Programming with the XForms Library, Part 2: Writing an Application

We learn to write an application with XForms by simulating a game with 2 players and 2 actions.
Things to Try

If you've managed to pour over xgtsim and get a good feel for what's going on, you may want to try altering the source code to test your understanding. One thing to attempt would be adding an extra button to the Main window that randomizes all the current variables. That is, suppose the user has set payoffs and strategies, but wants to scramble these values. You'll not only have to add the button and set up the callback, but you'll have to update any currently displayed windows to reflect these changes.

The charts in the Run window currently provide only average feedback on the two types of players. Try adding more charts or other elements to display information on the best and worst players in each category.

If you're feeling really ambitious, then try altering xgtsim to allow for more actions and more complicated strategies. This can get very complicated, since elements like the payoff matrix will have to grow and shrink depending on how many actions are currently possible. This can be accomplished by dynamically creating new objects and forms, something we haven't covered so far.

Coming Next Month

In playing with xgtsim, you may find a set of strategies and payoffs that generate interesting results. Currently there's no way to save this state of the game, because we have no file-based input and output. We'll be adding that next month, by using XForms pre-built file requester routine. It's just part of a whole set of “goodies” that XForms includes, and we'll be looking at most of them.

Resources

We'll also spiff up our application with some pixmaps, learn how to set gravity parameters to control window resizing, and look at a few other interesting features of XForms.

Thor Sigvaldason is the author of the statistics program xldlas which uses the XForms library (see LJ #34, February, 1997). He is trying to finish a PhD in economics, and can be reached at thor@netcom.ca.

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