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.

 
AAPL
$102.43
Apple Inc.
+2.67
MSFT
$44.84
Microsoft Corpora
+0.76
GOOG
$524.82
Google Inc.
+3.98

MacTech Search:
Community Search:

Software Updates via MacUpdate

RapidWeaver 6.0 - 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
NTFS 12.0.39 - Provides full read and wr...
Paragon NTFS breaks down the barriers between Windows and OS X. Paragon NTFS effectively solves the communication problems between the Mac system and NTFS, providing full read and write access to... Read more
RestoreMeNot 2.0.3 - Disable window rest...
RestoreMeNot provides a simple way to disable the window restoration for individual applications so that you can fine-tune this behavior to suit your needs. Please note that RestoreMeNot is designed... Read more
Macgo Blu-ray Player 2.10.9.1750 - Blu-r...
Macgo Mac Blu-ray Player can bring you the most unforgettable Blu-ray experience on your Mac. Overview Macgo Mac Blu-ray Player can satisfy just about every need you could possibly have in a Blu-ray... Read more
Apple iOS 8.1 - The latest version of Ap...
The latest version of iOS can be downloaded through iTunes. Apple iOS 8 comes with big updates to apps you use every day, like Messages and Photos. A whole new way to share content with your family.... Read more
TechTool Pro 7.0.5 - Hard drive and syst...
TechTool Pro is now 7, and this is the most advanced version of the acclaimed Macintosh troubleshooting utility created in its 20-year history. Micromat has redeveloped TechTool Pro 7 to be fully 64... Read more
PDFKey Pro 4.0.2 - Edit and print passwo...
PDFKey Pro can unlock PDF documents protected for printing and copying when you've forgotten your password. It can now also protect your PDF files with a password to prevent unauthorized access and/... Read more
Yasu 2.9.1 - System maintenance app; per...
Yasu was originally created with System Administrators who service large groups of workstations in mind, Yasu (Yet Another System Utility) was made to do a specific group of maintenance tasks... Read more
Hazel 3.3 - Create rules for organizing...
Hazel is your personal housekeeper, organizing and cleaning folders based on rules you define. Hazel can also manage your trash and uninstall your applications. Organize your files using a... Read more
Autopano Giga 3.7 - Stitch multiple imag...
Autopano Giga allows you to stitch 2, 20, or 2,000 images. Version 3.0 integrates impressive new features that will definitely make you adopt Autopano Pro or Autopano Giga: Choose between 9... Read more

Latest Forum Discussions

See All

Fiete – A Day on a Farm Review
Fiete – A Day on a Farm Review By Amy Solomon on October 21st, 2014 Our Rating: :: A MEMORABLE EXPERIENCEUniversal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad Fiete – A day on a farm in an interactive app for young children full of... | Read more »
Tilt to Live: Gauntlet’s Revenge is Almo...
Tilt to Live: Gauntlet’s Revenge is Almost Here Posted by Jessica Fisher on October 21st, 2014 [ permalink ] One Man Left has announced the official release date of Tilt to Live: Gauntlet’s Re | Read more »
Sago Mini Monsters Celebrates Halloween...
Sago Mini Monsters Celebrates Halloween with Fun Costumes and Special Treats. Posted by Jessica Fisher on October 21st, 2014 [ permal | Read more »
Inferno 2 Review
Inferno 2 Review By Andrew Fisher on October 21st, 2014 Our Rating: :: TWIN STICK GOODNESSUniversal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad With tight controls and awesome, stark visuals, Inferno 2 is loads of fun.   | Read more »
Clips Review
Clips Review By Jennifer Allen on October 21st, 2014 Our Rating: :: CONVENIENT PASTINGUniversal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad Making copying and pasting more powerful than usual, Clips is a great way to move stuff around.   | Read more »
MonSense Review
MonSense Review By Jennifer Allen on October 21st, 2014 Our Rating: :: ORGANIZED FINANCESiPhone App - Designed for the iPhone, compatible with the iPad Organize your finances with the quick and easy to use, MonSense.   | Read more »
This Week at 148Apps: October 13-17, 201...
Expert App Reviewers   So little time and so very many apps. What’s a poor iPhone/iPad lover to do? Fortunately, 148Apps is here to give you the rundown on the latest and greatest releases. And we even have a tremendous back catalog of reviews; just... | Read more »
Angry Birds Transformers Review
Angry Birds Transformers Review By Jennifer Allen on October 20th, 2014 Our Rating: :: TRANSFORMED BIRDSUniversal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad Transformed in a way you wouldn’t expect, Angry Birds Transformers is a quite... | Read more »
GAMEVIL Announces the Upcoming Launch of...
GAMEVIL Announces the Upcoming Launch of Mark of the Dragon Posted by Jessica Fisher on October 20th, 2014 [ permalink ] Mark of the Dragon, by GAMEVIL, put | Read more »
Interview With the Angry Birds Transform...
Angry Birds Transformers recently transformed and rolled out worldwide. This run-and-gun title is a hit with young Transformers fans, but the ample references to classic Transformers fandom has also earned it a place in the hearts of long-time... | Read more »

