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

How to get a high score in every level o...
Sky Charms is an adorable match three puzzler that provides a decent challenge thanks to its creative level design. It regularly presents something new, forcing you to think on your feet. [Read more] | Read more »
Apestorm: Full Bananas (Games)
Apestorm: Full Bananas 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: ***Launch sale – limited time only!*** Fugitive Apes have taken to the skies in search of revenge after humans have... | Read more »
How to create bigger words in Spellspire
Words have power. At least they do in Spellspire,a game about blasting out magical attacks by making words out of a jumble of letters. And it's a lot of fun. But if you want to be the best, you're going to have to think tactically when you start... | Read more »
Steel Media and DeePoon have partnered f...
Virtual reality is the next big thing, and 148Apps's publisher,Steel Media, wants to know what the hottest upcoming games are. [Read more] | Read more »
Airline Director 2 - Tycoon Game (Games...
Airline Director 2 - Tycoon Game 1.2.1 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $2.99, Version: 1.2.1 (iTunes) Description: Airline Director 2 is a management game set in the challenging field of commercial aviation. As the... | Read more »
Dog Mendonca (Games)
Dog Mendonca 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $4.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: [ Solve a criminal case beyond believe in this supernatural adventure game based on the popular graphic novel trilogy published... | Read more »
Amidakuji Knight (Games)
Amidakuji Knight 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: Ghost leg rules meets RPG!Select the best path and save a princess! A long long time ago, there was a beautiful and peaceful... | Read more »
The 5 best mobile games like Game of Thr...
Everyone's favourite weekly dosage of medieval depression, Game of Thrones, is back for its sixth season. An excellent time for the bloodthirsty! [Read more] | Read more »
How to approach quests in Fallen London
Sitting at over 1.5 million words, Fallen London is filled to the brim with intriguing tales and mysterious characters. From the start, you’ll find a slew of quests ripe for the taking. [Read more] | Read more »
How to survive in LOUD on Planet X
LOUD on Planet X is a hybrid of a tower defense and rhythm game that pits famous indie acts against invading aliens. You need timing and strategy in this game in order to succeed, things can get pretty overwhelming pretty quickly. Here are some... | Read more »

Price Scanner via MacPrices.net

Aleratec Releases Mac Software Upgrade for 1...
California based Aleratec Inc., designer, developer and manufacturer of Portable Device Management (PDM) charge/sync products for mobile devices and professional-grade duplicators for hard disk... Read more
Sale! Amazon offers 27-inch iMac, 13-inch 2.9...
Amazon has the 27″ 3.2GHz 5K iMac and the 13″ 3.9GHz Retina MacBook Pro on sale for $300 off MSRP, each including free shipping, for a limited time: - 27″ 3.2GHz/1TB HD 5K iMac (model MK462LL/A): $... Read more
Apple refurbished 13-inch Retina MacBook Pros...
Apple has Certified Refurbished 13″ Retina MacBook Pros available for up to $270 off the cost of new models. An Apple one-year warranty is included with each model, and shipping is free: - 13″ 2.7GHz... Read more
13-inch 2.7GHz/128GB Retina MacBook Pro on sa...
Take $200 off MSRP on the price of a new 13″ 2.7GHz/128GB Retina MacBook Pro (model MF839LL/A) at Amazon. Shipping is free: - 13″ 2.7GHz/128GB Retina MacBook Pro: $1099.99 $200 off MSRP Act now if... Read more
Apple refurbished clearance 15-inch Retina Ma...
Apple has Certified Refurbished 2014 15″ 2.2GHz Retina MacBook Pros available for $1609, $390 off original MSRP. Apple’s one-year warranty is included, and shipping is free. They have refurbished 15... Read more
27-inch 5K iMacs on sale for up to $150 off M...
B&H Photo has 27″ 5K iMacs on sale for up to $150 off MSRP including free shipping plus NY sales tax only: - 27″ 3.3GHz iMac 5K: $2199 $100 off MSRP - 27″ 3.2GHz/1TB Fusion iMac 5K: $1849.99 $150... Read more
What Does The Refreshed 12-Inch MacBook Tell...
A lot of commentators are complaining that Apple’s update of the 12-Inch MacBook last week is a bit of a damp squib. I don’t know what they were expecting, since it would be very unlike Apple to do a... Read more
Free Wittify Keyboard Now Available On The Ap...
A team of Harvard Business School students have announced that the Wittify Keyboard, a new app utility for iOS devices, is now available on the Apple App Store. The Wittify keyboard and application... Read more
Apple Reports First Year-Over-Year Quarterly...
Apple on TUesday announced financial results for its fiscal 2016 second quarter ending March 26, 2016. The Company posted quarterly revenue of $50.6 billion and quarterly net income of $10.5 billion... Read more
13-inch 2.7GHz Retina MacBook Pros on sale fo...
Take $130-$150 off MSRP on the price of a new 13″ 2.7GHz Retina MacBook Pro at Amazon. Shipping is free: - 13″ 2.7GHz/128GB Retina MacBook Pro: $1169 $130 off MSRP - 13″ 2.7GHz/256GB Retina MacBook... Read more

Jobs Board

*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
Restaurant Manager (Neighborhood Captain) - A...
…in every aspect of daily operation. WHY YOU'LL LIKE IT: You'll be the Big Apple . You'll solve problems. You'll get to show your ability to handle the stress and Read more
*Apple* Solutions Consultant - … (United Sta...
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
Restaurant Manager (Neighborhood Captain) - A...
…in every aspect of daily operation. WHY YOU'LL LIKE IT: You'll be the Big Apple . You'll solve problems. You'll get to show your ability to handle the stress and Read more
Restaurant Manager (Neighborhood Captain) - A...
…in every aspect of daily operation. WHY YOU'LL LIKE IT: You'll be the Big Apple . You'll solve problems. You'll get to show your ability to handle the stress and Read more
All contents are Copyright 1984-2011 by Xplain Corporation. All rights reserved. Theme designed by Icreon.