TweetFollow Us on Twitter

IAC Toolkit
Volume Number:7
Issue Number:5
Column TagTools of the Trade

IAC with UserLand's Toolkit

By Dave Kelly, MacTutor Editorial Staff

Perhaps you have heard about interapplication communication. First, look at the way most applications communicate. This investigation will turn out to be an analysis of the evolution of the Macintosh. Up to now communications between applications have been done by the “Export-Import” method. That is, data is exported from the first application to the clipboard or an external file and then pasted or imported into the second application. This method usually requires a user to “baby-sit” the operation. Cut and paste operations don’t make any assumptions about what application is doing the paste and passes on very little knowledge of where the data came from. At most, all that is known is the type of data that is being pasted (TEXT, PICT, etc.).

Of course, ingenious utilities such as QuicKeys and MacroMaker can “automate” some of these operations. These macro utilities have been a great help, but can’t possibly do everything. They extend applications to make them appear to have more features.

Applications running with MultiFinder have had a slight edge up to now when it comes to communicating with each other. A few companies have come up with their own system of communication between applications. For example, you can link data in MS Word to data in MS Excel and changes in the data are reflected in the linked application. There are other “integrated” software packages available. These “custom” applications are designed to work with each other. The problem is that they don’t work outside the set of integrated applications.

With MultiFinder the user can load two or more applications into memory at once, but the only thing that is stopping the applications from talking to one another is the lack of a little bit of software to hook them up. Have you ever written an application and wanted to add the text processing capabilities of MS Word, the communications capabilities of AppleLink and drawing tools of MacDraw II? Since it usually isn’t so smart to “reinvent the wheel”, wouldn’t it be good if you could link you favorite applications together to have the best of all worlds?

The idea of IAC is much more than integrating applications. IAC gives applications the power to ask other applications to perform tasks for them and then return the results. The user can combine the features of several different programs to create new functionality that would otherwise be unavailable. It may help to imagine that you are adding a scripting system to your application. Scripts sent to other applications could look in menus and dialog boxes and assume full control over another application. The difficulty is that IAC must be implemented in the client and server applications before any intercommunication can take place.

Until now the only form of IAC was in custom programs that only talked to each other. System 7.0 defines a common method for applications to communicate. Apple calls it AppleEvents. AppleEvents are only available under system 7.0, which brings up a complication for developers that want their applications to support both System 6.0 and 7.0. There are still many 1 Meg Macintosh systems in use that will still be running 6.0 systems for some time to come.

In January (1991) a new software company called UserLand Software, Inc. released new software support for IAC. The company has been quiet until last November when they disclosed their development of the UserLand IAC Toolkit that first shipped on December 31st. There are several advantages with working with UserLand IAC Toolkit. In particular your application can communicate using System 6.0 or System 7.0 and possibly future operating systems in the future. There are implications that IAC will be available for MS-DOS, Windows, or Unix. The IAC Toolkit was designed so that your application can be driven by a user scripting system. The main advantage is that the toolkit provides an IAC environment that is not biased toward any one platform, yet provides one that will be supported on major platforms like System 7.0.

The Toolkit is simpler to use than AppleEvents (System 7.0). The manual is an indication of this simplicity. The introduction gives a thorough overview of IAC and some real examples of how it could be used. The step by step installation tells what files will be used for using the Toolkit with THINK C version 4.0 or MPW C 3.1 or later. When using system 6.0 the UserLand INIT is required to be installed in your system folder. Next, four sample programs are provided with source code so you can see how it’s done. Implementation of the Toolkit with your projects is presented in a detailed format that shows how to add IAC capability to your applications. The last half of the 71 page manual is a complete reference of the UserLand IAC Toolkit library. If you become familiar with the manual, you should have no problem implementing UserLand IAC. The IAC toolkit adds about 12K to the size of you program. That’s not counting the UserLand INIT that takes about 6K.

Before you get started writing your IAC applications, you should be aware of some costs of IAC. Implementation of UserLand IAC comes at the reasonable price of $395 (retail price, street prices are possibly lower). Distributing IAC using UserLand IAC Toolkit will require that you get a distribution license from UserLand Software before shipping. The cost is $4000 for a fully-paid, royalty-free license to include the Toolkit with as many of your company’s applications as you like. If that doesn’t sound bad enough, they put a 5 year term on the license so that in 1995 you’ll have to renew the license or a new one for a more powerful product that 1995 may produce. When you purchase the distribution license, UserLand will deliver the complete C source code so you can support IAC better especially as Apple introduces new hardware and system software.

