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

Luminar 1.0.2 - Powerful, adaptive, conf...
Luminar is the new full-featured image editor that adapts to the way you edit photos. Over 300 essential tools to fix, edit, and enhance your photos with comfort. The future of photo editing is here... Read more
Slack 2.3.3 - Collaborative communicatio...
Slack is a collaborative communication app that simplifies real-time messaging, archiving, and search for modern working teams. Version 2.3.3: Fixed window zoom jumping back-and-forth OS X 10.9... Read more
WhatRoute 2.0.10 - Geographically trace...
WhatRoute is designed to find the names of all the routers an IP packet passes through on its way from your Mac to a destination host. It also measures the round-trip time from your Mac to the router... Read more
Luminar 1.0.2 - Powerful, adaptive, conf...
Luminar is the new full-featured image editor that adapts to the way you edit photos. Over 300 essential tools to fix, edit, and enhance your photos with comfort. The future of photo editing is here... Read more
WhatRoute 2.0.10 - Geographically trace...
WhatRoute is designed to find the names of all the routers an IP packet passes through on its way from your Mac to a destination host. It also measures the round-trip time from your Mac to the router... Read more
Slack 2.3.3 - Collaborative communicatio...
Slack is a collaborative communication app that simplifies real-time messaging, archiving, and search for modern working teams. Version 2.3.3: Fixed window zoom jumping back-and-forth OS X 10.9... Read more
Lens Blur 1.4.3 - True out-of-focus boke...
Lens Blur transforms your existing photo into true SLR-quality out-of-focus bokeh effect! Everyone needs a gorgeous personalized background for a social profile, blog, Web/UI design, presentation, or... Read more
CleanMyMac 3.6.0 - $39.95
CleanMyMac makes space for the things you love. Sporting a range of ingenious new features, CleanMyMac lets you safely and intelligently scan and clean your entire system, delete large, unused files... Read more
DEVONthink Pro 2.9.8 - Knowledge base, i...
DEVONthink Pro is your essential assistant for today's world, where almost everything is digital. From shopping receipts to important research papers, your life often fills your hard drive in the... Read more
MacFamilyTree 8.1 - Create and explore y...
MacFamilyTree gives genealogy a facelift: modern, interactive, convenient and fast. Explore your family tree and your family history in a way generations of chroniclers before you would have loved.... Read more

Latest Forum Discussions

See All

Amateur Surgeon 4 Guide: Become the worl...
It's time to wield your trusty pizza cutter again, as Amateur Surgeon has returned with a whole fresh set of challenges (and some old, familiar ones, too). Starting anew isn't easy, especially when all you have at your disposal is a lighter, the... | Read more »
Le Parker: Sous Chef Extraordinaire (Ga...
Le Parker: Sous Chef Extraordinaire 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $2.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: | Read more »
Telltale Games really is working on a Gu...
Telltale Games' next episodic adventure is indeed Guardians of the Galaxy. A document tied to the voice actors strike suggested that the project was in the work, but now we have direct confirmation following an announcement at the Game Awards that... | Read more »
Amateur Surgeon returns to iOS and Andro...
Amateur Surgeon and its two sequels disappeared from the App Store some time and it was sad days for all. But now, just in time for the holidays, the Adult Swim favorite makes its joyous return in the shape of Amateur Surgeon 4, a remake with... | Read more »
The best board games on mobile
Sometimes you need to ditch all of the high speed, high action games in favor of something a little more traditional. If you don't feel like parting ways from your mobile device, though, there are still plenty of ways to get that old-school fix.... | Read more »
The best Facebook Messenger Instant Game...
Facebook's new Instant Games is now here, meaning you can play games with your friends directly via Facebook. It's a fun new way to connect with friends, of course, but it's also proving to be a solid gaming experience in its own right, with a... | Read more »
You can now play game's on Facebook...
Facebook launched its new Instant Games platform in an exciting new attempt to engage its user base. As a result, you can now play a number of different games directly through Facebook Messenger. All of these games run with HTML5, meaning you play... | Read more »
Apollo Justice Ace Attorney (Games)
Apollo Justice Ace Attorney 1.00.00 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $.99, Version: 1.00.00 (iTunes) Description: Court Is Back In Session Star as rookie defense attorney, Apollo Justice, as he visits crime scenes,... | Read more »
KORG iWAVESTATION (Music)
KORG iWAVESTATION 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Music Price: $19.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: A revolutionary new world of sound.The Wave Sequence Synthesizer for iPad - KORG iWAVESTATION | Read more »
Don't Grind Guide: Tips for becomin...
Don’t Grind is a surprising, derpy little one touch game with fun hand-drawn graphics. The goal is simple -- get the high score without being chopped to bits. That can be tough when you’re not used to the game, and that’s compounded by the fact... | Read more »

