Fanning Software Consulting

Is XManager Obsolete?

QUESTION: I see hints every now and then that widget programs will run without calling XManager. Is XManager now obsolete in IDL 5.6?

ANSWER: Sorta. Yes. No, not really. Uh, ... give me a minute here. :-(

Well... Yes, it is true that a great deal of code that used to reside in the XManager is now part of the IDL interpreter. What this means currently is that all non-blocking widget functionality is handled by the interpreter and not by XManager. So, if you are writing a non-blocking widget program you can dispense with the XManager call and get your program running properly simply by setting the Managed keyword on your program's top-level base. (Note that using the Managed keyword is heavily discouraged by the IDL documentation, and you will have to get used to setting Kill_Notify and Event_Pro keywords on that top-level base, which you learned long ago you should never do!)

Do you want to do this? I don't know. Are you still holding on to your high-tech stocks?

I talked to my high-level source at RSI about this. The folks there (and the current documentation will confirm this) want you to write widget programs the way you have always written widget programs. In other words, keep using XManager. They reason that XManager is their one point of contact with running and registering widget programs. Just because they aren't using it now doesn't mean they won't want to use it in the future if they make changes to how widgets work. (They have no current plans for changes, but even a fool can see that widget events have to be incorporated into objects sooner or later.)

As far as I'm concerned, I'm going to write a couple of widget programs without XManager and make them available on my web page, just to blow people's minds! :-)

Web Coyote's Guide to IDL Programming