Think Pascal, Reference
|Column Tag:||Tools of the Trade
Think Pascal 4.0 & Think Reference
By Dave Kelly, Ontario, California
THINK Pascal 4.0 is System 7.0 Compatible
Remarkably, most of my software still runs after I upgraded to System 7.0. Most of the software only has minor incompatibilities with System 7.0. That is, it works fine as long as you dont need virtual memory or 32-bit addressing capabilities. THINK Pascal 3.0 falls into that category. Version 3.0 still works fine as long as you dont need virtual or 32-bit addressing. You can probably get by with version 3.0 and avoid the upgrade to 4.0 if you dont mind missing a few features. There are some nice additions to THINK Pascal 4.0. Hopefully, I can show some of you why you should upgrade to version 4.0. Some of you will see why you shouldnt upgrade.
Upgrading to version 4.0 is like driving a new car. The old car, depending on the model, still provides adequate transportation (it gets you there most if not all of the time). The new car provides the latest and greatest in new technology and gadgetry that you wont want to do without once you get used to using it. THINK Pascal 4.0 is a new model of the same trusted car that now has new gadgetry added and a few technology features to keep up with the times.
Keeping Up With The Times
Keeping up to date is the first reason for upgrading to version 4.0. Full System 7.0 compatibility is important. Many developers have had the pre-release versions of the THINK libraries for use with version 3.0 that have provided system 7.0 support for quite a while now. They may be good enough, but if you want to be sure you have the real thing, youll want to upgrade to version 4.0. If you arent writing System 7.0 compatible software, then you wont need the update.
THINK Pascal 4.0 supports virtual memory and runs in 32-bit mode. Applications created by THINK Pascal v2 and v3 always did run in 32-bit mode, but version 4.0 also supports all of the toolbox routines in Inside Macintosh Volume VI. The THINK Class Library (now version 1.1) supports system 7.0 as well, including AppleEvents and aliases.
You can create an alias of the project file and place it anywhere. However, since THINK Pascal uses the original project file location, aliases arent supported more than that. For example, you cant refer to an alias of the resource file. The original resource file must still reside in the same folder as the original project. You cant put an alias of a file into your project either.
Some of THINK Pascal 4.0s new gadgets will appeal to you. My favorite is the Instant Project. Instant Project helps you anytime you create a new project from scratch. If your projects are small, you probably create new projects more often. In that case, you will especially like Instant Project if you create a lot of projects. When you select the Instant Project option in the New Project dialog, THINK Pascal automatically creates your basic project files for you. No, it doesnt do the coding for you, but it does get you started. A new folder is created with your
project and a source file (already installed in the project). The project now contains Runtime.lib, Interface.lib, and your source file. The source file is already set up with program, begin and end. statements.
Adding several files to a project is easier too. Hold down the option key and look in the project menu. The Add File command will change to Add Files which lets you select multiple files for adding to your project.
A few extensions have been added to THINK Pascal 4.0 to make working with larger files easier too. Any kind of project can have multiple segments. In version 3.0, you could only have a multiple-segment application, device drivers, and desk accessories. With 4.0, cdevs, INITs, XCMDs, and XFCNs can also have multiple segments.
There is a new and improved version of the AppleEdit DA that is also 32-bit clean. Its not really much to brag about, but you can print out your files with it. Speaking of printing, you can print out the text and drawing windows with THINK Pascals print command. Or if you choose Save as then a TeachText file is created for the text window and an object draw file (part of the THINK Pascal tutorial) is created for the drawing window. I dont know why they didnt use TeachText 7.0 files for drawings instead of object draw files.
The uses clause is now supported in units used by other units. If your unit uses other units, any unit that uses your unit also uses those units automatically. uses can also be used in a units implementation section.
Debugging has improved too. You can choose which debugger (MacsBug or another) you will use when THINK Pascal comes to an exception. When you use LightsBug you can open a new LightsBug window while the first one is still open. Searching is faster and easier with multiple file searches. Compiling is faster now too (up to 60,000 lines per minute on a Macintosh IIci). The profiler is easier to use under version 4.0. You dont need to add any function calls to your program to use the profiler. You just need to turn on the Profile option in the Compile Options dialog.
There are still other improvements that I dont have time to mention here. If you dont have Pascal and are still deciding which compiler to get, this is the one! THINK Pascal is still the smoothest, easiest to use Pascal compiler around. Upgrading may be a tough choice though since THINK Pascal 3.0 is very good, too. The upgrade for registered THINK Pascal users is $69. THINK Pascal 4.0 is still the best Pascal available for any computer, but its only found on the Macintosh!
