Questions about a unified API for file choosers (and platform/toolkit integration)

Roman Hargrave roman at
Mon Mar 27 20:38:39 UTC 2017

On Mon, 27 Mar 2017 13:21:05 +0200
Ingo Ruhnke <grumbel at> wrote:

> On Mon, Mar 27, 2017 at 11:59 AM, Matthew Paul Thomas <mpt at> wrote:
> > or resort to a separate dialog before/after the file picker,  
> Gimp does that when you export an image. In the file dialog you just
> select the format and the filename and in a dialog shown after you hit
> "Export" you get to chose file type specific settings (compression,
> interlacing, gamma, etc.). Works pretty well.
> Also let's not 'perfect be the enemy of good', just because a solution
> wouldn't work every time, doesn't mean it couldn't work most of the
> time. File dialogs are really not that different in most applications
> or even across operating systems.
> > annoying all users for the sake of a few.  
> Having a different file dialog in every app is annoying *all* users,
> not just a few.
> > On the other hand, if any set of interfaces *was* capable of these
> > things, it would be similar in complexity to a toolkit.  
> The file dialog wouldn't need to be a toolkit itself, all it would
> need to do is provide a way to embed a custom widget of another
> toolkit in it. I haven't seen anybody sticking a Qt widget inside a
> Gtk app, but that should be something doable.
> That said, I think it's a little late for a regular old file dialog
> API, it could have been really useful 15 years ago, but we are slowly
> moving away from apps that have full system access. So something like
> Flatpak's Portals seem to be a more realistic way forward.
> -- 
> Blog:
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WRT moving towards flatpak, I realize that some people want that to be the direction
things go in, but I personally dislike it, as do many others. For this reason, 
I think that there is still merit to working on plain-old-userspace API's.

Roman Hargrave
roman at

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