TweetFollow Us on Twitter

March 94 - SoFAWA Notes

SoFAWA Notes

John MacVeigh

Both the December and January SoFAWA meetings featured development environments. Some things old, some new, some borrowed, nothing Blue. In December we saw a demo of Prograph, and in January a tour of Metrowerks CodeWarrior.

David Prue, a local consultant and long-time Prograph user demonstrated the language and environment to us. David was joined by Pete Yared, who showed an application-launcher he developed with Prograph. Their tour impressed our group with the power of the Prograph system. I think the main difficulty with grasping the Prograph language is that a newcomer first tries to do a one-to-one mapping with what he knows about C or Pascal, simply switching icons for keywords. This lasts until you discover details like: functions can declare multiple return values, there is no if-then-else construct, and the dataflow design prevents you from always knowing the sequence in which instructions will execute. Soon you realize that you have to step farther back, ignore language features for a while, and look at the way Prograph solves more general programming issues.

Many of the features of Prograph are becoming familiar ones: interpretive execution with interactive debugging, hypertext browsers, and editors that allow you to construct an interface for your application. To each of these features Prograph adds an extra little touch. While debugging, for example, you can essentially "roll-back" the execution of your program to an earlier state. The editor uses Think Reference to provide toolbox help, and also uses the same technology to supply information on your own code. And a large collection of editors for their interface classes allows you to construct menus, windows, and dialogs directly, rather than by typing a lot of "syntactic sugar" for the benefit of the compiler. In the future, a data base connectivity kit is expected to provide classes to help programmers use Sybase, Oracle, and Butler data base systems. It is also interesting that 90% of Prograph is written in Prograph; I've always found this to be a good indication of the quality of a development product.

I will side-step the question of whether the iconic "draw your program" concept is easy to use or not. Those who know how to use Prograph to implement the idioms commonly found in their business seem to have no problem with the drawing aspect. And, given the dataflow aspect of the language, it is not clear how a textual format would provide a more intuitive description of instruction execution.

One interesting piece of news was that Prograph, the company, intends to "give away" the language (that is, not impose excessive fees or restrictions) to encourage other companies to produce compilers, editors, and even competing development environments based on the Prograph language. This, along with a formal ANSI (or equivalent) standard, should help convince those skittish about a single source for the language to consider using it. Lastly, David had a number of good things to say about how the company treats its developers. In particular, there are no royalties or license fees for products developed with the environment. I encourage you to take a look at the recent articles in FrameWorks to get a better idea of the technical details behind Prograph. For those of you who have pictured using a high-level development environment, but didn't want to build it yourself, you may find that Prograph has already done the work for you.

CodeWarrior

In January (described by some, paradoxically, as "unseasonably cold") yours truly presented a tour of Metrowerks' CodeWarrior (CW) development environment. Which is to say that we ran the menus, checked out all of the preference panels, watched a compile, browsed the PowerPlant sources, disassembled some 601 code, and constantly changed the font of new source files to 14 point Chicago (not too bad with TrueType!). Suggestion to all tool developers: provide some sort of "demo preference" where a document's font is automatically, and non-destructively, overridden with a font that is legible from a few rows back. While I'm thinking of it: thanks to Graphsoft's Rich Diehl for loaning us one of those terrific nView display panels. Also thanks to Phil Flack for his notes on converting MacApp 3.0 source to MacApp 3.1. Phil found CW's compile speed to be very useful while working through the syntax changes needed to use 3.1 and the new headers.

CW's compile speed is, of course, a major attraction, especially to those using MacApp with MPW. PowerPlant may not attract developers who already have an investment in MacApp source code. But it easily fills the role of a basic object library that, like TCL, can get people accustomed to using frameworks without overwhelming them with a large interconnected group of objects, as does MacApp.

While CW is not radically new or different, it at least helps ease the anxiety caused by constantly being told to write native code and yet not being given any tools with which to do it. But, as our local press likes pointing out (all too frequently these days), "the devil is in the details". Metrowerks has put together a good early release of a fairly standard development environment. They have matched most of the features of Think C, and usually exceeded them, though not by much. Live scrolling and toolbars can only take you so far. If Symantec gets the bugs out of its environment by the time the 1.0 release of CodeWarrior hits the market we'll at least have a good horse race, and some much needed competition in the Mac tools business. Maybe then someone will finally try to match MPW's flexibility and superior control of the process of building complex applications. (Yes, that's right, I like MPW!).

