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

 
AAPL
$102.50
Apple Inc.
+0.00
MSFT
$45.43
Microsoft Corpora
+0.00
GOOG
$571.60
Google Inc.
+0.00

MacTech Search:
Community Search:

Software Updates via MacUpdate

Mac DVDRipper Pro 5.0 - Copy, backup, an...
Mac DVDRipper Pro is the DVD backup solution that lets you protect your DVDs from scratches, save your batteries by reading your movies from your hard disk, manage your collection with just a few... Read more
pwSafe 3.1 - Secure password management...
pwSafe provides simple and secure password management across devices and computers. pwSafe uses iCloud to keep your password databases backed-up and synced between Macs and iOS devices. It is... Read more
StatsBar 1.8 - Monitor system processes...
StatsBar gives you a comprehensive and detailed analysis of the following areas of your Mac: CPU usage Memory usage Disk usage Network and bandwidth usage Battery power and health (MacBooks only)... Read more
Path Finder 6.5.5 - Powerful, award-winn...
Path Finder is a file browser that combines the familiar Finder interface with the powerful utilities and innovative features. Just a small selection of the Path Finder 6 feature set: Dual pane... Read more
QuarkXPress 10.2.1 - Desktop publishing...
With QuarkXPress, you can communicate in all the ways you need to -- and always look professional -- in print and digital media, all in a single tool. Features include: Easy to Use -- QuarkXPress is... Read more
Skype 6.19.0.450 - Voice-over-internet p...
Skype allows you to talk to friends, family and co-workers across the Internet without the inconvenience of long distance telephone charges. Using peer-to-peer data transmission technology, Skype... Read more
VueScan 9.4.41 - 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
Cloud 3.0.0 - File sharing from your men...
Cloud is simple file sharing for the Mac. Drag a file from your Mac to the CloudApp icon in the menubar and we take care of the rest. A link to the file will automatically be copied to your clipboard... Read more
LibreOffice 4.3.1.2 - Free Open Source o...
LibreOffice is an office suite (word processor, spreadsheet, presentations, drawing tool) compatible with other major office suites. The Document Foundation is coordinating development and... Read more
SlingPlayer Plugin 3.3.20.505 - Browser...
SlingPlayer is the screen interface software that works hand-in-hand with the hardware inside the Slingbox to make your TV viewing experience just like that at home. It features an array of... Read more

Latest Forum Discussions

See All

Rhonna Designs Magic (Photography)
Rhonna Designs Magic 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Photography Price: $1.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: Want to sprinkle *magic* on your photos? With RD Magic, you can add colors, filters, light leaks, bokeh, edges,... | Read more »
This Week at 148Apps: August 25-29, 2014
Shiny Happy App Reviews   | Read more »
Qube Kingdom – Tips, Tricks, Strategies,...
Qube Kingdom is a tower defense game from DeNA. You rally your troops – magicians, archers, knights, barbarians, and others – and fight against an evil menace looking to dominate your kingdom of tiny squares. Planning a war isn’t easy, so here are a... | Read more »
Qube Kingdom Review
Qube Kingdom Review By Nadia Oxford on August 29th, 2014 Our Rating: :: KIND OF A SQUARE KINGDOMUniversal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad Qube Kingdom has cute visuals, but it’s a pretty basic tower defense game at heart.   | Read more »
Fire in the Hole Review
Fire in the Hole Review By Rob Thomas on August 29th, 2014 Our Rating: :: WALK THE PLANKUniversal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad Seafoam’s Fire in the Hole looks like a bright, 8-bit throwback, but there’s not enough booty to... | Read more »
Alien Creeps TD is Now Available Worldwi...
Alien Creeps TD is Now Available Worldwide Posted by Ellis Spice on August 29th, 2014 [ permalink ] Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad | Read more »
Dodo Master Review
Dodo Master Review By Jordan Minor on August 29th, 2014 Our Rating: :: NEST EGGiPad Only App - Designed for the iPad Dodo Master is tough but fair, and that’s what makes it a joy to play.   | Read more »
Motorsport Manager Review
Motorsport Manager Review By Lee Hamlet on August 29th, 2014 Our Rating: :: MARVELOUS MANAGEMENTUniversal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad Despite its depth and sense of tactical freedom, Motorsport Manager is one of the most... | Read more »
Motorsport Manager – Beginner Tips, Tric...
The world of Motorsport management can be an unforgiving and merciless one, so to help with some of the stress that comes with running a successful race team, here are a few hints and tips to leave your opponents in the dust. | Read more »
CalPal Update Brings the App to 2.0, Add...
CalPal Update Brings the App to 2.0, Adds Lots of New Stuff Posted by Ellis Spice on August 29th, 2014 [ permalink ] | Read more »

