TweetFollow Us on Twitter

XCMD in App
Volume Number:9
Issue Number:7
Column Tag:C Workshop

XCMD’s in Standalone Applications

Here’s a way to write XCMD’s so they’re usable for more than HyperCard

By Gerry H. Kenner, Magna, Utah

Note: Source code files accompanying article are located on MacTech CD-ROM or source code disks.

About the author

Gerry Kenner is a professional electrical and computer engineering consultant, university researcher and sometimes writer who specializes in image analysis systems for investigative scientists.

INTRODUCTION

This paper shows how to access HyperCard XCMDs which have been incorporated into the resource file of a standalone application. This is done by creating a function named LoadXCMD which takes the name and parameters of an XCMD and provides glue code for accessing them. In addition, code is provided for responding to callbacks by the HyperCard utility functions.

HyperCard stacks are unequaled as dynamic front ends for interfacing with scientific instruments. Hypercard facilitates entering data and displaying results by using buttons and text fields. Elaborate front ends can be thrown together in a matter of hours and the resulting scripts can be altered within minutes when rapid changes in the interface are required.

One major problem with HyperCard stacks is the slow execution speed of the HyperTalk scripts. Fortunately, they can be speeded up by liberal use of XCMD’s and XFCN’s for time intensive operations.

A price is paid for these advantages. Most obvious is that HyperCard stacks can become very large. Another disadvantage is that they are susceptible to damage. One quickly learns to keep at least two back-up copies of working stacks. A more subtle problem is that of bullet-proofing large Hypercard programs so that the average technical person can run them.

Once the stacks become finalized, one alternative is to replace them with standalone applications developed using THINK C with objects. The THINK Class Libraries can be used to provide the replacement interface. The XCMD’a and XFCN’s could be modified into modules which could be called by the application or else incorporated directly using the system described in this paper. An application prototyper such as AppMaker or Marksman would be invaluable for this.

I obtained some insights on how to incorporate XCMD’s into standalone applications from a note in the October 1989 MacTutor by Peter B. Nagel of Denver, CO. With this information as a basis I proceeded to write the demo code published here.

Disclaimer

As in my previous articles I am only including the code necessary to understand the project. This code is enough for an intermediate programmer to fill in what is missing. Typically, I do not declare variables or state which header files must be included. A copy of the complete project is available on the MacTutor Disk.

STANDALONE APPLICATION

The standalone program passes the number 5 and the message “Return to application” to a modified version of Apple’s Flash XCMD demo which inverts the screen 5 times (flashes) and returns a message which is then displayed in a window.

The program requires two files, pTest and pXCMD. PTest is an entry file containing the main function which needs code for initializing the toolbox, creating a window, calling the XCMD and outputting the return value to the window. The XCMD function call is as follows.

/* 1 */

TempHdl = LoadXCMD(3, “pXFCN”, “5”, “Hello World!”);

Three is the number of parameters being passed, pXFCN is the name of the XCMD code resource, 5 is the number of beeps requested while “Hello World” is the string which will be returned by the XCMD. TempHdl points to the return string.

Although the memory allocated to TempHdl was assigned elsewhere, it must be deallocated with a call to DisposHandle.

The pXFCN.h file references HyperXcmd.h and declares prototypes of four functions. The function declarations are as follows.

/* 2 */

Handle LoadXCMD(short Count, ...);
void JumpToXCMD(XCmdPtr ParamPtr, Handle CodeAddr);
void SwitchXCMD(void);
char *StrCpy(char *s1, char *s2);

It also contains an enum list of Apple’s HyperCard request codes. Complete lists of these can be found in the pre 1988 HyperCard header files. To facilitate identification, I am including a partial list here.

enum {  
 xreqSendCardMessage = 1,
 xreqEvalExpr,
 xreqSendHCMessage = 5;
 xreqSendHCMessage = 8;
 
 ...

 xreqScanToReturn,
 xreqScanToZero = 39   // was suppose to be 29!  Oops!
};

The function LoadXCMD takes the parameters passed, converts them into XCMD readable form and then calls the code resource. The code is as follows.