The license fee sounds excessive, but in the price UserLand has taken into account their development expenses, developer needs, and future development of cross-platform and network-aware versions In addition, they provide excellent product support by getting involved with IAC developers without an additional charge for support. You’ll need to evaluate the pros and cons vs. cost to decide if the toolkit is the way for you to go. Keep in mind that there will be a bit more of a learning curve to implement AppleEvent IAC for system 7.0. than to implement UserLand IAC. If you’re a small developer and feel that the license is too excessive, you may want to negotiate a “technology exchange” with UserLand, if you have any technology to exchange.

In contrast, other “toolkits” have a much less costly license agreement. Many products such as the Programmer’s Extender and the Extender DialogHandler from Invention Software allow you to distribute freely and/or market programs that use their toolbox if no portions of the source code library, user manuals or other documentation is distributed. UserLand should review their license policy to encourage more small developers to want to use it. I might suggest a license with limited support or without the source code for small developers. It’s too bad, but UserLand’s license was designed for larger commercial and in-house developers. The small struggling developers just have to pay the price like everybody else. Remember, you can still work with the toolkit for the $395 price and don’t have to license your product until it ships. If your product is worth it’s weight, you should be able to come up with the license fee. Dave Winer, President of UserLand puts it this way: “We’ve put a lot of thought into the pricing of this product. If it’s out of reach for some developers, and they don’t have any technology they want to exchange, so be it. We hope at least those developers will consider putting System 7.0 AppleEvents into their products. We believe IAC is worth doing even if it’s only for System 7.0, and even if the developer has to do more work than absolutely necessary. On the other hand, we think that any developer who passes on UserLand IAC Toolkit is being penny-wise and pound-foolish, and missing a great opportunity to make their software more useful and more competitive.”

In summary, the UserLand IAC Toolkit provides support for IAC in System 6.0 not available elsewhere. It has been designed to support multi-platforms including System 7.0. You need the toolkit if you want IAC support in both System 6.0 and 7.0. Although the Userland toolkit is easier to use, the cost to license it for distribution may be a trade off for the time it takes to develop a similar IAC application using System 7.0 AppleEvents. You’ll have to be the judge of that. The toolkit doesn’t support other languages except C at this time.

Userland Software, Inc.

490 California Avenue

Palo Alto, CA. 94306

Phone: 415 325-5700

FAX 415-325-9829

AppleLink USERLAND.DTS

Price: $395 + $4000 license fee (5 year term) to distribute applications that use the Userland IAC Toolkit.

Requires: THINK C version 4.0 or later or MPW C 3.1 or later; a Macintosh computer with at least 2MB RAM, running MultiFinder, System 6.X or System 7.X; a hard disk.

OTHER STUFF

calenDAr™ from Psybron Systems is not just a calendar DA, but is a calendar with fully programmable alarms. If you didn’t think LifeGuard would provide enough for you (March 1991 MacTutor, p.79), calenDAr may provide similar reminders for you. It doesn’t count keystrokes for you, but you can have calenDAr remind you with either a sound and/or a message dialog on periodic intervals or on a one time basis. It’s set up to record new sounds or audio messages for you with MacRecorder or the built in sound support of the Macintosh LC or SI.

The calendar correctly displays calendars for months between January 1583 (the first month of the first full year in which the Gregorian calendar was used) through December 99,999. All major US, Canadian and Jewish holidays are displayed for every year as well as other special dates such as beginning of spring, summer, fall, and winter.

Psybron Systems says that calculating the dates of holidays like Hanukkah and Easter aren’t as easy as it might seem, but calenDAr does an excellent job of it. It’s a spiffy little DA that you might find useful.

Psybron Systems, Inc.

1116 Smith Street Suite 206

Post Office Box 431

Charleston, WV. 25322-0431

(304) 340-4260 or (800) 866-4260

FAX: (304) 345-3312

Price: $49.95 plus shipping.

Update on bugs that were reported in the Programmer’s Assistants from Aladdin Systems: The Bystander bug has been corrected. It was a memory management problem. All of the DAs are being updated to support System 7.0.

