January 92 - BAMADA Notes
Attendance at the October meeting of the Bay Area MacApp Developers Association (Bamada) was threatened by illness, Comdex and Steve Friedrich's departure from Apple-but the MacApp Team came through like troopers, and their presentation on the latest MacApp tools was both impressive and informative (albeit to an audience of only 25 people, including my mom).
Bill Harris of the MacApp Documentation Team led off with a demonstration of MacBrowse (née Mouser). Always a useful tool, it's even better in its latest incarnation. Among its new features is support for the creation and use of 411 documentation from application source. Its use of multiple windows is better organized, and the interface is generally a lot cleaner, more powerful, and more intuitive.
When Bill was done wowing the audience, Ed Navarrette took the floor to demonstrate the latest version of ViewEdit. Although there are not a lot of new features in the new version, its user interface is considerably better than it used to be (and it wasn't that bad to begin with). The drop-down dialog panels, particularly, may set a standard for us all to follow in years ahead. The new ViewEdit also supports the new 3.0-style 'view' resources, of course; it also supports Object Master's AppleEvents, and has a Run mode in which you can see how your views will work (a cross between the AppMaker & MacApp combination and NextStep's Interface Builder).
Mike Burbidge followed with a demonstration of SourceBug. In its latest version, it has absorbed many of the features of the MacApp Debugger. Unfortunately, it has absorbed many of the bugs, also; the demonstration was marred by a number of crashes. (Let he, whose code is bugless, cast the first aspersion.) The demonstration was followed by a general discussion of MacApp debugging, in which a number of people admitted the once-heretical belief that SADE was not so bad (in version 1.3, anyway). I'm not convinced; I say we burn 'em at the stake.
Third-party building blocks
The November meeting was held, as usual, on the fourth Wednesday of the month. Unfortunately, this means it fell on the day before Thanksgiving. We were thankful that anyone attended, and indeed, about thirty people did.
The topic for the meeting was "Third-Party Building Blocks," with Curtis Faith and Tom Cahill, both of Sierra Software Innovations (SSI). They discussed the factors that led them to write and market their third-party building block for MacApp, SuperTEView.
SuperTEView is a TTEView replacement for MacApp. It has a number of advantages over TTEView; the most important are that SuperTEView has no 32K text limitation (as does TTEView), and that it supports both tabs and full justification, which TTEView does not. These benefits exist because SuperTEView is based on DataPak Software's WP-Engine, which is a more complete word processing engine than is the Mac's TextEdit, on which TTEView is based. If you're writing a MacApp application that needs to do even moderate word processing (four pages or more), you should consider using SuperTEView.
The presentation focused on how SSI got into the building-block business, and what their plans are for the future. SSI is actively seeking experienced MacApp developers (who isn't?) to help them achieve their objectives. A surprisingly large portion of their presentation was devoted to the beauty of their corporate location (Incline Village, NV, on the slopes of Lake Tahoe), the low taxes, the potentially high salaries, and the affordable housing (well, compared to the Bay Area, anyway).
But they didn't spent the whole time recruiting, thank goodness. Curtis also discussed SSI's plans for Inside Out, a Macintosh-specific database engine. SSI acquired Inside Out from Shana Enterprises, its original developer, about a year ago. Since then, they've been positioning it (and improving it) to take on the 4GL database systems (4th Dimension, dBase, Omnis, etc.) head-to-head.
So how does this relate to MacApp? Not too much, anymore-but before TDocument was broken up in MacApp 3, it was very relevant. SSI's efforts to shoehorn Inside Out into MacApp 2, with its assumption of "one file per document," just about turned MacApp inside-out. Their difficulties-and the noise they made about them-were a significant contributing factor in why MacApp 3.0 no longer makes that assumption about documents. Using MacApp 3.0, it is so much easier to use Inside Out with MacApp, SSI has sold all its shoehorns, flooding the market, and depressing the shoehorn commodity prices worldwide.
No December meeting
Since the fourth Wednesday of December was Christmas Day, everyone agreed to cancel Bamada's December meeting. Everyone with a family, anyway; there were a couple of nerdy-looking guys in the back who were upset that we would let a little thing like Christmas stand in the way of something really important like Bamada. It reminded me of the Saturday Night Live sketch in which William Shatner, at a Star Trek convention, told the Trekkie audience "Look at you guys! Most of you still live with your mothers, right? Have you ever kissed a girl? Star Trek is just a TV show! It's not real! Get a life!" But then, those nerdy-looking guys in the back are probably making twice what I am, so who am I to say?
MacApp's role in Apple's Future
[Editor's note: BAMADA met with MADA at Macworld-San Francisco. See following article.]
Upcoming in February
The next Bamada meeting will be held on Thursday, February 13th, from 7pm to 9pm in the Mountain View Room of Apple's City Center Four building, on the corner of De Anza and Steven's Creek Boulevards. Watch the MacApp.Tech$ or
MacApp.News$ group address on AppleLink or America Online for further news of the February meeting, or call the MADA office at (206) 252-6946.
Bamada meetings provide an exciting opportunity to meet the movers and shaker of the MacApp Community. If you already are a mover and a shaker, please come
too, so everyone can meet you.
Be there or be tetrahedral!