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

Lyn 1.8.5 - Lightweight image browser an...
Lyn is a fast, lightweight image browser and viewer designed for photographers, graphic artists, and Web designers. Featuring an extremely versatile and aesthetically pleasing interface, it delivers... Read more
Apple iOS 10.2.1 - The latest version of...
iOS 10 is the biggest release of iOS ever. A massive update to Messages brings the power of the App Store to your conversations and makes messaging more personal than ever. Find your route with... Read more
Apple Security Update 2016-003 Supplemen...
Apple Security Update is recommended for all users and improves the security of OS X. For detailed information about the security content of this update, please visit: http://support.apple.com/kb/... Read more
Apple macOS Sierra 10.12.3 - The latest...
With Apple macOS Sierra, Siri makes its debut on Mac, with new features designed just for the desktop. Your Mac works with iCloud and your Apple devices in smart new ways, and intelligent... Read more
BetterTouchTool 1.992 - Customize Multi-...
BetterTouchTool adds many new, fully customizable gestures to the Magic Mouse, Multi-Touch MacBook trackpad, and Magic Trackpad. These gestures are customizable: Magic Mouse: Pinch in / out (zoom... Read more
Viber 6.5.5 - Send messages and make cal...
Viber lets you send free messages and make free calls to other Viber users, on any device and network, in any country! Viber syncs your contacts, messages and call history with your mobile device, so... Read more
Opera 42.0.2393.137 - High-performance W...
Opera is a fast and secure browser trusted by millions of users. With the intuitive interface, Speed Dial and visual bookmarks for organizing favorite sites, news feature with fresh, relevant content... Read more
iClock Pro 3.4.7 - Customize your menuba...
iClock Pro is a menu bar replacement clock for Apple's default clock. iClock Pro is an update, total rewrite and improvement to the popular iClock. Have the day, date and time in different fonts and... Read more
PhotoDesk 4.1.5 - Instagram client for p...
PhotoDesk lets you view, like, comment, and download Instagram pictures/videos. (NO Uploads! / Image Posting! Instagram forbids that! AND you need an existing Instagram account). But you can do so... Read more
Capo 3.5.1 - Slow down and learn to play...
Capo lets you slow down your favorite songs so you can hear the notes and learn how they are played. With Capo, you can quickly tab out your songs atop a highly-detailed OpenCL-powered spectrogram... Read more

Ironhide Game Studio prepares for a busy...
Kingdom Rush breathed fresh life into the tired tower defense genre way back in 2012. The game was a robust challenge that somehow managed to lift you up, rather than leaving you feeling crushed and hopeless. The rich array of unit types and... | Read more »
Collect pets and sling arrows in Arcane...
Mobile gaming is a crowded market, but regular updates are a good way to keep us attention-short players keen. The brand new content in Arcane Online is a prime example. Published by Japanese developer Gala, Arcane Online is a fantasy MMO that... | Read more »
Super Mario Run dashes onto Android in M...
Super Mario Run was one of the biggest mobile launches in 2016 before it was met with a lukewarm response by many. While the game itself plays a treat, it's pretty hard to swallow the steep price for the full game. With that said, Android users... | Read more »
WarFriends Beginner's Guide: How to...
Chillingo's new game, WarFriends, is finally available world wide, and so far it's a refreshing change from common mobile game trends. The game's a mix of tower defense, third person shooter, and collectible card game. There's a lot to unpack here... | Read more »
Super Gridland (Entertainment)
Super Gridland 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Entertainment Price: $1.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: Match. Build. Survive. "exquisitely tuned" - Rock Paper Shotgun No in-app purches, and no ads! | Read more »
Red's Kingdom (Games)
Red's Kingdom 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $4.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: Mad King Mac has kidnapped your father and stolen your golden nut! Solve puzzles and battle goons as you explore and battle your... | Read more »
Turbo League Guide: How to tame the cont...
| Read more »
Fire Emblem: Heroes coming to Google Pla...
Nintendo gave us our first look at Fire Emblem: Heroes, the upcoming mobile Fire Emblem game the company hinted at last year. Revealed at the Fire Emblem Direct event held today, the game will condense the series' tactical RPG combat into bite-... | Read more »
ReSlice (Music)
ReSlice 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Music Price: $9.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: Audio Slice Machine Slice your audio samples with ReSlice and create flexible musical atoms which can be triggered by MIDI notes or... | Read more »
Stickman Surfer rides in with the tide t...
Stickson is back and this time he's taken up yet another extreme sport - surfing. Stickman Surfer is out this Thursday on both iOS and Android, so if you've been following the other Stickman adventures, you might be interested in picking this one... | Read more »

