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From: John Darrington
Subject: src/dictionary.c
Date: Mon, 9 Mar 2009 11:12:00 +0900
User-agent: Mutt/1.5.18 (2008-05-17)

For a while, I've been unhappy about the way the GUI makes use of

Currently, we have an object called PsppireDict which contains a
pointer to a (struct dictionary) which is created externally.  In
order that PsppireDict is aware of changes made to to (struct
dictionary), the latter has a set of callbacks to which the containing
PsppireDict connects.  Further, the (struct dictionary) can be
destroyed, whilst the PsppireDict survives.  Typically, this happens
on each procedure - the old dictionary is destroyed and a new one
created in its stead.  The gui has to anticipate this, and reload the
new dict, and it emits a "backend-changed" signal.  All of this is
really messy, and is beginning to make the GUI unmaintainable.

One solution would be to simply move PsppireDict into src/data, but
that would mean that the entire pspp source (including the perl
module) would depend on Glib, which I think we don't want.

A better solution would be to abstract the dictionary into a "virtual
class", something along the lines of the way casereaders are currently
implemented. This way, a common API can be used to create, destroy and
operate upon dictionaries, but will call the code for the required
implementation depending upon whether the program being run is a gui,
command line program, or perl module.  It'll also mean that the
callbacks and the "backend-changed" nonsense will no longer be

The down side is that it'll mean some pervasive code changes, since
dictionaries are used almost everywhere.  So far as I can tell, almost
all instances of dictionaries are owned  by a dataset.  The exceptions
being some of the casereaders.  So these objects could perhaps use
some "factory" parameters to tell them how to create and destroy


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