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OpenGL 1.1 for AIX: Reference Manual

GLwDrawingArea or GLwMDrawingArea Widget


OpenGL Draw Widget Class


OpenGLC bindings library: libXGLW.a

C Syntax

#include </usr/include/GL/GLwDrawA.h>
Widget = XtCreateWidget(Widget, glwDrawingAreaWidgetClass, ...);
ld ... -lXGLW -l<anywidgetlibrary> -lXt -lGL -lX11 ...
#include </usr/include/GL/GLwMDrawA.h>
Widget = XtCreateWidget(Widget, glwMDrawingAreaWidgetClass, ...);
ld ... -lXGLW -lXm -IXt -IGL -IX11 ...


GLwDrawingArea and GLwMDrawingArea are widgets suitable for OpenGL drawing. Based on supplied parameters, these widgets provide a window with the appropriate visual and color maps needed for OpenGL. The GLwDrawingArea and GLwMDrawingArea widgets also provide callbacks for redraw, resize, input, and initialization.

The GLwDrawingArea widget is not a part of any widget set, but depends only on the Intrinsics Library (Xt). GLwDrawingArea can be used with any widget set. The GLwMDrawingArea widget is identical to the GLwDrawingArea widget except that it is a subclass of the Motif XmPrimitive widget class and has resources and defaults suitable for use with Motif. For example, GLwMDrawingArea provides the default Motif background and foreground colors for resources, and handles keyboard traversal more efficiently. Although the GLwDrawingArea widget can be used in a Motif program, it is recommended that GLwMDrawingArea be used instead.

Because both GLwDrawingArea and GLwMDrawingArea widgets behave almost identically, the remainder of this article refers only to GLwDrawingArea, except when the behaviors differ. Unless explicitly stated, all statements about GLwDrawingArea also apply to GLwMDrawingArea.

Among the information the programmer must provide to create a GLwDrawingArea widget is information necessary to determine the visual. The programmer can provide this information through resources by using one of the following methods:

In addition to allocating the visual, the GLwDrawingArea widget also allocates the color map unless one is provided by the application.

Note: If the color map is provided by the application, the application writer is responsible for guaranteeing compatibility between the color map and the visual.

If an application creates multiple GLwDrawingArea widgets in the same visual, the same color map will be used. However, the color map will not be shared among separate applications.

Creating the widget does not actually create the window until it is realized, and consequently, the application should not perform any OpenGL operations to the window immediately after creation. Instead, the application must wait until after it has realized the window. Alternatively, the ginit callback may be used to indicate when the window has been created. Upon receiving this callback, the application can perform all OpenGL initialization for the window, and can subsequently perform other operations on it. The initialization is discussed in more detail in the following sections.

Applications select which GLwDrawingArea they are accessing using either the glXMakeCurrent subroutine or the convenience function GLwDrawingAreaMakeCurrent, which uses a widget instead of a display and window. If there is only one GLwDrawingArea, this need only be called once; however, if there is more than one GLwDrawingArea, the widget should be called at the start of each callback. Callbacks in this case include not only callbacks provided by the widget itself, but any other callback that leads to Graphics Library (GL) activity, such as a timeout or a workproc.

If an application is using double buffering, it may call GLwDrawingAreaSwapBuffers instead of glXSwapBuffers. This allows the use of the widget instead of the display and window.

The GLwDrawingArea widget class is subclassed from the Core class, and inherits behavior and resources from the Core class. The GLwDrawingArea widget has the following class information:

Class Pointer: GLwDrawingAreaClass
Class Name: GLwDrawingArea

The GLwMDrawingArea widget class is subclassed from the XmPrimitive class, and inherits behavior and resources from the XmPrimitive and Core classes.

Class Pointer: GLwMDrawingAreaClass
Class Name: GLwMDrawingArea

New Resources

The following table defines a set of widget resources used by the programmer to specify data. The programmer can also set the resource values for the inherited classes to set attributes for this widget. To reference a resource by name or by class in an .Xdefaults file, remove the GLwN or GLwC prefix and use the remaining letters. There are two tables included. The following table includes resources that correspond directly to the attributes used by the glXChooseVisual subroutine. As with glXChooseVisual, all Boolean resources default to False and all integer resources default to 0. These resources can all be set only at creation time, and are used to determine the visual. If either the GLwNattribList or GLwNvisualInfo resource is set, these resources are ignored. The specific meaning of these resources is discussed in the glXChooseVisual subroutine and will not be discussed here.

