TweetFollow Us on Twitter

September 92 - WAMADA Notes

WAMADA Notes

John MacVeigh

July – Component Software

The July meeting began with a brief (by definition) discussion of what the attendees knew about Bedrock. It is said to be based, currently, on TCL, but with substantial additions (150 classes vs. 64 for TCL). Apple is now involved in making many changes and contributions to add MacApp's functionality. This makes it difficult for even Symantec to describe the form of the final framework. Based on some assumptions about the number of MacApp engineers actually assigned to MacApp, it is rumored that Apple has been helping with Bedrock since February. One can only hope. At least one attendee's company has decided to postpone use of MacApp until the fog lifts. The first public betas are said to be scheduled for release by the end of the year. I think the general feeling is that developers will feel better about building on Bedrock once they determine that there are no fault lines nearby. The ground has shifted under us enough already. By the way, Bedrock will compile with either Zortech or Borland compilers on the PC, and MPW CFront (sigh) on the Mac. And speaking of compilers…

Component Workshop

Component Software's Bill McHale (CEO), and Stonewall Ballard (Chief Technical Guy) were WAMADA's featured guests this month. Component Software (CS) is a spin-off of ON Technology, and is backed by some of the heavy hitters in the venture capital world. (The latter is assumed to be a good thing.) Their product, Component Workshop™ (CW), is, in brief, an attempt to combine the programmer productivity of SmallTalk with the application efficiency of C and C++. By all appearances, they have succeeded admirably.

Environmentally Sound

The development environment provided by CW is based on an incremental C++ compiler. You can change a function and have it compiled and running (not interpreted) almost immediately. A debugger allows you to see the currently executing source code, and to change it. A second key to the CW environment is a local object database which holds the source to all of your classes. A number of browsers assist you in creating and reviewing your work. You can navigate your classes as a graph, cross-reference calls, and examine "modules". Modules provide a location for globals, and allow CS to remove C's file level scoping rules. The result is that there are no more source files (or Make file!) to deal with.

Another key feature of the Workshop is that it provides a "genuine, high performance" garbage collector. It is available within the Workshop environment, and also to your final application. Stoney Ballard estimates that the presence of a garbage collector results in a 30% to 60% reduction in programmer time. Lastly, it should be mentioned that CW is built with itself. Compilers which are used to build themselves have, in my experience far, far fewer bugs then those written in another language.

To produce a shipping version of your application, you "extrude" your main program from the workshop environment. Extrusion extracts only those classes which are actually used by your app. It optimizes out unused functions, removes unused polymorphism, and then generates C source files for the MPW compiler, along with a Make file. This removes from CS the burden of producing world-class globally optimizing compilers for multiple platforms. Since the result is C, you could presumably have your pick of compilers for the final compilation. In the future CS intends to be compatible with Apple's upcoming "L" compiler.

The Vision Thing

I once worked with a programmer who described his job as "writing novels for computers to read". Unfortunately, we can't all be as prolific as Isaac Asimov. Part of the gestalt (where do I get these words?) of Component Workshop, according to Ballard, is to move programming away from a literary exercise and toward a model building exercise. Progressive refinement of an application benefits from short turn-around time, but also from careful creation of the classes, to limit their duties (recall the monolithic nature of the original MacApp TDocument ). Stoney described his staff's "fanatic attention to abstraction", and mentioned that CW currently contains 782 classes (many used by the compiler). Portable (cross-platform) applications are made possible by layered abstractions which decouple the programmer's model from the actual OS.

Thus CW is envisioned as a tool kit of parts (components) which you assemble with a plug-and-jack method of construction (but through full C++ syntax, not a "visual" interface). This creates a base for add-on components. Existing components include a text editor and a list manager. "Target kits", which encapsulate toolbox calls, will be provided for portability. Third party tool-shops can also produce components to allow the Workshop to keep up with continued Apple OS developments. Finally, CW does provide an event-driven application framework. [Since it's an application, and written with itself, and all source code (except the compiler) is provided, it would be hard not to come with one!] Time prevented an in-depth review of the framework, but it is based in mixin classes, rather then MacApp's behavior mechanism.