In the early days of Macintosh programming, information was much more difficult to come by. If you were not a certified developer you especially had trouble getting information. Fortunately, Apple standardized the Macintosh user interface by formally creating Inside Macintosh (IM). IM volumes I-III have been the base standard since the beginning with only minor modifications, although major additions have been made from time to time (volumes IV-VI). Programmers that follow IM will find that their code will run now and still run in the future.
Even after you are familiar with IM and the standard routines that you like to use, it will be only a matter of time before you will need to consult IM for more detailed information. Some of you may have programming sessions that include IM Volumes I-III spread out on your right, vol. IV on your left, vol. V on a chair behind you. If you can find room for vol. VI on your desk youll be lucky. Of course, some of you may be using the HyperCard version of IM that you can find on developer CDs (CDs that Apple sends to Apple Partners and Apple Associates). However, running HyperCard along with your development system could be somewhat memory intensive, especially if you dont have much RAM.
When I talked about Just Enough Pascal (JEP) a few issues ago, I noted that JEP could be used as a Pascal reference. It should not be used as a Macintosh programming reference. JEP is limited to the subjects covered in its tutorial.
Symantec must have realized that there was still a need for a good detailed reference to Macintosh programming. The THINK Reference has been especially developed for Macintosh programmers. Reference covers IM volumes I-V with a few exceptions. AppleTalk, the Slot Manager, the Sound Manager and SANE (Standard Apple Numerics Engine) are not covered.
Symantecs coverage of IM is not just another regurgitation of the same material that is found in IM. Reference is much more than that. If you program in C, youll especially like Reference because all of the examples are given in C style format. If you have trouble translating IM (Pascal) functions and procedures into C, then Reference is a great way to understand IM. If you only program in Pascal and dont understand the C style declarations, Reference gives a section on Pascal & C that gives you all you need to know about the differences in the declarations. The Copy Template item in the Edit menu allows you to copy a template of a particular function or procedure. You can choose to copy the template in either C or Pascal format. This is very useful when you are using Reference with your compiler.
Each page of the reference includes a description and usually an example of the use of each routine. The examples are very good about suggesting ways to make use of each routine. The big problem is that there is no way to copy any part of the examples or description. The page can be printed, but it would be more useful to be able to paste the examples directly in source code to try them out. The descriptions could also be used to help document your source code. This is a major deficiency of THINK Reference.
Each page can be conveniently printed individually, so that you can study each one off-screen. It would be easier to print them if several pages could be printed at once, but you have to go to each page and then print the page.
Besides being able to look up any Macintosh Toolbox routine by trap name or by manager, THINK Reference includes hypertext links to let you jump directly to related subjects. Hyperlinks appear as underlined words. Bold underlined hyperlinks usually refer to Toolbox routines. Plain underlined hyperlinks refer to data structures, variables or fields of records. The capability to jump to other Reference pages is what makes Reference most useful.
A set of buttons are provided for navigation through the pages of THINK Reference. Clicking on one of the buttons brings up a pop up menu. You can use the Go Back button to return to any section that you had previously visited. The See Also button refers you to subjects that are related to the page you are currently viewing. Bookmarks is a button that brings up a pop up menu that has user-defined items to move to a topic quickly. As you can see, it is easy to move around freely from page to page.
A little over 2 megabytes of disk space is required for the THINK Reference database. For smaller configurations, it would have been desirable to have a smaller database of just the templates with the ability to copy templates. Programmers with larger configurations would like to see more included in the Reference such as descriptions of C and Pascal libraries (such as the ANSI library in C or the Runtime.lib library in Pascal). It would also be desirable to have the ability to update the Reference with their own notes.
In summary, if you dont already have some sort of reference system, you should consider THINK Reference. Overall, the deficiencies I mentioned are minor compared to the overall usefulness of the database. Maybe some improvements will be made in the next version.
THINK Pascal requires 1 megabyte of RAM minimum; 2 megabytes strongly recommended. 4Mb recommended for use with THINK Class Library or MacApp.
THINK Reference requires 1 megabyte of RAM but works best with 2 or more megabytes when using MultiFinder. Reference database requires 3.5 Mb free for installation; database requires a little more than 2 megabytes of Hard Disk and System 6.0.5 or higher for both Pascal and Reference.
For more information, contact:
10201 Torre Avenue, Cupertino, CA. 95014
Retail Price: $99 for THINK Reference.
$249 for THINK Pascal.
$69 Upgrade price from any previous version of THINK Pascal.