Name Class Type OpenGL Attribute
GLwNbufferSize GLwCBufferSize Integer GLX_BUFFER_SIZE
GLwNlevel GLwCLevel Integer GLX_LEVEL
GLwNrgba GLwCRgba Integer GLX_RGBA
GLwNdoublebuffer GLwCDoublebuffer Boolean GLX_DOUBLE- BUFFER
GLwNstereo GLwCStereo Boolean GLX_STEREO
GLwNauxBuffers GLwCAuxBuffers Boolean GLX_AUX _BUFFERS
GLwNredSize GLwCColorSize Integer GLX_RED_SIZE
GLwNgreenSize GLwCColorSize Integer GLX_GREEN_SIZE
GLwNblueSize GLwCColorSize Integer GLX_BLUE_SIZE
GLwNalphaSize GLwCAlphaSize Integer GLX_ALPHA_SIZE
GLwNdepthSize GLwCDepthSize Integer GLX_DEPTH_SIZE
GLwNstencilSize GLwCStencilSize Integer GLX_ STENCIL_SIZE
GLwNaccum- RedSize GLwCAccum- ColorSize Integer GLX_ACCUM _RED_SIZE
GLwNaccum- GreenSize GLwCAccum- ColorSize Integer GLX_ACCUM _GREEN_SIZE
GLwNaccum- BlueSize GLwCAccum- ColorSize Integer GLX_ACCUM _BLUE_SIZE
GLwNaccum- AlphaSize GLwCAccum- AlphaSize Integer GLX_ACCUM _ALPHA_SIZE

The following table lists other resources of the GLwDrawingArea widget. Following the table is a description of each resource. The codes in the access column indicate if the given resource can be set at creation time (C), set by using XtSetValues (S), retrieved by using XtGetValues (G), or is not applicable (N/A).

Name Class Type Default Access
GLwNallocate- Background GLwCAllocate- Colors Boolean False CG
GLwNallocate- OtherColors GLwCAllocate- Colors Boolean False CG
GLwNattribList GLwCAttribList Integer * NULL CG
GLwNexpose- Callback GLwCCallback XtCallbackList NULL C
GLwNginit- Callback GLwCCallback XtCallbackList NULL C
GLwNinput- Callback GLwCCallback XtCallbackList NULL C
GLwNinstall- Background GLwCInstall- Background Boolean True CG
GLwNinstall- Colormap GLwCInstall- Colormap Boolean True CG
GLwNresize- Callback GLwCCallback XtCallbackList NULL C
GLwNvisual- Info GLwCVisual- Info XVisualInfo* NULL CG
GLwNallocateBackground If True, the background pixel and pixmap are allocated (if appropriate) using the newly calculated color map and visual. If False, they retain values calculated using the parent's color map and visual. Applications that wish to have X clear their background for them will usually set this to True. Applications clearing their own background will often set this to False, although they may set this to True if they query the background for their own use. One reason to leave this resource False is that if color index mode is in use, this will avoid using up a pixel from the newly allocated color map. Also, on hardware that supports only one color map, the application may need to do more careful color allocation to avoid flashing between the OpenGL color map and the default X color map.
Note: Because of the way the Intrinsics Library (Xt) works, the background colors are originally calculated using the default color map; if this resource is set they can be recalculated correctly. If a color map was explicitly supplied to the widget rather than being dynamically calculated, these resources are always calculated using that color map.)
GLwNallocateOtherColors This is similar to GLwNallocateBackground, but allocates other colors normally allocated by widgets. Although the GLwDrawingArea and GLwMDrawingArea widget do not make use of these colors the application may choose to query them. For the non-Motif GLwDrawingArea widget there are no other colors allocated, so this resource is a no-op. For the Motif GLwMDrawingArea are widget, the XmPrimitive resources XmNforeground, XmNhighlightColor, and XmNhighlightPixmap are calculated.
GLwNattribList Contains the list of attributes suitable for a call to glXChooseVisual. If this resource is NULL, it is calculated based on the attribute resources. If it is not NULL, the attribute resources are ignored.
GLwNexposeCallback Specifies the list of callbacks that is called when the widget receives an exposure event. The callback reason is GLwCR_EXPOSE. The callback structure also includes the exposure event. The application will generally want to redraw the scene.
GLwNginitCallback Specifies the list of callbacks that is called when the widget is first realized. Since no OpenGL operations can be done before the widget is realized, this callback can be used to perform any appropriate OpenGL initialization such as creating a context. The callback reason is GLwCR_GINIT.
GLwNinputCallback Specifies the list of callbacks that is called when the widget receives a keyboard or mouse event. By default, the input callback is called on each key press and key release, on each mouse button press and release, and whenever the mouse is moved while a button is pressed. However this can be changed by providing a different translation table. The callback structure also includes the input event. The callback reason is GLwCR_INPUT.

