TweetFollow Us on Twitter

November 91 - IcePick v1.0b1 Reviewed

IcePick v1.0b1 Reviewed

Jeffrey J. Barbose

What lurks behind the familiar application icon can be accurately described as a collection of tightly-coupled resources. Even all those lines of C++ get bundled into resources of type 'CODE'. It's not surprising then that a significant portion of Macintosh application development time is spent on putting all those resources together: code, menus, icons, strings and views, to name a few.

There are several developer tools specifically designed to chip away at the time required to generate needed application resources. Granted, just about any of these resources can be generated from textual descriptions using Apple's resource compiler Rez-but for even the simplest resource types, that can be a cumbersome approach.

The situation becomes most intractable when working with compound resource types, such as MacApp's 'view' resources. ViewEdit, which is supplied with MacApp, made great strides in development of view hierarchies. It allows the developer to sketch the views in MacDraw fashion, generating the appropriate 'view' resources from theses sketches.

But with ViewEdit, since only static 'view' resources are generated, the testing of views must still be done from within the application under development. If the code that supports a particular view is not yet in place, the developer is forced to construct temporary support for testing the views.

Enter KPMG•ExIS' IcePick, which can be described as a "studly" ViewEdit. It's a view resource editor, an other-resource picker, and a run time environment for view testing, all in one.

Configuration

First, some details. I used IcePick 1.0b1 when writing this article. I ran it on a IIci, with 20MB RAM and 32-bit addressing on, and found it quite stable. According to the developers, it also runs with virtual memory. At press time, the current beta version is 1.0b3; 1.0 final is imminent.

The big picture

IcePick does its thing through five windows:
  • View viewer (or meta-viewer, if you will!)
  • Worksheet window
  • Hierarchy window
  • DotR window
  • Attributes window

The windows all share a common feature. Each contains a tool bar akin to the one found in Microsoft Excel 3. And like Excel 3's tool bar buttons, the IcePick buttons are non-standard in appearance. Unlike Excel, the tool bars are within the windows, not independent of them.

Usually, I'm a serious advocate of standard Macintosh-like controls and whatnot. However, in this case, the non-standard appearance of the IcePick buttons actually makes for an easier-to- use application-with all the views, subviews, superviews, meta-views and view viewers cluttering up the screen, it's good that IcePick windows are easy to differentiate from the user-constructed views.

Divergence from Apple's interface guidelines is confined to the IcePick buttons, and the application as a whole presents a well thought-out and entirely familiar functionality. So much so, in fact, that the best way to describe most features is by comparison to other well-known applications.

View to a view

Upon launching IcePick, you are presented with an empty and untitled View Viewer window (Figure 1). In this window, you can conveniently create 'view' resources by clicking on the "new view" button in the View Viewer's tool bar. Compiled 'view' resources from other sources (like ViewEdit resources, or Rez-compiled .rsrc files) can be pasted in via the Clipboard.

Like ResEdit's primary window, the View Viewer provides a general resource-browsing facility. The "new name" button provides for changing the resource name or id of the selected view. In addition to browsing, alternate views (Worksheet, Hierarchy and DotR) of the selected resource can be opened via the buttons.

Work, work, work

Most view creation and editing is done in the Worksheet window (Figure 2). It improves on the functionality of ViewEdit's view window and has a slightly different interface. Like all other IcePick windows, several buttons appear at the top of the window: Print This View, Hierarchy, DotR, Attribute, Is Window, and TWindow Attributes.

Two windoids (floating windows) are available (Figure 3, next page) when the Worksheet is active: the Standard Object palette and the Measurement window. The Standard Object palette is much like a typical Macintosh Paint or Draw palette, providing for selection among the MacApp built-in view types (TGridView, TRadio, TCheckBox, …), as well as choice of sub-view selection methods-Arrow tool for single selection, Marquee tool for multiple selections, and the Text tool for direct text editing of views that contain text fields (TStaticText, TCheckBox, TPopup, …).

Double-clicking on any view type icon makes it "sticky," allowing you to consecutively create views of that type. This is great for clustered items. If you just single-click on the view type icon, IcePick returns to the Arrow tool after creating a single view of the selected type.