Price Scanner via MacPrices.net

Select MacBook Airs $100 off MSRP, free shipp...
B&H Photo has 2014 a couple of MacBook Airs on sale for $100 off MSRP. Shipping is free, and B&H charges NY sales tax only. They also include free copies of Parallels Desktop and LoJack for... Read more
13-inch 2.5GHz MacBook Pro on sale for $100 o...
B&H Photo has the 13″ 2.5GHz MacBook Pro on sale for $999.99 including free shipping plus NY sales tax only. Their price is $100 off MSRP. Read more
Strong iPhone, Mac And App Store Sales Drive...
Apple on Monday announced financial results for its fiscal 2014 fourth quarter ended September 27, 2014. The Company posted quarterly revenue of $42.1 billion and quarterly net profit of $8.5 billion... Read more
Apple Posts How-To For OS X Recovery
OS X 10.7 Lion and later include OS X Recovery. This feature includes all of the tools you need to reinstall OS X, repair your disk, and even restore from a Time Machine backup. OS X Recovery... Read more
Mac OS X Versions (Builds) Supported By Vario...
Apple Support has posted a handy resource explaining which Mac OS X versions (builds) originally shipped with or are available for your computer via retail discs, downloads, or Software Update. Apple... Read more
Deals on 2011 13-inch MacBook Airs, from $649
Daily Steals has the Mid-2011 13″ 1.7GHz i5 MacBook Air (4GB/128GB) available for $699 with a 90 day warranty. The Mid-2011 13″ 1.7GHz i5 MacBook Air (4GB/128GB SSD) is available for $649 at Other... Read more
2013 15-inch 2.0GHz Retina MacBook Pro availa...
B&H Photo has leftover previous-generation 15″ 2.0GHz Retina MacBook Pros now available for $1599 including free shipping plus NY sales tax only. Their price is $400 off original MSRP. B&H... Read more
Updated iPad Prices
We’ve updated our iPad Air Price Tracker and our iPad mini Price Tracker with the latest information on prices and availability from Apple and other resellers, including the new iPad Air 2 and the... Read more
Apple Pay Available to Millions of Visa Cardh...
Visa Inc. brings secure, convenient payments to iPad Air 2 and iPad mini 3as well as iPhone 6 and 6 Plus. Starting October 20th, eligible Visa cardholders in the U.S. will be able to use Apple Pay,... Read more
Textkraft Pocket – the missing TextEdit for i...
infovole GmbH has announced the release and immediate availability of Textkraft Pocket 1.0, a professional text editor and note taking app for Apple’s iPhone. In March 2014 rumors were all about... Read more

Jobs Board

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
Position Opening at *Apple* - Apple (United...
…customers purchase our products, you're the one who helps them get more out of their new Apple technology. Your day in the Apple Store is filled with a range of Read more
All contents are Copyright 1984-2011 by Xplain Corporation. All rights reserved. Theme designed by Icreon.