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Dec 94 Dialog
Volume Number:10
Issue Number:12
Column Tag:Dialog Box

Dialog Box

By Scott T Boyd, Editor

Sprocket Thoughts

I like the idea of a comparatively tiny object-oriented framework as a base for future articles. But as a beginner in programming (any computer, not just Macintosh) I am a little stuck here. I own neither a PowerMac nor Metrowerks CodeWarrior.

If Sprocket should not be limited to the more advanced users, I (and other hobbyists I guess) would need detailed descriptions how to get Sprocket compiling with THINK C++ 7.0 at least.

Naturally a version for both compilers would still be better, because I would not waste my spare time getting the framework running while the new issue of MacTech Magazine with the next feature article is already in the box.

- Michael W. Schwarz, Darmstadt (Germany)

We’re planning to make Sprocket buildable in all of the major C++ environments. We’re also hoping to see other language versions as well. If anyone would like to volunteer, drop us a note at -Ed stb

Prophet of the Apocalypse?

>My co-worker just discovered that you cannot run Excel 5.0

>without OLE installed...In order to display the Windows ‘95

>(a.k.a. Chicago) logo on your Windows product, you must

>implement OLE 2.0. No OLE, No logo!!!

>What message is MicroSoft sending everyone?

That now that the Justice Department has backed off, it can do whatever it pleases. :-) I recently got a humorous post over the net suggesting that Bill Gates is the Anti-Christ. The best part:

Revelation 13:16 and 13:18 says:

He causes all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on their right hand or on their foreheads, and that no one may buy or sell except one who has the mark or the name of the beast, or the number of his name.

“Windows compatible?”

- Bruce F. Webster, CTO, Pages Software

Happy To Be Online

Just a note of thanks for having your sources available for Internet ftp. I know it may seem trivial to you, but it’s a great service to your readers. I read the mag on a weekend, and I can go get the relevant information then... what a win! Keep up the good work.

- Leo Hourvitz,

Thanks. We’re getting things together to get even more useful information online. We’ll keep you posted - Ed stb

A Trail of Good Intentions

It was with great interest that I read David Simmons’ letter in MacTech Magazine (August 1994) concerning OO languages, Smalltalk, C++, and the design of applications.

Certain sentences leapt from the page:

“I think it is really C++ with its non-dynamic architecture and complex semantics/grammar that is failing”.

Absolutely. When I first heard of C++ I looked eagerly for great flexibility in the language and found instead a syntactic nightmare. Jim Gimpel has a quote from Ray Duncan in his manual for C++ FlexeLint, describing C++ as “one of the most grotesque and cryptic languages ever created”. It’s a mess. It inches asymptotically toward its eventual design while leaving a trail of good intentions.

“Building components in C++ is just as hard as building applications (talk to the folks who are trying to do it). The real problem at hand is managing complexity and capturing design intent.”

I keep hawking the “complexity” word to clients when I am trying to get them to write decent code and manage their projects properly. Too many people spend too much time staring at the lines on the screen to see the big picture. Complexity is the one thing that is guaranteed to kill a project as it grows unless it is managed very carefully. Design intent is usually unclear as projects mature and budgets change. Another argument for reducing complexity.

- Steven Weller, Windsor Systems, Louisville, KY

Reader Report Card

Well, I know you appreciate feedback, so here we go:

I’ve been a subscriber for almost two years by now. Through that period I’ve found that MacTech has improved in a lot of ways.

First of all you’ve done a real good job in covering the mainstream development tools from Symantec and MetroWerks. This is what most of the people I know around here uses, so this is a sound approach in my opinion. Topics like Forth and Fortran are only of academic interest to me (and I guess a lot of other folks).

I’m also very pleased to be able to read detailed information about PPC, Dylan, OpenDoc and other potentially revolutionary stuff lurking just below the horizon. We need to know a little about this and you do a good job of keeping us informed.

Putting the source code from the magazine on your ftp-site is a much appreciated service.

Making more informative folios is also a nice touch. But speaking of layout I would like to suggest that you do something about your usage of color. I think color is a good thing for illustrations and labeling. But couldn’t you refrain from using gradients in the boxes (sunbursts or whatever) at the beginning of each article? They make the colors look dirty and mars the otherwise sober layout of the magazine. Use vivid and pure colors only - it actually improves on the impact the colors have.

But aside from my gradient grudge, I must say that I like your magazine very much. Sprocket is a great idea in this age of hyperbloated fatware (I just got In Control 3.0 - it’s grown and become so slow your teeth fall out when you have to wait for the auto-enter function!).

That’s all for this instance.

- Piet Seiden,

Frederiksberg, Denmark

P.S. Dilbert doesn’t suck! Keep him around.

Should MacTech Take Sides?

After reading the October Dialog Box letter from Stephen Johnson I felt compelled to respond. Last time I checked, MacTech Magazine was owned by Xplain Corporation, not Apple Computer. As such, there is no reason why MacTech should stick by Apple just because it’s Apple. Regardless of what technology is better, Windows does exist and will continue to exist. I’m a realist and because of this I want to know all sides of a technology debate. I would be much less inclined to read MacTech if it always tried to make Apple look good and shelter me from “the bad guys at Microsoft”. Apple is not a small child. They can do their own marketing. The day Apple needs to rely on a publication to be unfairly biased to convince Macintosh developers in a technology debate is the day Apple has truly lost the technology war. MacTech is not Stars and Stripes. It’s not a “feel good” magazine. MacTech provides information that is important to Macintosh developers, not its opinion of what is best for us. I’m grown up and I can make my own decisions. I don’t need a magazine to tell me what technology to use.

Macintosh enthusiasts seem to forget that throughout the brief life of the computer industry, rarely has the “best” technology become a standard. It’s the technology that’s “good enough” which emerges from the pack. Living a sheltered life doesn’t make bad technology go away - it leaves you unprepared for reality.

I have a very strong emotional attachment to the Macintosh. I’ve been programming the Macintosh for over 1/3 of my life and I cannot imagine programming any other computer. If Apple bites the dust, I’ll find another industry to work in rather than write Windows software. Still, if Apple cannot stand on its own, I’m not willing to live in a cave and pretend it does.

Wake up pal. It’s time to face reality.

- Steve Kiene,


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