I was doing a lot of playing with Morphic this week at ESUG in Barcelona. Many people seem to really not like it and complain about it, but it seems very vague i.e. they can’t point to a specific problem with it.
I think it’s amazingly powerful and universally misunderstood. Many people are pushing for native widgets for end users, which I think is awesome, but serves a different role. For me, there are two use cases:
1. People (mostly Smalltalkers, including myself) interested in the UI’s of the future and exploring what’s possible
2. People who love their (e.g. Mac) look and feel or are in a setting (e.g. enterprise) where they have to use a particular GUI.
Morphic seems ideal for group #1. I think the key questions are:
* if you were implementing Morphic today, knowing what you know after it being used over the years, how would you do it?
* what would it take (if possible) to get there from the current implementation?
Two issues I’ve noticed:
1. there seems to be an explosion of classes with slightly different behavior e.g. TextMorph, TextMorphForShout, PluggableTextMorph, PluggableShoutMorph.
2. I’m not clear whether the hooks for modifying behavior are
a. available in all the right places
c. widely understood
I’m forming an informal panel to discuss this. I’ve reached out to Morphic’s creators and some original users.
A quick example of my (seemingly common) experience:
For example, I’m writing an implementorsOf browser that shows the execution path as a graph of MethodMorphs connected by LineMorphs, because the standard paned browser does not capture the metaphor of drilling down through implementors. So I Created a MethodMorph and added as a submorph a PluggableShoutMorph to hold the code. At that point, I couldn’t figure out a good/easy way to react to mouse events and pop out a new MethodMorph.
I tried (one of these felt very satisfying):
* Morph>>on:send:to:, which sounded good, but never got called
* intercepting Morph>>processEvent:using: (which I was told was not a good idea)
* (after seeking help), locking the submorphs and overriding the dozen or so event-related methods in the chain from my morph to TextMorphForShout (the Morph that actually handles the text and input).
* subclassing TextMorphForShout and then subclassing PluggableShoutMorph to use that subclass.