TweetFollow Us on Twitter

November 92 - WAMADA News

WAMADA News

John MacVeigh

August – MacApp, TCL, & FUD

The August WAMADA meeting began with a little group troubleshooting for some local developers. They brought up some shortcomings in MacApp which they wanted to work around. The first involved printing to a LaserWriter vs. displaying with QuickDraw. Their application creates and prints forms for a government agency (big, long forms). Naturally they wish to make use of the printing quality available on a PostScript printer. For example, the printed forms should use lines thinner than a standard one pixel QuickDraw line. But how to do this with MacApp's printing mechanism? The first suggestion was to pre-build the forms in PostScript and "fill-in-the-blanks". However, this application constructs the forms as it is run, thus there is no standard form to pre-build. Apart from writing everything in PostScript, the only other suggestion was to first produce a PICT so that the PostScript could be embedded in PICT comments. The idea was to alter the printing loop to open a picture, call the Draw methods which could add PICT comments where needed, then close the PICT and print that. This seemed doable, if not pretty. Since desktop publishing was the Mac's salvation in the early years, and is still a strength today, one might expect better printing support from MacApp. But what we have been given is only QuickDraw, i.e. the lowest common denominator (where have I heard that phrase before?). To say that GX will solve this problem is correct, but smacks of raising the river rather than lowering the bridge.

The second problem involved MacApp's sometimes haphazard use of color, especially in dialogs. For example, the floating TE view must be overridden to make use of the target view's foreground and background colors. Other color problems are caused by MacApp's use of standard Mac controls. Perhaps Bedrock will help solve this problem by abstracting controls into platform independent objects.

TCL

The evening continued with a presentation by Mark Gerl of McDonnell Douglas comparing TCL with MacApp. Mark's group recently switched from MacApp 3.0 to TCL. They did so partly based on the loss of support for MacApp, and partly on the belief that Bedrock will be more like TCL. In the end, they may have tried to hit a moving target; but given his group's existing knowledge of MacApp and their emphasis on R&D prototypes rather than finished product, I don't think they have lost anything. Indeed, TCL may be a better starting point for prototypes and experiments. Some of the benefits of TCL include:
  • Shorter learning curve
  • "Lighter" classes
  • Fast environment with integrated debugger
  • AppMaker™ support for quick start up of new projects
  • Works with Object Master and Projector(Mark edits with Object Master, uses MPW to run Projector (SourceServer's still in the wings), and does the compile/link/debug work with Think C. This gives him the best of each application. It also gives him a reason for using a 32MB Radius Rocket™ to run Think C.)

It's not unexpected for a smaller framework to be faster to learn and work with than a larger one. But does it warrant giving up the richer and more complete (System 7 support, for example) framework embodied by MacApp? At first look, it would seem that MacApp requires a longer design phase, but less programming work, while TCL allows quicker start up, but more work to add the features needed by a commercial application. Which is "faster"? There is no single answer to this; the real lesson here might be that there is room for more than one application framework, and waiting for the "perfect" framework is surely the slowest way to develop software. And speaking of waiting for answers…

FUD

The meeting concluded with a report by Leslie Jeffries on Steve Weyl's talk at August MacWorld. Simply put, there was no discernable change in content from the Apple announcements made at the WWDC and at PC Expo.This led to a rather lengthy discussion among the group about the directions, both real and perceived, in which Apple is taking their development tools. Mostly, of course, we discussed perceptions and we did not perceive Apple to be doing a good job of explaining where it was going or how it would get us there. In particular, participants wondered about the fate of current MacApp users. Yes, Apple will provide a means to move to Bedrock. But what if our schedule doesn't match Apple's? How long after the appearance of Bedrock will MacApp support continue? Will bug fixes continue past the now-released 3.0.1? There are also still questions about Apple's support for developers using object technologies. For example: will future APIs be provided as classes? And at the same time as procedural APIs?

