TweetFollow Us on Twitter

MADA '92
Volume Number:8
Issue Number:2
Column Tag:From the Field

MADA Conference Report

The who’s, where’s, and what’s of the MacApp Developers Association Conference

By James Plamondon, Hayward, California

About the author

James Plamondon works for Microsoft in Northern California. He is very active in the Bay Area MacApp Developers Association (BAMADA) and is single handedly responsible for keeping MacTutor, MacApp Developers Association, and AppleLink MacApp Technical Discussions up to date on activities going on in BAMADA.

By every conceivable standard, the Third Annual MADA Conference at the Marriott Orlando World Center was a smashing success. With well over 200 attendees, it was MADA’s biggest annual conference so far. It demonstrated yet again that MacApp has moved into the mainstream of Macintosh programming.

That was Apple’s official message throughout the Conference: that MacApp was here to stay, as the best possible vehicle for implementing Macintosh software in an ever-changing system software environment. Steve Weyl, Apple’s Manager of Developer Tools, emphasized that MacApp’s budget was being greatly increased.

Further, he and Ameet Zaveri of the MacApp Team both stressed that a multi-platform application framework was in the works, and that we’d be seeing versions of it for Windows, Taligent, and other systems soon - possibly within the year. So, if portability across platforms is your game, you need to look at MacApp.

All of this portability is made possible by the release of MacApp 3.0. Completely re-written in C++, MacApp 3.0 is far more general and complete than was MacApp 2.0, released in final form last year. C++ is the de facto standard of object-oriented computing, and now that MacApp is written in this highly-portable language, it has a good shot at becoming the industry standard application framework.

Monday, the Conference got off to a rousing start - except for Steve Jasik’s “Debugging MacApp Applications” session. Rousing Steve out of bed took a while; he was about forty-five minutes late to his session. But everyone seemed to take it in stride. Such things can happen to the best of us, after all. Despite the late start, Steve hung on to about 35 attendees, of whom 5 bore shiny new PowerBooks (ooh, sexy).

Jesse Feiler’s “Solution Design Workshop,” took its 64 attendees through an object-oriented design exercise. The exercise was intended to explore the feasibility of using behaviors whenever possible, instead of overriding TView methods. The reviews of this session were mixed, ranging from “really eye-opening” to “weird.” Personally, I enjoyed the high degree of audience participation.

But the big winner of the day was Jeff Alger and Neal Goldstein’s session, “Introduction to Solution-Based Modeling.” Neal and Jeff describe Solution-Based Modeling (SBM) in their brand-new book, “Object Oriented Software Development on the Macintosh” (instantly dubbed OOSDM, pronounced “Ooze-dumb,” by the acronym-crazed). The book sold out at the Conference, despite having two extra shipments FedEx’ed in. Copies became status symbols, almost as cool as PowerBooks.

Jeff and Neal’s all-day presentation on SBM drew a huge crowd - 110 people, or about half of the Conference attendees. As the day wore on, the attendance at some of the other sessions declined, as people wandered over to the SBM session instead.

Two of Monday afternoon sessions were really great - Neil Rhodes’ session on “Advanced C++,” and David Taylor’s session on “Tools for MacApp Programmers.” Unfortunately, since there were both held at the same time, you could only attend one of them (unless you’d overridden self.Clone(), of course). I couldn’t make up my mind which to attend, so I shuttled between them during the breaks.

Neil Rhodes has forgotten more about using C++ with MacApp than I may ever know. Copy constructors? Operator overloading? Memory management? If it was obscure, and it was in C++, Neil showed how it worked. I and the other 80 attendees came out his session knowing how to make C++ memory management sing, and wishing it just had built-in garbage collection, so I could forget the whole problem. Are you listening, Bjarne?

David Taylor’s session on “Tools for MacApp Programmers” gave its 50 attendees a fast-paced introduction to just about every tool a MacApp programmer might ever consider using. Starting with MPW, ViewEdit, and MacBrowse, David worked his way up to AppMaker, IcePick, and ObjectMaster. By the time he was done, one attendee - a known Microsoft spy (it said so on his badge) - was almost in tears with frustrated lust. He would clearly have killed to have such powerful tools available to him on Windows. Well, too bad, buddy; just buy a Mac, OK?