Pro Business

Component intends to ship version 1 for the Macintosh on September 30th, and version 1 for Windows in the first quarter of '93. Add-on tools and components would ship in the second quarter. Version 1 of Component Workshop is intended primarily for new applications, not those ported from elsewhere (it can both import and export C++, but the import facility is not considered robust enough in version 1). The primary goal of Version 2 is to be compatible with everything, even Bedrock.

Some of Component's early users are in-house programmers at companies like Liberty Mutual, but their target market is the commercial shrink-wrap product developer. Pricing has not yet been determined. While most venture capital backers are known to want a quick return on their investment, the technologists want to get their product into the hands of as many people as possible. For a first approximation, it would be fair to calculate the cost of assembling the separate tools you would need to get "equivalent" functionality on the Mac. CS is also looking at ways to get small tool shops a reduced price in exchange for the development of add-on components.

Final Tally

The scope of the job Component Software has set for itself is quite broad. While the key technologies (compiler, database, extruder) are in place and working, a number of ancillary features will need improvements to keep up with other environments. In particular, some attendees are Object Master™ fans and were hoping to see similar functionality in CW. (Perhaps ACIUS needs an ally in the tool business?) Graphical view creation, and true multi-user access to the class database were also asked about. Currently, views are handled by translating from MacApp or TCL views. Workgroup support can be done now with multiple steps. A full solution requires a cross platform OODB, something Component might need to get from a third party. Instant turn-around time, the class database, and interactive browsing and debugging are the key value-added features which Component Workshop brings to the Mac developer (oh, ok, and Windows, too). These, and the shipment schedule, should make Component Workshop a strong competitor in the development environment arena.

Upcoming in August-TBA

Popular myths about D.C. weather in August tend to keep people away from our little sauna on the Potomac. Still, we'll convince someone to pay us a visit: stay tuned.

WAMADA meets every third Wednesday at McDonnell Douglas in Tyson's Corner, Virginia, beginning around 7:15 p.m. For a map, send a message to JEFFRIES.L on AppleLink, or call Leslie at (301) 340-5126 during business hours (EDT). The map and directions are also available in the MADA library in the Macintosh Developer's Forum on Compuserve.

 

Community Search:
MacTech Search:

Software Updates via MacUpdate

Latest Forum Discussions

See All

How to get started with Prisma
If there's one thing people like to do more than taking pictures with their smartphones, it's tinkering with those photos in some way. Numerous apps have sprung up over the last several years that allow you to use filters and special effects to... | Read more »
6 Pokemon GO updates you can expect, acc...
Pokemon GO had a scheduled appearance at this year's San Diego Comic-Con for a while, but it was only relatively close to the show that it was upgraded to a spot in Hall H. That's the biggest venue at SDCC, one usually reserved for the largest... | Read more »
How to evolve Eevee in Pokemon GO
By now, almost everyone should be hip to how to evolve Pokemon in Pokemon GO (and if not, there's a guide for that). Just gather enough candy of the appropriate type, feed them all to the Pokemon, and evolution happens. It's a miracle that would... | Read more »
CSR Racing 2: Guide to all game modes
It might not seem like there are all that many ways to go fast in a straight line, but CSR Racing 2 begs to differ. [Read more] | Read more »
Bulb Boy (Games)
Bulb Boy 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $2.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: Multi-award winning 2D point & click horror adventure about a boy with a glowing head. | Read more »
5 top free emoji keyboard apps
If we're not at peak emoji yet as a society, it feels like we definitely should be. The emoji concept has gone far beyond what anyone in Japan could have envisioned when the people there unleashed it on an unsuspecting world, but the West has... | Read more »
How to unlock more characters in Disney...
One of the big charms of Disney Emoji Blitz is seeing a wide variety of beloved Disney and Pixar characters transformed into smiling emojis. Even someone like the sneaky Randall from Monsters Inc., who probably never cracked a smile on film, is... | Read more »
Cubway (Games)
Cubway 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $1.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: Cubway is a journey with an abstract story of lifecycle of rebirth, called Samsara. Guide the cube through the long way full of dangers... | Read more »
Colorcube (Games)
Colorcube 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $1.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: Turn pieces and blend colours in this minimal yet visually stunning puzzler.Over 200 handcrafted and challenging levels. Features... | Read more »
Doodle God Griddlers (Games)
Doodle God Griddlers 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $4.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: | Read more »

