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System.Windows.Form Improves on All Platforms, Including Mac

Monkey Business starts its third year

The new managed System.Windows.Forms (SWF) implementation that first appeared in Mono 1.1.4, is getting quite good. Of the 69 major controls, 40 are complete enough for user testing and bug reporting, 18 are being worked on, and only 11 are waiting for developers to step up and start implementing. The common dialogbox controls and MdiClient are near completion. The controls not currently being worked on are the databound controls, printing, and error and help providers. It is expected that the recently completed ToolTip control can be used as a starting point for the error and help provider.

Also, SWF and Cocoa# are both making great strides on the Mac. One of the reasons for switching from the old WINE-based SWF to the new managed version was better cross-platform compatibility on non-Intel platforms. Currently most of the SWF components for Windows and Linux that have been finished also work on the Mac, the main limitation being that mapping to the keyboard isn't done. One recent advance for SWF on the Mac was replacing the Mac X11 driver with a native Mac driver, so X11 isn't needed any more for SWF on the Mac. This is easier to install, performs better, and gives a more native feel to SWF programs on the Mac; full native feel will require a Mac theme driver.

Cocoa# 0.2 has also been released. Cocoa# is a .NET wrapper for the native Mac Cocoa graphics library. With Mono 1.1.4 and Cocoa# 0.2, Cocoa# was included in the Mono packages for the Mac for the first time.

New .NET Languages

A new open source version of PHP has been started by Ross Girshick; you can get more information at http://numbers.wordnerd.org/blog/. The 0.1 version is out; details are at http://sourceforge.net/mailarchive/forum.php?thread_id=6567021&forum_id=43885 . It is barely functional, and one of the reasons for the release was to attract more developers to the project. By the time you read this, version 0.2 or later should be available. The goal of the project is bring it up to PHP5 compatibility, make it faster than the C version, have it run on all Mono-supported platforms, and extend PHP so it accesses .NET assembles.

Faster than the C version? Ross is aiming high! But it is an achievable goal.

RemObjects has also created a new language for .NET that it supports on Mono. It is called Chrome, and it is based is on ObjectPascal, with additions from other languages including C#, Java, and Eiffel (design by contract). It also throws in some new features of its own. It integrates with Visual Studio and compiled programs run under Mono; since the command-line compiler was written in .NET, it also runs under Mono. Details and a free preview version are available at www.chromesville.com/.

db4objects has created an open source object database for .NET and Java. It is a true object database with no rows or columns, just objects. You can find out more about it at www.db4o.com/about/productinformation/, or you can get mono-specific information at www.mono-project.com/contributing/db4o.html.

Odds & Ends

TagCMA is an open source collaborative 3D drawing application. It allows thousands of users to work on the same 3D scene at the same time, with everybody seeing each other's changes updated at 10-second intervals. A test run between the state of Washington and the UK only had a couple of seconds delay in the updates. The server runs on Mono, and the client is just a couple of SWF bug fixes away from running on Mono as well (it should be running on Mono by the time you read this). You can see some screen shots at www.tagcma.com/index.php and you can click on the "What is TagCMA" link to see more demos.

Paul Johnson has collected a lot of information on installing and compiling Mono on different platforms and he's combined it all on a Web page at www.all-the-johnsons.co.uk/mono/mono-compiling.html. See the "I want to use the new Managed.Windows.Forms" section for information on how to use the new SWF.

The Mono home page has a new look after switching to the MediaWiki engine. See www.go-mono.com.

Last month "Monkey Business" started its third year. DNDJ editor Derek Ferguson points out that with Monkey Business, DNDJ is the only print media that guarantees monthly coverage of Mono and open source .NET. Each of the last two years I've considered doing a year-in-review column, but Mono, DotGNU, and other open source .NET projects generate too much news for me to be able to spare the space.

More Stories By Dennis Hayes

Dennis Hayes is a programmer at Georgia Tech in Atlanta Georgia where he writes software for the Adult Cognition Lab in the Psychology Department. He has been involved with the Mono project for over six years, and has been writing the Monkey Business column for over five years.

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