If these questions sound familiar, it's because they are. I think part of the reason for this discussion was that Apple didn't do much to answer these questions when they were first brought up. In fact the Bedrock announcement may become a perfect example of how not to announce new development tools. Early announcement (i.e., before you can say that most of the work is already done) creates more FUD (fear, uncertainty and doubt) than it creates useful planning information. It appears that, despite all of its bravado about Windows not being a threat, Apple became panicked that its developers might leave in droves for Windows, and began trumpeting the cross-platform framework before it should have. The result: a sense that the Apple tools group is in disarray.

The arrival of the Shared Library Manager (SLM) gives some hope, though, that work is proceeding apace towards an improved, and object-based, development environment. For example, the SLM provides Apple with an incentive to release future system extensions as classes, so that they may be shared.

The SLM also provides an example of how to release new tools: first do it, then announce it. Previous to the release of E.T.O. #8 we only heard that Apple was working on "DLLs". Then, unexpected by most developers, it appears in Beta form. Some may say that they want to know about such developments as early as possible. But suppose Apple had been working on four or five different DLL solutions before selecting one? Would this have provided useful information? Or a reason to delay work while the final choice was made? It would seem that, in this case at least, ignorance is bliss. Also, the journey is the reward, don't stare directly at Suns or stick your hands out Windows, and objects are closer than they appear.

September – Delays & SLM

The September WAMADA meeting got off to a late start. A week late to be exact, due to the pressing demands of the organizers's jobs. Of course this can be seen as a good thing: people are busy developing new and improved software. The bad news, though, is that often the work being done is to recode old work, change languages, change development systems, and reconsider where to allocate future development resources; new work is being delayed. One developer is recoding a large (215K lines) Pascal program into C++. To keep the switch-over orderly, no features will be added or changed. Another developer is adopting Component Workshop and will be taking time out to attend training. A third must re-consider a design which used Dinker, now that the Shared Library Manager (SLM) has taken its place. To continue the good news bad news theme, the good news is that new Apple software, like the SLM, is beginning to appear.

The SLM was the focus of this month's meeting, as developers tossed around ideas on how best to use it. Our first impression was that this is a very good technology for Apple. It provides them with an organized and powerful method for distributing system enhancements. Everyone also agreed that a shared MacApp (or, more likely, Bedrock) library would be an excellent use of the SLM. We could not, however, immediately describe to one another how to set up a Dinker-like system where a DLL would contain objects derived from an application base class. What, for example, is the best way to find out which derived classes exist? Generally, it was felt that as the SLM matures Apple needs to provide more examples of its use in application programs, as well as for system extensions.

The SLM also brings changes to other aspects of the software business. One developer observed that breaking applications into shared libraries, not all of which might come from the same source, pushes compatibility problems into the user's arena. Currently, if you link with a third-party library, and something makes that library out-of-date, then you, the developer, have to solve the problem. But if that library was purchased separately, or came with another package, who is responsible for updating it? While the SLM provides version management, it can't automatically order upgrades (now there's an interesting third party opportunity). It also appears that the Finder will need to be improved in order to provide a useful interface for all the DLL files that will begin proliferating on the user's hard disk. Constantly selecting files and doing "Get Info" to check version numbers can become tiring, real fast. Lastly, the SLM accelerates the question of how to price, sell, and prevent the piracy of add-on code modules. Apple's up-coming policy of charging for system upgrades may, in fact, be part of an attempt to get people used to paying for code, even if it's not a complete application.

It will be interesting to see, as developers begin to depend on the SLM, how these problems are solved. In the short term, I think, we will see developers use the SLM for access to Apple extensions, but rarely for access to DLLs from other companies.