/* 3 */

1. Handle LoadXCMD(short Count, ...)
2. {
3. void *ListPtr;
4. char *CharPtr;
5. Handle CodeAddr, TempHdl;
6. shorti, Err;
7. size_t Size;
 
8. Count = Count - 1;
9. ListPtr = &Count + 1;
10.CharPtr = *(*(char***)&ListPtr)++;
11.CtoPstr(CharPtr);
12.CodeAddr = GetNamedResource(‘XFCN’, CharPtr);
13.MoveHHi(CodeAddr);
14.HLock(CodeAddr);

15.ParamPtr = (XCmdPtr)NewPtr(128L);
16.ParamPtr->entryPoint = (Ptr)SwitchXCMD;

17.ParamPtr->paramCount = Count;
18.for (i = 0; i < ParamPtr->paramCount; ++i)
19.{
20.ParamPtr->params[i] = NewHandle(256);
21.HLock(ParamPtr->params[i]);
22.CharPtr = *(*(char***)&ListPtr)++;
23.strcpy((char*)*(ParamPtr->params[i]), CharPtr);
24.}
 
25.JumpToXCMD(ParamPtr, CodeAddr);
26.Size = strlen(*(ParamPtr->returnValue));
27.TempHdl = NewHandle((long)Size);
28.strcpy((char*)*TempHdl, 
 (char*)*(ParamPtr->returnValue));
29.HLock(TempHdl);
 
30.for (i = 0; i < ParamPtr->paramCount; ++i)
31.{
32.HUnlock(ParamPtr->params[i]);
33.DisposHandle(ParamPtr->params[i]);
34.}
35.HUnlock(CodeAddr);
36.HUnlock(ParamPtr->returnValue);
 
37.DisposHandle(ParamPtr->returnValue);
38.DisposPtr((XCmdPtr)ParamPtr);
39.ReleaseResource(CodeAddr);
 
40.return(TempHdl);
41.}

Instruction 8 retrieves the number of parameters passed. Instructions 9 through 12 get the name of the XCMD and load the resource code. The address of the XCMD is obtained by using GetResource to load the code resource into memory and get a handle to its location. Instruction 15 allocates memory for the XcmdBlock pointed to by ParamPtr. ParamPtr was declared as a global since it is used both here and by SwitchXCMD. Instruction 16 sets up the function SwitchXCMD as the entry point for HyperCard XCMD utility calls. Instructions 17 through 24 finish setting up the XcmdBlock for the XCMD call. Note that space was not allocated for returnValue even though the code disposes of a handle to this value before terminating. Variables were assigned to params[0] and params[1].

Instruction 25 calls the function JumpToXCMD which is an assembly lanquage glue routine for placing the address of the XCmdBlock on the stack and then jumping to the address of the XCMD (actually XFCN in this case). Instructions 26 through 29 prepare the contents of returnValue for passing back to the calling function. The final portion of the function disposes of the various handles and pointers created in the program. CodeAddr was disposed of with ReleaseResource.

After returning from JumpToXCMD, the function StrCpy was used to copy returnValue into a temporary string. StrCpy was used rather than the ANSI library routine strcpy to avoid the possibility of LoadSeg being called with attendent movement of memory. This is necessary because the compiler will not permit the locking of the handle returnValue, apparently because the handle was not created within the function.

Here is the code for JumpToXCMD.

/* 4 */

1. void JumpToXCMD(XCmdPtr ParamPtr, Handle CodeAddr)
2. {
3. asm
4. {
5. move.l ParamPtr(a6), -(a7)
6. move.l CodeAddr(a6), a0
7. move.l (a0), a0
8. jsr  (a0)
9. }
10.}

The address of the XCmdBlock is moved on to the stack in line 5 while the handle pointing to the code resource is moved into register A0, dereferenced twice and then jumped to in lines 6 to 8.

Remember that the address of the function SwitchXCmd was placed in the entryPoint field of the XCmdBlock. This is the code which is jumped to when HyperCard utility functions are called. It consists of a switch statement which identifies the code for each utility function. I am only going to show the code for PasToZero and SendHCMessage but the principal applies to accessing all the functions. The code itself is self-explanatory and doesn’t require a detailed explanation.

