TweetFollow Us on Twitter

May 96 Tips
Volume Number:12
Issue Number:5
Column Tag:Tips & Tidbits

Tips & Tidbits

By Steve Sisak

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

Invoking Handlers in Scripts, by Name

This is completely undocumented, as far as I know, but it may help. Suppose you have a script application containing a function:

on DoSomething(param1,param2)
 return param1+param2
end DoSomething

From C, you just have to send the script application an Apple event like this one:

CLASS: ascr

type: psbr

direct object: "----" "LIST"

(the list of AEDescs of parameters to pass to the script function)

additional parameter: "snam" "TEXT"

containing the name of the function to call (in our example: “DoSomething”)

et voilà.

This method allows to write “clean” scripts, using more memorable handler names, not using the «CLASStype» syntax.

Pierre-Loic Raynaud

[This event is called “Subroutine Call” and is described in more detail in Chapter 10 of the Apple Event Registry, “The AppleScript Suite”. On the Developer Mailing Reference Library CD, the pdf file is named “AppleScript Suite”, and the information is on pdf page 5 (paper page 7). - jk]

Swapping Bytes in a High Level Language,
the Saga Continues!

You have probably been swamped with everyone’s comments regarding the “Anti-Tip of the Month” that appeared in MacTech Magazine 11.10 (October 1995).

Greg Poole had the right idea when he submitted his tip about byte-swapping. You can tweak code until your fingers fall off, but often the best way to make something faster is by finding a better way of doing the same thing.

I have attached two files to this message: ByteSwap.c & ByteSwap.h. In a nutshell, we do our swapping as follows:

#define SwapShort(myUnsignedShort)  \

In use:

    unsigned short someValue = 0x3210;
    someValue = SwapShort(someValue);

We quite simply move the hi-byte right, and the lo-byte left, then OR them back together.

#include "byteswap.h"

unsigned long TransposeLong(unsigned long value)
  unsigned long   returnValue;
  ((unsigned char *) &returnValue)[3] = 
 ((unsigned char *) &value)[0];
  ((unsigned char *) &returnValue)[2] = 
 ((unsigned char *) &value)[1];
  ((unsigned char *) &returnValue)[1] = 
 ((unsigned char *) &value)[2];
  ((unsigned char *) &returnValue)[0] = 
 ((unsigned char *) &value)[3];
  return returnValue;

David Most

The Technical Editor Responds

There are quite a few methods available for byte swapping, but which algorithm is the best depends a great deal on the compiler and processor you are using. For instance, the PowerPC (and many other processors) have instructions specifically for this purpose. Unfortunately, since the C and C++ languages have not kept up with current processors (C is basically processor-independent PDP-11 assembly language), it is our job to trick the compiler into generating the correct code.

Some compilers provide directives for this purpose. For instance, if you are using CodeWarrior on a PowerPC you can just say:

inline long SwapLong(long val)
    return __XXXXX(val);  //  <<<need intrinsic for load byte-swapped>>>

You may notice that I’m using C++ inline functions here instead of C #defines. To quote the “Apple Unofficial C++ Style Guide” (develop 2, p. 209): “One of the most powerful features of the C++ language is the C preprocessor. Don’t use it.” Inline functions are not only more readable than preprocessor macros, but, because they limit side effects, allow the compiler more latitude in optimizing your code.

Barring that, we need to find something that we can say in C that can get bytes swapped without generating egregiously bad code. David’s solution is probably a good one for shorts because it is a pure mathematical expression, allowing the compiler to optimize it in any way it chooses. For longs, his solution is one of the safest, if you know nothing about the compiler and/or processor you’re building for. (I would, however, convert both to inline functions.)

However, if you do know something about your processor, you can do better. In the case of the PPC, you really want to get your compiler to emit a load byte-swapped instruction. On a 680x0, you have a little latitude. One trick that comes to mind is that the 680x0 has predecrement and postincrement addressing modes. This means that:

foo = *p++ and foo = *--p

are fast and (1 instruction)

foo = *++p and foo = *p--

are slow (3 instructions). Therefore we can swap a long on a 680x0 with:

inline long SwapLong(long val)
    Byte* p = ((Byte*) val)[4];  // 680x0’s are big-endian

 long val = *--p;
 val  = (val << 8) | *--p;
 val  = (val << 8) | *--p;
  return (val << 8) | *--p;

The PowerPC has only post-increment instructions, so this will generate lousy code. (If someone would like to time a bunch of approaches, I’d be glad to publish the results.)