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). n

 

Community Search:
MacTech Search:

Software Updates via MacUpdate

FotoMagico 5.3 - Powerful slideshow crea...
FotoMagico lets you create professional slideshows from your photos and music with just a few, simple mouse clicks. It sports a very clean and intuitive yet powerful user interface. High image... Read more
Acorn 5.6.1 - Bitmap image editor.
Acorn is a new image editor built with one goal in mind - simplicity. Fast, easy, and fluid, Acorn provides the options you'll need without any overhead. Acorn feels right, and won't drain your bank... Read more
Dash 3.4.3 - Instant search and offline...
Dash is an API documentation browser and code snippet manager. Dash helps you store snippets of code, as well as instantly search and browse documentation for almost any API you might use (for a full... Read more
Microsoft Remote Desktop 8.0.37 - Connec...
With Microsoft Remote Desktop, you can connect to a remote PC and your work resources from almost anywhere. Experience the power of Windows with RemoteFX in a Remote Desktop client designed to help... Read more
Macs Fan Control 1.4.7.0 - Monitor and c...
Macs Fan Control allows you to monitor and control almost any aspect of your computer's fans, with support for controlling fan speed, temperature sensors pane, menu-bar icon, and autostart with... Read more
MacFamilyTree 8.1.3 - Create and explore...
MacFamilyTree gives genealogy a facelift: modern, interactive, convenient and fast. Explore your family tree and your family history in a way generations of chroniclers before you would have loved.... Read more
Boom 2 1.5.2 - $14.99
Boom 2 is a system-wide volume booster and equalizer app that is designed especially for OS X 10.10 Yosemite. It comes with a smart interface, self-calibrates itself according to your Mac, offers... Read more
Macs Fan Control 1.4.7.0 - Monitor and c...
Macs Fan Control allows you to monitor and control almost any aspect of your computer's fans, with support for controlling fan speed, temperature sensors pane, menu-bar icon, and autostart with... Read more
Boom 2 1.5.2 - $14.99
Boom 2 is a system-wide volume booster and equalizer app that is designed especially for OS X 10.10 Yosemite. It comes with a smart interface, self-calibrates itself according to your Mac, offers... Read more
MacFamilyTree 8.1.3 - Create and explore...
MacFamilyTree gives genealogy a facelift: modern, interactive, convenient and fast. Explore your family tree and your family history in a way generations of chroniclers before you would have loved.... Read more

Stickman Surfer rides in with the tide t...
Stickson is back and this time he's taken up yet another extreme sport - surfing. Stickman Surfer is out this Thursday on both iOS and Android, so if you've been following the other Stickman adventures, you might be interested in picking this one... | Read more »
Z-Exemplar (Games)
Z-Exemplar 1.4 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $3.99, Version: 1.4 (iTunes) Description: | Read more »
5 dastardly difficult roguelikes like th...
Edmund McMillen's popular roguelike creation The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth has finally crawled onto mobile devices. It's a grotesque dual-stick shooter that tosses you into an endless, procedurally generated basement as you, the pitiable Isaac,... | Read more »
Last week on PocketGamer
Welcome to a weekly feature looking back on the past seven days of coverage on our sister website, PocketGamer. It’s taken a while for 2017 to really get going, at least when it comes to the world of portable gaming. Thank goodness, then, for... | Read more »
ROME: Total War - Barbarian Invasion set...
To the delight of mobile strategy fans, Feral Interactive released ROME: Total War just a few months ago. Now the game's expansion, Barbarian Invasion is marching onto iPads as a standalone release. [Read more] | Read more »
Yuri (Games)
Yuri 1.0 Device: iOS iPhone Category: Games Price: $3.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: It's night. Yuri opens his eyes. He wakes up in a strange forest.The small, courageous explorer rides on his bed on casters in this... | Read more »
Space schmup Xenoraid launches on the Ap...
10Tons Xenoraid is out today on the App Store, bringing some high-speed space action to your mobile gadgets just in time for the weekend. The company's last premium title, another sci-fi game titled Neon Chrome, did quite well for itself, so... | Read more »
Star Wars: Force Arena Beginner's G...
Star Wars: Force Arena joined the populous ranks of Star Wars games on mobile today. It's a two-lane MOBA starring many familiar faces from George Lucas's famed sci-fi franchise. As with most games of this nature, Force Arena can be a little obtuse... | Read more »
Mysterium: The Board Game (Games)
Mysterium: The Board Game 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $6.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: The official adaptation of the famous board game Mysterium! | Read more »
Sonny (Games)
Sonny 1.0.4 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $2.99, Version: 1.0.4 (iTunes) Description: Reimagined for iOS, cult-hit RPG Sonny brings challenging turn-based combat that requires strategy and mastery of each new skill to... | Read more »