I've been concerned that the introduction of the PowerPC would cause a decrease in the number of new development tools for the Mac. Old ones could become obsolete fairly quickly, but how fast would new ones appear to fill the gaps? Fortunately, a number of people are treating the PowerPC as a brand new opportunity (even if it is the same old Mac), and we may actually get a real Mac development tools market going this year. At last, more than two products in each category!

If you're in the D.C. area, and interested in object oriented programming, (or just want to give me grief about liking MPW) give SoFAWA a visit. We meet the third Wednesday of every month, beginning around 7:15 p.m. We presently alternate between a Georgetown and a Tyson's Corner location. For information on the next meeting, and directions, send a message to JEFFRIES.L on AppleLink, or call Leslie at (301) 340-5126 during business hours (EDT). If you leave her an e-mail address, she can place you on her e-mail list for SoFAWA meeting announcements.

 

Community Search:
MacTech Search:

Software Updates via MacUpdate

OnyX 3.2.0 - Maintenance and optimizatio...
OnyX is a multifunction utility that you can use to verify the startup disk and the structure of its system files, to run miscellaneous maintenance and cleaning tasks, to configure parameters in the... Read more
Macs Fan Control 1.4.4.0 - 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
calibre 2.69.0 - Complete e-book library...
Calibre is a complete e-book library manager. Organize your collection, convert your books to multiple formats, and sync with all of your devices. Let Calibre be your multi-tasking digital librarian... Read more
Evernote 6.9.1 - 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
jAlbum Pro 13.5 - Organize your digital...
jAlbum Pro has all the features you love in jAlbum, but comes with a commercial license. You can create gorgeous custom photo galleries for the Web without writing a line of code! Beginner-friendly... Read more
jAlbum 13.5 - Create custom photo galler...
With jAlbum, you can create gorgeous custom photo galleries for the Web without writing a line of code! Beginner-friendly, with pro results - Simply drag and drop photos into groups, choose a design... Read more
Google Chrome 53.0.2785.143 - Modern and...
Google Chrome is a Web browser by Google, created to be a modern platform for Web pages and applications. It utilizes very fast loading of Web pages and has a V8 engine, which is a custom built... Read more
Chromium 53.0.2785.143 - Fast and stable...
Chromium is an open-source browser project that aims to build a safer, faster, and more stable way for all Internet users to experience the web. Version 53.0.2785.143: [Security Fix] High CVE-2016-... Read more
QuickBooks 2015 16.1.7.1524 R8 - Financi...
Save 20% on QuickBooks Pro for Mac today through this special discount link QuickBooks 2015 helps you manage your business easily and efficiently. Organize your finances all in one place, track... Read more
Sierra Cache Cleaner 11.0.1 - Clear cach...
Sierra Cache Cleaner is an award-winning general purpose tool for macOS X. SCC makes system maintenance simple with an easy point-and-click interface to many macOS X functions. Novice and expert... Read more

