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March 96 - Letters

LETTERS

WEB FIRST, THEN PRINTED COPY
d e v e l o p is absolutely the coolest publication for a Mac developer. I thought I would drop a line to say "thanks" for putting the next issue up on the Web a full month before it will arrive at my home. At least this way I can get a partial fix! Good job!
-- Rob Newberry

I just noticed that you've released d e v e l o p Issue 24 online. I'm a subscriber, yet I have to call or send e-mail to you each time to remind you to send my issue! Your magazine is terrific, but the service is quite the opposite.
-- Carl Limisco

As a service to developers who may want access to content as soon as it's finalized, develop content is uploaded to the Web within three days of issue completion. The print and CD-ROM production processes, however, consume more time and thus result in the delay between when you may first see content on the Web and when you receive your copy with its CD in the mail.

In the case of Issue 24, this period was extended due to technical dif ficulties with generating the mailing information. Starting with Issue 23, we switched to APDA for distribution of develop. There have been a few snags in the transition, but we're confident that subscribers will experience improved service. Meanwhile, we apologize for any problems.
-- Diane Wilcox

PUZZLE PAGE SLIP-UP
When I received develop Issue 24, I was shocked to find a bug in the Puzzle Page. When BAL is explain- ing how LockPixels and UnlockPixels work, he mentions that the PixMap baseAddr can be either a handle or a pointer, and that a flag in rowBytes identifies which state the baseAddr is in. This is wrong; that information is stored in the pmVersion field of the PixMap. There aren't any bits to spare in rowBytes. Other than that, it was a great Puzzle Page, as usual.
-- Cameron Esfahani

You're right; you caught this slip-up by the puzzlemeisters themselves. Say, if you're so good, why not write your own Puzzle Page? [Readers: See the puzzle Cameron coauthors in this issue.]
-- Caroline Rose

MULTIPANE FIXES -- AND ABOUT USING OUR CODE
The code accompanying Norman Franke's article on multipane dialogs (develop Issue 23) is great. I had it up and running in a PowerPlant application in less than an hour. But I found some bugs; for example, in the routines T2PMPDAction and friends, you lock down theData, and I suspect you should be locking down tmpData. Before I get down and dirty, I was wondering if y ou knew of any other bugs already pre - sent.

Also, the code needs an extra routine to generate the data handle without displaying the dialog so that one might set the initial values (as opposed to using factory defaults).

When I get the PowerPlant classes working and debugged, I'd like to distribute them on the Internet (free). May I include your code (possibly modified)? Again, thanks for a great article.

-- Gordon Watts

Norman has provided a newer version of his code as of Issue 24's CD. He' s fixed a lot of bugs and also now provides PowerPlant classes; see the README file for details.

You may redistribute the MPDialogs source if you like, as long as it's part of your own thing and not just a redistribution of the original package. For instance, you'll probably not be distributing Norman' s sample or its source, but just the files MPDialogs.c and MPDialogs.h. Please include a pointer to where they came from, since presumably the code will change over time (bug fixes and so on).

By the way, you can contact Norman directly at franke@eworld.com.
-- Dave Johnson

TECHNOTES AND Q&AS: BETTER THAN EVER

The observant among you will notice a change in Technical Notes on this issue's CD (and on the World Wide Web and the other myriad places where they can be found). The old Macintosh Technical Notes are still around, but now there are also new Notes, going simply by the name "Technotes." The old Notes will eventually evolve into the new scheme. We talked with Technote leader Tom Maremaa, from Apple's Developer Technical Support group, for the scoop on this.

"The old Notes have a rich and varied history at Apple, and have served developers well in the past," Tom said. "We wanted to continue that tradition -- but with changes, something on the order of Technotes: The Next Generation."

First, Tom hopes you'll agree that the biggest improvement is in the quality of the new Technotes. They receive far more review by Apple engineers than the old Notes did, and they're better edited and formatted, so you should find them a lot more readable and reliable. Technotes will also be timelier: more of them will focus on hot new technologies, such as QuickTime VR and QuickDraw 3D, with updates and additions posted regularly on the Web athttp://dev.info.apple.com/technotes/Main.html. They'll migrate to develop's CD and other such locations, but you'll no longer have to wait that long for the latest and greatest information.

You'll notice that Technotes are numbered sequentially, starting from 1001, rather than divided into functional categories. Tom found that placing a Note into a single category was becoming increasingly difficult and arbitrary; often a topic would span more than one category or wouldn't quite fit into any existing category. Locating a Note on a particular subject is easier than ever thanks to the improved searching tools that are now available: you can use Acrobat's search mechanism on the CD or the excellent search facility provided on Apple's Web pages.

"Providing developers with the ability to search fast and ef fectively through the whole body of Technotes, particularly on the Web," said Tom, "has been a major goal in the project. It's there now. Check it out!"

The old Macintosh Technical Notes are gradually being cleaned up: over time they'll be updated and worked into the new scheme, or deleted if obsolete. Should you look for an old Note by category and number, you'll find a "stub" indicating its current status if it's been revised or removed. In particular, the old Q&A Technical Notes are being dis- continued; new Q&As are being released as "Macintosh Technical Q&As" (they're on the Web athttp://dev.info.apple.com/techqa/Main.html).

For those of you who like to have Notes in printed form, you can still order a printed copy (of both the old and the new Notes). See the Technotes Web page or the latest Apple Developer Catalog for details.

Finally, Tom would like to point out that Technotes can be submitted by outside authors (although Caroline asks that you first consider whether develop might be a more appropriate vehicle for your handiwork :-). If your Note is published, you'll receive YATS (Yet Another T-Shirt) along with some other goodies, including a chance to participate in Apple developer kitchens and other special events. For more information, or just to let us know what you think of all these changes, write to AppleLink DEVFEEDBACK (devfeedback@applelink.apple.com).

SEND US YOUR EXCUSE FOR NOT WRITING Well, actually, we'd rather receive letters regarding articles published in develop. Letters should be addressed to Caroline Rose -- or, if technical develop-related questions, to Dave Johnson -- at AppleLink CROSE or JOHNSON.DK (Internet crose@applelink.apple.com or dkj@apple.com). All letters should include your name and company name as well as your address and phone number. Letters may be excerpted or edited for clarity (or to make them say what we wish they did). Please send all subscription-related queries to AppleLink APDA (Internet apda@applelink.apple.com). *

 
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