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Motif 2.1 Programmer's Guide

Chapter 1. Introduction

Motif is a graphical user interface, a means by which an application program can obtain input from and display output to a user of the application. Motif provides the intermediary mechanisms for communication between the application and the user. To both sides, these mechanisms appear as a set of objects with graphical representations on the screen. The program creates and displays objects of a variety of types provided by Motif for showing the user particular kinds of output and requesting particular kinds of input. The user supplies input by manipulating the screen representations of these objects with the pointer, the keyboard, or both.

This book explains the Motif application programming interface. This is the set of facilities that Motif gives an application developer to create and interact with a Motif interface for the application. This book is not a reference work; that is, it does not attempt to describe the API in exhaustive detail. Its focus is on giving an overview of the Motif architecture, explaining the concepts and conventions required to use the API, and providing examples. This book complements other volumes in the Motif documentation set:

  1. The Motif Programmer's Reference describes each element of the Motif programming interface in detail. It is organized into reference pages, one for each element of the interface.

  2. The Application Environment Specification -- User Environment Volume describes which elements of the interface an application should use for maximum portability. All implementations of Motif must support the interfaces described in the AES.

  3. The Motif Style Guide describes how an application should use the interface for maximum consistency with other Motif applications.

  4. The Motif User's Guide describes the appearance and interaction style of Motif from the user's point of view.

    The Motif API as supplied by OSF® is implemented in the C programming language. Motif requires that an application written in C conform to American National Standards Institute (ANSI) C. This book assumes knowledge of ANSI C, which is explained by other published reference and tutorial books. It is also possible to write applications in other languages, including C++, but this book gives explanations and examples only for applications written in C.

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