TweetFollow Us on Twitter

March 96 - Newton Q & A: Ask the Llama

Newton Q & A: Ask the Llama

Q Now that Newton 2.0 is shipping, what has changed?

A A fair question, and one that's been much on my mind. Newton 2.0 solves some of the problems previously presented in this column in much better ways. So I've gone back over old questions to see what has changed. I'll start out this time by revisiting those questions that have new answers. (Questions that dealt with subsystems whose APIs on the Newton 2.0 OS are drastically different will not be covered; most of these have to do with routing, which has undergone a significant change for the better, while some have to do with communications.)

Q How do I create my own class of binary object? (Issue 18)

A In the Newton 1.x OS you had to use SetClass on a string object to make some other binary object. In 2.0 you can just call the new function MakeBinary. So the line of code to define the canonical CharID object (see the original answer) changes to

DefConst('kDefaultCharIDOBj, MakeBinary(4, 'CharID)); 
Q I would like to add a [button|view|Llama] to [Notes|Dates|Names| etc.]. How can I do that safely? (Issue 19)

A In the Newton 1.x OS there was no supported way to add items to the built-in applications. In 2.0 there are a few ways you can do this.

For general changes, you can add new stationery to Notes, Dates, and Names. For example, you could add graph paper to Notes. You could also define new card styles or views of a person in Names.

Names and Dates also let you add whole new classes of things. For instance, you could add a Pet type of names entry that would appear in the New pop-up menu along with Person, Company, and Group.

The Dates application has an API to add new types of meetings. It also lets you add items to its Info button.

In addition, there's a general API to register buttons that can show up in the "blessed" application's status bar. It's up to each application to decide whether and how it will display registered buttons. You should no longer use the unsupported keyboardChicken hack.

Note that on the Newton 2.0 platform there's still no support for adding buttons to built-in slips. For example, if you wanted to add something to the alarm picker for a meeting, you would need to add a new type of stationery that's a superset of the alarm picker.

Q I've written my own IsASCIIAlpha, IsASCIINumeric, etc. functions. They seem to be really slow. Why is that? Here's my IsASCIIAlpha: [code not repeated here; all the functions work on strings] (Issue 20)

A Most of the comments from the original answer still hold. However, in the Newton 2.0 OS the string could be a rich string; that is, there could be an ink character inside the string. That means the compare functions have to check whether a particular character was kInkChar.

Q When I try to add an index to my soup I sometimes get an exception -48019, but not always. What's going on? (Issue 22)

A In early versions of Newton, if you added an index on a slot, and an entry in that soup had a value of nil for that slot, you would get an error. As of the Newton 2.0 OS this is no longer a problem. You can add an index even if there are entries with nil values for the slot in the soup.

Q I have an application that uses ADSP to connect to a server on the desktop. I want the server to handle multiple Newton devices connected simultaneously. Unfortunately, if a connection fails after it's opened, the server doesn't seem to be able to identify it as a new connection when the Newton device reconnects. This causes problems in the server's ability to handle multiple connections. Can you help? (Issue 23)

A In the Newton 2.0 OS this no longer occurs. The Newton device will generate a new ID for the connection.

Q Since there are changes between Newton 1.x and 2.0, what features in 2.0 can I rely on? What is the core set that defines Newton 2.0?

A At this time there is no published core set of NewtonScript-level features that you can rely on. We're confident that you can rely on the features of the NewtonScript language and major components like the view system and communication endpoint interface. However, you can't count on individual protos or even the internal applications being there. Since we license Newton technology to other companies, they could produce a Newton device that doesn't include Names, Dates, or other built-in features. They may also produce Newton devices that have features that aren't present in Apple products.

The key is to test the features you rely on. If you find that some of the features you need are missing, you can either run in a less-featured mode or just not open your application. As a simple example, suppose your application runs only in a limited set of screen sizes and aspect ratios. You can give your base application view a viewSetupFormScript that looks something like this:

myBaseView.viewSetupFormScript := func()
begin
    local screenSize := GetAppParams();
    local aspectRatio := screenSize.appAreaWidth / 
                                screenSize.appAreaHeight;

