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

Viber 6.8.6 - Send messages and make cal...
Viber lets you send free messages and make free calls to other Viber users, on any device and network, in any country! Viber syncs your contacts, messages and call history with your mobile device, so... Read more
Carbon Copy Cloner 4.1.17 - Easy-to-use...
Carbon Copy Cloner backups are better than ordinary backups. Suppose the unthinkable happens while you're under deadline to finish a project: your Mac is unresponsive and all you hear is an ominous,... Read more
EtreCheck 3.4.2 - For troubleshooting yo...
EtreCheck is an app that displays the important details of your system configuration and allow you to copy that information to the Clipboard. It is meant to be used with Apple Support Communities to... Read more
Hopper Disassembler 4.2.10- - Binary dis...
Hopper Disassembler is a binary disassembler, decompiler, and debugger for 32- and 64-bit executables. It will let you disassemble any binary you want, and provide you all the information about its... Read more
VueScan 9.5.81 - Scanner software with a...
VueScan is a scanning program that works with most high-quality flatbed and film scanners to produce scans that have excellent color fidelity and color balance. VueScan is easy to use, and has... Read more
iFFmpeg 6.4.2 - Convert multimedia files...
iFFmpeg is a comprehensive media tool to convert movie, audio and media files between formats. The FFmpeg command line instructions can be very hard to master/understand, so iFFmpeg does all the hard... Read more
Fantastical 2.4.1 - 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
Fantastical 2.4.1 - 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
Live Home 3D Pro 3.2.2 - $69.99
Live Home 3D Pro, a successor of Live Interior 3D, is the powerful yet intuitive home design software that lets you build the house of your dreams right on your Mac. It has every feature of Live Home... Read more
Live Home 3D Pro 3.2.2 - $69.99
Live Home 3D Pro, a successor of Live Interior 3D, is the powerful yet intuitive home design software that lets you build the house of your dreams right on your Mac. It has every feature of Live Home... Read more

Latest Forum Discussions

See All

Glyph Quest Chronicles guide - how to ma...
Glyph Quest returns with a new free-to-play game, Glyph Quest Chronicles. Chronicles offers up more of the light-hearted, good humored fantasy fun that previous games featured, but with a few more refined tricks up its sleeve. It's a clever mix of... | Read more »
Catch yourself a Lugia and Articuno in P...
Pokémon Go Fest may have been a bit of a disaster, with Niantic offering fans full refunds and $100 worth of in-game curency to apologize for the failed event, but that hasn't ruined trainers' chances of catching new legendary Pokémon. Lugia nad... | Read more »
The best deals on the App Store this wee...
There are quite a few truly superb games on sale on the App Store this week. If you haven't played some of these, many of which are true classics, now's the time to jump on the bandwagon. Here are the deals you need to know about. [Read more] | Read more »
Realpolitiks Mobile (Games)
Realpolitiks Mobile 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $5.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: PLEASE NOTE: The game might not work properly on discontinued 1GB of RAM devices (iPhone 5s, iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, iPad... | Read more »
Layton’s Mystery Journey (Games)
Layton’s Mystery Journey 1.0.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $15.99, Version: 1.0.0 (iTunes) Description: THE MUCH-LOVED LAYTON SERIES IS BACK WITH A 10TH ANNIVERSARY INSTALLMENT! Developed by LEVEL-5, LAYTON’S... | Read more »
Full Throttle Remastered (Games)
Full Throttle Remastered 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $4.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: Originally released by LucasArts in 1995, Full Throttle is a classic graphic adventure game from industry legend Tim... | Read more »
Stunning shooter Morphite gets a new tra...
Morphite is officially landing on iOS in September. The game looks like the space shooter we've been needing on mobile, and we're going to see if it fits the bill quite shortly. The game's a collaborative effort between Blowfish Studios, We're Five... | Read more »
Layton's Mystery Journey arrives to...
As you might recall, Layton's Mystery Journey is headed to iOS and Android -- tomorrow! To celebrate the impending launch, Level-5's released a new trailer, complete with an adorable hamster. [Read more] | Read more »
Sidewords (Games)
Sidewords 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $2.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: Grab a cup of coffee and relax with Sidewords. Sidewords is part logic puzzle, part word game, all original. No timers. No... | Read more »
Noodlecake Games' 'Leap On!...
Noodlecake Games is always good for some light-hearted arcade fun, and its latest project, Leap On! could carry on that tradition. It's a bit like high stakes tetherball in a way. Your job is to guide a cute little blob around a series of floating... | Read more »

