Most of today's complex software products rely solely on graphical
controls (GUI widgets) for user interaction. However GUI widgets can be
difficult to find and use. Physical controls are often simpler to manipulate
and arrange sensibly about one's workspace. Thus, we wish to link a physical
interface to existing commercial applications, e.g., an office productivity
suite. To do so we must tap in to its functionality in ways that do not
require access to its source code. We present our widget picker/taps package.
It gives developers access to the functionality of an existing application via
the semantics of its GUI widgets. This approach works well with many
present-day commercial applications, unlike two other common approaches:
hooking into application-specific APIs, and simulating raw user input. We
present examples that illustrate how this package is used to link existing
application widgets to physical controls. Our implementation prompts a number
of issues relevant to makers of windowing systems and GUI toolkits.
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