    // very simplistic test, no MINIMUM even!
    if aspectRatio > 1.0 then    // landscape
    begin
        local maxHeight := kMaxAppWidth;
        local maxWidth := kMaxAppHeight;
    end;
    else begin                      // portrait or square
        local maxHeight := kMaxAppHeight;
        local maxWidth := kMaxAppWidth;
    end;

    if screenSize.appAreaWidth <= maxWidth AND
        screenSize.appAreaHeight <= maxHeight then
    begin
        self.viewBounds := RelBounds(...);
        // other setup stuff
        ...
    end
    else begin
        // cannot operate at screen size
        :Notify(kNotifyAlert, EnsureInternal(kAppName),
            EnsureInternal(kErrorWrongScreenSize));
        AddDeferredSend(self, 'Close, nil);
    end;
end;
For global functions and variables, you can use the GlobalFnExists and GlobalVarExists utility functions. To find out whether a built-in application exists, you can check the root view with the appropriate symbol:
// check for Dates
if GetRoot().calendar then
    ...
// check for Names
if GetRoot().cardfile then
    ...
// check for Extras
if GetRoot().extrasDrawer then
    ...
For protos, you can try to access the proto and catch a frame reference exception. If the exception occurs, the proto is not present.

In general, it's a wise idea to do all your existence testing as your application is launching. Set flags in your base application so that you test for existing features only once.

Q Is there a hardware-unique ID that I can access on a Newton device?

A At this time there's no built-in hardware-unique ID, nor is there an API for accessing one if it existed. However, this doesn't rule out having such an API in future Newton devices.

Q I'm using a Newton 2.0 protoSoupOverview and I want to change the font style. How do I do that?

A This is one of those things that are obvious once you make the connection. You use the Abstract method of protoSoupOverview (and protoOverview, for that matter) to build the shape that's displayed for a particular soup entry. Notice that you're returning a shape, with all that entails. The chapter on drawing in the Newton Programmer's Guide says you can include a styles entry in a shape array, allowing you to specify things like font style. See the DTS Sample Code Checkbook on the Newton Developer CD for an example.

Q I noticed that some of the built-in applications have keyboards in their slips -- for example, the new name editor in the Names file. Is this stationery based? Is there a magic slot I can set? Is there a proto?

A Those keyboards are just views based on protoKeypad that are laid out as a child view of the slip. All you need to do is lay out your own protoKeypad and set up the definitions appropriately. There is no supported magic slot.

Q I'm trying to use a protoListPicker to display a soup structure that has nested frame entries. I can't get the listPicker to work. Am I doing something wrong?

A No. The default listPicker proto doesn't work with items that are accessed via path expressions. However, if you make the following three changes, your listPicker should work fine.

First, you have to specialize the GetObjSlot method of your pickerDef:

GetObjSlot: func(item, fieldPath)
begin
    if ClassOf(fieldPath) <> 'pathExpr then
        // if not a path expression, return the inherited value
        return inherited:GetObjSlot(item, fieldPath);

    // otherwise, if there is no item, return nil
    if not item then
        return nil;

    // there is an item, so get the real value, since the item
    // could be a NameRef or an Entry
    if IsNameRef(item) then
        local val := EntryFromObj(item);
    else
        val := item;

    // assuming we have a real thing, access the real data via the
    // path expression in fieldPath
    if val then
        val.(fieldPath);
end
Second, if you specify a validation frame in for your listPicker, the nesting of that frame must match the nesting of your soup entry.

Finally, modify your pickerDef so that the column that displays the data based on the index path uses the appropriate index path.


The llama is the unofficial mascot of the Developer Technical Support group in Apple's Newton Systems Group. Send your Newton-related questions to NewtonMail or eWorld DRLLAMA or to AppleLink DR.LLAMA. The first time we use a question from you, we'll send you a T-shirt.*

Thanks to our Newton Partners for the questions used in this column, and to jXopher Bell, Henry Cate, Bob Ebert, David Fedor, Jim Schram, Maurice Sharp, and Bruce Thompson for the answers.*

If you need more answers, check out http://dev.info.apple.com/newton on the World Wide Web or look at Newton Developer Info on AppleLink.*

 

Community Search:
MacTech Search:

Software Updates via MacUpdate

WebSnapperPro 2.0.5 - $20.00
WebSnapperPro lets you capture full web pages exactly as they appear in your browser, with a single mouse click, without the need to "stitch" or cut-and-paste. Save the page as an image file or as... Read more
Cocktail 11.3.1 - General maintenance an...
Cocktail is a general purpose utility for macOS that lets you clean, repair and optimize your Mac. It is a powerful digital toolset that helps hundreds of thousands of Mac users around the world get... Read more
Fantastical 2.4.6 - Create calendar even...
Fantastical 2 is the Mac calendar you'll actually enjoy using. Creating an event with Fantastical is quick, easy, and fun: Open Fantastical with a single click or keystroke Type in your event... Read more
Fantastical 2.4.6 - Create calendar even...
Fantastical 2 is the Mac calendar you'll actually enjoy using. Creating an event with Fantastical is quick, easy, and fun: Open Fantastical with a single click or keystroke Type in your event... Read more
Cocktail 11.3.1 - General maintenance an...
Cocktail is a general purpose utility for macOS that lets you clean, repair and optimize your Mac. It is a powerful digital toolset that helps hundreds of thousands of Mac users around the world get... Read more
WebSnapperPro 2.0.5 - $20.00
WebSnapperPro lets you capture full web pages exactly as they appear in your browser, with a single mouse click, without the need to "stitch" or cut-and-paste. Save the page as an image file or as... Read more
VOX 3.2.1 - Music player that supports m...
VOX just sounds better! The beauty is in its simplicity, yet behind the minimal exterior lies a powerful music player with a ton of features and support for all audio formats you should ever need.... Read more
Evernote 7.0 - Create searchable notes a...
Evernote allows you to easily capture information in any environment using whatever device or platform you find most convenient, and makes this information accessible and searchable at anytime, from... Read more
Hopper Disassembler 4.3.16- - Binary dis...
Hopper Disassembler is a binary disassembler, decompiler, and debugger for 32- and 64-bit executables. It will let you disassemble any binary you want, and provide you all the information about its... Read more
VOX 3.2.1 - Music player that supports m...
VOX just sounds better! The beauty is in its simplicity, yet behind the minimal exterior lies a powerful music player with a ton of features and support for all audio formats you should ever need.... Read more

Latest Forum Discussions

See All

Our top 5 characters from casual RPG Cre...
Creature Quest definitely lives up to its name with a host of collectible creatures based on fantasy tales and world mythologies. To celebrate Creature Quest’s first birthday, we’re going to lay out what we think are the five best characters in the... | Read more »
Around the Empire: What have you missed...
Did you know that Steel Media has a whole swathe of other sites dedicated to all aspects of mobile gaming? Sure you'll get the very best iPhone news, reviews, and opinions right here at 148Apps, but we don't want you missing out on a single piece... | Read more »
All the best games on sale for iPhone an...
Oh hi there, and welcome to our round-up of the best games that are currently on sale for iPhone and iPad. You thought I didn't see you there, did you, skulking behind the bushes? Trust me though, the bushes aren't where the best deals are. The... | Read more »
The Battle of Polytopia Guide - How to H...
A new update just released for The Battle of Polytopia (formerly Super Tribes), which introduces online multiplayer. For all the fans of Midjiwan’s lite take on Civilization, this is certainly welcome news, but playing online isn’t as easy and... | Read more »
Here are the very best mobile games to p...
It's Valentine's Day! Did you get loads of cards and chocolates and other tacky, simple expressions of human affection? Did you send out tat because you find it almost impossible to express emotion unless there's a section dedicated to it at your... | Read more »
Florence (Games)
Florence 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $2.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: Florence is an interactive storybook from the award-winning lead designer of Monument Valley about the heart-racing highs and... | Read more »
Purrfect Date (Games)
Purrfect Date 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $4.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: Cats are a lil’ like marmite. Either you absolutely head-over-heels love’ em, or… nahhh, who are we kidding?! Everyone... | Read more »
More monsters to collect and evolve in C...
A laid-back mix of RPG and TCG, Creature Quest is all about building your deck, evolving your creatures and winning in battle. It’s the creation of VC Mobile, set up by Might and Magic producer Jon Van Caneghem. There are elements of that classic... | Read more »
Check out this awesome hands-on with the...
Well, PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds has come out on mobile. This isn't a clone, this isn't a riff on the battleroyale mechanics of the game, it's the official mobile port by Tencent. But there's a little bit of a hitch. [Read more] | Read more »
Hostage Negotiator (Entertainment)
Hostage Negotiator 1.1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Entertainment Price: $3.99, Version: 1.1.0 (iTunes) Description: Official app of the board game by AJ Porfirio and Van Ryder Games. In Hostage Negotiator, you play the part of... | Read more »