/* 5 */

void SwitchXCMD(void)
{
 WindowPtrTempWindow, OldPort;
 Handle TempHandle;
 long   TempLong;
 Str255 TempStr;
 Rect   TempRect;
 
 switch (ParamPtr->request)
 {
 case xreqZeroToPas:
 strcpy((char*)ParamPtr->inArgs[1], 
 (char*)ParamPtr->inArgs[0]);
 CtoPstr((char*)ParamPtr->inArgs[1]);
 break;
 
 case xreqSendHCMessage:
 GetPort(&OldPort);
 SetRect(&TempRect, 20, screenBits.bounds.bottom - 80, 
 480, screenBits.bounds.bottom - 20);
 TempWindow = NewWindow(0L, &TempRect, “\pHC Message”, 
 TRUE, plainDBox, (WindowPtr)-1L, TRUE, 0L);
 SetPort(TempWindow);
 MoveTo(10, 30);
 DrawString((char*)ParamPtr->inArgs[0]);
 Delay(90L, &TempLong);
 DisposeWindow(TempWindow);
 SetPort(OldPort);
 break;
 
 default:
 break;
 }
}

Writing to code for StrCpy is left as an exercise for the reader. My version is written in assembly lanquage.

THE XCMD (XFCN)

For completeness I have included a partial listing of CFlash, the modified XCMD which is called by pXFCN. This example uses the HyperCard utilites SendHCMessage and ZeroToPas. In addition it uses several Toolbox function calls and the C library call strcpy.

There is a problem with some of the C library calls. Functions which do not use globals referenced from A5 or A4 appear to work without problems. Thus, strcpy and strcat can be used. Routines such as atoi and atol which use globals will not run properly in the program as written and attempts to use them often result in crashs.

/* 6 */

 RememberA4();
 SetUpA4();
 
 HLock(paramPtr);
 paramPtr->returnValue = NewHandle(256L);
 StrPtr = (StringPtr)NewPtr(256L);
 
 ZeroToPas(paramPtr, (char*)*(paramPtr->params[0]), StrPtr);
 StringToNum(StrPtr, &TempLong);
 flashCount = (int)TempLong;
 
 GetPort(&port);
 for (again = 1; again <= flashCount; again++) 
 {
 InvertRect(&port->portRect);
 InvertRect(&port->portRect);
 }
 
 SendHCMessage(paramPtr, 
 (StringPtr) ”\pput \”This is a message\” into msg”);
 Delay(60L, &TempLong);
 
 strcpy((char*)*(paramPtr->returnValue), 
 (char*)*(paramPtr->params[1]));
 DisposPtr(StrPtr);
 RestoreA4();
 HUnlock(paramPtr);

ADDING XCMD CODE RESOURCES TO THE .RSRC FILE

This can be done directly in THINK C 5.0 by using the merge option when building the code resource. For other versions of C use ResEdit to add the files.

DISCUSSION

Initially I was disturbed to discover I could not use some of the C library routines in XCMD’s which I eventually planned to use in standalone applications. Upon reflection, combined with some insights gained while writing the programs for this article, I finally decided that for me at least the problem was minor, if not non-existent.

The insights referred to above were the discovery that the inclusion of atoi increased the size of the XCMD from 3k to 10k. This is catatrophic if one hopes to write a large program which includes perhaps 100 XCMD’s. It is a nuisance with smaller routines.

The reflection says that the complete object code of a C library routine would have to be included in every XCMD which made use of it. The redundancy would quickly get out of hand.

The Toolbox and the SANE library have functions for almost everything that needs to be done in a program or code resource. This code is in the ROM and is always available for use without adding to the overhead. Portability considerations aside, it is desirable to take advantage of it whenever possible while writing Macintosh specific applications.

CONCLUSION

A practical method of using XCMD’s in standalone C applications was presented. An evaluation of the memory size problems encountered while developing this procedure would indicate that high-level lanquage library routines (C, Pascal, etc.) should be avoided in XCMD’s used by Hypercard as well as those written for standalone applications.

I can be reached on internet at ghkenner@cc.utah.edu, on Prodigy at BSSX14B and Apple Link at UUTL.