I must say that the bottom line is: this is all a bunch of work that would be completely unnecessary if the C language had kept up with reality. Here’s my proposal to the ANSI committee:

Make littleendian and bigendian storage classifiers like const and volatile. Then I could just type:

typedef struct Foo
    littleendian long    bar;
    bigendian short      baz;
} Foo;

void blah(Foo* foo)
    long  bar = foo->bar;
    short baz = foo->baz;


...and let the compiler deal with it while I spend my time writing code which does real work.

- sgs

Fix For Tip Of The Month, January 1996

I’m sending this short note just to point out that, although Greg Poole is right in writing that a file or directory can be moved by the CatMove function only if both the source and destination are on the same volume, he seems to forget that every Macintosh volume, not just the System volume, has a Trash folder.

Thus, if we pass to the FindFolder function the volume reference number of the file to be deleted instead of the constant kOnSystemDisk, we will be able to find the directory ID of the local Trash.

Line #44 of “FSpTrashFile.c” source file should be changed from:

theErr = FindFolder( kOnSystemDisk, kTrashFolderType, 
  kDontCreateFolder, &vRefNum, &dirID );


theErr = FindFolder( (*theFile).vRefNum, kTrashFolderType, 
  kDontCreateFolder, &vRefNum, &dirID );

Live Long and Prosper!

Luigi Belverato


Community Search:
MacTech Search:

Software Updates via MacUpdate

Warhammer 40,000: Freeblade guide - How...
Warhammer 40,000: Freebladejust launched in the App Store and it lets you live your childhood dream of blowing up and slashing a bunch of enemies as a massive, hulking Space Marine. It's not easy being a Space Marine though - and particularly if... | Read more »
Gopogo guide - How to bounce like the be...
Nitrome just launched a new game and, as to be expected, it's a lot of addictive fun. It's called Gopogo, and it challenges you to hoparound a bunch of platforms, avoiding enemies and picking up shiny stuff. It's not easy though - just like the... | Read more »
Sago Mini Superhero (Education)
Sago Mini Superhero 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Education Price: $2.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: KAPOW! Jack the rabbit bursts into the sky as the Sago Mini Superhero! Fly with Jack as he lifts impossible weights,... | Read more »
Star Wars: Galaxy of Heroes guide - How...
Star Wars: Galaxy of Heroes is all about collecting heroes, powering them up, and using them together to defeat your foes. It's pretty straightforward stuff for the most part, but increasing your characters' stats can be a bit confusing because it... | Read more »
The best cooking apps (just in time for...
It’s that time of year again, where you’ll be gathering around the dinner table with your family and a huge feast in front of you. [Read more] | Read more »
Square Rave guide - How to grab those te...
Square Rave is an awesome little music-oriented puzzle game that smacks of games like Lumines, but with its own unique sense of gameplay. To help wrap your head around the game, keep the following tips and tricks in mind. [Read more] | Read more »
Snowboard Party 2 (Games)
Snowboard Party 2 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $1.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: Crowned the best snowboarding game available on the market, Snowboard Party is back to fulfill all your adrenaline needs in... | Read more »
One Button Travel (Games)
One Button Travel 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $2.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: “To cut a long story short, If you like interactive fiction, just go buy this one.” - “Oozes the polish that... | Read more »
Light Apprentice Volume 1 (Games)
Light Apprentice Volume 1 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $4.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: Light Apprentice Volume 1 includes Chapters 1 to 4, all gathered in a new exclusive game. When life in the world of... | Read more »
The best games like Animal Crossing on m...
Animal Crossing amiibo Festival is out right now for the Wii U, reminding us of just how much fun that world can be. Or at least to go back and check in on our villages once in a while. [Read more] | Read more »

