|Column Tag:||Show Report
MacWorld Expo, April 1990
By Kirk Chase, Editor, MacTutor
The April 1990 MacWorld Expo in San Francisco is still having its effects at the time of this writing. The show was as large as ever in terms of exhibitors, but the crowd seemed smaller than last year with the exception of Industry Day and all the gate crashers. Still the show had some interesting products out for the developer and some good conferences (most of which were repeated due to the crowd of developers wanting in to hear them). Here are some of the highlights on products and conferences.
Products in View
Berkeley Systems, Inc.
1700 Shattuck Ave.
The people who made doing nothing on you Mac an enjoyable experience have announced a programming contest for their versatile screen saver, After Dark. Call Berkeley Systems for the entry form for all the details and rules. Then send in your compiled module on disk for judging. Grand prize is a SuperMac 19" Trinitron® Color Display with Spectrum/8 Series III Graphics Card. Second prize is the Maxcess 250t Tape Backup. Third prize is a Nutmeg/Xerox Full Page Display with graphics board. In addition, you can get $1000 more if they feature your module in an upcoming release.
Berkeley Systems is offering such nice prizes that everyone will be getting in on the action. Remember the deadline for getting your module in is midnight, August 1st, 1990. It will be interesting to see what is done giving this chance for fame and fortune from just a screen saver.
Macintosh Inside Out
Addison-Wesley started their new series of books for the Macintosh. Programming with MacApp® by David A. Wilson, Larry S. Rosenstein, and Dan Shafer is the first in the series which was announced at the show. This book covering Apples popular object programming environment goes into depth on using MacApp with MPW. It is filled with tips and examples. The book also comes with a disk.
The next book out in the series is Elements of C++ Macintosh Programming by Dan Weston, another well-known figure in the Macintosh community. This one is due out in June, or possibly July, so look for it on the shelves of your computer bookstore soon. This book will help you get started with C++. In fact, you should keep on looking on the shelves for other books in the Macintosh Inside Out series; they will cover such topics as MPW, System 7.0, and 32-bit QuickDraw.
Peter Norton Utilities for the Macintosh
Peter Norton Computing, Inc.
The man who is famous for his utilities in the IBM world has brought a series of Macintosh utilities. The Norton Utilities for the Macintosh solve many of the data recovery problems. Some of the utilities included are the Norton Disk Doctor for diagnosing and repairing disk errors, Format Recover/File Saver for restoring file/folder after an accidental erasure or disk damage, UnErase for recovering trashed files, Speed Disk for hard disk optimization, Disk Editor, and more.
CAUSE is a product designed for the non-programmer. It is designed for the business person who wants to create custom software, without learning how to program. CAUSE may be thought of as a poor mans application generator. Like that of other application generators like Serius, CAUSE can create simple applications and do it across both MS-DOS and Macintosh platforms! Unfortunately you must take the lowest common denominator. But even still, I was impressed with what it could do without a single line of coding.
To make an application, your first step is to your resources, such as windows. The next is the assignment of steps. These steps will create/open/save files, print reports, etc. With CAUSE you can create a simple database. And if you think your creation is good enough, Maxem will help you market your application, called EFFECT, by helping package and distribute your product.
Apple Programmers &
MPW 3.1 is on its way. Available on a CD ROM as well as disks, version 3.1 offers a number of enhancements and updates. This is definitely a must upgrade according to a number of known authorities. There have been a number of improvements in SADE while you are single stepping. Also there have been extensions put in for working with SADE in either C++ or Object Pascal. Several bugs have been eradicated. Also there is better support for large Object Pascal programs.
MacApp 2.0 will be out (hopefully) by the time you read this. It will also come with sample source code for six applications. It is hoped that the sample applications, in connection with the updates to MacApp, will aid the developer to get into Object Programming (or Object Oriented Programming if you OP for OOPs).
Making its debut later on the scene is MPW C++ 3.1. Enhancements to C++ will allow you to mix Object Pascal with C. About the best improvement is the support for precompiled headers. Anyone who has developed in an OP environment knows the vast array of files needed to even get out the simplest application. By having support for precompiled headers, as THINK C has had for almost a year, compile time can be greatly reduced.
If you are waiting for System 7.0, you probably have had a lot of practice waiting, and you will get even more practice when since it is not expected out until the end of the year. But those fortunate enough to be going to the Worldwide Developers Conference in May are expected to receive a beta version on CD ROM.
