C++ work

Geert Janssens janssens-geert at telenet.be
Tue Sep 9 17:24:47 EDT 2014

On Tuesday 09 September 2014 15:12:33 Aaron Laws wrote:
> The short question is: What GUI framework is gnucash likely to target
> in c++?
Equally short answer: likely Qt or WxWidgets. But we never did a detailed evaluation yet.

> I've heard it mentioned that the current framework (GTK?) doesn't make
> sense in c++ because it's so gobject-oriented, but I didn't hear
> anything else suggested. I know there's a QT effort which seems like
> a reasonable way to go, but haven't heard it actually endorsed
> anywhere.

> Currently, c++ work is starting at the deepest point (the part of the
> code that is relied on by everything), qof, so that a C api has to be
> maintained until everything that relies on QOF has a way of accessing
> the c++ interfaces. This means that c++ and C interfaces need to be
> created and maintained in parallel until everything's ready to
> switch. This has grated on me for quite a while, but I see it as a
> very difficult problem. I don't see a quick way to fix it. I've tried
> (and technically succeeded ^_^) compiling the whole project as c++,
> but that's not so great because the dynamic linking doesn't work
> because of mangling. Repairing this solution doesn't seem like a
> profitable way forward. It's sort of like throwing all your
> belongings into a river, then swimming across yourself, and trying to
> collect everything on the other side, making sure you didn't lose
> anything.
> Another way that I've been trying to consider is to start on the part
> of project upon which nothing relies. That way, that part of the
> project can be completely C++. Then, take the next thing which
> doesn't expose a *used* C api. Rinse and repeat. This way, there will
> never (?) have to be a duplicated API in any system.
Sounds nice in theory. I fear it will be equally if not more difficult than the current approach 

Taking your example of first replacing the gui.

As you bring up yourself it is heavily gobject based. And in addition the controller, model and 
view code are mixed up. Rewriting it in (say) Qt, means it will now use Qt objects. But the 
"business logic" (our engine code) is still gobject based.

So now in order for the gui to talk to the business logic you have to create an interface layer 
between the engine and the gui that will do the proper translations between the two object 
models. That is probably more work than maintaining the existing C api in the path currently 

In addition logically it doesn't make sense to start from the gui and drill down to the model. 
Your gui should be based on the model and controller logic so it only makes sense to start there. 
Going the other way around as a sure way to make wrong assumptions about how the lower 
layers will be implemented and in the best case mean several revisions to the higher layers or 
having to start over in the worst case.

> Another way to think about this is as a tree structure. I'll throw
> something up, and I'll eagerly await corrections! Read "->" as "relies
> on":
> GUI (GTK?) -> Business Logic
So rewrite the gui and an interface layer between the two
> Alternate gui (WEB?) -> Business Logic
Same here.
> GUI (GTK?) -> Reporting Infrastructure
Same here.
> Business Logic -> QOF
Rewrite the business logic and write an interface layer between the two.
Oops, the way we write the business logic now means we need to change the gui layer, because 
it made some invalid assumptions on what the business logic would be.
So rewrite the gui here as well
> Reporting Infrastructure -> QOF
Rewrite the reporting infrastructure and write an interface layer between the two.
Oops, the way we write the reporting infrastructure now means we need to change the gui 
layer, because it made some invalid assumptions on what the business logic would be.
So rewrite the gui here as well

> QOF -> libdrm, etc.
Rewrite qof and realize we end up with a different implementation that we thought we would. 
So rewrite the business logic and the reporting infrastructure once more. And bollocks, that kills 
our gui design again. Rewrite the gui...

> So, if QOF is changed, it still needs to support Business Logic with a
> C api until Business Logic is changed which can't happen until all
> GUIs that rely on it are changed. If, however, a gui layer is
> changed, that's all there is to it; there are no dependencies (if
> there are, we should have started at the dependency!). Once all GUIs
> (I know there's only one, but I'm trying to create a sufficiently
> complicated example!) are c++-ready, the Business Logic can be
> converted. No redundant API is necessary.
See my worst case but not unlikely scenario above. I predict much more work when working top 
down because it's impossible to rely on a lower level interface if the implementation hasn't 
been done yet.



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