TweetFollow Us on Twitter

Apr 96 Factory Floor
Volume Number:12
Issue Number:4
Column Tag:From The Factory Floor

From the Factory Floor

By Dave Mark

In this month’s Factory Floor, we’ll meet Greg Dow. Greg designed and wrote PowerPlant, the next generation framework from Metrowerks. Before we get to the interview, I wanted to take a sec and thank Jim Trudeau for all his help in putting this interview together. Cognac and cigars on me at WWDC, Jim!

Dave: Greg, since not all of our readers have a background in object programming, let’s start things off by defining a few terms. What is the difference between a class library and a framework?

Greg: People often use the terms interchangeably. However, I think of a class library as a collection of utilities and a framework as a structure for building programs.

With a class library, you are in control. You design the program structure and use library classes where convenient. For example, you can use the ANSI C++ streams class library to handle file I/O.

With a framework, the framework is in control. You usually start with a “do nothing” program provided by the framework and add your own code. The framework calls your code at the appropriate time.

PowerPlant is a framework, but it also has families of utility classes that you can use independently.

Dave: Why would a C programmer want to move to C++ and PowerPlant? What are the advantages?

Greg: Using PowerPlant lets you build upon code written by other programmers. It’s code that you don’t have to write yourself. PowerPlant classes handle mundane tasks such as menu and window management, as well as more advanced features such as Apple events and threads. By not having to start from scratch, you have more time to concentrate on the unique features of your program.

Another big advantage is Constructor, which lets you graphically lay out the visual elements of your PowerPlant programs. PowerPlant can create a window and its contents from information edited in Constructor, so it’s possible to create a program that displays items such as scrolling pictures, text, and buttons without ever writing a line of code.

Dave: Once someone has learned the basics of C++ and object programming, how do they pick up on PowerPlant?

Greg: The first thing everyone should do is read The PowerPlant Book, which is part of the Inside PowerPlant for CW8 manual that comes with CW8. This book, written by Jim Trudeau, is an excellent guide to understanding and using PowerPlant.

After that, they should start using PowerPlant. Look over the sample programs. Run the samples and use the source debugger to single-step through some of the code to follow the flow of control. For example, set a breakpoint in the main event loop, then hit a key and follow the resulting sequence of calls to see how PowerPlant handles it.

Finally, talk with other people who use PowerPlant by getting a modem and an Internet account. Read the Usenet newsgroup comp.sys.mac.programmer.codewarrior. (A new group, comp.sys.oop.powerplant, will probably form soon.) Metrowerks also has an active forum on America Online. And join the PowerPlant Dream Team.

Dave: What exactly is the PowerPlant Dream Team? What do they do? How do you go about joining?

Greg: The PowerPlant Dream Team is an organization of developers interested in learning PowerPlant in a team-based environment. It started as a study group formed by Stephen Jovanovic, but has grown to over 200 people. A small subset of the PP Dream Team wrote an LNewTextEdit class that supports styled text and drag-and-drop editing. Very cool. To find out more about the PP Dream Team, visit their Web page at: http://petrified.cic.net/powerplant-dt/

Dave: Tell me about the PowerPlant architecture.

Greg: One of my favorite toys is Lego™ blocks. You can build complex structures by combining simple parts. PowerPlant follows this approach by using a mixin architecture, where the base classes are relatively simple, and subclasses use multiple inheritance to combine features.

For example, the EditField class multiply inherits from Pane (so it can draw and handle mouse clicks), Commander (so it can handle keystrokes and menu commands), and Periodical (so it gets time during the event loop to flash the insertion point).

I also tried to eliminate dependencies between classes so that you can use them separately. In particular, PowerPlant is not just an application framework. You can use PowerPlant to build code resources such as HyperCard XCMDs and control panels, or even integrate PowerPlant classes into existing procedural programs.

Dave: What is your favorite part of PowerPlant?

Greg: Other than the overall design, my favorite feature of PowerPlant is the Drag Manager support. Drag and drop is cool, and it’s one of the better implemented features in the Mac OS. The API is clean and simple. It took me only two days (and three classes) to implement all the basic support.

Dave: Tell me about your life before Metrowerks.

Greg: I have a Bachelor’s degree from MIT in chemical engineering, and I spent a few years at UC Berkeley working on a Ph.D., also in chemical engineering, that I never completed. My thesis research was computer modeling of coal gasification reactors, and I did a lot of scientific programming in FORTRAN.