Price Scanner via

iMobie Releases its Ace iOS Cleaner PhoneClea...
iMobie Inc. has announced the new update of PhoneClean 4, its iOS cleaner designed to reclaim wasted space on iPhone/iPad for use and keep the device fast. Alongside, iMobie hosts a 3-day giveaway of... Read more
U.S. Cellular Offering iPad Pro
U.S. Cellular today announced that it is offering the new iPad Pro with Wi-Fi + Cellular, featuring a 12.9-inch Retina display with 5.6 million pixels — the most ever in an iOS device. U.S. Cellular... Read more
Newegg Canada Unveils Black Friday Deals for...
Newegg Canada is offering more than 1,000 deep discounts to Canadian customers this Black Friday, available now through Cyber Monday, with new deals posted throughout the week. “Black Friday is... Read more
Black Friday: Macs on sale for up to $500 off...
BLACK FRIDAY B&H Photo has all new Macs on sale for up to $500 off MSRP as part of their early Black Friday sale including free shipping plus NY sales tax only: - 15″ 2.2GHz Retina MacBook Pro: $... Read more
Black Friday: Up to $125 off iPad Air 2s at B...
BLACK FRIDAY Walmart has the 16GB iPad Air 2 WiFi on sale for $100 off MSRP on their online store. Choose free shipping or free local store pickup (if available): - 16GB iPad Air 2 WiFi: $399, save $... Read more
Black Friday: iPad mini 4s on sale for $100 o...
BLACK FRIDAY Best Buy has iPad mini 4s on sale for $100 off MSRP on their online store for Black Friday. Choose free shipping or free local store pickup (if available): - 16GB iPad mini 4 WiFi: $299.... Read more
Black Friday: Apple Watch for up to $100 off...
BLACK FRIDAY Apple resellers are offering discounts and bundles with the purchase of an Apple Watch this Black Friday. Below is a roundup of the deals being offered by authorized Watch resellers:... Read more
Black Friday: Target offers 6th Generation iP...
BLACK FRIDAY Save $40 to $60 on a 6th generation iPod touch at Target with free shipping or free local store pickup (if available). Sale prices for online orders only, in-store prices may vary: -... Read more
Black Friday: Walmart and Target offer iPod n...
BLACK FRIDAY Walmart has the 16GB iPod nano (various colors) on sale for $119.20 on their online store for a limited time. That’s $30 off MSRP. Choose free shipping or free local store pickup (if... Read more
Black Friday deals on the Apple Watch and App...
Apple resellers are offering discounts and bundles with the purchase of an Apple Watch this Black Friday weekend. Below is a roundup of the deals being offered by authorized Watch resellers: Apple... Read more

Jobs Board

Storefront Operations Coordinator, *Apple* -...
# Storefront Operations Coordinator, Apple -Latin America Job Number: 43587750 Miami, Florida, United States Posted: Oct. 16, 2015 Weekly Hours: 40.00 **Job Summary** The Read more
*Apple* Enterprise / Government Professional...
# Apple Enterprise / Gove ment Professional Services Engineer Job Number: 42292976 Reston, Virginia, United States Posted: Aug. 18, 2015 Weekly Hours: 40.00 **Job Read more
iOS Wallet & *Apple* Pay Engineer - App...
# iOS Wallet & Apple Pay Engineer Job Number: 40586801 Santa Clara Valley, Califo ia, United States Posted: Nov. 16, 2015 Weekly Hours: 40.00 **Job Summary** The iOS Read more
Software Engineer, *Apple* Watch - Clock Fa...
# Software Engineer, Apple Watch - Clock Face Team Job Number: 44368761 Santa Clara Valley, Califo ia, United States Posted: Nov. 14, 2015 Weekly Hours: 40.00 **Job Read more
Administrative Assistant, *Apple* Online St...
# Administrative Assistant, Apple Online Store Job Number: 43992352 Santa Clara Valley, Califo ia, United States Posted: Nov. 9, 2015 Weekly Hours: 40.00 **Job Summary** Read more
All contents are Copyright 1984-2011 by Xplain Corporation. All rights reserved. Theme designed by Icreon.