MacTutor CD ROM Source Code
Youve asked for it for a long time. Now it is here. The CD ROM version of our source code from day one up through December of 1989 is now available. Included on the CD is the topical index of the last five years. And to make life even easier, there is a text retrieval engine where a developer can search on any word that might be on a source and almost instantly be rewarded with a list of the sources that contain the word. Double click on any entry in the list, and you are taken to that source file with the word or phrase already highlighted. No more wondering what issue that routine you wanted was in. A CD ROM driver and the MacTutor CD will solve your problems.
Soft-Set Technologies, Inc.
Soft-Set was showing a demonstration of ARANDA, a new software development and CASE tool. ARANDA makes your life easier in understanding and analyzing existing code, documenting it, and manage a product even better. This tool is like a browser and source code database all in one. Just feed it your Pascal or Object Pascal code and youre off and running. Then you can look at the structure of your code, jump back and forth from a hierarchical view to your source, document it, and so on. This product is indispensable in getting new, or even old, team members up to speed with the software project.
Conferences in View
Most of the developers conferences at the show were not the greatest in my opinion. Although many of them had to be repeated because of the great number of people wanting to attend, they were flawed for the most part in two respects. First, most of them were presented by people who must have just read their own press releases. And second, the panels were so large as to give member only about ten minutes to say something useful. It would have been better in most cases to have visited the individual booths and grabbed a press release.
This meeting gave an overview of what C++ is and where it is going in connection with MPW. They discussed some of the problems facing C++ and MPW. Most notably was the need for about 8 megs, two monitors, and something like Jasiks Incremental Build to get down to business. An actual C++ compiler, instead of a preprocessor, and a richer set of tools were also on the wish list.
The next version of MPW hosts a number of improvements. Among them are split windows, shell optimizations, Mac II flags, and 411 on line help (taken from the phone companys number for information). It was suggested that MPW would do better to have 911 help.
Object Oriented Programming Tools
This meeting was strictly a marketers meeting. In this session you were introduced to a number of object development environments. Symantec showed off their latest version of THINK Pascal; this latest version is MacApp compatible, has a very nice Browser, and has a number of tools (such as a source code converter from THINK Pascal to MPW Pascal, SARez, SADeRez, etc.) to help you. You also got a view of SmallTalk 80 and SmallTalk V for the Mac. Along for the ride was Prograph from TGS; Prograph is perhaps the most unique object programming environment out in the Mac community and hosts a number of nice development features.
This session had a number of good tips for the developer. Jim Edmond talked about using HyperMedia (or HyperHype as I feel) tools such as SuperCard and CompileIt! for rapid prototyping and even development. Darren Adler gave the best tips in this session to the developer on how to reduce code complexity, side by side code comparison with the source and assembled version, and so on. It was suggested that MPW scripts could be used more effectively to help reduce development.
Ins and Outs of INITs
This was, in my opinion, the best session of the whole conference, and I truly wish the other sessions could have been more along these lines. Rather than selling some product, these panel members, all very well known individuals, went one by one giving short tips to those writing INITs. Among the tips were some like dont initialize windows if your INIT doesnt use them, how to transfer your code to the system heap for later use, how to delete your installation code, dont do tail patching unless necessary, dont make your INIT so that it, or any of its file, depend on being in a certain folder (like the System Folder), and many more.
Extending the Mac User Interface
This session gave a number of guidelines in the creation of dialogs, menus, tool pallets and so on. They suggested that there should be better organization, consistency, and clarity from applications in general and applications of the same type. They recommended a number of helps in designing a dialog and other interface objects. They then asked for support in implementing these. I was surprised that it was not a these are the new rules session but rather a this might be a better way session. Some of the extensions would do rather well in ending our confusion if adopted by developers. And even if you were the only one, your application would look and feel a whole lot better (thereby forcing others to adopt these principles in user interface design).
This MacWorld Expo was exciting for a number of reasons. Besides the introduction of a number of new applications, there seemed to be an increase in developer tools and applications. There were also a number set for release in the not so distant future; I was unhappy with that because of the extra couple months of waiting time already from last MacWorld, but hopefully Boston will be sporting a number of new products for the developer. I hope they do a little better on the conferences. I feel why pay for a press release and a demo that you can get for free in a booth on the show floor.