|Column Tag:||Kelly's Corner
Serius89 and HyperBASIC
By Dave Kelly, MacTutor Editorial Board
Object Oriented Programming (OOP) has become a household phrase recently. Out of all of the OOP-la about OOP a wave of new OOP products have emerged. One of these is Serius89 Developer which I have had the opportunity to examine. Serius Corporation of Salt Lake City, Utah is committed to developing Serius89 into a serious OOP development environment. It is their goal to fill needs of all Macintosh users, from developers to end users, to create their own applications.
Serius89 is a radically different approach to computer programming. It is based upon a set of Object Oriented routines written in C which Serius calls Object Interaction Protocol (OIP). OIP uses these self supporting routines called objects to present the user with a new way to put together a Macintosh application. You could think of Serius89 as a programmers erector set. You can create applications by connecting objects together much like tiles are connected together in a Double Helix data base. If you like Helix youll like this icon based approach to programming.
You as a Macintosh developer may develop OIP components which end users can assemble together in Serius89. There are some advantages to this approach it can eliminate costly code duplication, allowing a developer to utilize existing sets of routines. Once the routines have been written, you never need to rewrite the routine again.
The developer creates routines called methods that manage the low-level operation of data entities called objects. These methods are executed in response to events, which are generally posted by developers routines and managed privately by OIP. The Serius89 programmer never has to deal with the low-level operations once the developer has created the OIP routines. Heres the catch the routines need to be pre-written before the programmer can put together the application.
Serius89 does not generate source code, but it does generate stand-alone, fully operational applications. The methods and functions are compiled together by the developer using any common Macintosh development system, then integrated into Serius89 to be used graphically to construct applications. The developer doesnt need to know or understand conventional OOP to create the methods or functions.since most of the object orientation is handled automatically by the nature and structure of OIP. There are a number of MPW utility routines available in Pascal to handle the necessary tasks. (C or assembly developers may need to modify the interface declarations).
Serius89 includes several objects and functions which are ready to use to create applications. The big drawback is that the existing routines do not yet fully support the entire Macintosh toolbox. As long as your application is restricted to the objects that exist, you wont have to write any new ones. I found that every application I wrote could not be implemented exactly as I desired because of missing functions. This isnt all bad though, especially if you write your own objects and functions. These objects need only be written once and may then be used as many times as needed in your application. Serius is encouraging developers to create new functions and updates are provided periodically as new functions are made available.
Serius is a clearinghouse for all Serius89 objects and functions. Object Interaction Protocol, as with any development system, has basic guidelines that are established to maintain future compatibility. Each component has a unique ID number which should be registered with Serius to avoid ID conflicts in the future. As new components are created, some may require license agreements especially if written by third party developers. Objects which are provided with Serius89 include:
Application: allows your program to launch other applications
Button: specify any kind of button
CD Audio: play audio CDs from your application
Database: a powerful database engine
Date: retrieves the current date
File: allows your application to save objects to disk
Menu: provides menus for your application
Menu bar: creates a menu bar
Menu item: defines menu items
Number: this object stores a number (includes math functions)
Picture: load and display PICT images
Printer: allows access to standard Macintosh printers.
Sound: load and play sound (snd) resources.
Text: this object stores text
Time: retrieves the current time
Window: defines windows (zoomable document, document, fixed size document, dialog box, plain, plain with shadow, or rounded).
Workstation: access AppleTalk networks and communicate with other Macintosh computers that are running Serius89 applications.
The version of Serius89 that I have reviewed is version 1.1. As I write this I am aware that version 1.2 has been completed (not yet reviewed) which allows all components to run under Multifinder, signals for windows to respond to Multifinder switching, workstation object now supports logging on with dynamic workstation names, improvements to keyboard, list, text, number, date and time objects, and several bug fixes. Alignment grids for positioning items as well as a layering system for functions on the workbench are also a part of version 1.2 . There are several other enhancements that are of importance including a faster database object. Version 1.3 was scheduled for release December 30 (prior to writing this column). Improvements are frequent and Serius is set up with a toll free technical support line to assist you. Even with all of this, there are a few areas that need to be improved which I should mention:
There is no way to import resources from other sources with the exception of the Picture Object which will import PICT resources. This is a heavy stumbling block especially if you have special resources to include or want to use a favorite resource from another application. However, an icon editor is built in for creating icons for your application (no cut and paste available).
The facility for positioning buttons, text, numbers etc is very crude. There are no tools and no grid lines. You can only drag objects and resize them in the window. I was assured that this was improved in the latest version which I have not yet seen.
I am sure that in time there will be significant improvements to Serius89. Updates have been coming out to registered users at the rate of about one every 4-6 weeks. If you cant wait, and you can program, you could add your own objects. Serius89 is still in its infancy and will be quite powerful as soon as objects have been created which implement every aspect of the Macintosh toolbox. Until then, Serius89 is a powerful tool which can be expanded to meet any developers needs.
