TweetFollow Us on Twitter

September 93 - Classy

Classy

William L. Colsher

Classy was recently purchased by Symantec and has been taken off the market. They have said that they will be rereleasing it at some point in the future, perhaps synchronized with other product releases. With the current Bedrock effort, and rumors of a Symantec C++ for Windows and a revised Think Class Library, there are a variety of scenarios one can imagine. Regardless, this article is probably a first in the history of computer journalism–a review of a "finished" product that has not yet been released. We thought you might enjoy it if for no other reason than to get a glimpse of what Symantec might have up its sleeve.

Classy is an object programming utility for use with Think C++ 6.0. It consists of a MacDraw-like view editor with an integrated code generator and a set of classes that implement view resources, stream I/O, and a variety of other useful extensions to the Think Class Library.

The Classy System

Like most programmers, I have a tendency to drag new applications to my drive and double click. Classy slowed me down a bit, since it comes as a CompactorPro archive. While Classy extracted itself (to a total of about 2MB), I read the installation chapter of the manual (Chapter 13-I guess these guys know programmers.) I found the installation process a bit confusing. I suspect this was mostly me-most of my work is with MPW (though that could change with Symantec C++ and Classy on my drive.) Post-extraction installation consists of dragging a couple of folders to the "Symantec C++ for Macintosh" folder (this is where I got confused-I had forgotten about THINK's approach to directories) and then running a program called "GENERALizer." That utility installs the Classy updates to the Think Class Library. Finally, a printed release note documents a couple of bug patches you must manually apply to the Symantec OOPS library.

Once installed, Classy's 24 classes are at your service (see Classy Classes on the next page). They can be used in an existing application just like any of the TCL classes. The best way to use the new classes is to fire up the Classy view editor (also named Classy) and build an application. But first, let's take a look at a few of the key classes.

Classy Classes

Of the 24 Classy classes most are user interface items that either enhance or replace TCL equivalents. However several are particularly worthy of note. First among these are the stream I/O classes. In order of inheritance they are:
CStream
CBufferedStream
CHandleStream       CFileStream

These classes provide the infrastructure necessary to implement Classy's object I/O system. Get and Put functions are provided for all the "standard" data types (like PutChar(), PutBoolean(), and so on) as well as handles and pointers. In addition, there are GetObject and PutObject member functions that operate on CObject and its descendants.

The real power of the stream extensions comes from a pair of new virtual member functions Classy adds to CObject: PutTo and GetFrom. As you might expect, these two functions form the basis of a system that greatly simplifies manipulating your document's data.

To make that job even easier, Classy has added CSaver, a subclass of TCL's CDocument. CSaver implements the all the basic document I/O functions (like OpenFile and DoSave) using CFileStream. It knows what to read or write by adding a new data member called "itsContents." This data member is a pointer to the document's contents. Obviously, most applications will have more than a single data object in their document. The trick is to define a root object with PutTo and GetFrom member functions that deal with the "real" data objects correctly. If you then define a correct PutTo and GetFrom for each of your data objects everything else will be automatic. If this sounds a little confusing, don't worry: the Classy manual is pretty good on this point.

There is a great deal more to creating a complete application and document, but I know that what you really want to hear about is the view editor.

Using the Classy View Editor

The first step in using the Classy view editor is to make a copy of the Classy "starter" project and resource file. As with TCL, the starter project is already set up with the "basic" segments you need. The ".rsrc" file is particularly interesting because it is actually the Classy program's "document." As such, it displays the Classy document icon rather than the familiar jack-in-a-box. You can still use it for your own resources of course, but double-click and you're into Classy, designing your application.

Before leaping into the view editor, you need to tell Classy a little bit about the application you intend to write. By selecting the "Application…" item in the Edit menu you can give Classy the information it will need to generate code for you. This information includes an application ID that is used to generate unique identifiers, a copyright message that will be placed in each source file, and your application's signature and file types (the ones you faithfully registered with Apple using the "C/F Registration Requests" stack).

The first step of course is to create a new view. For those of us used to MacApp terminology, a Classy view is most often a window of some kind and what we would call subviews are called "panes." (This corresponds to the TCL class terminology.) All the window types you would expect are available including Alert, Dialog, Floating Window, and Tearoff Menus. Classy's tearoff menus are so easy to use I put two of 'em in my test application.

One special window is the "Main Window." In TCL, documents are associated with a single main window (rather than a list of windows as in MacApp). Classy makes this connection for you when you select "Main Window" as the type of window. When creating your main window you do need to be careful not to make the name too long. Classy will generate class names from what you enter and file names that are even longer. When the Symantec C++ compiler gets hold of those names and adds ".XSYM" you can end up over the 31 character limit (yes, it happened to me).

