When I first heard rumors of LESSTIF, I was already struggling for years with the famous M*TIF graphical user interface on different hardware platforms. Every new day unveiled another and - so to say - exciting feature not written down in the official documentation.
Needless to say that that official documentation was, and still is, lacking the really interesting aspects: writing not-so-trivial M*TIF widgets, how M*TIF's own geometry management utilities work, what the BaseClass stuff is for, and many other goodies. Ordinarily, this would be the time to ``read the source, Luke''. Unfortunately, the great creator of M*TIF - the CLOSED SOFTWARE FOUNDATION (or CSF for short) - reveals the source only to those willing to pay (``pay-per-view principle'').
Fortunately, LESSTIF upheld the flag of ``providing open technology'' from its early beginning: the source is freely available under the terms of the GNU Public Library License. And it is common knowlegde that the source is also the source of information (``may the source be with you...'').
Although standing on its own feet, LESSTIF provides deep insight not only into itself but also into the abyss of that other graphical user interface called ``M*TIF''. But browsing through the source and understanding all the intrinsic and intricate things inside LESSTIF isn't an easy task. You can easily get lost. Or to cite Mitch Miers and his law #37 of programming:
Real Programmers don't write documentation, they leave that to the tech writers.
It was hard to code, it should be hard to understand.
This is where ``Inside LessTif'' comes into play. Written by the creators of LESSTIF, this book provides a deep and thorough insight into this free M*TIF ``clone''. We show you all the mechanisms and smart improvements behind the scenes.
This book is definitely not a beginner's guide but is aimed at the programmer who has already a working knowledge of programming with - or should I say: fighting against - M*TIF. A basic knowledge about the Xt Intrinsics' widget class mechanism is necessary too.
I wish to thank especially all the authors for writing down their first-hand knowledge about LESSTIF. They had to cut off many valueable spare hours from their coding time to make this documentation real. Also my special thanks to Rob Blue, who has taken the (maybe daunting but nevertheless very important) part of proofreading.
P.S.: If you find ``Inside LessTif'' to be useful (and we - the authors - are sure you will) then we ask you to donate a reasonable amount to a charitable institution.