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.

 

Community Search:
MacTech Search:

Software Updates via MacUpdate

Printopia 3.0.4 - Share Mac printers wit...
Run Printopia on your Mac to share its printers to any capable iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch. Printopia will also add virtual printers, allowing you to save print-outs to your Mac and send to apps.... Read more
Tinderbox 7.3.1 - Store and organize you...
Tinderbox is a personal content management assistant. It stores your notes, ideas, and plans. It can help you organize and understand them. And Tinderbox helps you share ideas through Web journals... Read more
ExpanDrive 6.1.6 - Access cloud storage...
ExpanDrive builds cloud storage in every application, acts just like a USB drive plugged into your Mac. With ExpanDrive, you can securely access any remote file server directly from the Finder or... Read more
Printopia 3.0.4 - Share Mac printers wit...
Run Printopia on your Mac to share its printers to any capable iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch. Printopia will also add virtual printers, allowing you to save print-outs to your Mac and send to apps.... Read more
Tinderbox 7.3.1 - Store and organize you...
Tinderbox is a personal content management assistant. It stores your notes, ideas, and plans. It can help you organize and understand them. And Tinderbox helps you share ideas through Web journals... Read more
ExpanDrive 6.1.6 - Access cloud storage...
ExpanDrive builds cloud storage in every application, acts just like a USB drive plugged into your Mac. With ExpanDrive, you can securely access any remote file server directly from the Finder or... Read more
VOX 3.0.1 - Music player that supports m...
VOX just sounds better! The beauty is in its simplicity, yet behind the minimal exterior lies a powerful music player with a ton of features and support for all audio formats you should ever need.... Read more
Merlin Project 4.3.3 - $289.00
Merlin Project is the leading professional project management software for OS X. If you plan complex projects on your Mac, you won’t get far with a simple list of tasks. Good planning raises... Read more
Mac DVDRipper Pro 7.1 - Copy, backup, an...
Mac DVDRipper Pro is the DVD backup solution that lets you protect your DVDs from scratches, save your batteries by reading your movies from your hard disk, manage your collection with just a few... Read more
iMazing 2.5.2 - Complete iOS device mana...
iMazing (was DiskAid) is the ultimate iOS device manager with capabilities far beyond what iTunes offers. With iMazing and your iOS device (iPhone, iPad, or iPod), you can: Copy music to and from... Read more

Latest Forum Discussions

See All

148Apps' Ultimate Guide to Black Fr...
Black Friday is here, and there are a whole lot of discounts running right now for folks on the lookout for new mobile devices, accessories, and yes, even games. Here's a helpful rundown of what you'll find both in stores and online. Happy... | Read more »
The best Black Friday mobile game deals
Black Friday's upon us, and if you've happened to nab a fancy new phone during the week's big savings, you might be searching for some new games to fill up space on your new gadget. There are a lot of great games on sale right now for Black Friday... | Read more »
The best mobile games to play while your...
Thanksgiving is a time to reconnect with loved ones, eat lots of food, and all of that jazz, but once the festivities start to wind down, folks tend to head to the couch to watch whatever football is happening for Turkey Day. | Read more »
The best Black Friday deals for Apple ga...
Black Friday is hours away at this point, but many popular retailers are getting a jump on things with plenty of pre-Black Friday sales already available. Many of those early bird sales including some sharp discounts on the latest Apple phones... | Read more »
The Inner World 2 (Games)
The Inner World 2 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $4.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: Solve mind-bending puzzles in a world full of mystery and save the family of the flute-noses! Their dynasty has been... | Read more »
warbot.io wants you for the robot wars
Fans of epic gundam-style battles will find a lot to love in warbot.io, the first game for up and coming developer Wondersquad. The game saw a lot of success when it first launched for browsers and Facebook, and now even more people are getting the... | Read more »
Uncover alien mysteries in cross-genre s...
If the Alien franchise taught us anything, it’s that landing on a strange planet at the behest of a faceless corporation is probably asking for trouble. And Eldritch Game’s Deliria doesn’t prove otherwise. In 2107, Dimension LG7 is rich with... | Read more »
The best mobile games to play during dre...
| Read more »
Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp beginner...
Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp, was just announced yesterday, but it's already in soft launch in Australia. No matter where you are in the world, you can still get access to the soft launch on iOS, so we've devised a few beginner tips for folks who... | Read more »
The mobile gamer's guide to Black F...
We're starting to catch wind of some exciting deals in the mobile gaming space for Black Friday. There are big discounts on mobile phones and accessories cropping up already, so you might want to get a move on things ahead of the big day. It's... | Read more »