Once a particular window type is selected, its attributes can be edited by selecting the View Info menu item (see Figure 1-Main Window View Info). As you can see from the illustration, you can do quite a bit of customization. There are additional "info windows" for alerts and floating windows as well.

Panes in the view

Classy's view editor takes a MacDraw like approach (see Figure 2-Editing in Classy). To add a pane to your view just click on a tool and then click where you want the item to appear. Hold down the mouse button and you can size the pane. A pane can be resized later by selecting it and dragging its resize handle or by entering exact sizes in its data member's dialog. Multiple panes can be selected and dragged as a group. There are also some very nice alignment tools that manipulate groups of items. Most of the pane attributes (such as font and alignment) can be applied singly or to groups.

The tools in the floating palette are almost all self explanatory. A few are less than obvious however: the "Warning Icon" produces an icon button and the shadowed version yields a nifty multi-state button. The "thing" that holds an overlapping ellipse and square yields a picture button and its shadowed twin a multi-state version of the same. Multi-state buttons can have different graphics for on/off and hilight states).

Of course, virtually every object placed in a view will need a bit of tweaking before it's just right. Classy provides an interface to the data members of each pane that is similar to that used in Apple's ViewEdit (see Figure 3-Editing Data Members). When you need to go further, the Classes… menu item provides a dialog that gives you the ability to define new subclasses of existing classes. You can even define new data members for the class, and Classy will automatically generate the appropriate stream I/O calls so that your new classes will instantiate fully with no additional intervention on your part.

Commands and Menus

As you might expect, Classy provides a nice editing dialog for commands (see Figure 4-Editing Commands). In the illustration I've created a new command constant "cmdSpeak-Phonemes." Classy automatically gave it a number (that I can change if necessary). I've chosen the class CPronunciation_Dict to handle the command and selected "Call" as the action. When the time comes to generate code Classy will insert a "case cmdSpeakPhonemes:" in the switch in x_CPronunciation_ Dict.cp's DoCommand() method. It will also create an empty method called DoCmdSpeakPhonemes() that I will later override in CPronunciation_Dict.cp to do what it needs to do. I'll discuss the way Classy generates code and file names later.

Menus are created and edited in a two layered process (see Figure 6-Editing Menus). First you select a menu to edit (back window) and then click the "Edit Menu Items" button (hidden in the illustration). The subsequent "Menu Edit" dialog provides all the tools necessary to make your menus look and perform as you want them to. Recall that when you create a command you specify the class that will handle it. When you create a menu item and specify its command you're all done. The connection has been made and there's an empty method waiting to be implemented. Buttons have commands associated with them in the same way.

Generating Code

When the time comes to generate code, Classy uses a set of templates (which you can edit) to generate pairs of ".cp" and ".h" files for each class you created. One set of files is prefixed with "x_." These files contain the code that Classy controls and will modify when you make changes in the view editor. The classes in these files are also prefixed with "x_." The second set of files contain the skeleton code that you will modify. The classes in these files have the names you would expect and are sub-classed from the corresponding "x_" classes.

This two layer approach means that both you and Classy are free to make changes at will and can do so without treading on each other's territory. This flexibility costs almost nothing at run time, and since it is administered by Classy there is virtually no "mind share" involved either.

After the code is generated you add it to your Think project in the usual way. The starter project comes with a "place holder" segment already set up for you. When the compiler finishes its job you'll have a complete working skeleton of your application. For what it's worth, the program I developed to test Classy took about two hours from the time I sat down to the first running prototype. That includes the interface, two tear-off menu palettes which worked perfectly from the start, and a few additional windows. Pretty darn productive if you ask me.

Stylistically, Classy's code is very similar to TCL. A big comment block containing a description of the class and copyright information (with your name) heads up each file. Additional comment blocks describing their use separate each method and two or three line comments regarding implementation act as place holders in empty methods. Although I have only a passing familiarity with TCL, I found Classy's code easy to understand and modify.

Summary

Classy is one of the great bargains among Macintosh development tools. Object Factory has done a tremendous job in every area from Object I/O, to TCL bug fixes, to the fastest view editor I've ever seen.

