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Programming KDE 2.0: Creating Linux Desktop Applications (with CD-ROM) with CDROM [Paperback]

Lotsi Boloni , Preston Brown , Tom Genereaux
1.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)

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Book Description

January 2000
Version 2.0 of KDE features innovations in the API and the use of KOM techniques. This book introduces C++ programmers to the K Desktop Environment with a comprehensive tutorial ranging from general principles and libraries to component programming and interprogram communications. Two of the authors have served as active contributors to this KDE release. This experience uniquely qualifies them to deliver an up-to-date perspective of the system, as well as demonstration projects and significant portions of reusable code.

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The K Desktop Environment (KDE) is the most popular desktop environment for UNIX-like systems and the probably largest open source project ever undertaken. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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1.0 out of 5 stars Re-hashed content, amateurish advice Jan. 23 2003
Format:Paperback
Programming KDE 2.0 is largely a re-hash of other publicly available material, interspersed with the author's amateurish pontification on user interface and application design.
In particular, the sections that purport to emphasize good user interface design are, unfortunately, academic and superficial -- almost as if the author once read a book on user interface design and regurgitates what he remembers. The history of the graphical interface presented in the first chapter is a wasted opportunity because it is simply a chronology. It completely fails to highlight the important lessons that were learned, extract the key points and teach the reader something. Anyone who spent an afternoon searching the web could have written the same thing -- not what I want to pay for in a book.
This book is strongest in providing details of the available GUI elements (i.e. describing the API). But then the KDE API is well documented anyway -- and the book simply re-hashes that (public) material. There is very little added value here.
The author clearly considers his personal development techniques to be that added value. Unfortunately, these are poorly conceived and not pragmatic for anything other than small amateur applications. A good example is the use of XML to define a user interface. While XML is all the rage right now, this approach means that building a GUI becomes a laborious trial-and-error process with much manual editing of XML before you get the right result. The XML then becomes a bear to maintain. Worse, it make it very hard for the application to dynamically adapt the GUI based on calculations or data entered by the user. This is critical for anything other than the simplest application.
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Amazon.com: 2.5 out of 5 stars  4 reviews
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Okay for some things July 29 2001
By Amazon Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
This is a pretty basic book. It's reasonably thorough when it covers working with KDevelop and building a project. It's also reasonably thorough covering the dialog boxes and GUI widgets available to you. And it has some coverage of other topics like XML-configured GUIs, saving data to file, and developing your own components.
Still, there's a lot of stones left unturned. I thought the discussion of the KDE architecture was pretty minimal. There's no real coverage of the aRts multimedia framework in KDE 2.0, or of using OpenGL. And, in general, the coverage seems to be less thorough than in the book KDE 2.0 Development, though possibly friendlier to novices on topics like working with the IDE.
Also note that there's no coverage of working with databases, though that's pretty understandable since KDE doesn't offer tools to do this. To work with databases, you're looking at using some other API, such as a database vendor's.
Overall, this book could be useful to some people. This book covers things at a level that I would expect to appeal to people like VB or MFC programmers who wanted to learn Linux. It would also be useful to people looking to develop GUIs that aren't especially demanding, whether simple applications or simple interfaces that cover complex inner workings. Still, it didn't really meet my needs (partially because I'm looking to do audio programming) so I can't give it more than a qualified recommendation.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Re-hashed content, amateurish advice Jan. 23 2003
By digerati - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Programming KDE 2.0 is largely a re-hash of other publicly available material, interspersed with the author's amateurish pontification on user interface and application design.
In particular, the sections that purport to emphasize good user interface design are, unfortunately, academic and superficial -- almost as if the author once read a book on user interface design and regurgitates what he remembers. The history of the graphical interface presented in the first chapter is a wasted opportunity because it is simply a chronology. It completely fails to highlight the important lessons that were learned, extract the key points and teach the reader something. Anyone who spent an afternoon searching the web could have written the same thing -- not what I want to pay for in a book.
This book is strongest in providing details of the available GUI elements (i.e. describing the API). But then the KDE API is well documented anyway -- and the book simply re-hashes that (public) material. There is very little added value here.
The author clearly considers his personal development techniques to be that added value. Unfortunately, these are poorly conceived and not pragmatic for anything other than small amateur applications. A good example is the use of XML to define a user interface. While XML is all the rage right now, this approach means that building a GUI becomes a laborious trial-and-error process with much manual editing of XML before you get the right result. The XML then becomes a bear to maintain. Worse, it make it very hard for the application to dynamically adapt the GUI based on calculations or data entered by the user. This is critical for anything other than the simplest application. It also makes re-use of parts dialog boxes or forms within the application almost impossible, because there is no modularity.
The final straw is the author's prose -- rambling and irrelevant, with an overall tone of smug authority "talking down" to the reader. For example, in the first chapter, the author talks disapprovingly of end users who expect a graphical user interface to be easy to use (because this is hard to program)!
There are far better books on application development and user interface design. Buy one of those, and get your KDE API documentation from the KDE developer community sites.
10 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Author's review Jan. 7 2001
By Ladislau Boloni - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Hi, I am the author of this book and I want to review it forprospective readers. (Ok, I gave it five stars. What would you expectfrom the author?) The goal of this book is to help a programmer with some experience inC/C++ programming to create KDE applications. I can especiallyrecommand it for programmers just starting to create desktopapplications or migrating from the Windows world. The book covers the building of a KDE program starting from the choice of development tools and the organization of a largeprogramming project. The various user interface elements provided bythe KDE libraries are discussed. Instead of attempting to provide anexhaustive and impersonal listing of classes and functions, the bookconcentrates on "best practices", presenting solutions and enoughdocumentation which can cover the programmer for common applications(and for the rest, pointing the reader to the full documentation ofKDE 2.0 sources, on the CD). The book emphasizes the importance of clean and consistent user interface design, and in its choice of solutions follows the recommendations of the KDE style guide. A separate chapter is dedicated to the configuration system ofKDE. The last chapters of the book are dedicated to advancedtechnics introduced in KDE 2.0: component based programming(KParts), user interfaces described by XML scripts and KDE's interprocess communication mechanism (DCOP). Technics to speed upthe applications, like the kdeinit mechanism, are also discussed. All the concepts are demonstrated by a large number of examples andsample programs, contained in the CD bundled with the book. The readerstarts with the sample program Minidraw in its simplest version. Asthe new features are presented, he learns how to add features likemultitabbed dialogs, network transparent saving and loading, userinterface described in XML, possibility to embed in konqueror and manyothers.
1 of 5 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Ok but not that great... May 21 2001
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Granted, there are less typos in the book than in the review given by the author himself you read above. The book is ok, a bit confusing with many missing parts. I returned it because after buying it, I would still go with the online documentation and tutorial. I haven't seen that much more material covered in the book from what I could find online already, and it deeply hurts me to see so many good trees killed by the us programmers. Note to the author: It would have been nice to show us readers some humility and rate yourself with something other than 5 stars. I gave you a 1 star to compensate for your choice... ;-)
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