Price Scanner via MacPrices.net

Parallels Toolbox 1.3 for Mac Offers 25 Singl...
Parallels has launched Parallels Toolbox 1.3 for Mac, an upgrade that adds five new utilities to the stand-alone application which was released in August and is available exclusively online at http... Read more
OWC Mercury Elite Pro Dual mini Ultra-Portabl...
OWC has introduced the new OWC Mercury Elite Pro Dual mini, a powerful yet ultra-portable dual-drive RAID solution. The new Mercury Elite Pro Dual mini packs phenomenal performance into a small... Read more
Clearance 13-inch Retina MacBook Pros availab...
B&H Photo has clearance 2015 13″ Retina Apple MacBook Pros available for up to $200 off original MSRP. Shipping is free, and B&H charges NY tax only: - 13″ 2.7GHz/128GB Retina MacBook Pro: $... Read more
Roundup of 2016 13-inch 2.0GHz MacBook Pro sa...
B&H has the non-Touch Bar 13″ MacBook Pros in stock today for $50-$100 off MSRP. Shipping is free, and B&H charges NY sales tax only: - 13″ 2.0GHz MacBook Pro Space Gray (MLL42LL/A): $1449 $... Read more
New 13-inch 2.0GHz Space Gray MacBook Pro in...
Adorama has the new 13″ 2.0GHz Space Gray MacBook Pro (non-Touch Bar, MLL42LL/A) in stock for $1499 including a free 3-year AppleCare Protection Plan. Shipping is free, and Adorama charges sales tax... Read more
Finnair Adopts iOS Enterprise iPad Apps from...
Finnair and IBM have announced a first-of-its-kind agreement to utilize iOS enterprise apps from IBM to support the airline’s overall digital transformation. Finnair is focused on Asia-Europe traffic... Read more
Tech21 Launches Evo Go iPhone 7 Case Availabl...
Tech21 has announced the launch of the Evo Go case for Apple iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus, exclusively at T-Mobile. Available online and at participating T-Mobile stores nationwide, Evo Go cases start... Read more
Apple Turns (RED) with More Ways to Join the...
In recognition of World AIDS Day, Apple is offering more ways than ever for customers to join (RED) in its mission to create an AIDS-free generation. Apple is the worlds largest corporate contributor... Read more
Deals on new 15-inch Touch Bar MacBook Pros,...
B&H Photo has new 2016 Apple 15″ Touch Bar MacBook Pro models in stock today with some available for $50 off MSRP, each including free shipping plus NY sales tax only: - 15″ 2.7GHz Touch Bar... Read more
12-inch Retina MacBooks on sale for up to $10...
12-inch Retina MacBooks remain on sale at B&H Photo with models available for up to $100 off MSRP. Shipping is free, and B&H charges NY sales tax only. B&H will also include a free copy... Read more

Jobs Board

*Apple* Retail - Multiple Positions- White P...
Sales Specialist - Retail Customer Service and Sales Transform Apple Store visitors into loyal Apple customers. When customers enter the store, you're also the Read more
Automotive Detailer - *Apple* Used Autos -...
We are currently conductinginterviews and will be accepting applications for a part-time detailer. Apple Used Autos is a great place to work andstart a career. We 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
US- *Apple* Store Leader Program - Apple (Un...
…Summary Learn and grow as you explore the art of leadership at the Apple Store. You'll master our retail business inside and out through training, hands-on Read more
*Apple* & PC Desktop Support Technician...
Apple & PC Desktop Support Technician job in Dallas TX Introduction: We have immediate job openings for several Desktop Support Technicians with one of our most Read more
All contents are Copyright 1984-2011 by Xplain Corporation. All rights reserved. Theme designed by Icreon.