As you can probably tell, I really like Classy. Nevertheless, it is not completely without flaws (but hey, it's only version 1.06!). I came across a couple of small bugs, neither of which affected my project or the generated code in any way. The documentation, while adequate, has a lot of room for improvement. It is particularly frustrating for a new user to search through the program's menus for things that aren't there anymore or have changed name or location. Finally, Classy's user interface could use a bit of tuning up. I already mentioned that I was allowed to enter class names that would eventually result in illegal file names. And my favorite annoyance was the need to hit Cmd-L to edit a pane's data members. A simple double-click like everybody else uses would be nice.

In spite of a number of very minor flaws, Classy is an eminently usable, utterly indispensable tool for anyone who uses TCL. It is highly recommended.

 
AAPL
$102.64
Apple Inc.
+1.58
MSFT
$46.56
Microsoft Corpora
-0.50
GOOG
$581.13
Google Inc.
-6.24

MacTech Search:
Community Search:

Software Updates via MacUpdate

GarageSale 6.8 - Create outstanding eBay...
GarageSale is a slick, full-featured client application for the eBay online auction system. Create and manage your auctions with ease. With GarageSale, you can create, edit, track, and manage... Read more
ScreenFlow 4.5.3 - Create screen recordi...
Save 5% with the MacUpdate coupon code: 68031AE15F -- Buy now! ScreenFlow is powerful, easy-to-use screencasting software for the Mac. With ScreenFlow you can record the contents of your entire... Read more
NeoOffice 2014.3 - Mac-tailored, OpenOff...
NeoOffice is a complete office suite for OS X. With NeoOffice, users can view, edit, and save OpenOffice documents, PDF files, and most Microsoft Word, Excel, and PowerPoint documents. NeoOffice 3.x... Read more
Typinator 6.2 - Speedy and reliable text...
Typinator turbo-charges your typing productivity. Type a little. Typinator does the rest. We've all faced projects that require repetitive typing tasks. With Typinator, you can store commonly used... Read more
PopChar X 6.7 - Floating window shows av...
PopChar X helps you get the most out of your font collection. With its crystal-clear interface, PopChar X provides a frustration-free way to access any font's special characters. Expanded... Read more
Evernote 5.6.0 - Create searchable notes...
Evernote allows you to easily capture information in any environment using whatever device or platform you find most convenient, and makes this information accessible and searchable at anytime, from... Read more
Monosnap 2.2.2 - Versatile screenshot ut...
Monosnap allows you to save screenshots easily, conveniently, and quickly, sharing them with friends and colleagues at once. It's the ideal choice for anyone who is looking for a smart and fast... Read more
Tunnelblick 3.4beta36 - GUI for OpenVPN...
Tunnelblick is a free, open source graphic user interface for OpenVPN on OS X. It provides easy control of OpenVPN client and/or server connections. It comes as a ready-to-use application with all... Read more
SoftRAID 5.0.4 - High-quality RAID manag...
SoftRAID allows you to create and manage disk arrays to increase performance and reliability. SoftRAID's intuitive interface and powerful feature set makes this utility a must have for any Mac OS X... Read more
Audio Hijack Pro 2.11.3 - Record and enh...
Audio Hijack Pro drastically changes the way you use audio on your computer, giving you the freedom to listen to audio when you want and how you want. Record and enhance any audio with Audio Hijack... Read more

Latest Forum Discussions

See All

Manual – Custom exposure camera (Photog...
Manual – Custom exposure camera 1.0 Device: iOS iPhone Category: Photography Price: $1.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: Custom exposure for your iPhone camera. A powerful camera app with full control over your image. Quickly... | Read more »
Why I Don’t Want to Upgrade to the iPhon...
I’ve been living with my iPhone 4S for the past two years or so, and if I was living in a world where I wasn’t bombarded with new phone announcements and people of the general public caring enough to upgrade constantly, I wouldn’t think my phone... | Read more »
Tictail Review
Tictail Review By Jennifer Allen on September 23rd, 2014 Our Rating: :: CLASSY SHOPPINGiPhone App - Designed for the iPhone, compatible with the iPad Tictail is an attractive and stylish way of looking for some great new clothes... | Read more »
Super Glyph Quest is Bringing More Match...
Super Glyph Quest is Bringing More Match-3 Magics to the App Store Soon Posted by Jessica Fisher on September 23rd, 2014 [ permalink ] Fans of Glyph Quest, by Alex Trowers and Leanne Bayley, | Read more »
Sword King Review
Sword King Review By Jennifer Allen on September 23rd, 2014 Our Rating: :: WEAK, SO WEAKUniversal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad Ever wanted to tap on a screen and assume you’ve killed a monster or two? Probably not, but just... | Read more »
Pangea Software Unveil Bundles and iOS 8...
Pangea Software Unveil Bundles and iOS 8 Updates Posted by Ellis Spice on September 23rd, 2014 [ permalink ] Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad | Read more »
Race Team Manager Review
Race Team Manager Review By Jennifer Allen on September 23rd, 2014 Our Rating: :: LIGHT RACINGUniversal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad Want to be in charge of a racing team but not be overwhelmed by tactics and options? Race... | Read more »
Kobojo Works with Creative Minds from Fi...
Kobojo has announced details for their newest game, Zodiac – a 2D persistent online RPG. Kobojo has put together a crack team of developers including composer Hitoshi Sakimoto and scenario writer Kazushige Nojima, whose work includes many of the... | Read more »
PlayHaus Review
PlayHaus Review By Amy Solomon on September 23rd, 2014 Our Rating: iPad Only App - Designed for the iPad PlayHaus is a interesting, stylish app for young children, full of cause-and-effect interactions.   | Read more »
Astropolo Review
Astropolo Review By Amy Solomon on September 23rd, 2014 Our Rating: Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad Astropolo is a space-themed children’s app with a great sense of style.   | Read more »