1981 East 4800 South
Salt Lake City, Utah 84117
801 272-7788 General Offices
800 876-6847 Technical Support
801 277-2440 FAX
BASIC WARS TAKES A RIGHT TURN
Note: Source code files accompanying article are located on MacTech CD-ROM or source code disks.
Along the way, HyperCard has both been praised and jeered. Yes, it has opened up a whole new world to some people who never dreamed they could program anything on a computer. Yet serious programmers have complained about its speed and others have wished it had more capabilities. Those with the C and Pascal compilers have been able to exclusively rule the world of XCMDs and XFCNs. Not any longer! Basic has taken a right hand turn and parked itself in the backyard of XCMD and XFCN.
Presenting HyperBASIC by Teknosys, Inc.
Creation of XCMDs and XFCNs is now easier than ever. The HyperBASIC application is a combination editor (multiple windows), compiler, linker and resource mover. Compiling a program is easy, just select the destination stack and select Compile. HyperBASIC does a quick syntax check then compiles, links, and moves the new XCMD or XFCN into the stack. If the syntax check finds an error, HyperBASIC gives suggestions of what needs to be changed. It doesnt tell you exactly what the error is but it does flag the line the error occurred on except in a few cases when problems exist in a subroutine and the cursor is placed at the beginning of the XCMD or at the beginning of the subroutine. Suggestions of what went wrong are listed in a menu and when that item is selected, the item in the menu is pasted at the insertion point. Some improvement could be made in this area, but at least you dont have to compile and run the routine before finding out that the problem is a simple typo.
In addition to being quick and easy to program, HyperBASIC is fast. When I ran the historic Sieve of Erastothenes,. HyperBASIC generated the 10 iterations of 1900 primes in 7.48 seconds on a Macintosh Plus, very close to the same speed as ZBasic. You cant really compare HyperBasic and ZBasic though because they both serve different purposes. The Accuracy benchmark gives good results with an answer of x=503.43802 (correct answer) and s=1.23 in 2.12 seconds. (The benchmarks are shown below for the benefit of those that dont have The Complete MacTutor, Volume 2, pg 379).
FOR m=1 TO 10
FOR i=1 to 8191
FOR i=1 to 8191
IF Flags(i)=0 THEN GOTO 170
120 IF k<= 8190 THEN
170 NEXT i
developed by R. Broucke
at University of Texas, Austin
FOR n=1 TO 1000
HyperBASIC is a rich basic language which includes all the latest syntax such as CASE and multiple line IF-THEN-ELSE. With only minor modifications, programs written for MS QuickBASIC or ZBasic may be converted for use in HyperBASIC. Several new commands have been added to enhance the HyperCard XCMD/XFCN environment. A set of callback statements will allow you to:
Get the contents of a card of background field by Name, ID, or Number.
Set the contents of a card of background field by Name, ID, or Number. (a sample of this command is shown in the example above which sets the contents of specific field to the results of the benchmark).
Get the contents of a global variable.
Set the contents of a global variable.
Evaluate expressions such as the short name of this card.
Send a Message to a card such as show card button 3
Send a Message to HyperCard such as domenu new card.
There are 376 built-in calls to the Macintosh toolbox which are listed in the HyperBASIC manual. Although the list is not expandable, it appears to be complete. Teknosys plans to add more toolbox calls in the next version (1.1) which will be released late in the first quarter of 1990. Version 1.1 will be free of charge to registered users (except for shipping and handling). Also included in version 1.1 will be support for strings greater than 32K in length (in case you want to use something besides HyperCard). More direct support for SuperCard and other products that can use XCMDs and XFCNs. MicroPhone from Software Ventures is already supported although you need to use ResEdit (or equivalent) to more the resources into MicroPhone.
For debugging purposes, subprogram names may be used to create a MacsBug symbol table. You can use the toolbox statement _Debugger to halt execution of the program at a critical point and call Macsbug to step through the processor instructions to find the problem. If youre experienced with assembly language you may generate assembler output instead of the XCMD or XFCN to examine the code.
There are more than 30 example programs to get you started and get some great ideas for other XCMDs and XFCNs. Soon, Teknosys will be putting together a Tips and Techniques newsletter to provide help and examples of how to change Inside Macintosh calls for use in HyperBASIC. Currently, you must be familiar enough with the syntax used in IM to know what to change to use toolbox calls in HyperBASIC.
I highly recommend HyperBASIC as a quick and easy way to extend and speed up HyperCard. System Requirements: 1M RAM, System 6.0.2 (or later), HyperCard 1.2.1 (or later). A hard drive is recommended.
3923 Coconut Palm Drive, Suite 111
Tampa, Florida 33619
No Copy Protection!