During that time, I became more interested in programming than in chemical engineering, so I started taking computer science classes. In July 1987, I bought my first personal computer, a Mac SE. A few months later, I dropped out of school to devote my time to learning Mac programming.

One of my first projects was writing a generic application shell. I kept tinkering with this shell, and it eventually turned into version 1.0 of the THINK Class Library (TCL), which Symantec shipped with THINK C in July 1989.

Dave: How did you get hooked up with Metrowerks? Did Greg Galanos recruit you? Was the company already building CodeWarrior when you started work on PowerPlant?

Greg: My first contact with Metrowerks was actually with Jean Belanger, sometime before the MacWorld Expo in January 1992. I lead the Programmers Group at BMUG (Berkeley Macintosh Users Group), and Jean called up looking for some volunteers to staff his booth at the show. At the time, Metrowerks was selling Pascal and Modula 2 compilers for the education market.

I never actually met anyone from Metrowerks then, but a year later John McEnerney asked me if I was interested in writing a new C++ framework for some little Canadian company. John is the PowerPC Compiler Architect for Metrowerks, and he worked at Symantec when I wrote TCL 1.0.

I met with Greg Galanos and started working on PowerPlant in March 1993. Codewarrior as we know it did not exist. There was a prototype C compiler and environment. It fit on a floppy disk.

Dave: A lot of people ask about cross-platform development using PowerPlant. I know that the Microsoft Foundation Classes (MFC) are the de facto standard on the Windows side. What’s the best way to get a PowerPlant-based application ported to run under Windows?

Greg: I know that a lot of people are interested in developing programs that run on both the Mac and Windows. However, PowerPlant is a Mac-only framework. Metrowerks has no intention of developing a Windows version of PowerPlant.

To port code to Windows, I recommend that people investigate Mac2Win from Altura Software. The Mac2Win libraries emulate the Mac Toolbox on Windows. Metrowerks is using these libraries to port portions of the CodeWarrior environment to Windows.

Dave: What are your future plans for PowerPlant?

Greg: My future work with PowerPlant will concentrate on three major areas: (1) Visual programming; (2) OpenDoc; and (3) Copland.

Right now, you can specify the static layout of interface elements using PowerPlant Constructor. Future versions of Constructor will let you specify runtime relationships between objects. For example, adding Attachments to Panes and linking Broadcasters to Listeners.

If you know what you’re doing, you can use PowerPlant today to develop both OpenDoc parts and OpenDoc container applications. In fact, a few programmers (besides me) have already done so. However, it’s not easy. Future versions of PowerPlant will make it as easy to create an OpenDoc part as it is to create a stand-alone application.

Copland, the next major version of the Mac OS, will provide many new capabilities and interface elements. I intend to keep PowerPlant on the leading edge of Mac development by supporting these new features as soon as possible.

 

Community Search:
MacTech Search:

Software Updates via MacUpdate

Is there cross-platform play in slither....
So you've sunken plenty of hours into crawling around in slither.io on your iPhone or iPad. You've got your stories of tragedy and triumph, the times you coiled four snakes at one time balanced out by the others when you had a length of more than... | Read more »
Rodeo Stampede guide to running a better...
In Rodeo Stampede, honing your skills so you can jump from animal to animal and outrun the herd as long as possible is only half the fun. Once you've tamed a few animals, you can bring them home with you. [Read more] | Read more »
VoxSyn (Music)
VoxSyn 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Music Price: $6.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: VoxSyn turns your voice into the most flexible vocal sound generator ever. Instantly following even subtle modulations of pitch and... | Read more »
Catch Battleplans on Google Play from Ju...
Real-time strategy title Battleplans is due for release on Google Play on June 30th, following its release for iOS systems last month. With its simple interface and pretty graphics, the crowd-pleaser brings a formerly overlooked genre out for the... | Read more »
iDoyle: The interactive Adventures of Sh...
iDoyle: The interactive Adventures of Sherlock Holmes - A Scandal in Bohemia 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Books Price: $1.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: Special Release Price $1.99 (Normally $3.99) | Read more »
Five popular free apps to help you slim...
Thanks to retail and advertising, we're used to thinking one season ahead. Here we are just a week into the summer and we're conditioned to start thinking about the fall. [Read more] | Read more »
How to ride longer and tame more animals...
It's hard to accurately describe Rodeo Stampede to people who haven't seen it yet. It's like if someone took Crossy Roadand Disco Zoo and put them in a blender, yet with a unique game mechanic that's still simple and fun for anyone. [Read more] | Read more »
Teeny Titans - A Teen Titans Go! Figure...
Teeny Titans - A Teen Titans Go! Figure Battling Game 1.0.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $3.99, Version: 1.0.0 (iTunes) Description: Teeny Titans, GO! Join Robin for a figure battling RPG of epic proportions! TEENY... | Read more »
NinjAwesome: Tips and tricks to be a mor...
Sorry about that headline, but I'm going to go ahead and assume that GameResort would not have named its game NinjAwesome without expecting some of that. It is, in fact, pretty awesome the way it combines an endless runner and old school arcade... | Read more »
Into Mirror (Games)
Into Mirror 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $1.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: "Is all that we see or seem, but a dream within a dream?"- Edgar Allan Poe New game by Lemon Jam Studio, the team behind Pursuit... | Read more »