Price Scanner via MacPrices.net

Razer DeathAdder Chroma Gaming Mouse Upgraded...
Razer has announced the launch of their new Razer DeathAdder Chroma gaming mouse. Even if you’re not a gamer, the DeathAdder bears considering. I’m a fan of the hard-wired tracking accuracy,... Read more
Check Apple prices on your device with iTracx
MacPrices is proud to offer readers a free iOS app (iPhones, iPads, & iPod touch) and Android app (Google Play and Amazon App Store) called iTracx, which allows you to glance at today’s lowest... Read more
Refurbished 2013 MacBook Pros available for u...
The Apple Store has Apple Certified Refurbished 13″ and 15″ MacBook Pros available starting at $929. Apple’s one-year warranty is standard, and shipping is free: - 13″ 2.5GHz MacBook Pros (4GB RAM/... Read more
New iPhones Score Big in SquareTrade Breakabi...
SquareTrade has announced the iPhone 6 and its larger sibling, iPhone 6 Plus, performed impressively in Breakability testing, and each carries the top Breakability Score in their respective category... Read more
10 Million + First Weekend Sales Set New iPho...
Apple has announced it sold over 10 million new iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus models, a new record, just three days after the launch on September 19. iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus are now available in the... Read more
Betty Crocker Launches New Cookbook for iOS
Betty Crocker, a General Mills brand, an established food industry leader, has announced its free digital cookbook app has been refreshed to make cooking with iPhone, iPad and iPod touch even easier... Read more
Apple restocks some refurbished 2014 MacBook...
The Apple Store has restocked some Apple Certified Refurbished 2014 MacBook Airs, with prices starting at $769. An Apple one-year warranty is included with each MacBook, and shipping is free. These... Read more
13-inch 128GB MacBook Air on sale for $949, s...
B&H Photo has the new 2014 13″ 1.4GHz/128GB MacBook Air on sale for $949.99 including free shipping plus NY tax only. Their price is $50 off MSRP. B&H will also include free copies of... Read more
Apple offering free $25 iTunes Gift Card with...
The Apple Store is offering a free $25 iTunes Gift Card with the purchase of a $99 Apple TV for a limited time. Shipping is free. Read more
Apple refurbished iPod touch available for up...
The Apple Store has Apple Certified Refurbished 5th generation iPod touches available starting at $149. Apple’s one-year warranty is included with each model, and shipping is free. Most colors are... Read more

Jobs Board

*Apple* Retail - Multiple Positions (US) - A...
Job Description: Sales Specialist - Retail Customer Service and Sales Transform Apple Store visitors into loyal Apple customers. When customers enter the store, 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
*Apple* Solutions Consultant (ASC) - Apple (...
**Job Summary** The ASC is an Apple employee who serves as an Apple brand ambassador and influencer in a Reseller's store. The ASC's role is to grow Apple Read more
Project Manager / Business Analyst, WW *Appl...
…a senior project manager / business analyst to work within our Worldwide Apple Fulfillment Operations and the Business Process Re-engineering team. This role will work Read more
*Apple* Retail - Multiple Positions (US) - A...
Job Description: Sales Specialist - Retail Customer Service and Sales Transform Apple Store visitors into loyal Apple customers. When customers enter the store, Read more
All contents are Copyright 1984-2011 by Xplain Corporation. All rights reserved. Theme designed by Icreon.