 

Community Search:
MacTech Search:

Software Updates via MacUpdate

Alfred 3.4.1 - Quick launcher for apps a...
Alfred is an award-winning productivity application for OS X. Alfred saves you time when you search for files online or on your Mac. Be more productive with hotkeys, keywords, and file actions at... Read more
Maintenance 2.2.7 - 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
NeoOffice 2017 - Mac-tailored, OpenOffic...
NeoOffice is a complete office suite for OS X. With NeoOffice, users can view, edit, and save OpenOffice documents, PDF files, and most Microsoft Word, Excel, and PowerPoint documents. NeoOffice 3.x... Read more
SyncTwoFolders 2.2.4 - Syncs two user-sp...
SyncTwoFolders simply synchronizes two folders. It supports synchronization across mounted network drives and it is a possibility to run a simulation showing in a log what will be done. Please visit... Read more
Hopper Disassembler 4.2.13- - Binary dis...
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
iFFmpeg 6.4.3 - Convert multimedia files...
iFFmpeg is a comprehensive media tool to convert movie, audio and media files between formats. The FFmpeg command line instructions can be very hard to master/understand, so iFFmpeg does all the hard... Read more
Firefox 55.0.2 - Fast, safe Web browser.
Firefox offers a fast, safe Web browsing experience. Browse quickly, securely, and effortlessly. With its industry-leading features, Firefox is the choice of Web development professionals and casual... Read more
FileZilla 3.27.1 - Fast and reliable FTP...
FileZilla (ported from Windows) is a fast and reliable FTP client and server with lots of useful features and an intuitive interface. Version 3.27.1: Fixed Vulnerabilities: Change client... Read more
Merlin Project 4.2.7 - $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
Dashlane 4.8.4 - Password manager and se...
Dashlane is an award-winning service that revolutionizes the online experience by replacing the drudgery of everyday transactional processes with convenient, automated simplicity - in other words,... Read more

War Wings beginner's guide - how to...
War Wings is the newest project from well-established game maker Miniclip. It's a World War II aerial dogfighting game with loads of different airplane models to unlock and battle. The game offers plenty of single player and multiplayer action. We... | Read more »
How to win every 2v2 battle in Clash Roy...
2v2 is coming back to Clash Royale in a big way. Although it's only been available for temporary periods of time, 2v2 has seen a hugely positive fan response, with players clamoring for more team-based gameplay. Soon we'll get yet another taste of... | Read more »
Roll to Win with Game of Dice’s new upda...
Joycity’s hit Game of Dice gets a big new update this week, introducing new maps, mechanics, and even costumes. The update sets players loose on an exciting new map, The Cursed Tower, that allows folks to use special Runes mid-match. If you feel... | Read more »
Bottom of the 9th (Games)
Bottom of the 9th 1.0.1 Device: iOS iPhone Category: Games Price: $4.99, Version: 1.0.1 (iTunes) Description: Play the most exciting moment of baseball in this fast-paced dice and card game! | Read more »
The best apps for viewing the solar ecli...
If you somehow missed the news, many parts of the United States will be witness to a total solar eclipse on August 21 for the first time in over 90 years. It'll be possible to see the eclipse in at least some capacity throughout the continental U... | Read more »
The 5 best mobile survival games
Games like ARK: Survival Evolved and Conan Exiles have taken the world of gaming by storm. The market is now flooded with hardcore survival games that send players off into the game's world with nothing but maybe the clothes on their back. Never... | Read more »
Portal Walk (Games)
Portal Walk 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $1.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: Portal Walk is adventure and relaxing platform game about Eugene. Eugene stuck between worlds and trying to find way back home.... | Read more »
Technobabylon (Games)
Technobabylon 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $4.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: City of Newton, 2087. Genetic engineering is the norm, the addictive Trance has replaced almost any need for human interaction,... | Read more »
5 reasons why 2v2 is the best mode in Cl...
Supercell has been teasing fans with 2v2 windows that allow players to team up for limited periods of time. The Summer of 2v2 was just this past July, but players are already clamoring for more of that sweet, sweet team-based action. The fans have... | Read more »
The best deals on the App Store this wee...
It seems like the week's only just started, and yet here we are with a huge pile of discounted games to sort through. There are some real doozies on sale this week. We're talking some truly stellar titles. Let's take a look at four of the best... | Read more »

