Scrollbars Revisited

Rtl_gridwin was designed to hide scrollbars whenever possible. The usage of scrollbars has changed over time. Nowadays scrollbars are just indicators for the contents of a scrolled window. The scrolling ability has been absorbed by the mouse-wheel.

Curiously the scrollbar design varies greatly over different platforms and toolkits. Perhaps the design variations are only surpassed by the 'tabset' window. Scrollbars are amongst the fanciest and thus prominent controls on any given Graphical User Interface.

Why does a second rate control receive such prominence?

The scrollbar function is not understood. Historical, the best representation has been that under Microsoft® Windows®, were the scrollbar is a mix of white space (buttons and slider) and contents (the stippled ground). This design was alright as long as there was a function associated with the scrollbar.

In truth the scrollbar is by itself content –second rate content.

Scrollbar as Content

The Rtl_gridwin tries to reach this design with Tk’s scrollbars under X11.