Also on Monday afternoon, Jeff and Neal continued their all-day Solution-Based Modeling Marathon. Unfortunately, their slides had not improved; they were almost completely unreadable from halfway back in the room. Their talk ended with a series of testimonials from their users (“My name is Joe, and I’m addicted to SBM”). They were all pretty enthusiastic about it; but then, would they have been up there if they weren’t?

The final tally’s not yet in, but exit polls indicate that SBM is a software development methodology that actually seems to work. It is said to bring order to the chaos of specification changes, schedule slippages, and cost overruns. It’s too late for you to see Jeff and Neal’s presentation, but not too late to buy the book - just bill it to your boss, eh?

Tuesday’s sessions were also marred by a late arrival. Curtis Faith arrived thirty minutes late for his Third Annual Seminar on “Databases and MacApp.” (The audience is supposed to sleep through your presentation, Curtis, not you.) It was not exactly an all-day advertisement for his firm’s database product (Inside Out) - but it was close. That would be unforgivable, if Inside Out were not such a good product. As it is, if you want to use a database with MacApp, Inside Out really is your best bet. Even so, Curtis’ late arrival trimmed his audience down to only 20 souls.

All of Tuesday’s sessions were all-day affairs. Neal Goldstein’s session, “Introduction to MacApp 3.0,” was really, really good. Before attending his session, I was intimidated by the changes made between MacApp 2.0 and 3.0. Afterwards, I can see that they were, for the most part, good, clean, well-implemented solutions that make MacApp better and more powerful. (But it’s still a little intimidating.) Over 80 people attended this bang-up session.

But the really Big Bang of the conference was Eric Berdahl’s session on the “Grand Unified Theory: AppleEvents, the Object Model, and MacApp.” Over 100 people turned out to learn how to make MacApp hum in the increasingly object-oriented Mac OS. The combination of AppleEvents, the Object Support Library, and MacApp makes supporting the Edition Manager trivially easy - well, maybe not that easy, but a heck of a lot easier, anyway. The MacApp Team attended Eric’s session in force, so maybe we’ll see some of his ideas incorporated into MacApp sometime soon.

Tuesday night, it rained like hell. That ruined everyone’s plans to go to DisneyWorld, so they came to my presentation on “OOP Tools for Windows” instead. Over 200 people attended, expecting to see demonstrations of OOP tools from Borland, Zortech, and others. But since those guys welshed on me, opting to go instead to the Software Development ’92 Conference in Santa Clara, I had to change the topic of the presentation to “A MacApp Programmer’s Journey into WindowsLand.”

The presentation concentrated on three basic topics: an explanation of what Windows was, a discussion of why and how to become a Windows programmer, and, finally, a detailed discussion of the Microsoft Foundation Classes (MFC), Microsoft’s low-level application framework for Windows. MFC is my pick for the best application framework for Windows. It’s small, fast, and clean; it’s from Microsoft, so it’ll be around for a while; and Microsoft is committed to it, so it is being well-funded and rapidly improved. MFC ships with Microsoft C/C++ 7.0, coming soon to a mail-order house near you. Try it - you’ll like it.

Wednesday was Apple Day. Members of the MacApp Team made presentations on failure handling, memory management, object dependency, and a host of other improvements to MacApp. Many of these topics had already been covered in the earlier tutorials, but no one seemed to mind hearing it again, straight from the source.

In the afternoon, we were treated to an amazingly stilted, content-free video starring Steve Weyl, Apple’s Manager of Developer Tools, Tony Meadow, the outgoing MADA President, and Eric Berdahl, the incoming MADA President. I can’t tell you what the video was about, because it wasn’t really about anything. Steve talked as if in slow motion, with long pregnant pauses between each and every word. Tony and Eric were playing tag-team straight men, feeding Steve leading questions that were obviously rehearsed. Despite its being almost totally devoid of content, the video had great production values - good lighting, editing, and so on. Style over substance - proof that Apple is taking the battle to Microsoft’s home turf.