Price Scanner via MacPrices.net

Deal alert! 13-inch 2.0GHz MacBook Pros for $...
B&H Photo has the new 2016 13″ 2.0GHz non-Touch Bar MacBook Pros in stock today and on sale for $225 off MSRP. Shipping is free, and B&H charges NY sales tax only: - 13″ 2.0GHz MacBook Pro... Read more
Free LibreOffice Portable 5.2.4 Complete Offi...
PortableApps.com and The Document Foundation have announce the release of LibreOffice Portable 5.2.4. LibreOffice Portable is an Open Source full-featured office suite — including a word processor,... Read more
Apple Planning Three New Tablets For 2017 – D...
Digitimes’ Rebecca Kuo and Joseph Tsai say that unnamed insider sources report Apple having three new tablets in the pipeline for 2017 release: a 9.7-inch model with a friendly price range, a new mid... Read more
Roundup of 15-inch Touch Bar MacBook Pro sale...
B&H Photo has the new 2016 15″ Apple Touch Bar MacBook Pros in stock today and on sale for up to $150 off MSRP. Shipping is free, and B&H charges NY sales tax only: - 15″ 2.7GHz Touch Bar... Read more
Apple refurbished iPad Pros available for up...
Apple has Certified Refurbished 9″ and 12″ Apple iPad Pros available for up to $160 off the cost of new iPads. An Apple one-year warranty is included with each model, and shipping is free: - 32GB 9″... Read more
16GB iPad Air 2, Apple refurbished, available...
Apple has Certified Refurbished 16GB iPad Air 2s available for $319 including free shipping. A standard Apple one-year is included. Their price is $60 off original MSRP for this model. Read more
Apple iMacs on sale for up to $120 off MSRP
B&H Photo has 21″ and 27″ Apple iMacs on sale for up to $120 off MSRP, each including free shipping plus NY sales tax only: - 27″ 3.3GHz iMac 5K: $2199 $100 off MSRP - 27″ 3.2GHz/1TB Fusion iMac... Read more
Apple refurbished Apple TVs available for up...
Apple has Certified Refurbished 32GB and 64GB Apple TVs available for up to $30 off the cost of new models. Apple’s standard one-year warranty is included with each model, and shipping is free: -... Read more
Save up to $350 with Apple Certified Refurbis...
Apple has Certified Refurbished 2015 21″ & 27″ iMacs available for up to $350 off MSRP. Apple’s one-year warranty is standard, and shipping is free. The following models are available: - 21″ 3.... Read more
2015 12-inch Retina MacBooks, Apple refurbish...
Apple has Certified Refurbished 2015 12″ Retina MacBooks available for up to $410 off original MSRP. Apple will include a standard one-year warranty with each MacBook, and shipping is free. The... Read more

Jobs Board

*Apple* & PC Desktop Support Technician...
Apple & PC Desktop Support Technician job in Manhattan, NY Introduction: We have immediate job openings for several Desktop Support Technicians with one of our most Read more
*Apple* & PC Desktop Support Technician...
Apple & PC Desktop Support Technician job in Stamford, CT We have immediate job openings for several Desktop Support Technicians with one of our most well-known 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
*Apple* Site Security Manager - Apple (Unite...
# Apple Site Security Manager Job Number: 54692472 Culver City, California, United States Posted: Jan. 19, 2017 Weekly Hours: 40.00 **Job Summary** The Apple Read more
*Apple* macOS Systems Integration Administra...
…most exceptional support available in the industry. SCI is seeking an Junior Apple macOS systems integration administrator that will be responsible for providing Read more
All contents are Copyright 1984-2011 by Xplain Corporation. All rights reserved. Theme designed by Icreon.