 
AAPL
$101.91
Apple Inc.
+0.33
MSFT
$46.60
Microsoft Corpora
+0.08
GOOG
$587.50
Google Inc.
+2.73

MacTech Search:
Community Search:

Software Updates via MacUpdate

Xcode 6.0.1 - Integrated development env...
Apple Xcode is Apple Computer's integrated development environment (IDE) for OS X. The full Xcode package is free to ADC members and includes all the tools you need to create, debug, and optimize... Read more
Apple Safari 7.1 - Apple's Web brow...
Apple Safari in OS X Mavericks brings you all-new ways to find and enjoy the best of the web. It works with iCloud to give you a seamless browsing experience across all your devices. It looks out for... Read more
Delivery Status 6.1.2 - Check delivery s...
Delivery Status displays delivery status of packages for a variety of shipment services. Can't wait for your packages to arrive? Don't waste your time checking the site constantly, just open this all... Read more
Mavericks Cache Cleaner 8.0.9 - Clear ca...
Mavericks Cache Cleaner is an award-winning general purpose tool for OS X. MCC makes system maintenance simple with an easy point-and-click interface to many OS X functions. Novice and expert users... Read more
OneNote 15.2.2 - Free digital notebook f...
OneNote is your very own digital notebook. With OneNote, you can capture that flash of genius, that moment of inspiration, or that list of errands that's too important to forget. Whether you're at... Read more
Apple Configurator 1.6 - Configure and d...
Apple Configurator makes it easy for anyone to mass configure and deploy iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch in a school, business, or institution. Three simple workflows let you prepare new iOS devices... Read more
SpamSieve 2.9.16 - Robust spam filter fo...
SpamSieve is a robust spam filter for major email clients that uses powerful Bayesian spam filtering. SpamSieve understands what your spam looks like in order to block it all, but also learns what... Read more
OS X Server 3.2.1 - For OS X 10.9.5 Mave...
OS X Server is the next generation of Apple's award winning server software. Designed for OS X and iOS devices, OS X Server makes it easy to share files, schedule meetings, synchronize contacts, host... Read more
Apple Security Update 2014-004 - For OS...
Apple Security Update is recommended for all users and improves the security of Mac OS X. For information on the security content of this update, please visit this website: http://support.apple.com/... Read more
OS X Mavericks 10.9.5 - The latest versi...
Apple OS X Mavericks is the latest release of the world's most advanced desktop operating system. Now free! With more than 200 new features, OS X Mavericks brings Maps and iBooks to the Mac,... Read more

Latest Forum Discussions

See All

It Came From Canada: Overkill 3
Overkill 3 is like every trope of big modern gaming rolled into one. It’s a sequel to an action-packed military shooter. It’s flashy and scripted and flaunts its sophisticated graphics. And it’s a mobile game with a heavy emphasis on in-app... | Read more »
New Modes and Leader Boards in Update fo...
New Modes and Leader Boards in Update for Rules! Posted by Jessica Fisher on September 18th, 2014 [ permalink ] Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad | Read more »
TwistedRun Review
TwistedRun Review By Rob Thomas on September 18th, 2014 Our Rating: :: DON'T TWIST YOUR ANKLE!Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad TwistedRun is kind of like running up a giant curly fry into the sky. Or maybe that was just... | Read more »
Scope Review
Scope Review By Jennifer Allen on September 18th, 2014 Our Rating: :: LOCATION AWAREiPhone App - Designed for the iPhone, compatible with the iPad Want to easily find photos from around the world based on their location? Scope is a... | Read more »
HipstaFox Review
HipstaFox Review By Jordan Minor on September 18th, 2014 Our Rating: :: FANTASTIC MR. FOXUniversal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad HipstaFox is a great single that makes players long for the whole album.   | Read more »
Ninja Raft (Games)
Ninja Raft 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: ** Special Launch Price ** "Ninja Raft is definitely the game to play if you’re into Tower Defense games and want to play something... | Read more »
Paste+ | Clipboard Action Widget (Produ...
Paste+ | Clipboard Action Widget 1.0.0 Device: iOS iPhone Category: Productivity Price: $3.99, Version: 1.0.0 (iTunes) Description: Powerful clipboard widget for iOS 8. Reimagine what you can do with your clipboard! Paste+ is a... | Read more »
Agenda+ | Calendar & Reminder Widget...
Agenda+ | Calendar & Reminder Widget 1.0.0 Device: iOS iPhone Category: Productivity Price: $1.99, Version: 1.0.0 (iTunes) Description: Best Calendar and Reminder Widget Ever for iOS 8 | Read more »
Leg·end·ar·y (Games)
Leg·end·ar·y 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $1.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: Simple and yet complex. Leg•end•dar•y is a grid-based puzzle game based on numbers. Discover the adventure of Leg•end•dar•y and... | Read more »
KuaiBoard (formerly QuickBoard) (Utilit...
KuaiBoard (formerly QuickBoard) 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Utilities Price: $1.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: KuaiBoard is currently 50% off for launch! Billing info. Signatures. Locations. KuaiBoard allows you to... | Read more »