Hierarchy View window

If IcePick weren't a Macintosh application that aids in Macintosh application development, there just might be a look-and-feel lawsuit against IcePick for its Hierarchy View window (just kidding, Apple). This view borrows unabashedly from the System 7 Finder's hierarchical views windows, right down to the right and down-pointing triangles.

If you've used the System 7 Finder's hierarchical view, you already know (for the most part) how to use this IcePick view. If you haven't used System 7 yet, like most things Macintosh, it's intuitive and straightforward. A single view entry in this window contains the resource name and type, shows whether the view is shown or enabled, and the view type's IcePick icon representation. (See Figure 4, which is the hierarchical representation of Figure 2.) In the left column of the window, if a triangle appears, it means that this view contains subviews. Some highlights of this window:

  • Clicking on a view's right-oriented triangle graphically expands it to show the first level of contained subviews (which may have subviews that have subviews…).
  • Clicking on a view's down-oriented triangle collapses the graphical display and hides all of its subviews.
  • Single and multiple selections can be made in this view.
  • View hierarchies can be changed by dragging a selection on top of its new superview.

As in all other IcePick windows, there is a button tool bar, with convenient access to view printing and to other IcePick windows.

Rez (.r) source generation

For those times when a text-based resource description is needed, IcePick provides the "DotR" window. By selecting a view (in the Worksheet, Hierarchy or View Viewer) and clicking the DotR button in that window (or by selecting the "RezWindow…" Windows menu item), IcePick shows you the corresponding Rez-able text resource description (Figure 5).

Formatting style can be changed from the "Preferences…" item in the Options menu-a nice touch. The text can be copied out of this window and pasted right into an MPW ".r" file, obviating the need to Derez an IcePick document. Note that this is a one-way operation: text editing (including pasting into the view) is not available. Through the buttons of this window, the text can be saved to a new ".r" file, or appended to an existing one.

Attributes window

The Attributes window enables fine-tuning of view parameters. It is nearly identical in appearance to ViewEdit's "edit view parameters" window. Class-specific and inherited editable parameters are displayed according to the hierarchy, starting with the current class, down to TView parameters (Figure 6 next page).

Multiple kinds of selection

Working with IcePick involves two basic concepts: the "View Being Created" (or VBC) and the "Special View," depending on the task.

All IcePick windows described above center around the VBC. The contents of each window are updated according to changes made to the VBC (the 'view' instance selected or the entire 'view' resource being generated) in the active window (moving a view in the worksheet automatically changes the numbers in the View Measurement window in real-time, and changes the numbers in an open Attributes window when the mouse is released).

The idea of a "Special View" applies when more than one view is selected. To visually differentiate the Special View from other currently selected views, IcePick adds solid-line corner markings to the Special View (Figure 7 next page).

The good stuff

At this point, you may be thinking, "So why switch from ViewEdit? It does most of this already." What makes IcePick the hands-down winner of the two view editors is its "run- time" view testing mode, its automagical TView layout features, and its other-resource picker facility.

Test drive a MacApp view

The most powerful feature of IcePick is its Run Mode for testing the behavior of your views. Run Mode is available when exactly one IcePick document is open. This limitation may present some inconvenience, but the workaround is not all that cumbersome: saving and closing all but the document containing the views to be tested.

For those views that aren't contained in a TWindow, IcePick provides a Window Placeholder architecture for use in Run Mode, displaying the notice "Run Mode: This view has no window" under the title bar of those TWindow-less views. Though the beta version I tested had some run mode anomalies, they are largely cosmetic. The bugs are acknowledged in the 1.0b1 release notes, and should be corrected in the final release.

As the 1.0b1 Draft User's Manual states: "…views that you create are actually instances of the corresponding MacApp classes. They look and behave just like the real thing because they are the real thing." This is a fine example of OOP code re-use and a wise design choice. It allows for serious future enhancement.

One extension that I'd like to see is the ability to include user-derived view classes (as IcePick plug-ins) to be tested as active views, much in the same way that the canned MacApp views are handled now. As it stands, user-derived TViews can are only represented in the Worksheet (and in ViewEdit) as simple rectangles, and specified as a derived type by changing the class name in the Attributes window.

Automatic view layout

Another great feature of IcePick is its automatic view layout capability, which is accessed via the Arrange Menu (Figure 8 next page). The two Set… items at the bottom of the menu are for convenience. They allow the text style and view adornments to be set for all selected views (in ViewEdit 1.0.1, you'd have to double-click on each of these views and change those attributes in each view, one by one).