The afternoon was not a total loss, however. Ameet Zaveri of Apple’s MacApp Group gave the audience a lot of insight into where we could expect MacApp to go over the next year or so. The primary goals for MacApp seem to be adoption of the Grand Unified stuff Eric Berdahl had talked about the day before (AppleEvents and the Object Support Library), supporting run-time framework extensions, possibly using Apple’s new Dinker (which I’ll describe below), and - gasp! - producing a Windows version of MacApp (or at least a multi-platform application framework; the details still seem to be a little sketchy).

Ameet said that development of a Windows-compatible framework was undergoing “urgent technology evaluation.” I like that phrase, don’t you? It reminds me of the time my motorcycle broke down 500 miles from home. I sat by the side of the road for about three hours, doing “urgent technology evaluation,” and managed to bungee-cord the cycle together well enough to get it to the nearest repair shop. (I still have that bungee cord, Ameet, if you need it.)

Wednesday night we had the Annual Banquet. A Polynesian band provided the music for a couple of hula dancers - perfect for a bunch of nerdy computer jocks, although I can’t imagine that the ladies in the audience were that impressed. I was certainly impressed; those guys had the loudest drums I’d ever heard. We must have really angered the group that was meeting in the adjacent salon; they got even by blasting their Golden Oldies at top volume over Larry Tesler’s keynote address. Imagine an energetic, thought-provoking discussion of “Dynamic Interactive Object Programming,” sung to the tunes of “Johnny, Don’t Be a Hero,” “I’m Special,” and “Only the Good Die Young.” It was a oodles of fun.

The General Sessions were held Thursday and Friday. Basically, the presentations were a series of vignettes: “here’s something cool I did in my MacApp application, and here’s how you can do it, too.” The first of these demo/discussions, on FlightStar by Steven Splonskowski of MentorPlus Software, was a model of how such presentations should be made. “The Splonz” didn’t dwell on how cool the app was (although it was pretty cool); he just just showed what it did, and described how he made MacApp do it. Good stuff.

Joost Kemink gave a great presentation on “A Faster Idle Mechanism for MacApp.” It was great not because the idle mechanism he proposed was really slick (although it was), but because he used MacroMind Director for his presentation. Wow! I thought MORE II was good; if I’d ever doubted the punch animation could bring to a presentation, my doubts were dispelled by Joost’s virtuoso presentation. Tricky little animations showed the flow of control through the system; little square list items moved from list to list on cue, changing color as they did so; it was impressive. Oh, and like I said, his idle mechanism was pretty neat, too.

Next up was Kurt Schmucker of Apple’s Advanced Technology Group (ATG), proving once again that with a name like Schmucker, he had to be good. He showed off Dinker, Apple’s first try at a dynamic linker. It works pretty darn well, too. Since it was aimed specifically at allowing developer’s to add subclasses to a MacApp application at runtime, it does that job quite well.

Basically, anything you thought you might want to do with XCMDs, you can do better with Dinker. XTND? Forget it - use Dinked-in translator classes instead. You can ship your app today, and ship extensions later. Just dropping them into the application’s folder makes them available to the app at run-time. Nothing could be simpler. Dinker is available on ETO. Just remember: too much Dinking can make you go blind.

I’m afraid I haven’t had the space to describe all of the presentations. Fortunately, you’ll be able to get them all on the Conference CD; the compressed audio and slides can all be found there. For details, call the MacApp Developer’s Association (MADA) at 206-252-6946, or via AppleLink at MADA.

There were a number of themes running through the Conference. First, there was MacApp 3.0: Taming the Feral Beast. Somewhere between MacApp 2.0 and 3.0, our nice domesticated application framework went wild. It seems to be a lot more complicated than it used to be.