Price Scanner via MacPrices.net

15-inch Retina MacBook Pros on sale for $200-...
B&H Photo has 15″ Retina MacBook Pros on sale for up to $210 off MSRP. Shipping is free, and B&H charges NY tax only: - 15″ 2.2GHz Retina MacBook Pro: $1799.99 $200 off MSRP - 15″ 2.5GHz... Read more
Mac minis on sale for up to $100 off MSRP
B&H Photo has Mac minis on sale for up to $100 off MSRP including free shipping plus NY sales tax only: - 1.4GHz Mac mini: $449 $50 off MSRP - 2.6GHz Mac mini: $649 $50 off MSRP - 2.8GHz Mac mini... Read more
Clearance 2015 13-inch MacBook Airs available...
B&H Photo has clearance 2015 13″ MacBook Airs available for $300 off original MSRP. Shipping is free, and B&H charges NY sales tax only: - 13″ 1.6GHz/4GB/128GB MacBook Air (MJVE2LL/A): $799.... Read more
Apple refurbished Mac minis available for up...
Apple has Certified Refurbished Mac minis available starting at $419. Apple’s one-year warranty is included with each mini, and shipping is free: - 1.4GHz Mac mini: $419 $80 off MSRP - 2.6GHz Mac... Read more
ABBYY TextGrabber: 1,000,000 Installs in 5 Da...
ABBYY, an international OCR technologies provider, has announced that their image-to-text application TextGrabber, got installed 1,000,000 times in just five days while being featured by the App... Read more
New SkinIt Waterproof Case For iPhone 6
With its impact and waterproof design, the Skinit Waterproof case provides security and protection to guarantee your phone will get you through even the most demanding outdoor conditions. The impact-... Read more
iMacs on sale for up to $150 off MSRP
B&H Photo has 21″ and 27″ iMacs on sale for up to $150 off MSRP including free shipping plus NY sales tax only: - 27″ 3.3GHz iMac 5K: $2181.11 $118 off MSRP - 27″ 3.2GHz/1TB Fusion iMac 5K: $1949... Read more
12-inch 1.1GHz Retina MacBooks on sale for $5...
B&H Photo has 2016 12″ 1.1GHz/256GB Retina MacBooks on sale for up to $50 off MSRP. Shipping is free, and B&H charges NY tax only: - 12″ 1.1GHz Space Gray Retina MacBook: $1249 $50 off MSRP... Read more
WWDC Announcements Revisited Still Underwhelm...
I was disappointed that no new MacBook hardware was announced at this year’s all-software World Wide Developer’s Conference. Not even a hint about what’s in the development pipeline. Of course, we... Read more
Twelve South Compass 2 iPad Stand Now Availab...
Twelve South has updated its most popular iPad stand, Compass 2, with the introduction of two new colors — Gold and Rose Gold. These new color options n perfectly complement the new Rose Gold iPad... Read more

Jobs Board

Music Marketing Lead, iTunes & *Apple*...
…Music Marketing Lead is responsible for developing robust marketing campaigns and programs for Apple Music and iTunes across the whole of Apple ecosystem. This Read more
*Apple* Valley Medical Clinic is Hiring - AP...
Apple Valley Medical Clinic is Hiring! Apple Valley Medical Clinic is an independently owned practice operating a Family Medicine Clinic, a 24/7 Urgent Care, Read more
*Apple* New Products Testers Needed - Apple...
…we therefore look forward to put out products to quality test for durability. Apple leads the digital music revolution with its iPods and iTunes online store, Read more
*Apple* Solutions Consultant - APPLE (United...
Job Summary As an Apple Solutions Consultant, you'll be the link between our future customers and our products. You'll showcase your entrepreneurial spirit as you 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.