All remaining menu items have to do with positioning of selected views within the main view; here the "Special View" concept comes into play. The items in the first section of the Arrange menu have to do with alignment of views. In the second menu section, selected views can be set to the same size as the Special View, all set to the default size for that TView subclass, or the entire selection of views snapped to the origin of their common Superview. The third section of this menu deals with the view spreading, or the space between selected views. Views can be spread horizontally or vertically, by default or custom spread gap.

Manipulation of selected views is done with respect to the Special View. In Figure 9, notice that in the left cluster, the topmost checkbox view is the Special View, and the other two checkboxes are included in the selection. In the Arrange Menu, choosing Left Edge, Same Size, and Custom Spread with 4-pixel gap, in any order, yields the right-hand cluster.

These features have special importance when writing applications for the international market. Apple Human Interface Guidelines-see Inside Macintosh Volume 6, Chapter 2, pp. 8–9-dictate that views support both left and right symmetrical alignment of visual elements, so that items appear symmetrical regardless of the Script Manager in use. Apple Human Interface Notes strongly suggest default pixel counts between dialog items, distances of items from edges, even the width and distance of the default button RoundedRect. By using IcePick in general, and its ArrangeMenu facilities in particular, you can almost guarantee compliance with the appearance aspects of the Guidelines.

Pick a resource, any resource

For view types requiring additional resources to round out their functionality-namely, TPopup, TPicture, TIcon and TPattern-IcePick provides a means of including the necessary non-view resources. Needed resources are attached via a Pick button in the Attribute window.

Good citizenry

IcePick recognizes file access permissions and is MPW Projector Aware. If the file is part of a project and is checked out as read only, or if the file is already open in another application, IcePick will still open the file, but will not allow it to be saved back to the same name. In that case, Save As… and Save A Copy… can be used instead, since neither writes to the original file.

IcePick deals with file accesses conveniently. While the Standard File dialog normally filters for IcePick, ViewEdit, and ResEdit document types only, holding down the option key when Open File is chosen will display all files. Any file (including applications) containing 'view' resources can be read by IcePick.

MacApp 3.0b2 and beyond

IcePick 1.0b1 generates MacApp 2 and ViewEdit-compatible 'view' resources. MacApp 3.0b2 and later use a newer 'View' format, which is incompatible with 'view'. ETO#5 versions of MacApp 3 still support the 'view' resource type, and documentation is included with those versions that describes use of ViewPromoter, a tool for updating to MacApp 3.0 'View' resources.

Minor complaints

I found very few serious problems with IcePick-only one, actually. Most of the ones I did find were largely cosmetic; however, there is one major difficulty in the Standard Object Palette windoid.

The icons representing the canned MacApp view types are too obscure for positive identification. The functionality of this windoid is too intrinsic to IcePick to force the user to figure out (or worse, memorize) the icons, which are much too small.

At the very least, dragging over the palette should highlight the icons in real time-and the text field should display the currently highlighted view type in real time. Perhaps this point will be addressed in the final release version of IcePick. In the meantime, see Figure 10 for identification of Standard Object Palette items.

As I stated earlier, the non-standard appearance of the buttons in IcePick's tool bars actually enhances the usability of IcePick. However, the Print View button, where it exists, should have a consistent location. In the Worksheet & Hierarchy windows it's leftmost; in the DotR window, it's rightmost. Perhaps it should be placed at the right edge of the tool bar-or even eliminated altogether, since most seasoned Macintosh users would print from the File menu or command-P anyway. Again, I'm using IcePick 1.0b1, and this may change by final release.

Pickin' and grinnin'

IcePick is a major leap in functionality over ViewEdit, because it can test the behavior of the views independently within IcePick. It's a strong testimonial to object programming that this is done by creating actual instances of the view classes, and it hints that powerful extensions to an already superb development tool may be possible in future.

References

  • Inside Macintosh, Volume 6, Addison-Wesley, 1991. pp. 2.8–2.9.
  • IcePick v1.0b1 Draft User's Manual, KPMG•ExIS, 1991
  • ReadMe for ViewPromoter 3.0b2PQR, ETO#5, Apple Computer, Inc. 1991.
  • MacApp 3.0b1 Class & Method Reference Stack, AppleComputer, Inc. 1991.
  • IcePick v1.0b1 Release Notes, KPMG•ExIS, 1991.
 