3 tips to aid your journey in Banner Sag...
Stoic Games brings us another viking epic in the guise of Banner Saga 2 this week. It’s a sweeping tale, richly animated and draped in melancholy and moments of beauty. The game’s been received as a much improved follow up to the first entry in the... | Read more »
Pumped BMX 3: Beginner tips and tricks
There’s a whole lot more to Pumped BMX 3 than meets the eye. Your goal is to perform a wide array of sweet flips and tricks, but that’s easier said than done. It takes well practiced timing and coordination, and the game doesn’t really explain that... | Read more »
Cybird’s latest release - BFB Champions...
Launched in the UK in early September, BFB Champions’ newest update is loaded with great new features, and looks set to outshine the original version by taking it out of soft launch and giving it a new lease of life. | Read more »
3 apps to boost your focus
As someone who works from home, my workspace is a minefield of distraction. Cats, tasty snacks, the wind blowing past my window, that cleaning that I suddenly can’t put off any longer. If I let distraction takes its course, I find that soon half... | Read more »
Pumped BMX 3 (Games)
Pumped BMX 3 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $3.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: The final instalment of the smash hit #1 rated BMX game is here! Following on from the insane success of Pumped BMX 2, Pumped 3... | Read more »
4 games like Burly Men at Sea to inspire...
Burly Men at Sea is out today and it looks a treat. It tells the tale of three Scandinavian fishermen who leave the humdrum of their daily lives to go exploring. It’s a beautiful folksy story that unfurls as you interact with the environment... | Read more »
3 reasons you need to play Kingdom: New...
Developed by a tag team of indie developers - Thomas "Noio" van den Berg and Marco "Licorice" Bancale - Kingdom is a vibrant medieval fantasy adventure that casts players as a king or queen who must expand their empire by exploring the vasts lands... | Read more »
JoyCity have launched a brand new King o...
Great news for all of you Game of Dice fans out there - JoyCity have just released a brand new limited edition pack with a really cool twist. The premise of Game of Dice is fairly straightforward, asking you to roll dice to navigate your way around... | Read more »
Burly Men at Sea (Games)
Burly Men at Sea 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $4.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: Burly Men at Sea is a folktale about a trio of large, bearded fishermen who step away from the ordinary to seek adventure. | Read more »
3 tips for catching the gnarliest waves...
Like a wave breaking on the shore, Tidal Rider swept its way onto the App Store charts this week settling firmly in the top 10. It’s a one-touch high score-chaser in which you pull surfing stunts while dodging seagulls and collecting coins. The... | Read more »

Price Scanner via MacPrices.net

CAZE Annouces New Zero 5 Case for Jet Black i...
Hong Kong basd CAZE has announced Zero 5 case for iPhone 7/ 7 Plus, one of the world’s thinnest clear hard cases, measuring just 0.5 millimeters. CAZE has been producing and improving the Zero 5... Read more
Nest Egg Inventory App for iOS Offers Conven...
Campbell, California based Winprogger LLC has announced the release and immediate availability of Nest Egg – Inventory 4.1.22, an important update to their easy-to-use, yet comprehensive inventory... Read more
Factor4, LLC Launches Apple iOS and Android G...
Factor4, LLC, which offers gift and loyalty services to the SMB marketplace, has released free mobile applications that enable merchants to process via all Apple and Android devices. The Apple and... Read more
15-inch Retina MacBook Pros on sale for $200...
B&H Photo has 15″ Retina Apple MacBook Pros on sale for $200 off MSRP. Shipping is free, and B&H charges NY tax only: - 15″ 2.2GHz Retina MacBook Pro: $1799 $200 off MSRP - 15″ 2.5GHz Retina... Read more
Apple refurbished iMacs available for up to $...
Apple has Certified Refurbished 2015 21″ & 27″ iMacs available for up to $350 off MSRP. Apple’s one-year warranty is standard, and shipping is free. The following models are available: - 21″ 3.... Read more
Check Apple prices on any device with the iTr...
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
Apple price trackers, updated continuously
Scan our Apple Price Trackers for the latest information on sales, bundles, and availability on systems from Apple’s authorized internet/catalog resellers. We update the trackers continuously: - 15″... Read more
Apple refurbished 2016 13-inch MacBook Airs a...
Apple has Certified Refurbished 2016 13″ MacBook Airs available starting at $849. An Apple one-year warranty is included with each MacBook, and shipping is free: - 2016 13″ 1.6GHz/8GB/128GB MacBook... Read more
1.4GHz Mac mini on sale for $449, save $50
Adorama has the 1.4GHz Mac mini on sale for $50 off MSRP including free shipping plus NY & NJ sales tax only: - 1.4GHz Mac mini (Apple sku# MGEM2LL/A): $449 $50 off MSRP To purchase a mini at... Read more
Apple refurbished 2015 13-inch MacBook Airs a...
Apple has Certified Refurbished 2015 13″ MacBook Airs available starting at $759. An Apple one-year warranty is included with each MacBook, and shipping is free: - 2015 13″ 1.6GHz/4GB/128GB MacBook... Read more

Jobs Board

Systems Architecture Prototyping - *Apple*...
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
*Apple* Retail - Multiple Positions- Akron,...
Job Description:SalesSpecialist - Retail Customer Service and SalesTransform Apple Store visitors into loyal Apple customers. When customers enter the store, Read more
Hardware Design Validation Engineer - *Apple...
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
Systems Architecture Prototyping - *Apple*...
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
*Apple* Retail - Multiple Positions- South B...
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.