Behaviors, adorners, dependencies; what is all this stuff? Commands, failure handling, view resources: just when you thought you understood ’em, they’ve changed - just enough to throw you off. It’s not a deceitful plot on Apple’s part or anything; MacApp 3.0 just does a lot more than 2.0 did, and it had to change a lot to do it. But all the changes seemed to make a lot of attendees nervous.

Another theme that ran through the Conference was evidence to either the fickle nature of programmers, the rapid rise of C++, or the absence of a good Mac Eiffel compiler (you decide): the theme of “Object Pascal Must Die.” It was by no means universal; but given the outcry over porting MacApp to C++ just a year ago, it was amazing to hear the majority of the Conference attendees actually calling for the death of Object Pascal support in MacApp. Most attendees just wanted a crisp, clean C++ implementation, and a solid tool to convert their existing Object Pascal source to C++. Score one (more) for Bjarne.

Just think - we’ll be able to tell our grandkids, “You guys have it so easy - why, I remember when we had to walk ten miles through the snow just to get to work, and even when we got there, we used Object Pascal!” (Actually, given my Bay Area commute, walking ten miles through the snow doesn’t seem so bad.)

The final theme that wove its way through the Conference was - dare I say it? - “Windows, Windows, Windows.” My Tuesday evening session on “A Programmer’s Journey Into WindowsLand” drew the largest crowd of the Conference (many with ripe fruit, I’ll admit). Steve Weyl’s reiteration of Apple’s official commitment to bringing out a multi-platform application framework was further evidence of the growing importance of Windows to MacApp developers. And last but not least, Apple had just issued a proposed licence agreement for porting MacApp to other platforms (specifically Windows). There was a lot of interest in the clandestine MacApp Porter’s Meeting, held at a secret location on Monday night, at which a number of revisions to Apple’s proposed licence were drawn up (and later passed along to Steve Weyl).

Everyone at the Conference seemed to be having a great time. Jeff Alger’s Third Annual Dutch-Treat Pizza Feast was a smashing success Monday night. The feasters decided that Taligent ought to adopt the dumming EverReady Bunny as its mascot, since a) it was Pink, and b) it kept developing, and developing, and

Some clever lad defaced a conference sign, which said “MacApp Developer’s Conference Coffee Break” with the addendum “(compile and link in progress).” The long link times for MacApp 3.0 were derided by everyone, at every opportunity. (Of course, if the linker were instantaneous, everyone would just complain about how slow everything else was.)

The most popular activity at the Conference, aside from deriding the linker, was recruiting. By the end of the Conference, everyone there had either received or given at least three job offers. In a hotel bar, a gorgeous babe would sit down next to a nerdy-looking MacApp guy, and offer him all kinds of immoral and illegal services - if only he’d consider joining a new startup. Two guys almost came to blows, arguing over who’d seen a potential recruit first. It got pretty hairy. In the MacApp community, the unemployment rate seems to be negative. Recession? What recession?

All in all, the conference was a great success. It would not have been so, had it not been for the heroic efforts Bill Anderson of MADA, who spent six months on the phone setting the whole thing up. Hooray for Bill! Equally important, when taken together, were the efforts of and Chuck and Charlotte Sohnly, Arvid and Bev Jedlicka, Eric Berdahl, Leslie Jeffries, Bob Hablutzel. The hero of the Conference may well have been Fred from Apple Florida, who stripped his Tampa office of Macs, and loaned them all to us, without even erasing their hard drives first. Fred, how can we thank you? We particularly appreciated your un-erased database of Central Florida’s five-star babes. Of course, they may never talk to you again

 

Community Search:
MacTech Search:

Software Updates via MacUpdate

Ableton Live 9.7.5 - Record music using...
Ableton Live lets you create and record music on your Mac. Use digital instruments, pre-recorded sounds, and sampled loops to arrange, produce, and perform your music like never before. Ableton Live... Read more
Maintenance 2.3.5 - System maintenance u...
Maintenance is a system maintenance and cleaning utility. It allows you to run miscellaneous tasks of system maintenance: Check the status of the hard disk Repair permissions Run periodic scripts... Read more
OnyX 3.3.8 - Maintenance and optimizatio...
OnyX is a multifunction utility that you can use to verify the startup disk and the structure of its system files, to run miscellaneous maintenance and cleaning tasks, to configure parameters in the... Read more
Merlin Project 4.3.1 - $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
WhatsApp 0.2.6426 - Desktop client for W...
WhatsApp is the desktop client for WhatsApp Messenger, a cross-platform mobile messaging app which allows you to exchange messages without having to pay for SMS. WhatsApp Messenger is available for... Read more
DiskCatalogMaker 7.2.5 - Catalog your di...
DiskCatalogMaker is a simple disk management tool which catalogs disks. Simple, light-weight, and fast Finder-like intuitive look and feel Super-fast search algorithm Can compress catalog data for... Read more
BBEdit 12.0.1 - Powerful text and HTML e...
BBEdit is the leading professional HTML and text editor for the Mac. Specifically crafted in response to the needs of Web authors and software developers, this award-winning product provides a... Read more
Hazel 4.2.2 - Create rules for organizin...
Hazel is your personal housekeeper, organizing and cleaning folders based on rules you define. Hazel can also manage your trash and uninstall your applications. Organize your files using a familiar... Read more
Hopper Disassembler 4.3.3- - Binary disa...
Hopper Disassembler is a binary disassembler, decompiler, and debugger for 32- and 64-bit executables. It will let you disassemble any binary you want, and provide you all the information about its... Read more
Adobe InCopy CC 2018 13.0.0.123 - Create...
InCopy CC 2018 is available as part of Adobe Creative Cloud for as little as $19.99/month (or $9.99/month if you're a previous InCopy customer). Adobe InCopy CC 2018, ideal for large team projects... Read more

Guns Royale guide - beginner tips and tr...
If you've been itching to find a mobile battle royale game like Player Unknown's Battlegrounds, you're finally in luck. Guns Royale is a new survival shooter that takes all of the things you love about good ol' PUBG and puts it in a tidy mobile... | Read more »
What we know about Animal Crossing on mo...
At last, we'll be receiving some news about the mobile version of Animal Crossing in a special Nintendo Director at11 PM on October 24. There's been little word on the game since it was first announced, having been met with a series of delays.... | Read more »
Darts of Fury guide - how to rise in the...
Darts of Fury is a new, immensely absorbing darts game from indie studio Yakuto. It's darts in its purest form, but collectible darts and other upgrades give this game an addictive edge that's hard to shake. As your progress out of the beginner... | Read more »
ICEY (Games)
ICEY 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $2.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: ICEY is a 2D side-scrolling action game. As you follow the narrator's omnipresent voice, you will see through ICEY's eyes and learn the... | Read more »
The best new games we played this week -...
We've made it, folks. Another weekend is upon us. It's time to sit back and relax with the best new releases of the week. Puzzles, strategy RPGs, and arcade games abound this week. There's a lot of quality stuff to unpack this week, so let's hop... | Read more »
Wheels of Aurelia (Games)
Wheels of Aurelia 1.0.1 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $3.99, Version: 1.0.1 (iTunes) Description: | Read more »
Halcyon 6: Starbase Commander guide - ti...
Halcyon 6 is a well-loved indie RPG with stellar tactical combat and some pretty good writing, too. It's now landed on the App Store, so mobile fans, if you're itching for a good intergalactic adventure, here's your game. Being a strategy RPG, the... | Read more »
Game of Thrones: Conquest guide - how to...
Fans of base building games might be excited to know that yet another entry in the genre has materialized - Game of Thrones: Conquest. Yes, you can now join the many kingdoms of the famed book series, or create your own, as you try to conquer... | Read more »
Halcyon 6: Starbase Commander (Games)
Halcyon 6: Starbase Commander 1.4.2.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $6.99, Version: 1.4.2.0 (iTunes) Description: An epic space strategy RPG with base building, deep tactical combat, crew management, alien diplomacy,... | Read more »
Legacy of Discord celebrates its 1 year...
It’s been a thrilling first year for fans of Legacy of Discord, the stunning PvP dungeon-crawling ARPG from YOOZOO Games, and now it’s time to celebrate the game’s first anniversary. The developers are amping up the festivities with some exciting... | Read more »