Community Search:
MacTech Search:

Software Updates via MacUpdate

DEVONthink Pro 2.9.16 - Knowledge base,...
Save 10% with our exclusive coupon code: MACUPDATE10 DEVONthink Pro is your essential assistant for today's world, where almost everything is digital. From shopping receipts to important research... Read more
ForkLift 3.0.8 Beta - Powerful file mana...
ForkLift is a powerful file manager and ferociously fast FTP client clothed in a clean and versatile UI that offers the combination of absolute simplicity and raw power expected from a well-executed... Read more
Data Rescue 5.0.1 - Powerful hard drive...
Data Rescue’s new and improved features let you scan, search, and recover your files faster than ever before. We have modernized the file-preview capabilities, added new files types to the recovery... Read more
Dropbox 37.4.29 - Cloud backup and synch...
Dropbox is an application that creates a special Finder folder that automatically syncs online and between your computers. It allows you to both backup files and keep them up-to-date between systems... Read more
iClock Pro 3.8 - Customize your menubar...
iClock Pro is a menu-bar replacement for Apple's default clock. iClock Pro is an update, total rewrite, and improvement to the popular iClock. Have the day, date, and time in different fonts and... Read more
A Better Finder Attributes 6.06 - Change...
A Better Finder Attributes is the ultimate file-tweaking tool for OS X. It combines photo-shooting date and file date changing along with a few unique tricks of its own. Change EXIF Timestamps at... Read more
Chromium 62.0.3202.62 - Fast and stable...
Chromium is an open-source browser project that aims to build a safer, faster, and more stable way for all Internet users to experience the web. Version 62.0.3202.62: High CVE-2017-5124: UXSS with... Read more
Things 3.2.1 - Elegant personal task man...
Things is a task management solution that helps to organize your tasks in an elegant and intuitive way. Things combines powerful features with simplicity through the use of tags and its intelligent... Read more
MacCleanse 6.0.5 - $29.95
MacCleanse is the product of thousands of hours of intense research and development. It meticulously scans all of the nooks and crannies of a computer for unnecessary junk that can take up huge... Read more
Fantastical 2.4.3 - 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

Experience a full 3D fantasy MMORPG, as...
Those hoping to sink their teeth into a meaty hack and slash RPG that encourages you to fight with others might want to check out EZFun’s new Eternity Guardians. Available to download for iOS and Android, Eternity Guardians is an MMORPG that lets... | Read more »
Warhammer Quest 2 (Games)
Warhammer Quest 2 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $4.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: Dungeon adventures in the Warhammer World are back! | Read more »
4 of the best Halloween updates for mobi...
Halloween is certainly one of our favorite times for mobile game updates. Many popular titles celebrate this spooky season with fun festivities that can stretch from one week to even the whole month. As we draw closer and closer to Halloween, we'... | Read more »
Fire Rides guide - how to swing to succe...
It's another day, which means another Voodoo game has come to glue our hands to our mobile phones. Yes, it's been an especially prolific month for this particular mobile publisher, but we're certainly not complaining. Fire Rides is yet another... | Read more »
Time Recoil (Games)
Time Recoil 1.0.1 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $3.99, Version: 1.0.1 (iTunes) Description: Time Recoil is a top-down shooter where you kill to slow time, dominate slow motion gunfights, and trigger devastating special... | Read more »
Campfire Cooking (Games)
Campfire Cooking 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $3.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: | Read more »
Returner 77 (Games)
Returner 77 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $4.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: Returner 77 is a cinematic space mystery puzzle game. You are in a giant alien spaceship hovering above Earth, after everything... | Read more »
Dune! guide - how to toe the line and ge...
Publisher Voodoo is at it again with an all new high score chaser -- Dune! In this fast-paced arcade game, you have to propel yourself along sand dunes, gaining enough momentum to jump above the line to score points, while making sure you have... | Read more »
The best deals on the App Store this wee...
Happy Tuesday, dear readers. Your favorite part of the week as officially arrived. It's time to take a look at the best deals in games. Things are admittedly a bit sparse, but there are a few diamonds in the rough to see you through if you're... | Read more »
Be the last person standing in Legacy of...
Yoozoo Games’ popular action MMO Legacy of Discord is getting a huge new update to celebrate its first anniversary. Perhaps the biggest change is the addition of an exciting survival mode titled Last Guardian. This new survival mode will pit you... | Read more »