The input callback is provided as a programming convenience, since it provides a convenient way to catch all input events. However, a more modular program can often be obtained by providing specific actions and translations in the application rather than by using a single catch-all callback. Use of explicit translations can also provide greater customizing ability.

GLwNinstallBackground If set to True, the background is installed on the window. If set to False, the window has no background. This resource has no effect unless GLwNallocateBackground is also True.
GLwNinstallColormap If set to True, the widget will call XSetWMColormapWindows to tell the window manager to install the color map when the window's shell has focus. If set to False, this will not be called. For applications with multiple GLwDrawingArea widgets sharing a single color map, it is most efficient to set this resource to True for exactly one GLwDrawingArea with each color map. If an application needs additional control over the order of color maps, this resource can be set to False, with the application calling XSetWMColormapWindows explicitly.
GLwNresizeCallback Specifies the list of callbacks that is called when the GLwDrawingArea is resized. The callback reason is GLwCR_RESIZE.
GLwNvisualInfo Contains a pointer to the window's visual info structure. If Null, the visualInfo is calculated at widget creation time based on the GLwNattributeList resource (which is itself calculated from the various resources). If GLwNvisualInfo is not Null the GLwNattributList and the attribute resources are ignored.

Inherited Resources

Both GLwDrawingArea and GLwMDrawingArea inherit behavior and resources from the Core superclass. Other than the behavior of the color map and background resources described previously, all defaults are the same as for Core.

In addition, the Motif version GLwMDrawingArea also inherits from XmPrimitive. The behavior of the color resources has been described previously. The TraversalOn resource is disabled for this widget, but if keyboard input is required it should be enabled. (Also, the application should call XmProcessTraversal(widget, XmTRAVERSE_CURRENT) whenever mouse button 1 is clicked in the widget. This is similar to the requirements of the Motif Drawing area.) Because Motif gets confused by having multiple visuals in one top level shell, XmNhighlightOnEnter has been disabled, and XmNhighlightThickness has been set to 0.

Callback Information

A pointer to the following structure is passed to each callback:

typedef struct
   Integer reason;
   XEvent * event;
   Dimension    width, height;
} GLwDrawingAreaCallbackStruct;
Reason Indicates why the callback was invoked. Appropriate values are stated in the previous resource descriptions. For Motif programmers, the values GLwCR_EXPOSE, GLwCR_RESIZE, and GLwCR_INPUT are equal to XmCR_EXPOSE, XmCR_RESIZE, and XmCR_INPUT respectively. GLwCR_GINIT does not have a Motif equivalent.
Event Points to the XEvent that triggered the callback. This is Null for GLwNginitCallback and GLwNresizeCallback.
Width Sets the width of the window.
Height Sets the height of the window.
1 Adds space before the SS.


The GLwDrawingArea widget has the following translations:

<KeyDown>: glwInput()
<KeyUp>: glwInput()
<BtnDown>: glwInput()
<BtnUp>: glwInput()
<BtnMotion>: glwInput()

The GLwMDrawingArea widget has the following additional translation:

<Key>osfHelp: PrimitiveHelp()

An application wishing to catch other events than these defaults can do so by installing a different translation table.

1 Adds space before the SS.

Action Routines

The GLwDrawingArea widget has the following action routine:

glwInput(): Called whenever one of the previous translations specifies that input has occurred. Its sole purpose is to call the input callback.