Price Scanner via MacPrices.net

13-inch 1.6GHz/128GB MacBook Air on sale for...
Amazon has the 13″ 1.6GHz/128GB MacBook Air on sale for $200 off MSRP for a limited time. Shipping is free: - 13″ 1.6GHz/128GB MacBook Air (sku MMGF2LL/A): $799.99 $200 off MSRP Their price is the... Read more
13-inch 1.6GHz/256GB MacBook Air on sale for...
Amazon has the 13″ 1.6GHz/256GB MacBook Air on sale for $200 off MSRP for a limited time. Shipping is free: - 13″ 1.6GHz/256GB MacBook Air (sku MMGG2LL/A): $999.99 $200 off MSRP Their price is the... Read more
Free iOS Business App notably* Helps Service...
PayStudio Inc. has introduced their new business app notably* 1.0, developed for iPhone and iPod touch. notably* was specifically developed to help service and trade professionals go digital and... Read more
27-inch iMacs on sale for $200 off MSRP
Amazon has 27″ iMacs on sale for $200 off MSRP including free shipping: - 27″ 3.3GHz iMac 5K: $2099 $200 off MSRP - 27″ 3.2GHz/1TB Fusion iMac 5K: $1799.99 $200 off MSRP - 27″ 3.2GHz/1TB HD iMac 5K... Read more
Mac Pros on sale for $200 off MSRP
B&H Photo has Mac Pros on sale for $200 off MSRP. Shipping is free, and B&H charges sales tax in NY only: - 3.7GHz 4-core Mac Pro: $2799, $200 off MSRP - 3.5GHz 6-core Mac Pro: $3799, $200... Read more
Save up to $600 with Apple refurbished Mac Pr...
Apple has Certified Refurbished Mac Pros available for up to $600 off the cost of new models. An Apple one-year warranty is included with each Mac Pro, and shipping is free. The following... Read more
Apple price trackers, updated continuously
Scan our Apple Price Trackers for the latest information on sales, bundles, and availability on systems from Apple’s authorized internet/catalog resellers. We update the trackers continuously: - 15″... Read more
13-inch 2.5GHz MacBook Pro (Apple refurbished...
Apple has Certified Refurbished 13″ 2.5GHz MacBook Pros available for $829, or $270 off the cost of new models. Apple’s one-year warranty is standard, and shipping is free: - 13″ 2.5GHz MacBook Pros... Read more
21-inch iMacs on sale for up to $120 off MSRP
B&H Photo has 21″ iMacs on sale for up to $120 off MSRP including free shipping plus NY sales tax only: - 21″ 3.1GHz iMac 4K: $1379 $120 off MSRP - 21″ 2.8GHz iMac: $1199.99 $100 off MSRP - 21″ 1... Read more
Charitybuzz Set to Auction Unique Apple-1 Com...
Offering an opportunity to own the computer that sparked a revolution, on Monday, July 25, leading online charity auction platform Charitybuzz will auction what is claimed to be the world’s most... Read more

Jobs Board

*Apple* Retail - Multiple Positions, Willow...
Job Description:SalesSpecialist - Retail Customer Service and SalesTransform Apple Store visitors into loyal Apple customers. When customers enter the store, Read more
*Apple* Evangelist - JAMF Software (United S...
The Apple Evangelist is responsible for building and cultivating strategic relationships with Apple 's small and mid-market business development field teams. This Read more
*Apple* Solutions Consultant - APPLE (United...
Job Summary As an Apple Solutions Consultant, you'll be the link between our future customers and our products. You'll showcase your entrepreneurial spirit as you Read more
*Apple* Professional Learning Specialist - A...
Job Summary The Apple Professional Learning Specialist is a full-time position for one year with Apple in the Phoenix, AZ area. This position requires a high Read more
*Apple* Picker - Apple Hill Orchard (United...
Apple Hill Orchard, Co. Rte. 21,Whitehall, NY 9/7/16-10/228/16. Pick fresh market or processing apples Productivity of 60 boxes and 80 boxes processing fruit per Read more
All contents are Copyright 1984-2011 by Xplain Corporation. All rights reserved. Theme designed by Icreon.