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

Together 3.7.5 - Store and organize all...
Together helps you organize your Mac, giving you the ability to store, edit and preview your files in a single clean, uncluttered interface. Features Smart storage. With simple drag-and-drop... Read more
Cocktail 10.3 - General maintenance and...
Cocktail is a general purpose utility for macOS that lets you clean, repair and optimize your Mac. It is a powerful digital toolset that helps hundreds of thousands of Mac users around the world get... Read more
Stylizer 6.17.228.1062 - Real-time CSS e...
Stylizer helps you style websites in a fraction of the time. Features Real-time CSS - Immediate feedback saves countless hours. Say goodbye to the reload button! In Stylizer, your changes are... Read more
Simon 4.2.2 - $99.00
Simon monitors websites and alerts you of crashes and changes. Select pages to monitor, choose your alert options, and customize your settings. Simon does the rest. Keep a watchful eye on your... Read more
iFFmpeg 6.2.6 - 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
Dropbox 20.4.19 - Cloud backup and synch...
Dropbox is an application that creates a special Finder folder that automatically syncs online and between your computers. It allows you to both backup files and keep them up-to-date between systems... Read more
DiskCatalogMaker 6.6 - Catalog your disk...
DiskCatalogMaker is a simple disk management tool which catalogs disks. Simple, light-weight, and fast Finder-like intuitive look and feel Super-fast search algorithm Can compress catalog data for... Read more
Amazon Chime 4.0.5540 - Amazon-based com...
Amazon Chime is a communications service that transforms online meetings with a secure, easy-to-use application that you can trust. Amazon Chime works seamlessly across your devices so that you can... Read more
RapidWeaver 7.3 - Create template-based...
RapidWeaver is a next-generation Web design application to help you easily create professional-looking Web sites in minutes. No knowledge of complex code is required, RapidWeaver will take care of... Read more
Dropbox 20.4.19 - Cloud backup and synch...
Dropbox is an application that creates a special Finder folder that automatically syncs online and between your computers. It allows you to both backup files and keep them up-to-date between systems... Read more

Tavern Guardians Guide: How to survive e...
Tavern Guardians is a match-three game that brings some much-needed innovation to what is a tired genre in mobile gaming. Players match objects to attack enemies while healing themselves, forcing players to rethink their approach to the typical... | Read more »
Inkle's next big project is Heaven...
Inkle's latest project could be its most exciting yet, following the widespread success of their past two games, Sorcery! and 80 Days. Their latest title, Heaven's Vault, which was announced at GDC this week, steps away from the gamebook genre,... | Read more »
Last week on Pocket Gamer
If you’re wondering what’s going on in the wider world of portable gaming, our sister site PocketGamer has you covered. Each week we like to check in on the PG team and see what they’ve been preoccupied with. From the latest on the Nintendo Switch... | Read more »
Mudd Masher arrives this week
Atooi Games, the minds behind Totes the Goat and Mutant Mudds, have a new game in the works -- Mudd Masher. The game, a hybrid of the independent studio's first two titles, is expected to launch this week on March 2. [Read more] | Read more »
The best sales on the App Store this wee...
The App Store has quite an exciting lineup of discount games this week that range across a variety of genres. It's a great opportunity to catch up on some of the premium games you may have been holding off on -- and some you can even grab for free... | Read more »
The best new games we played this week
Ah, here we are again at the close of another busy week. Don't rest too easy, though. We had a lot of great new releases in mobile games this week, and now you're going to have to spend all weekend playing them. That shouldn't be too much of a... | Read more »
Rollercoaster Tycoon Touch Guide: How to...
| Read more »
Rabbids Crazy Rush Guide: How to unlock...
The Rabbids are back in a new endless running adventure, Rabbids Crazy Rush. It's more ridiculous cartoon craziness as you help the little furballs gather enough fuel (soda) to get to the moon. Sure, it's a silly idea, but everyone has dreams --... | Read more »
Tavern Guardians (Games)
Tavern Guardians 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $2.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: Tavern Guardians is a Hack-and-Slash action game played in the style of a match-three. You can experience high pace action... | Read more »
Slay your way to glory in idle RPG Endle...
It’s a golden age for idle games on the mobile market, and those addictive little clickers have a new best friend. South Korean developer Ekkorr released Endless Frontier last year, and players have been idling away the hours in the company of its... | Read more »

