Programming with GNOME is no simple task for the uninitiated. GNOME is one of the larger desktop programming suites you'll find. It has taken two years and hundreds of programmers to become what it is now. GNOME covers a lot of ground and makes use of many, many supporting libraries. Despite its nec- essary complexity, however, GNOME is very well laid out. It makes sense when you see it as a whole. On a line-by-line basis the code is not arcane or obfuscated. It's actually well written and quite nicely formatted. There's just so much of it!
This book will attempt to guide you through all the fundamental parts of GNOME, to explain how things work and why. Rather than taking you through an exhaustive listing of function calls and coding semantics, we'll concentrate on what makes GNOME tick. We'll certainly go into detail about the important function calls and how to use them, but you'll still want to keep the official GNOME and GTK+ documentation on hand. The official documents are free, just like the rest of GNOME, and should even be bundled with your GNOME distribution.
When you finish with this book, you should have a very clear, intuitive understanding of the GNOME 1.2 framework. You'll be able to write a com- plete GNOME application, from front to back. If you run into problems, you'll know how to diagnose the problem and where to look for the answers. It's impossible to know absolutely everything, but this book should at least iden- tify everything you need to know.