Experimenting with Glista on OS X

I haven’t blogged in a while, probably because I was too busy. I’ve been working, started to take some university classes (Philosophy & Computer Science), and… I’m doing most of my work on Mac OS X now. Don’t worry, I’m still a Linux guy – but mostly for work purposes (and out of curiosity) I decided to ask Zend for a Macbook when my Thinkpad was starting to die.

Unfortunately the negative side effect of this is that I had to put Glista on hold – since I didn’t have a Gtk+ based desktop anymore there wasn’t much point in actively working on it.

However, in the last couple of days (following some patches that came in from ananasik, for whom I immediately gave commit access) my fingers started itching, and I decided to play with porting Glista to OS X – and found this project.

After some hours of tinkering, crashing, building, rebuilding and breaking things again, I now have a somewhat working (albeit ugly, and not so OS X friendly) working Glista.app Application bundle running on my own 32 bit OS X 10.6:

Glista running on native OS X for the first time!


Glista in the Dock!

If you’re really up for it, you can get a Disk Image here.

You can also build it from source by checking out http://glista.googlecode.com/svn/branches/osx-support and doing the following:

  1. Make sure you have all the nescesary build environment (XCode is usually a good start!)
  2. Install all the gtk-osx tools and libraries including ige-mac-builder and gtk-quartz
  3. cd into the source directory and run (in a jhbuild shell after installing osx-gtk) ./configure –prefix=$PREFIX
  4. Note that some things do not work on OS X yet (or will never work) like libunique integration, gtk-spell, libnotify integration etc. – that’s normal for nowRun ‘make’, don’t (!!) run ‘make install’ (well you can, but there’s no need, you’ll just pollute your system
  5. cd into dist/mac/ and run ‘make dist-mac’. If everything is ok this should create Glista.app in that directory.
  6. Move that .app into /Applications (or anywhere else) and enjoy!

So far, it looks like it’s going to be a long time before Glista will work smoothly on Mac – and most of it is because Gtk+ is not really that portable, and making it use OS-native widgets and rendering seems to be quite a challenge. I also don’t feel I know enough about the internals of Gtk+, Quartz or OS X in general in order to help with that effort – but who knows, maybe I’ll be able to help somehow?

BTW I’m not sure if that binary will work on anything but OS X 10.6 on Intel 32 bit. If you try, let me know!

Glista 0.3 Released

Thanks to the very good holiday layout this year*, I finally got to release the next preview release of Glista – my super simple Gtk+ based to-do list manager for your desktop.

The major improvement in this release is category support. For a while, I didn’t want to add any features that will make the UI more complex than it is. Then I noticed that I tend to add ad-hoc categories to my tasks in order to sort them – that is instead of typing “Fix ZF bug #1234″ I type “ZF: Fix bug #1234″. This is a very natural way to organize your tasks for me, and I assume that it is for most people. So I decided to add category support by recognizing this colon-separated syntax and breaking any item typed in this way into a “cateogry: item” structure.
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Introducing Glista: Yet another to-do applet for Gtk+

Yes, there are probably a dozen out there, but none of them was just the way I wanted it to be. So I went out and started writing one: Glista.

It’s terribly simple, and I spent not more than a weekend and a couple of evenings writing it. But I have been using it successfully for over a week now and for the first time I am tracking my tasks through a desktop tool – so I’ve decided to release it.

Visit the Glista page at http://prematureoptimization.org/glista for more information.

It is written in C/Gtk+ (so it runs well on GNOME but should work on other desktops, and should also be portable to Mac / Windows). Now, I must say that I am *not* a C programmer. I suck at it in fact. But I enjoy banging my head against the C memory management wall from time to time. If you look at my code and must run to wash your eyes, tell me about it because I want to improve.

I am using the 0.1 release available on the site (and through Google Code) for some time now. I don’t plan to expand it much but there are some fixes / additions I want to add if I find the time in the next few weeks.

Try it out and tell me what you think!

BTW: I used the name “Glista” because of the common “G” prefix for Gtk+/GNOME apps, joined with “list” and an “a” just to make it cooler. A couple of days later I found it it’s actually a word – in many Slavic languages it’s the word for an earthworm, and in Russian it’s sort of the plural form for Glist which is the word for intensinal parasitic worms. Cool!