by Niels Mayer

An interactive object-oriented user interface language for rapid prototyping, development and delivery of extensible applications with Motif GUIs and Xtango graphics/animation.


Niels Mayer recently released WINTERP 2.10 (beta). WINTERP is a rapid prototyping environment for creating and delivering GUI-based applications. It fills the same niche as TCL/TK, and Python, while employing more proven (and stable) underlying technologies. WINTERP uses a small, fast, object-oriented mini-Lisp interpreter based on XLISP-PLUS (David Betz, Tom Almy, Luke Tierney, et al), and has an object oriented interface to the OSF/Motif widget class hierarchy, and a combination of high-level object and functional interfaces to the Xtoolkit, Xlib, and underlying Unix system libraries. This environment significantly simplifies the construction of GUI-based applications, and makes these applications easier to modify and extend throughout the software life-cycle. It allows for the development of extensible applications in a safe execution environment -- errors in a new module won't destroy the whole system.

In addition to application development, WINTERP's features make it a good tool for learning about and experimenting with the capabilities of the OSF/Motif UI toolkit. Its rapid prototyping features allow UI and application designers to more easily play "what if" games with different interface styles.

WINTERP 2.10 new features:

  1. Based on a much-improved version of XLISP-PLUS 2.1g by David Betz and Tom Almy;
  2. Compiles and runs using Motif 2.0.0 and Motif 2.0.1;
  3. Improved and expanded Winterp-Lisp examples, bugs fixed, features added;
  4. Example code showing how to embed WINTERP in a C application; includes adding application-specific C-implemented functionality that is accessible from Winterp-Lisp;
  5. XLISP Save/Restore works, allowing applications to be delivered without Winterp-Lisp source. (Not documented yet);
  6. Ports to additional platforms, e.g. Linux. This beta version has been verified to compile and run under Red Hat Linux v4.1 (2.0.27 kernel) using Red Hat Motif v. 2.01. WINTERP 2.10 has also been verified to work on Irix 6.2, and Solaris 2.4. It should also continue to work on Ultrix, OSF1, HPUX, SunOS, etc.

WINTERP features:

  1. An improved Object Oriented Lisp (based on XLISP-PLUS by David Betz and Tom Almy);
  2. A high-level animation/graphics widget-class (based on Xtango by John Stasko) which lets you do the kinds of graphics that Motif ignores, without the tedium of Xlib-level programming;
  3. The ability to easily create new widget classes employing arbitrary graphical behavior without the tedium of programming in the Xt intrinsics and Xlib;
  4. Enable WINTERP-GUIs to communicate with multiple asynchronous, interactive unix subprocesses, facilitating the construction of GUI interfaces to existing line/terminal based programs. (This facility based on Don Libes' expect library);
  5. Table and XmGraph widgets;
  6. Lots of bug fixes, improvements, new examples, etc.

For more information...

WINTERP 2.10 Availability and Platforms

WINTERP 2.10 is available for free from this site, plus via anonymous ftp from the X Consortium ( and various ftp sites mirroring Your best bet is to get the latest version of WINTERP from this site, as and the various sites mirroring its contents may contain older versions, including the obsolete WINTERP 1.0, and 2.0 releases. Older versions of WINTERP have also been distributed on CD-ROM including the X11R6 "contrib/Motif" distribution and Prime Time Freeware for Unix.

The WINTERP 2.10 environment is complete and should compile "right out of the box" without porting on most Unix systems that have an ANSI C compiler (e.g., GCC), Motif 1.1, 1.2, or 2.0, and X11r5 or X11r6 (e.g. XFree86). It should work equally well on BSD and SYSV Unix systems. Unix domain sockets and BSD networking is preferred but not required.

WINTERP 2.10 is a new release, and I have not tested it on all Unix platforms. It does compile and run successfully on the following configurations:

In addition to the above, the earlier release, WINTERP 2.03 has been reported to work on the platforms listed below, and I expect WINTERP 2.10 to run on those platforms as well.

Obtaining the WINTERP software distribution:

WINTERP documentation:

WINTERP examples:

Some papers and publications describing WINTERP:

More Information, and Obtaining Help

Try For discussion of XLISP related issues, see the USENET newsgroup comp.lang.lisp.x or the Listserv-based mailing list
Last modified: Sun Feb 10 03:11:09 PST 2008