This is a simple narrative description of the parts of the Lumen library that are relatively short, or aren't described elsewhere.
The root of the Lumen package family is the empty spec
Lumen. Okay, it's
not totally empty--it has a
pragma Pure in it, for no real reason.
Lumen.Window package is sort of the first among peers. It is where
everything starts, by creating a window. The
Create call has a metric
assload of parameters, but they all have defaults, and in most cases the
defaults are at least "usable". If you just call
Create with only a
parameter, you get a 400x400 X window named using the application executable's
filename, with a new double-buffered TrueColor OpenGL rendering context
attached. Such a window won't receive any input events, and without them
maybe it has limited usefulness, but you certainly can draw in it.
The first parameter is
Win, which is the place where Lumen puts the handle
for the new window. The handle is what you use in all other calls that refer
to the window.
The next parameter is
Parent, which tells which other window this one's
parent is. If you create more than one window, they can be either top-level
independent windows, by specifying
No_Window as the parent (which in X
actually uses the screen's root window) , or subordinate children, by
specifying another Lumen window as the parent. Frankly, we haven't played
with the whole child-window thing yet; in some cases, the child windows are
clipped to the boundaries of the parent. We're not yet sure if that's true of
all child windows. But we think there can be some advantages to be had by
declaring a window as a child of another one, though we can't at the moment
state what those advantages might be. Use this option with caution, because
once we do explore the topic, it may be going away, or changing radically.
The next two parameters,
Height are the new window's initial
dimensions measured in pixels. Maybe someday we'll allow measurement in
millimeters or furlongs or whatnot, but for now, it's pixels. You can resize
the window later, although not from within Lumen itself; the resize request
has to come from outside, meaning the window manager, usually because you
dragged the border to a different size.
The next parameter
Events is the set of input events you want to receive,
things like keypresses, pointer (mouse) movements and button clicks, the
aforementioned resize requests, and so on. Just set whichever event type(s)
you want to receive to True, and the rest False. See the
Lumen.Events package for how you actually receive such events in
The next four parameters are various names to attach to the new window. The
Name parameter sets the window's name (also known as the WM_NAME
property), which most window managers will put in the window's title bar or
its equivalent. The
Icon_Name is associated with the window's icon rather
than the window itself; a lot of window managers don't even use this one, but
it's there for those that do. The next two,
together collectively make up the window's "class name", the first being the
actual class, and the second being the instance of that class. Some window
managers, like the one we use (openbox) let you refer to window classes in
their configuration, so you can treat all windows of a certain class the same
way. If you don't specify a
Class_Name, it'll initial-cap your app's
filename and use that, so if your app is called "foo", the class name will be
"Foo". If it's "foo_bar", the class name will be "Foo_Bar", and so on. Why
this is a tuple (two strings used as a unit) instead of just one string, we
have no idea.
Context parameter is in case you want to get fancy and have multiple
OpenGL rendering contexts, and swap them out one for another. This parameter
lets you create a new native window with an existing context, instead of
creating a new context like it would otherwise. You can create new contexts
Create_Context function described below; if there's a reason for
it, we'll add another function like
Get_Context that will return an existing
window's context so you can share the same context across multiple windows.
You can also set (change) a window's context after it's created using
Make_Current as described below, so if you didn't set it at creation, you
can change it later. We're not yet sure why you'd want to do this, but we'll
explore it soon. This is another parameter that may change or go away as we
The last four parameters,
related to the X windows "visual" and the OpenGL context created for the new
window, and control the kinds of colors you can use, how updates are sent to
the server, and other useful but rather obscure stuff. The defaults are fine
for most current hardware, but in unusual situations you may need to tinker
with these values to find a set you can use to create a window.
Depth in this case is the color depth, meaning either a reduced
PseudoColor or DirectColor palette, or a 32-bit RGBA TrueColor palette. The
term "depth" is also used in the attributes below, with an entirely different
Depth parameter allows you to use lesser hardware, or make
less use of regular hardware, by using PseudoColor or IndexedColor rendering
instead of TrueColor. We've used those in the past, but it's been so long
we've forgotten if they have any advantages besides being able to run on
ancient graphics cards.
Direct is an aspect of the OpenGL rendering context, and specifies whether
you want direct rendering, or to go through the X server. If you don't know
or care what this means, just use the default. If you get a
exception, try setting it to
False. If you're sending the display over the
network, you usually have to set this to
Animated says "I'll want to do smooth animation in this window", and allows
that by selecting a double-buffered visual instead of one that's
single-buffered. If you set it
True, or let it default to
you'll need to call
Swap to see what you've just drawn.
Attributes is a list of X visual settings that you can use to
determine what sort of graphical "device" you're going to be drawing on. In
the old days, if you had a graphics terminal with, say, 4 bits for each of
red, green, and blue, well that's what you had. In today's world, X normally
provides you with several choices of color depth, Z-buffer depth, double
buffering, and so on. Using the
Atributes parameter you can pass an array
of various visual attributes; the
provides an example of how to do this.