Price Scanner via MacPrices.net

13″ 3.1GHz/256GB Silver Touch Bar MacBook Pro...
Amazon has the Silver 13″ 3.1GHz/256GB Touch Bar MacBook Pro (MPXX2LL/A) on sale for $1649.99 including free shipping. Their price is $150 off MSRP, and it’s the lowest price available for a new 13″... Read more
Saturday Sale: Amazon offers 13″ 1.8GHz/256GB...
Amazon has the 13″ 1.8GHz/256B Apple MacBook Air on sale today for $250 off MSRP including free shipping: – 13″ 1.8GHz/256GB MacBook Air (MQD42LL/A): $949.99, $250 off MSRP Their price is the lowest... Read more
Roundup of Apple Certified Refurbished 12″ Ma...
Apple has Certified Refurbished 2017 12″ Retina MacBooks available for $200-$240 off the cost of new models. Apple will include a standard one-year warranty with each MacBook, and shipping is free.... Read more
Apple offers Certified Refurbished 10″ and 12...
Apple is now offering Certified Refurbished 2017 10″ and 12″ iPad Pros for $100-$190 off MSRP, depending on the model. An Apple one-year warranty is included with each model, and shipping is free: –... Read more
Apple Canada offers Certified Refurbished Mac...
 Canadian shoppers can save up to $560 on the purchase of a 2017 current-generation MacBook Pro, MacBook, or MacBook Air with Certified Refurbished models at Apple Canada. Apple’s refurbished prices... Read more
Sale! 13″ MacBook Airs for up to $180 off MSR...
B&H Photo has 13″ MacBook Airs on sale for $50-$120 off MSRP. Shipping is free, and B&H charges sales tax for NY & NJ residents only: – 13″ 1.8GHz/128GB MacBook Air (MQD32LL/A): $899, $... Read more
Sale! New 8-core iMac Pro for $4799, $200 off...
Adorama has the 8-core iMac Pro on sale for $4799 including free shipping plus NY & NJ sales tax only. Their price is $200 off MSRP, and it’s the currently lowest price available for an iMac Pro. Read more
Sale! Walmart lowers prices even more on 9″ i...
Walmart has lowered their sale price on 9.7″ Apple iPads to $80 off MSRP for a limited time. Sale prices are for online orders only, in-store prices may vary: – 9″ 32GB iPad: $249.99 $80 off – 9″... Read more
Roundup of 13″ MacBook Pro sales, models avai...
B&H Photo has 13″ MacBook Pros on sale for up to $200 off MSRP. Shipping is free, and B&H charges sales tax for NY & NJ residents only. Their prices are the lowest available for these... Read more
Roundup of 15″ MacBook Pros sale, models up t...
B&H Photo has 15″ MacBook Pros on sale for up to $200 off MSRP. Shipping is free, and B&H charges sales tax for NY & NJ residents only: – 15″ 2.8GHz Touch Bar MacBook Pro Space Gray (... Read more

Jobs Board

*Apple* Retail - Multiple Positions - Apple,...
Job Description:SalesSpecialist - Retail Customer Service and SalesTransform Apple Store visitors into loyal Apple customers. When customers enter the store, Read more
*Apple* Retail - Multiple Positions - Apple,...
Job Description: Sales Specialist - Retail Customer Service and Sales Transform Apple Store visitors into loyal Apple customers. When customers enter the store, Read more
*Apple* Retail - Multiple Positions - Apple,...
Job Description:SalesSpecialist - Retail Customer Service and SalesTransform Apple Store visitors into loyal Apple customers. When customers enter the store, Read more
*Apple* Retail - Multiple Positions - Apple,...
Job Description: Sales Specialist - Retail Customer Service and Sales Transform Apple Store visitors into loyal Apple customers. When customers enter the store, Read more
*Apple* Solutions Consultant - Apple (United...
# Apple Solutions Consultant Job Number: 113501424 Norman, Oklahoma, United States Posted: 15-Feb-2018 Weekly Hours: 40.00 **Job Summary** Are you passionate about Read more
All contents are Copyright 1984-2011 by Xplain Corporation. All rights reserved. Theme designed by Icreon.