Price Scanner via MacPrices.net

Save up to $300 on the price of a new Mac wit...
Purchase a new Mac or iPad at The Apple Store for Education 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
13-inch 2.8GHz Retina MacBook Pro available f...
B&H Photo has the new 2014 13″ 2.8GHz Retina MacBook Pro on sale for $1699.99 including free shipping plus NY sales tax only. They’ll also include free copies of Parallels Desktop and LoJack for... Read more
16GB iPad Air on sale for $449, save $50
Walmart has the 16GB iPad Air WiFi on sale for $449 on their online store for a limited time. Choose free home shipping or free local store pickup. Their price represents a $50 savings over standard... Read more
13-inch 256GB MacBook Air on sale for $1099,...
B&H Photo has the 2014 13″ 1.4GHz 256GB MacBook Air on sale for $1099.99. Shipping is free, and B&H charges NY sales tax only. Their price is $100 off MSRP. Read more
Toshiba Introduces TransMemory ID High-Speed...
Toshiba’s Digital Products Division (DPD), a division of Toshiba America Information Systems, Inc., today introduced the TransMemory ID USB 3.0 Flash Drive, a simpler storage solution for people who... Read more
New iPads and OS X Yosemite Release Coming Oc...
The DailyDot’s Micah Singleton reports that Apple is planning to hold its next product announcement event on Oct. 21, at which it will unveil the iPad Air 2 and iPad mini 3 and release a final build... Read more
Logitech Bluetooth Multi-Device Cross-Platfor...
Logitech has an enviable track record of making some of the best computer keyboards and mice. At least in my estimation, the best freestanding keyboards I’ve ever used have been Logitech units,... Read more
Roundup of Apple refurbished iPad Airs and iP...
Apple is offering Certified Refurbished iPad Airs for up to $140 off MSRP. Apple’s one-year warranty is included with each model, and shipping is free. Stock tends to come and go with some of these... Read more
Sprint offers 16GB iPad mini for $199.99 with...
Sprint is offering 1st generation 16GB iPad minis for $199.99 with a 2-year service agreement. Standard MSRP for this iPad is $429. Their price is the lowest available for this model. Read more
2.5GHz Mac mini remains on sale for $549, sav...
B&H Photo has the 2.5GHz Mac mini on sale for $549.99 including free shipping. That’s $50 off MSRP, and B&H will also include a free copy of Parallels Desktop software. NY sales tax only. Read more

Jobs Board

Project Manager, *Apple* Financial Services...
**Job Summary** Apple Financial Services (AFS) offers consumers, businesses and educational institutions ways to finance Apple purchases. We work with national and Read more
*Apple* Retail - Multiple Positions (US) - A...
Sales Specialist - Retail Customer Service and Sales Transform Apple Store visitors into loyal Apple customers. When customers enter the store, you're also the Read more
*Apple* Retail - Multiple Positions (US) - A...
Sales Specialist - Retail Customer Service and Sales Transform Apple Store visitors into loyal Apple customers. When customers enter the store, you're also the Read more
*Apple* Retail - Multiple Positions (US) - A...
Sales Specialist - Retail Customer Service and Sales Transform Apple Store visitors into loyal Apple customers. When customers enter the store, you're also the Read more
*Apple* Retail - Multiple Positions (US) - A...
Sales Specialist - Retail Customer Service and Sales Transform Apple Store visitors into loyal Apple customers. When customers enter the store, you're also the Read more
All contents are Copyright 1984-2011 by Xplain Corporation. All rights reserved. Theme designed by Icreon.