Price Scanner via MacPrices.net

Apple Black Friday sale for 2017: $150 Apple...
BLACK FRIDAY Apple has posted their Black Friday deals for 2017. Receive a $150 Apple gift card with the purchase of select Macs and up to $100 with various iPads, iPhones, and Apple Watches. The... Read more
Black Friday 2017: Where to find the best dea...
B&H Photo has 15″ and 13″ MacBook Pros on sale for up to $200 off MSRP as part of the Black Friday and Holiday sale. Shipping is free, and B&H charges sales tax for NY & NJ residents only... Read more
Black Friday 2017: Where to find the best dea...
B&H Photo has 12″ MacBooks on sale for $150 off MSRP as part of the Black Friday and Holiday sale. Shipping is free, and B&H charges sales tax for NY & NJ residents only: – 12″ 1.2GHz... Read more
Black Friday 2017: Where to find the best dea...
B&H Photo has 10.5″ iPad Pros in stock today and on sale for up to $130 off MSRP. Each iPad includes free shipping, and B&H charges sales tax in NY & NJ only: – 10.5″ 64GB WiFi iPad Pro... Read more
Black Friday 2017: Where to find the best dea...
B&H Photo has 13″ MacBook Airs on sale for up to $150 off MSRP as part of the Black Friday and Holiday sale. Shipping is free, and B&H charges sales tax for NY & NJ residents only: – 13″... Read more
Black Friday 2017: Where to find the best dea...
B&H Photo has 27″ and 21″ iMacs on sale for up to $200 off MSRP as part of the Black Friday and Holiday sale. Shipping is free, and B&H charges sales tax for NY & NJ residents only: – 27... Read more
Black Friday 2017: Where to find the best dea...
B&H Photo has Mac minis on sale for $100 off MSRP as part of their Black Friday sale, each including free shipping plus NY & NJ sales tax only: – 1.4GHz Mac mini: $399 $100 off MSRP – 2.6GHz... Read more
Black Friday 2017: Find the best deals and lo...
Scan our exclusive price trackers for the latest Black Friday 2017 sales & deals and the lowest prices available on Apple Macs, iPads, and gear from Apple’s authorized resellers. We update the... Read more
Black Friday: 27″ 3.4GHz iMac for $1599, save...
Amazon has the 27″ 3.4GHz Apple iMac on sale for $1599.99 as part of their Black Friday sale. That’s $200 off MSRP, and shipping is free. Their price is currently the lowest price available for this... Read more
Black Friday: 13″ 2.3GHz/256GB MacBook Pro fo...
Amazon has the 13″ 2.3GHz/256GB Apple MacBook Pro on sale for $1299.99 as part of their Black Friday sale. Shipping is free: – 13-inch 2.3GHz/256GB Space Gray MacBook Pro (MPXT2LL/A): $1299.99 $200... Read more

Jobs Board

Business Development Manager, *Apple* Pay -...
# Business Development Manager, Apple Pay Job Number: 112919084 Santa Clara Valley, California, United States Posted: 18-Aug-2017 Weekly Hours: 40.00 **Job Summary** Read more
Digital Marketing Media Planner, *Apple* Se...
# Digital Marketing Media Planner, Apple Services Job Number: 113080212 Culver City, California, United States Posted: 03-Oct-2017 Weekly Hours: **Job Summary** Read more
*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
Business Development Manager, *Apple* Pay -...
# Business Development Manager, Apple Pay Job Number: 112919084 Santa Clara Valley, California, United States Posted: 18-Aug-2017 Weekly Hours: 40.00 **Job Summary** Read more
*Apple* Solutions Consultant - Apple (United...
# Apple Solutions Consultant Job Number: 56553863 North Wales, Pennsylvania, United States Posted: 17-Jun-2017 Weekly Hours: 40.00 **Job Summary** Are you passionate Read more
All contents are Copyright 1984-2011 by Xplain Corporation. All rights reserved. Theme designed by Icreon.