Price Scanner via MacPrices.net

27″ 3.4GHz iMac on sale for $1699, save $100
Amazon has the 27″ 3.4GHz iMac (MNE92LL/A) on sale today for $1699 including free shipping. Their price is $100 off MSRP, and it’s the lowest price available for this model (except for Apple’s $1529... Read more
Clearance 2016 15″ MacBook Pros available for...
B&H Photo has leftover 2016 15″ MacBook Pros available for up to $700 off original MSRP. Shipping is free, and B&H charges NY & NJ sales tax only: – 15″ 2.7GHz Touch Bar MacBook Pro Space... Read more
Save $100 on 13″ MacBook Airs, prices start a...
Adorama has 2017 13″ MacBook Airs on sale today for $100 off MSRP including free shipping. Adorama charges NY & NJ sales tax only: – 13″ 1.8GHz/128GB MacBook Air (MQD32LL/A): $899, $100 off MSRP... Read more
1.4GHz Mac mini available for $399, $100 off...
TigerDirect has the 1.4GHz Mac mini on sale today for $399 including free shipping. Their price is $100 off MSRP, and it’s the lowest price available for this model. Although currently out of stock,... Read more
21″ 2.3GHz iMac on sale for $999, save $100
MacMall has the 21″ 2.3GHz iMac (MMQA2LL/A) on sale today for $999 including free shipping. Their price is $100 off MSRP, and it’s the lowest price available for this model. Read more
12″ iPad Pros on sale for $50 off MSRP, no ta...
Adorama has 12″ iPad Pros on sale today for $50 off MSRP. Shipping is free, and Adorama charges sales tax in NY & NJ only: – 12″ 64GB iPad Pro: $749, save $50 – 12″ 256GB iPad Pro: $899, save $50... Read more
9″ iPads on sale for $30 off, starting at $29...
MacMall has 9″ iPads on sale for $30 off including free shipping: – 9″ 32GB iPad: $299 – 9″ 128GB iPad: $399 Read more
Apple restocks full line of refurbished 13″ M...
Apple has restocked a full line of Apple Certified Refurbished 2017 13″ MacBook Pros for $200-$300 off MSRP. A standard Apple one-year warranty is included with each MacBook, and shipping is free.... Read more
13″ 3.1GHz/256GB MacBook Pro on sale for $167...
Amazon has the 2017 13″ 3.1GHz/256GB Space Gray MacBook Pro on sale today for $121 off MSRP including free shipping: – 13″ 3.1GHz/256GB Space Gray MacBook Pro (MPXV2LL/A): $1678 $121 off MSRP Keep an... Read more
13″ MacBook Pros on sale for up to $120 off M...
B&H Photo has 2017 13″ MacBook Pros in stock today and on sale for up to $120 off MSRP, each including free shipping plus NY & NJ sales tax only: – 13-inch 2.3GHz/128GB Space Gray MacBook... Read more

Jobs Board

*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
Project Engineer, *Apple* Education Profess...
Project Engineer, Apple Education Professional Services Job Number: 113143353New York City, New York, United StatesPosted: Oct. 17, 2017Weekly Hours: 40.00 Job Read more
Commerce Software Engineer, *Apple* Media P...
Commerce Software Engineer, Apple Media Products Job Number: 113092072New York City, New York, United StatesPosted: Oct. 19, 2017Weekly Hours: 40.00 Job Summary With Read more
Engineering Manager, *Apple* Retail Enginee...
# Engineering Manager, Apple Retail Engineering Job Number: 58139948 Santa Clara Valley, California, United States Posted: 20-Oct-2017 Weekly Hours: 40.00 **Job 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
All contents are Copyright 1984-2011 by Xplain Corporation. All rights reserved. Theme designed by Icreon.