During testing we discovered that not all setups offer 8 bit RGBA visuals with
24 bits of Z buffer, so if you get a
Not_Available exception from
try lowering some of those values, even all the way to zero. X will pick the
"best fit" if you ask for less than he has to offer.
Another thing to note about the
Attributes array is that two of its values
overlap two distinct parameters to
Attr_RGBA is the same as setting
Attr_Doublebuffer is the same as setting
These overlaps are due to historical reasons and may go away.
probably hang around as a separate parameter, since it's a pretty important
aspect of all renderings, but
Depth may just be dumped in favor of including
Attr_RGBA in the default values, since TrueColor is pretty much the norm
There are many elaborate things that X windows can do, and Lumen elides most of those. As the need, and hardware to test on, arises, such elaborations might be added to the package. Things like multiple screens, for example.
We expect that this call, and
Swap, will be the most-used routines in this
package; the others are for much more specialized situations.
This call is here mostly for those fancy-pants who create and manage multiple windows. There's no harm in calling it just before your app terminates, but the window will be destroyed automatically at that point anyway. This call is to destroy windows during the app's execution.
Set_Names call is in case you forgot to set the various names attached
to your window correctly when you called
Create. Or, well, maybe it's more
useful if you want to change any of those names after you've created it,
like in response to a change in what's being displayed, or the window's
overall mood, or whatever. Any parameters not explicitly specified will leave
the corresponding name unchanged, except that since
Instance_Name are components of a tuple, you have to specify them both to
change either one (or both). Hey, we didn't make the rules! And we're too
lazy to write code that fetches the old value and uses it to set the new one.
Mostly because we don't anticipate a lot of demand for on-the-fly window
class-name changes. If that changes, the rule may change too.
Create_Context function creates a new OpenGL rendering context, which
may then be set in a Lumen window using the
Make_Current call. We're sure
there are reasons to do this, but we're not yet sure what they are. Another
one to use with caution. Uses whatever X visual the Win is already using.
Destroy_Context call reverses the action of a
Create_Context call by
destroying a previously-created OpenGL context. Why you'd want to do this, we
have no idea. But if you create something, you should be able to destroy it,
so there you go. We assume it's a bad idea to destroy a context before you're
done using it, and it's up to you to ensure that you don't do that. If all
you ever do is call
Create and draw stuff, you'll never need this call, nor
Make_Current call makes an OpenGL rendering context the current one for
a given window. If you use
Create_Context to create a new context, this is
how you actually use that context. Another part of the OpenGL processing
chain we haven't fully explored.
This is the second most useful routine in the whole package. It's necessary
if you've created a double-buffered rendering context by setting
True in a
Create call, you'll need to call this each time after you've
drawn stuff, so that it will then be displayed. Without double buffering,
don't use this call.
We expect that this call, and
Create, will be the most-used routines in this
package; the others are for much more specialized situations.
Lumen joystick support is the ugly stepchild of input facilities, mainly because very few of the early testers actually have joysticks or gamepads. The current code works, or at least should work, for the Linux joystick interface. Because of its limited popularity, it is entirely separate from the rest of the Lumen library and can be safely omitted from your builds without consequence.
But if you do have a joystick and want to use it with a Lumen app, step
right up! The
Open procedure opens the "first" joystick by default, and
returns a handle to use for future reference to that stick in your code. You
can provide it with a different device path to select a different stick. The
Close call reverses this action.
Once you've opened a joystick, you can fetch various bits of information about
it, using the
Buttons functions, whose return values
should be obvious from their names and data types. Use these to determine
whether the user's device has what your app wants.
Next_Event functions work much like their namesakes in the
Pending returns the number of joystick
events waiting for you to read from that stick, and incidentally tells you
Next_Event will block (wait) if you call it. (Hint: It will block
Pending returns zero.)
Next_Event returns the next joystick event from
that device, either immediately handing back the first one waiting in the
queue, or blocking until a new one shows up.
During development, we tried a technique that would "bind" a joystick to a Lumen window, and return that joystick's events along with all the normal window events like mouse moves and button clicks and keypresses, but the implementation proved too slow and unwieldy. Such a mechanism might reappear if a breakthrough, or a miracle, occurs. For now, you have to handle joystick events separately from the rest of your input events, using the functions provided by this package.
This is a little set of declarations that are useful for low-level bit and byte thwacking. You're welcome to use them in your own apps if you find them appealing.
A simple package that uses
Ada.Streams.Stream_IO to implement the reading
and writing of some of the data types in its parent package.
Don't look at this package. It's not for applications, and exists only to
Lumen.Events packages to share some of the
internal X window binding stuff.
Last Updated: 14 Dec 2011 09:32:32