Common Desktop Environment: Style Guide and Certification Checklist


The Common Desktop Environment: Style Guide and Certification Checklist provides application design style guidelines and the list of requirements for Common Desktop Environment application-level certification. Common Desktop Environment requirements consist of the OSF/Motif Version 1.2 requirements with Common Desktop Environment-specific additions.

The checklist describes keys using a model keyboard mechanism. Wherever keyboard input is specified, the keys are indicated by the engravings on the OSF/Motif model keyboard. Mouse buttons are described using a virtual button mechanism to better describe behavior independent from the number of buttons on the mouse.

Who Should Use This Book

This book provides information to assist the application designer in developing consistent applications and behaviors within the applications.

Before You Read This Book

As you compare the behavior of your application to the requirements in this checklist, you may want to consult the OSF/Motif Style Guide (Revision 1.2) for additional style considerations.

By default, this checklist assumes that your application is being designed for a left-to-right language environment in an English-language locale. Some sections of the checklist may require appropriate changes for other locales.

The Style Guide Part of the book refers to checklist items in Chapter 10. Each checklist item is labeled with numbers or letters. The numbered items correspond to the checklist items from the OSF/Motif Style Guide, Revision 1.2. The Common Desktop Environment-specific additions are labeled with alphabetic identifiers. The checklist items references are followed by the page number where the checklist item appears.

How This Book Is Organized

This book consists of two parts and appendices. Explanations of the sections of the book follow:

Part I, "Style Guide," describes style considerations you should follow when designing applications for the Common Desktop Environment.

Chapter 1, Introduction to the Common Desktop Environment is an introduction to the checklist and how to use it.

Chapter 2, Input, Navigation, Selection, and Activation provides information on the keyboard focus model and the input device model, mouse-based and keyboard-based navigation, menu traversal, scrollable component navigation, selection and transfer models, selection actions, and basic activation.

Chapter 3, Drag and Drop provides information on incorporating drag and drop into your application.

Chapter 4, Visual Design provides information on designing icons and other visuals consistent with the Common Desktop Environment style.

Chapter 5, Window and Session Control provides information on window support, window decorations, window navigation, icons, application window management, and session management support.

Chapter 6, Application Design Principles provides information on layout, interaction, support for alternative visuals, messages, and work-in-progress feedback.

Chapter 7, Common Dialogs provides information on creating dialog boxes.

Chapter 8, Application Messages provides information on ways to provide feedback to the user.

Chapter 9, Designing for Accessibility provides information on making software applications accessible to people with disabilities.

Part II, "Certification Checklist," is the certification checklist, which consists of a checklist divided into several topics:

Chapter 10, Certification Checklist provides the list of requirements for Common Desktop Environment application-level certification.

Appendix A, Keyboard Functions provides information on keyboard functions and keyboard engravings.

Appendix B, Mouse Functions provides information on mouse functions.

Accessing Sun Documentation Online

The docs.sun.comSM Web site enables you to access Sun technical documentation online. You can browse the archive or search for a specific book title or subject. The URL is

Typographic Conventions

The following table describes the typographic changes used in this book.

Table P-1 Typographic Conventions

Typeface or Symbol 




 The names of commands, files, and directories; on-screen computer output

Edit your .login file.

Use ls -a to list all files.

machine_name% you have mail.


 What you type, contrasted with on-screen computer output

machine_name% su



 Command-line placeholder: replace with a real name or value

To delete a file, type rm filename.


Book titles, new words, or terms, or words to be emphasized. 

Read Chapter 6 in User's Guide.

These are called class options.

You must be root to do this.

Shell Prompts in Command Examples

The following table shows the default system prompt and superuser prompt for the C shell, Bourne shell, and Korn shell.

Table P-2 Shell Prompts



 C shell promptmachine_name%
 C shell superuser promptmachine_name#
 Bourne shell and Korn shell prompt$
 Bourne shell and Korn shell superuser prompt#