Price Scanner via MacPrices.net

Apple restocks full line of refurbished 13″ M...
Apple has restocked a full line of Apple Certified Refurbished 2017 13″ MacBook Pros for $200-$300 off MSRP. A standard Apple one-year warranty is included with each MacBook, and shipping is free.... Read more
13″ 3.1GHz/256GB MacBook Pro on sale for $167...
Amazon has the 2017 13″ 3.1GHz/256GB Space Gray MacBook Pro on sale today for $121 off MSRP including free shipping: – 13″ 3.1GHz/256GB Space Gray MacBook Pro (MPXV2LL/A): $1678 $121 off MSRP Keep an... Read more
13″ MacBook Pros on sale for up to $120 off M...
B&H Photo has 2017 13″ MacBook Pros in stock today and on sale for up to $120 off MSRP, each including free shipping plus NY & NJ sales tax only: – 13-inch 2.3GHz/128GB Space Gray MacBook... Read more
15″ MacBook Pros on sale for up to $200 off M...
B&H Photo has 15″ MacBook Pros on sale for up to $200 off MSRP. Shipping is free, and B&H charges sales tax in NY & NJ only: – 15″ 2.8GHz MacBook Pro Space Gray (MPTR2LL/A): $2249, $150... Read more
Roundup of Apple Certified Refurbished iMacs,...
Apple has a full line of Certified Refurbished 2017 21″ and 27″ iMacs available starting at $1019 and ranging up to $350 off original MSRP. Apple’s one-year warranty is standard, and shipping is free... Read more
Sale! 27″ 3.8GHz 5K iMac for $2098, save $201...
Amazon has the 27″ 3.8GHz 5K iMac (MNED2LL/A) on sale today for $2098 including free shipping. Their price is $201 off MSRP, and it’s the lowest price available for this model (Apple’s $1949... Read more
Sale! 10″ Apple WiFi iPad Pros for up to $100...
B&H Photo has 10.5″ WiFi iPad Pros in stock today and on sale for $50-$100 off MSRP. Each iPad includes free shipping, and B&H charges sales tax in NY & NJ only: – 10.5″ 64GB iPad Pro: $... Read more
Apple iMacs on sale for up to $130 off MSRP w...
B&H Photo has 21-inch and 27-inch iMacs in stock and on sale for up to $130 off MSRP including free shipping. B&H charges sales tax in NY & NJ only: – 27″ 3.8GHz iMac (MNED2LL/A): $2179 $... Read more
2017 3.5GHz 6-Core Mac Pro on sale for $2799,...
B&H Photo has the 2017 3.5GHz 6-Core Mac Pro (MD878LL/A) on sale today for $2799 including free shipping plus NY & NJ sales tax only . Their price is $200 off MSRP. Read more
12″ 1.2GHz Space Gray MacBook on sale for $11...
Amazon has the 2017 12″ 1.2GHz Space Gray Retina MacBook on sale for $100 off MSRP. Shipping is free: 12″ 1.2GHz Space Gray MacBook: $1199.99 $100 off MSRP Read more

Jobs Board

Frameworks Engineer, *Apple* Watch - Apple...
Job Summary Join the team that is shaping the future of software development for Apple Watch! As a software engineer on the Apple Watch Frameworks team you will Read more
*Apple* News Product Marketing Mgr., Publish...
Job Summary The Apple News Product Marketing Manager will work closely with a cross-functional group to assist in defining and marketing new features and services. Read more
Fraud Analyst, *Apple* Advertising Platform...
Job Summary Apple Ad Platforms has an opportunity to redefine advertising on mobile devices. Apple reaches hundreds of millions of iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad Read more
*Apple* Information Security - Security Data...
Job Summary This role is responsible for helping to strengthen Apple 's information security posture through the identification and curation of security event data. Read more
Lead *Apple* Solution Consultant - Apple In...
…develop a team of diverse partner employees focusing on excellence to deliver the Apple story. Even when you're not present, you will maintain a consistent influence Read more
All contents are Copyright 1984-2011 by Xplain Corporation. All rights reserved. Theme designed by Icreon.