Price Scanner via MacPrices.net

Are We Now In The Post-Post-PC Era?
A longtime and thoroughgoing laptop aficionado, I was more than a little dismayed by Steve Jobs’s declaration back in 2010 when he sprang the iPad on an unsuspecting world. that we’d entered a “post-... Read more
PC Outlook Improves, But 2014 Shipments Still...
According to the International Data Corporation (IDC) Worldwide Quarterly PC Tracker, worldwide PC shipments are expected to fall by -3.7 percent in 2014. To hat’s actually an improvement from the... Read more
IDC Lowers Tablet Sales Projections for 2014...
Following a second consecutive quarter of softer than expected demand, International Data Corporation (IDC) has lowered its worldwide tablet plus 2-in-1 forecast for 2014 to 233.1 million units. The... Read more
Apple now offering refurbished 21-inch 1.4GHz...
The Apple Store is now offering Apple Certified Refurbished 21″ 1.4GHz iMacs for $929 including free shipping plus Apple’s standard one-year warranty. Their price is $170 off the cost of new models,... Read more
Save $50 on the 2.5GHz Mac mini, on sale for...
B&H Photo has the 2.5GHz Mac mini on sale for $549.99 including free shipping. That’s $50 off MSRP, and B&H will also include a free copy of Parallels Desktop software. NY sales tax only. Read more
Save up to $300 on an iMac with Apple refurbi...
The Apple Store has Apple Certified Refurbished iMacs available for up to $300 off the cost of new models. Apple’s one-year warranty is standard, and shipping is free. These are the best prices on... Read more
The Rise of Phablets
Carlisle & Gallagher Consulting Group, a businesses and technology consulting firm focused solely on the financial services industry, has released an infographic depicting the convergence of... Read more
Bad Driver Database App Allows Good Drivers t...
Bad Driver Database 1.4 by Facile Group is a new iOS and Android app that lets users instantly input and see how many times a careless, reckless or just plain stupid driver has been added to the... Read more
Eddy – Cloud Music Player for iPhone/iPad Fre...
Ukraine based CapableBits announces the release of Eddy, its tiny, but smart and powerful cloud music player for iPhone and iPad that allows users to stream or download music directly from cloud... Read more
A&D Medical Launches Its WellnessConnecte...
For consumers and the healthcare providers and loved ones who care for them, A&D Medical, a leader in connected health and biometric measurement devices and services, has launched its... Read more

Jobs Board

*Apple* Retail - Multiple Positions (US) - A...
Sales Specialist - Retail Customer Service and Sales Transform Apple Store visitors into loyal Apple customers. When customers enter the store, you're also the Read more
*Apple* Retail - Multiple Positions (US) - A...
Sales Specialist - Retail Customer Service and Sales Transform Apple Store visitors into loyal Apple customers. When customers enter the store, you're also the Read more
*Apple* Retail - Multiple Positions (US) - A...
Sales Specialist - Retail Customer Service and Sales Transform Apple Store visitors into loyal Apple customers. When customers enter the store, you're also the Read more
*Apple* Retail - Multiple Positions (US) - A...
Sales Specialist - Retail Customer Service and Sales Transform Apple Store visitors into loyal Apple customers. When customers enter the store, you're also the Read more
Senior Event Manager, *Apple* Retail Market...
…This senior level position is responsible for leading and imagining the Apple Retail Team's global event strategy. Delivering an overarching brand story; in-store, Read more
All contents are Copyright 1984-2011 by Xplain Corporation. All rights reserved. Theme designed by Icreon.