Price Scanner via MacPrices.net

13-inch 2.5GHz MacBook Pro (Apple refurbished...
Apple has Certified Refurbished 13″ 2.5GHz MacBook Pros (MD101LL/A) available for $829, or $270 off original MSRP. Apple’s one-year warranty is standard, and shipping is free: - 13″ 2.5GHz MacBook... Read more
Save $150-$180 with Apple refurbished 13-inch...
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: - 13″ 1.6GHz/8GB/128GB MacBook Air: $... Read more
Apple’s Education discount saves up to $300 o...
Purchase a new Mac or iPad using Apple’s Education Store and take up to $300 off MSRP. All teachers, students, and staff of any educational institution qualify for the discount. Shipping is free: -... Read more
SanDisk Introduces 256GB Storage Expansion Fo...
Western Digital Corporation at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain on Tuesday announced that it has increased the capacity of its line of iOS mobile flash drives with the introduction of its... Read more
FINSiX DART World’s Smallest and Lightest Lap...
Up to 4x smaller and lighter than today’s typical 65W laptop chargers, and with a built-in Smallest and Lightest Laptop Charger, DART allows you to charge all your devices from a single outlet.... Read more
New iPads May Not Arrive Until May or June –...
Digitimes’ Siu Han and Steve Shen say their sources in the iPad upstream supply chain are anticipating disappointing calendar first-quarter 2017 sales. The same sources at upstream suppliers had... Read more
Olay Unveils Skin Advisor App To Help Women B...
Olay celebrated its Mobile World Congress debut with the global launch of Olay Skin Advisor, a new app designed to help women better understand their skin and find the products best-suited to their... Read more
12-inch 1.1GHz Retina MacBooks on sale for $1...
B&H has 12″ 1.1GHz Retina MacBooks on sale for $150 off MSRP. Shipping is free, and B&H charges NY sales tax only: - 12″ 1.1GHz Space Gray Retina MacBook: $1149 $150 off MSRP - 12″ 1.1GHz... Read more
Save up to $600 with Apple refurbished Mac Pr...
Apple has Certified Refurbished Mac Pros available for up to $600 off the cost of new models. An Apple one-year warranty is included with each Mac Pro, and shipping is free. The following... Read more
13-inch 2.7GHz Retina MacBook Pro on sale for...
B&H Photo has the 2015 13″ 2.7GHz/128GB Retina Apple MacBook Pro on sale for $150 off MSRP. Shipping is free, and B&H charges NY tax only: - 13″ 2.7GHz/128GB Retina MacBook Pro (MF839LL/A): $... Read more

Jobs Board

*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* Solutions Consultant - Apple (United...
# Apple Solutions Consultant Job Number: 55676865 Los Angeles, California, United States Posted: Feb. 22, 2017 Weekly Hours: 40.00 **Job Summary** As an Apple Read more
Programmer/Editor *Apple* Music Dance - App...
# Programmer/Editor Apple Music Dance Job Number: 55565967 Culver City, California, United States Posted: Feb. 23, 2017 Weekly Hours: **Job Summary** Apple Music Read more
Digital Marketing Specialist - *Apple* iClo...
# Digital Marketing Specialist - Apple iCloud Job Number: 54729233 Culver City, California, United States Posted: Feb. 22, 2017 Weekly Hours: 40.00 **Job Summary** Read more
Marketing Specialist, iTunes & *Apple*...
# Marketing Specialist, iTunes & Apple Music Job Number: 55704205 Culver City, California, United States Posted: Feb. 23, 2017 Weekly Hours: 40.00 **Job Summary** Read more
All contents are Copyright 1984-2011 by Xplain Corporation. All rights reserved. Theme designed by Icreon.