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bloc next experiments

Tudor Girba-2
Happy New Year!
We were asked about the roadmap of Bloc several times. It is a perfectly reasonable request given that Bloc is supposed to offer the UI infrastructure for the future of Pharo.

However, I was reluctant to provide one because we do not really have a classic roadmap. When we develop Bloc and GT we think in terms of experiments and examples that we want to play with to get us to our goal. Features are a consequence of that. This approach allowed us on multiple occasions to stumble across functional possibilities that we would have not been able to think about before seeing the experiments. It also works the other way around: as we move ahead, we sometime discover modeling problems and we sometimes chase them all the way down.

Having said that, we can specify the next examples and experiments that we consider for the next months. Here they are:
• Drag and drop that can be customized on an instance basis. In the process, revisit event management and explore making it use Announcements. Use this for the diagramming engine.
• Scrollbar for infinite list and the scalable element.
• Apply layout once. For example, this would allow us to apply a layout but still be able to drag elements in custom positions without disturbing the others. The first application is in the context of creating diagrams and visualizations.
• Apply layout with animation. For example, in Connector, a new example should  be spawned and moved to its position through a smooth animation. This will also allow us to play with the concept of animation and MVVM.
• Introduce the concept of elevation. This is important for scenes in which we have overlapping elements that are not part of the composition tree. For example, in Connector, the lines connect inner elements inside the text, but they belong to the root. such as a visualization (but not only). For this to work, we need a better element traversing structure.
• Experiment with theming. The theming mechanism should be instance specific with per-widget defaults, and the theme values should ideally be injected in the widgets. The CSS implementation from Glenn is one direction. As developing and maintaining themes can be a nightmare in the long run, the theming mechanism to provide debugging tools.
• Experiment with delegating animations through the model. Typical MVVM or MVC focus on the behavior of an interaction. We want to get smooth  live interfaces and the animation logic should be influence-able  by the model. For example, hovering over a button, enlarges the button with extra details about the action.
• Basic widgets: list, input box, button, radio button, checkbox, menu, dropdown menu, toggling button, tabs, toolbar.
• Table and tree widgets.
• Pager interface (similar to the one in the current inspector) with resizable panes.

Have fun,
The feenk team


"Presenting is storytelling."

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