The application framework is based on basic GNOME technologies like GTK+ widgets (extended and modified, refered to as Hildon widget set), theming engine, Pango for supporting localization and multi lingual text layout, input method framework, Gconf configuration system and gnome VFS.
Hildon UI is composed of GTK+ standard widgets extended to better support the stylus-based usage, high display pixel density, and limited set of hardware buttons. Hildon widget set also implements a set of new widgets to meet the handheld end user usage scenario such as time editor and popup.
Hildon application framework also introduces a new desktop for handheld devices. It is composed of:
- Task Navigator: The Task Navigator to start programs and to switch between applications. Task Navigator has some novel capabilities built into it like its ability to show e-mail headers and browser bookmarks inside the menu.
- Home: Provides the idle screen to embed different plugins e.g news feed reader plugin, clock plugin etc.
- Status Bar: Provides a plugin interface, used to communicate device status changes.
- Control Panel: Provides a framework for running applets used to change user settings. These applets are libraries that provide an interface to change/modify or set configurations.
Hildon also provides system wide services like Global search, Help and plugin interfaces to different desktop components like the Task Navigator, Home, Status bar and Control panel
One notable deviation from traditional desktop GNOME is the replacement of bonobo and related technologies built around the usage of CORBA with the more simple and lightweight interapplication messaging protocol, D-BUS.