guide
Version Description
Motif 1.0 and 1.1 Early releases of Motif. OSF published a style guide.
Motif 1.2 - 1.2.3 Many technical and behavioral upgrades. Technical upgrades included toolkit enhancement, support for X11R5, additional internationalization functions, and performance improvements. Behavioral upgrades included drag-and-drop capability, tear-off menus, and window manager implementation. OSF also improved the style guide.
Motif 1.2.5 Based on Motif 1.2.3. This version was developed exclusively for the Common Desktop Environment (CDE) Version 1.0. A style guide was released with CDE.
Motif 2.0 Based on Motif 1.2.3. This version included additional controls, C++ support, international language improvements, and text input modifications. A preliminary style guide, based on IBM's Common User Access, was developed but never released.
Motif 2.1 The current version of Motif. Now administered by the X Consortium, this release of Motif combines all the features of Motif 1.2.5 and Motif 2.0. Developers can build their own desktop environment and applications or build CDE 2.1 applications with the same set of libraries. This style guide includes both Motif 2.1 and CDE 2.1 style guidelines. Since CDE 2.1 was built with Motif 2.1, the Motif 2.1 guidelines also apply to CDE 2.1 unless stated otherwise.


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