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System 7.0 Sneaks

System 7.0 Sneaks

For those who missed the Q & A session on System 7.0 at the May 1990 Apple Worldwide Developers' Conference, here's a sampling of what went on.

QIt would be nice to have Apple Events that could get a list of valid Apple Events from an application. Is that going to be available?

A There are Apple Events to do that kind of thing already, and if you discussed the issue on AppleLink ® you'd find that out right away.That's a hint. Get it?--ED.

QCan I drop Control Panel device files into the Apple menu folder and launch them directly from the Apple menu?

A The short answer is yes. The more complete answer is this: Anything you could double-click from the FinderTM can be dropped into the Apple menu folder and launched from the Apple menu.

QMy corporation has billions and billions of zones. We need a larger zone-name selection area in the Chooser. A list with the first few characters isn't good enough. Can this be fixed?

A This is one of those things that used to be "an important future direction," so we did something about it. And now it's fixed in System 7.0.

QIn many cases, you have the same application in different versions with the same creator. It would be nice if you could double-click a document and consistently turn on the oldest version, or the latest version, instead of just the one you last copied. Is this possible?

A Not only is that possible, but--except for what looks like a small bug--it's already implemented and in the version of System 7.0 you have.

QYou said earlier that a driver would lock down a completion routine. I just wondered how a piece of software could lock down code that's of unknown extent and possibly discontiguous.

A You must have misunderstood. The Device Manager takes care of holding down the parameter block and also takes care of not calling the completion routine until paging is safe, so the completion routine itself doesn't have to be held down. Neither does any of the data it touches. The driver doesn't have to do anything. It's all handled by the Device Manager.QBut how does the Device Manager know that the completion routine is going to be around?

A It doesn't. The Device Manager defers calling the completion routine until paging is safe.

QWhat limit is there, if any, on the number of published and subscribed items allowed for an application?

A For a particular document, the maximum number is the maximum number of open files available, and, for an application, the maximum is limited by disk space.

QAre there changes or do you have plans for changes to the way applications are allocated memory under the omnipresent MultiFinder ®? For instance, is there a way to dynamically grow their memory? I find that I have sort of a "normal" size for an application. And then, once in a while, I switch to Finder to give the application the entire memory.

A If you're developing an application, you can use temporary memory and eliminate most of the need to do this. We're certainly investigating models that won't require the somewhat stilted setting of partition size that we have today.

QDear Miss Manners: Will the operating system have the capability of launching a hidden application? An example is when you want to have one application launch another, send it some high-level events to potentially select some text, copy to the Clipboard, and then quit the application, without having the application show up and do all that in front of the user.

A At first glance, this looks like an application-level thing, and a product could be designed this way. We're not planning to support this type of thing directly in the OS.

QWould it be feasible to keep Help resources in a separate file? If opened from within the application, these resources should appear in the regular Resource Search Path.

A That's absolutely right. If you keep the file open and in the path when you call the Help Manager, you can keep the Help in a separate file. QIs there a lot of authentication for high-level events, or should applications that need password protection implement the events themselves through the PPC toolbox in high-level events?

A We have authentication built into all the interapplication communication stuff, through the Users and Groups portion of the Control Panel.

QThis one's addressed to the Macintosh gods and goddesses. Using high-level events, is there a mechanism for bringing a background application to the front? If not, is there any way for the application to bring itself to the front?

A The simple answer is, the Process Manager now has calls for doing this. In terms of user interface, though, it's probably a very bad idea to spring an application on the user from the background. He or she could be initializing a disk, or something!

QWhat is the Apple definition of 32-bit clean?

A This is one of our favorite questions. What 32-bit clean refers to is an application that doesn't contain anything to prevent it from running on a system with a 32-bit memory manager. The application can't contain any code that relies specifically on 24-bit stuff. Examples are masking the high bit, treating addresses as signed addresses, or using some specific old calls in low-memory globals whose accessibility is intrinsically limited to 24-bit addressing. The idea is explained in a lot of detail in Technical Note #212, so that's the Apple definition of32-bit clean: Tech Note #212.

QWill System 7.0 run on a Macintosh 512K enhanced ("512Ke") with third-party memory, a SCSI upgrade, and 2 MB of memory?

A We hope so! There are thousands of us who have those! And our plan is that it'll work on those configurations. There's nothing we're doing to prevent that.

QCan a Macintosh boot off the network?

A Current Macintosh computers don't support network booting (that is, booting off a file server), mostly because the ROM code doesn't know to look out on the network for boot devices. In the future, you'll see network-bootable Macintoshes, though. It's going to take a little bit of time, but you'll see those.

QCan a user lock out his or her disk from network access, high-level events, and so on, for a set time (during data acquisition, for example)?

A There is a user interface to turn off all Apple Events, but not for a set time. You turn it on and off in the network setup Control Panel. And there's a programmatic interface to shut down file sharing if it's currently running.

QIs FileShare simply a personal AppleShare ® server? Could you please compare and contrast the capabilities of AppleShare and FileShare?

A The guts of FileShare is really a personal server. FileShare provides all the same call support as any AppleShare server, so the inner workings are the same. However, a lot of the tuning, a lot of the performance, and a lot of the upper limits have been lowered. FileShare is intended only for two or three people. It's much simpler, and provides more personal services, than the big, full-blown dedicated server.

QIf System 7.0 has a real font size and width--for example, if the width of the letter is 8.5 pixels--is the width rounded to 8?

A Font sizing is the same as before System 7.0. It's affected by the Set Fract Enable call in the Font Manager, and there's also a fractional pen position in color QuickDraw, so that the rounding works properly over multiple characters, rather than over a single character. This hasn't changed.

QIs the Database Access Manager intended to provide a vendor-independent interface for database packages?

A The Database Access Manager is really intended to provide a vendor-independent interface to data. You could use it to talk to Macintosh databases, or whatever.

QWhatever happened to the Foreign File System Manager? Last year, we talked about being able to use ProDOS and MS-DOS volumes on the desktop.

A The unfortunate answer is that the Foreign File System Manager didn't make our schedule for System 7.0, but we're working on it for a subsequent release.

A ll information is provided "AS IS"and without any warranty, express, implied or otherwise, regarding its accuracy or performance.



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