OPaC bright ideas !

Swiss Software and Hardware development.

Last updated 26 Octobert 1998.

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OPaC undergoing heavy changes.

Object Pane

The latest available version of the OPaC class library is OPaC 1.0.3. It is quite old now and does not include Linux/X11 support, since important low level modifications have been undertaken. The sources are available for download. OPaC is undergoing heavy changes. The next public version will most probably be available by the end of the year.

The most important changes since the first release are the support for alpha transparency and translucency, the use of the FreeType library for font rendering and a smart revisionless serialisation algorithm.

A translucent window... OPaC support for transparency and 8-bit alpha translucency is 100% system independent. It is based on a set of custom 32-bit graphic routines used internally to draw into pixmaps. These pixmaps are then displayed on the host's display. [enlarged view of window].

Details about the new features (only up to 1.0.1) can be found here.

OPaC bright ideas
OPaC bright ideas was founded by Pierre Arnaud in 1995 in order to promote the development of the OPaC Class Library, an application framework freely redistributable under the terms of the OPaC Free Public License (based on the original Aladdin GhostScript Free Public License).

OPaC class library
The OPaC class library is a collection of C++ classes available for Windows 95, Windows NT and Linux/X11.
OPaC provides numerous portable widgets which can be edited dynamically while the application is running. This is possible thanks to a revolutionary dynamic user interface editor.

You can download the sources and the binary distribution of OPaC here.

There are only a few papers available, among them a tutorial explaining how to build a user interface and a preliminary programming guide.
Laurent Bovet's Linux porting guide provides some insight (PostScript or PDF).
An article I published in DDJ, August 1996, gives some insight on dynamic message passing, one of the cornerstones used to build OPaC.

Resources on the web
A developer's mailing list has been set up for interested people. You can find details about it here.

OPaC is essentially free for non commercial usage. The sources are available under the OPaC free public license in order to encourage further development and porting to other operating systems.

Work on OPaC has been in progress since 1991. The first drafts were written in assembler for the Smaky. In 1991, I switched to C++ and started to write the first real version of OPaC, which should have provided a new OS to the Smaky.
As systems like NeXTSTEP or Apple's MacApp became popular, I redesigned OPaC in order to support their most interesting concepts.
Current status
The Win32 version is quite stable now.
Support for the Linux/X11 platform is currently broken. It will be fixed with version 1.0.4, to be available in August.
FreeType is used to display characters in a uniform and portable way.

If you are interested in the project or want to help porting OPaC to another OS (OS/2, MacOS, Be, etc.), just send me some e-mail. Contributors are welcome !
Interface Builder Please visit the OPaC tutorial. You will learn a lot about OPaC in a few minutes... It explains how to dynamically build a user interface for a simple demonstration program, which multiplies two real numbers and graphically displays the result.
Have a look beyond the clouds.