Price Scanner via MacPrices.net

Apple Move Away from White Label Event Apps C...
DoubleDutch, Inc., a global provider of Live Engagement Marketing (LEM) solutions, has made a statement in the light of a game-changing announcement from Apple at this year’s WWDC conference.... Read more
70 Year Old Artist Creates Art Tools for the...
New Hampshire-based developer Pirate’s Moon has announced MyArtTools 1.1.3, the update to their precision drawing app, designed by artist Richard Hoeper exclusively for use with the 12.9-inch iPad... Read more
Sale! New 2017 13-inch 2.3GHz MacBook Pros fo...
Amazon has new 2017 13″ 2.3GHz/128GB MacBook Pros on sale today for $150 off MSRP including free shipping. Their prices are the lowest available for these models from any reseller: – 13″ 2.3GHz/128GB... Read more
13″ 2.3GHz/128GB Space Gray MacBook Pro on sa...
MacMall has the 13″ 2.3GHz/128GB Space Gray MacBook Pro (MPXQ2LL/A) on sale for $1219 including free shipping. Their price is $80 off MSRP. Read more
Clearance 2016 12-inch Retina MacBooks, Apple...
Apple recently dropped prices on Certified Refurbished 2016 12″ Retina MacBooks, with models now available starting at $1019. Apple will include a standard one-year warranty with each MacBook, and... Read more
Save or Share
FotoJet Designer, is a simple but powerful new graphic design apps available on both Mac and Windows. With FotoJet Designer’s 900+ templates, thousands of resources, and powerful editing tools you... Read more
Logo Maker Shop iOS App Lets Businesses Get C...
A newly released app is designed to help business owners to get creative with their branding by designing their own logos. With more than 1,000 editable templates, Logo Maker Shop 1.0 provides the... Read more
Sale! New 15-inch MacBook Pros for up to $150...
Amazon has the new 2017 15″ MacBook Pros on sale for up to $150 off MSRP including free shipping: – 15″ 2.8GHz MacBook Pro Space Gray: $2249 $150 off MSRP – 15″ 2.89Hz MacBook Pro Space Gray: $2779 $... Read more
DEVONthink To Go 2.1.7 For iOS Brings Usabili...
DEVONtechnologies has updated DEVONthink To Go, the iOS companion to DEVONthink for Mac, with enhancements and bug fixes. Version 2.1.7 adds an option to clear the Global Inbox and makes the grid... Read more
15-inch 2.2GHz Retina MacBook Pro, Apple refu...
Apple has Certified Refurbished 2015 15″ 2.2GHz Retina MacBook Pros available for $1699. That’s $300 off MSRP, and it’s the lowest price available for a 15″ MacBook Pro. An Apple one-year warranty is... Read more

Jobs Board

*Apple* Solutions Consultant (ASC) - Poole -...
Job Summary The people here at Apple don't just create products - they create the kind of wonder that's revolutionised entire industries. It's the diversity of those Read more
SW Engineer *Apple* TV - Apple Inc. (United...
Changing the world is all in a day's work at Apple . If you love innovation, here's your chance to make a career of it. You'll work hard. But the job comes with more Read more
Frameworks Engineering Manager, *Apple* Wat...
Frameworks Engineering Manager, Apple Watch Job Number: 41632321 Santa Clara Valley, California, United States Posted: Jun. 15, 2017 Weekly Hours: 40.00 Job Summary Read more
Product Manager - *Apple* Pay on the *Appl...
Job Summary Apple is looking for a talented product manager to drive the expansion of Apple Pay on the Apple Online Store. This position includes a unique Read more
*Apple* Retail - Multiple Positions - Apple...
SalesSpecialist - Retail Customer Service and SalesTransform Apple Store visitors into loyal Apple customers. When customers enter the store, you're also the Read more
All contents are Copyright 1984-2011 by Xplain Corporation. All rights reserved. Theme designed by Icreon.