Price Scanner via MacPrices.net

15-inch 2.2GHz Retina MacBook Pro on sale for...
Amazon has 2015 15″ 2.2GHz Retina MacBook Pros (MJLQ2LL/A) available for $1799.99 including free shipping. Apple charges $1999 for this model, so Amazon’s price is represents a $200 savings. Read more
Back in stock: Apple refurbished 13-inch Reti...
Apple has Certified Refurbished 2015 13″ Retina MacBook Pros available for up to $360 off original MSRP, starting at $1099. An Apple one-year warranty is included with each model, and shipping is... Read more
CalcTape for macOS 1.2 Adding Machine App for...
schoettler Software has announced CalcTape 1.2, an update to their desktop calculator for macOS. When it comes to adding long columns of numbers, doing complex calculations or playing around with... Read more
New MacBooks And MacBook Pros WIth Kaby Lake...
Digitimes’ Joseph Tsai cites a Chinese-language Economic Daily News (EDN) report that unnamed market watchers are predicting Apple MacBook shipments to grow 10 percent in 2017, and projecting 15... Read more
New 2016 13-inch MacBook Pros on sale for up...
B&H Photo has the new 2016 13″ MacBook Pros in stock today and on sale for up to $150 off MSRP. Shipping is free, and B&H charges NY sales tax only: - 13″ 2.9GHz/512GB Touch Bar MacBook Pro... Read more
New 15-inch Touch Bar MacBook Pros in stock a...
B&H Photo has the new 2016 15″ Apple Touch Bar MacBook Pros in stock today and on sale for up to $150 off MSRP. Shipping is free, and B&H charges NY sales tax only: - 15″ 2.7GHz Touch Bar... Read more
Opera Announces Neon Concept Browser For Mac
Opera is inviting users to get a glimpse of what Opera for computers could become with its Opera Neon browser concept. Each Opera Neon feature is described as “an alternate reality” for the Opera... Read more
Tellini Releases TabView 3.0 Missing Tool fo...
Tellini has announced the release of TabView 3.0. TabView has been the first macOS viewer for PowerTab tablatures. PowerTab is a well-known and widely adopted tablature editor for Windows systems and... Read more
13-inch 1.6GHz/128GB MacBook Air on sale for...
Overstock.com has the 1.6GHz/128GB 13″ MacBook Air on sale for $130 off MSRP including free shipping: - 13″ 1.6GHz/128GB MacBook Air (MMGF2LL/A): $869.99 $130 off MSRP Their price is the lowest... Read more
12-inch 32GB Space Gray iPad Pro on sale for...
B&H Photo has 12″ Space Gray 32GB WiFi Apple iPad Pros on sale for $55 off MSRP including free shipping. B&H charges sales tax in NY only: - 12″ Space Gray 32GB WiFi iPad Pro: $744.44 $55 off... Read more

Jobs Board

*Apple* Retail - Multiple Positions (Multi-L...
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: Sales Specialist - Retail Customer Service and Sales Transform Apple Store visitors into loyal Apple customers. When customers enter the store, Read more
*Apple* & PC Desktop Support Technician...
Apple & PC Desktop Support Technician job in Stamford, CT We have immediate job openings for several Desktop Support Technicians with one of our most well-known Read more
*Apple* macOS Systems Integration Administra...
…most exceptional support available in the industry. SCI is seeking an Junior Apple macOS systems integration administrator that will be responsible for providing Read more
*Apple* Premier Retailer - Service Technicia...
DescriptionSimply Mac is the largest premier retailer for Apple products and solutions. At Simply Mac we are all Apple , all the time. Same products. Same prices. Read more
All contents are Copyright 1984-2011 by Xplain Corporation. All rights reserved. Theme designed by Icreon.