Price Scanner via MacPrices.net

13-inch 2.3GHz MacBook Pros on sale for $100...
Amazon has the new 2017 13″ 2.3GHz MacBook Pros on sale today for $100 off MSRP, each including free shipping: – 13″ 2.3GHz/128GB Space Gray MacBook Pro (MPXQ2LL/A): $1199.99 $100 off MSRP – 13″ 2.... Read more
New iOS 11 Productivity Features Welcome But...
The iOS community is in late summer holding mode awaiting the September arrival of the iPhone 8 and iOS 11. iOS 11 public betas have been available for months — number six was released this week —... Read more
Samsung Electronics Launches New Portable SSD...
Samsung Electronics America, Inc. has announced the launch of Samsung Portable SSD T5 – its newest portable solid state drive (PSSD) that raises the bar for the performance of external memory... Read more
TrendForce Reports YoY Gain of 3.6% for 2Q17...
Market research firm TrendForce reports that the global notebook shipments for this second quarter registered a sequential quarterly increase of 5.7% and a year-on-year increase of 3.6%, totaling 39.... Read more
Sale! 10-inch iPad Pros for $50 off MSRP, no...
B&H Photo has 10.5″ iPad Pros in stock today and on sale for $50 off MSRP. Each iPad includes free shipping, and B&H charges sales tax in NY & NJ only: – 10.5″ 64GB iPad Pro: $599, save $... Read more
Sale! 2017 13-inch Silver 2.3GHz MacBook Pro...
Amazon has new 2017 13″ 2.3GHz/128GB Silver MacBook Pro on sale today for $100 off MSRP including free shipping. Their price is the lowest available for this model from any reseller: – 13″ 2.3GHz/... Read more
WaterField Unveils Collaboratively-Designed,...
In collaboration with customers and seasoned travelers, San Francisco maker WaterField Designs set out to create the preeminent carry-on system to improve the experience of frequent fliers. The... Read more
Miya Notes Mac-Client for Google Keep (Launch...
MacPlus Software has announced te launch of Miya Notes for Google Keep 1.0, a powerful Mac-client for Google Keep. Millions of people use Google Keep on their phones and online, but a convenient Mac... Read more
Apple refurbished iMacs available starting at...
Apple has previous-generation Certified Refurbished 2015 21″ & 27″ iMacs available starting at $849. Apple’s one-year warranty is standard, and shipping is free. The following models are... Read more
2017 13-inch MacBook Airs on sale for $100 of...
B&H Photo new 2017 13″ MacBook Airs on sale today for $100 off MSRP, starting at $899: – 13″ 1.8GHz/128GB MacBook Air (MQD32LL/A): $899, $100 off MSRP – 13″ 1.8GHz/256GB MacBook Air (MQD42LL/A... Read more

Jobs Board

Business Development Manager - *Apple* Medi...
Job Summary Apple Music is a single, intuitive app that...- all in one place. You can stream any Apple Music song, playlist or album, and download it Read more
Development Operations and Site Reliability E...
Development Operations and Site Reliability Engineer, Apple Payment Gateway Job Number: 57572631 Santa Clara Valley, California, United States Posted: Jul. 27, 2017 Read more
Frameworks Engineering Manager, *Apple* Wat...
Frameworks Engineering Manager, Apple Watch Job Number: 41632321 Santa Clara Valley, California, United States Posted: Jun. 15, 2017 Weekly Hours: 40.00 Job Summary Read more
Program Manager, *Apple* Pay Business Opera...
…Manager to deliver and sustain a seamless user and support experience for Apple Pay Cash, the upcoming person-to-person payments feature in iMessage. On the Business Read more
Sr. Software Engineer, Core Services, *Apple...
…You will be part of the server team that powers various features within the Apple client applications - iTunes, App Store, iBooks, Podcast, Apple Music etc. You Read more
All contents are Copyright 1984-2011 by Xplain Corporation. All rights reserved. Theme designed by Icreon.