When the widget is initially created (for example, through XtCreateWidget) the associated window is not actually created. Instead, window creation is delayed until the widget is realized. However, glXchooseVisual is called immediately, so information based on its results is available.

Between the time the widget is created and it is realized, the following apply:

When the widget is realized, the following actions take place:


When using the input callback to receive keyboard input, the keycode in the event must be converted to a keysym. Use XLookupKeysym or XLookupString to do the conversion. Keyboard input can also be dealt using translations, in which case no such conversion is required.

Motif programmers should keep in mind that OSF uses virtual bindings and replaces some of the key bindings. As a common example, if the Esc key is to be used to exit the program (as it often is in GL programs), the translation should specify <key>osfCancel instead of <key>Escape.

Motif programmers may also create a GLwMDrawingArea widget with the Motif style GLwCreateMDrawingArea.


The following are some code fragments that create a GLwDrawingArea widget and manage the appropriate callbacks:

#include </usr/include/GL/GLwDrawA.h>
   static GLXContext glx_context;  /* assume only one context */
   . . .
       Arg args[10];
       int n;
       Widget parent;   /* The parent of the gl widget */
       Widget glw;   /* The GLwDrawingArea widget          */
       . . .
       /* Create the widget using RGB mode.  This can also be set
        * in an X Defaults file
       n = 0;
       XtSetArg(args[n], GLwNrgba, TRUE); n++;
       glw = XtCreateManagedWidget("glw",
      parent, args, n);
       XtAddCallback(glw, GLwNexposeCallback, exposeCB, 0);
       XtAddCallback(glw, GLwNresizeCallback, resizeCB, 0);
       XtAddCallback(glw, GLwNginitCallback, ginitCB, 0);
       /* Also add input callback if needed */
       . . .
   static void
   exposeCB(Widget w, XtPointer client_data,
             GLwDrawingAreaCallbackStruct call_data)
       GLwDrawingAreaMakeCurrent (w, glx_context);
       /* redraw the display */
   static void
   resizeCB(Widget w, XtPointer client_data,
             GLwDrawingAreaCallbackStruct call_data)
       GLwDrawingAreaMakeCurrent (w, glx_context);
       /* perform any resize actions */
        glViewport (0, 0, call_data->width -1, 
         call_data->height -1);
      /* redraw the display */
   static void
   ginitCB(Widget w, XtPointer client_data,
             GLwDrawingAreaCallbackStruct call_data)
       Arg args[1];
       XVisualInfo *vi;
       XtSetArg(args[0], GLwNvisualInfo, &vi);
       XtGetValues(w, args, 1);
       /* create a visual context */
       glx_context = glXCreateContext(XtDisplay(w), vi, 0, GL_FALSE);
       GLwDrawingAreaMakeCurrent (w, glx_context);
       /* Perform any necessary graphics initialization.*

The Motif program need only differ by including GLwMDrawA.h instead of GLwDrawA.h and by creating a widget of type GLwMDrawingAreaWidgetClass instead of GLwDrawingAreaWidgetClass. As an alternative, the Motif program could use GLwCreateMDraw instead.

  1. If a GLwDrawingArea widget is created as a child of an already realized widget, the GLwDrawingArea widget will be created immediately, without giving the user an opportunity to add the ginit callback. In such a case, initialization should be done immediately after creating the widget rather than by using the callback.
  2. If the non-Motif GLwDrawingArea widget is used in a Motif program and keyboard traversal is attempted, the behavior is undefined if the user traverses into the GLwDrawingArea widget.


/usr/include/GL/GLwDrawA.h Contains the GLwDrawingArea widget definitions derived from the Xt.
/usr/include/GL/GLwDrawAP.h Contains GLwDrawingArea widget private definitions.
/usr/include/GL/GLwMDrawA.h Contains the GLwMDrawingArea widget definitions derived from Motif.
/usr/include/GL/GLwMDrawAP.h Contains GLwMDrawingArea widget private definitions.

Related Information

The GLwCreateMDrawingArea function, GLwDrawingAreaMakeCurrent function, GLwDrawingAreaSwapBuffers function.

The glXChooseVisual subroutine, glXMakeCurrent subroutine.

OpenGL Overview.

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