TweetFollow Us on Twitter

Fragment of Your Imaginat
Volume Number:12
Issue Number:7
Column Tag:Book Review

Code Fragments Explained

A shared library of procedure pointers for the resourceful programmer

By Mike Scanlin

A Fragment of Your Imagination:
Code Fragments and Code Resources for Power Macintosh and
Macintosh Programmers

copyright line:By Joe Zobkiw
Addison-Wesley, 1995. ISBN 0-201-48358-0.
500 pages (softback with CD ROM). $39.95.

Have you looked at how big the complete set of Inside Macintosh books is nowadays? My incomplete set is over two feet wide and growing. (I prefer paper to on-line help.) Does the very voluminosity of this documentation, as Frederick Brooks of Mythical Man-Month fame would say, represent some new kind of incomprehensibility? I’m not sure. While I find Inside Macintosh indispensable, I also find it somewhat unwieldy at times. Fortunately, there are other, more readable sources of truth available. A Fragment of Your Imagination is one such source.

This book is a kind of a “Cliff’s Notes” for the Code Fragment Manager. It presents you with discussion and source code for any type of code fragment you might want to write: LDEFs, CDEFs, WDEFs, INITs, XMCDs, cdevs, thngs, plug-ins, etc. As do most programming books, it comes with a CD-ROM bearing all the source code in the book plus a version of CodeWarrior Lite.

There’s little doubt that anyone who wants to write a 68K, PPC or fat code fragment would find it useful to have a piece of working sample code to start with. That’s the primary purpose of this book. It gives you examples of each type of code fragment (LDEF, CDEF, etc.) for each environment (68K, PPC, fat). When you think about it, there’s not much that can be said on the subject of stand-alone code fragments. Once you’ve written one or two you pretty much get it and you’re on your way. But it’s nice to have some hand-holding for that first one, and that’s what this book does.

I like the fact that this book focuses on useful examples. The entire second half of the book is source code listings. The first few chapters cover the basics of the Mixed Mode Manager, Universal Procedure Pointers and Shared Libraries. After that, the author gets right into it by showing you how to write a fat INIT called MenuScript that allows you to replace any menu item in any program with an AppleScript. Each of the next eight chapters covers a different type of code resource, explaining the special cases that come up for each kind of code fragment, along with some example source on how to deal with it.

The examples in the book are reasonable. They are one or two steps above minimum working examples, which is what you want in a code example. If you’re trying to learn how to patch a trap, for instance, you don’t need 1000 lines of unrelated code. You just want the minimum to get the job done, plus a little visual feedback code to make sure it’s being called. The author starts most sections by giving you the bare minimum of code necessary to write a particular type of code fragment. He explains how this bit of glue code makes the code fragment work. Then he adds a bit of unrelated code that does something visual so you’ll know the code is being called and working. It’s a good way to learn what the minimum code for a particular fragment type is.

While I liked the straightforward examples, completeness and screen shots, there are some things I did not like. There are too many cute expressions and attempts at humor. For example: “The termination routine couldn’t be much simpler without breaking a law or two.” I guess the author is trying to make the book friendly or funny, but there are so many of these lines that they come off as a bit childish.

After reading the book I couldn’t help but think that it was physically much larger than it needed to be. The outer margins are over two inches wide, but that space is never used for anything. And the leading (vertical space between lines) in the source code examples is too large. I’d rather see more lines of code on the same page so I don’t have to turn so many pages when studying it. By the same token, the commenting style he uses in the second half of the book really spaces the code out vertically. I’d rather have it more compact. Overall, I couldn’t help but feel that the author was told to write a 500-page book and was only able to produce 300 or so pages.

Despite my nit-picking, I have to say this book does the job it set out to do - inform Macintosh programmers (who have a bit of Mac programming experience already) on how to write many kinds of code fragments. It’s a nice distilled version of the relevant tech notes, DTS examples, and Inside Macintosh. I would definitely recommend it for your first or second code fragment. But if you’ve already done a few of those you probably won’t get much out of this book.

 

Community Search:
MacTech Search:

Software Updates via MacUpdate

Opera 44.0.2510.1449 - High-performance...
Opera is a fast and secure browser trusted by millions of users. With the intuitive interface, Speed Dial and visual bookmarks for organizing favorite sites, news feature with fresh, relevant content... Read more
Opera 44.0.2510.1449 - High-performance...
Opera is a fast and secure browser trusted by millions of users. With the intuitive interface, Speed Dial and visual bookmarks for organizing favorite sites, news feature with fresh, relevant content... Read more
Skim 1.4.29 - PDF reader and note-taker...
Skim is a PDF reader and note-taker for OS X. It is designed to help you read and annotate scientific papers in PDF, but is also great for viewing any PDF file. Skim includes many features and has a... Read more
FontExplorer X Pro 6.0.2 - Font manageme...
FontExplorer X Pro is optimized for professional use; it's the solution that gives you the power you need to manage all your fonts. Now you can more easily manage, activate and organize your... Read more
1Password 6.7.1 - Powerful password mana...
1Password is a password manager that uniquely brings you both security and convenience. It is the only program that provides anti-phishing protection and goes beyond password management by adding Web... Read more
Vivaldi 1.9.818.44 - An advanced browser...
Vivaldi is a browser for our friends. In 1994, two programmers started working on a web browser. Our idea was to make a really fast browser, capable of running on limited hardware, keeping in mind... Read more
Vivaldi 1.9.818.44 - An advanced browser...
Vivaldi is a browser for our friends. In 1994, two programmers started working on a web browser. Our idea was to make a really fast browser, capable of running on limited hardware, keeping in mind... Read more
Skim 1.4.29 - PDF reader and note-taker...
Skim is a PDF reader and note-taker for OS X. It is designed to help you read and annotate scientific papers in PDF, but is also great for viewing any PDF file. Skim includes many features and has a... Read more
1Password 6.7.1 - Powerful password mana...
1Password is a password manager that uniquely brings you both security and convenience. It is the only program that provides anti-phishing protection and goes beyond password management by adding Web... Read more
FontExplorer X Pro 6.0.2 - Font manageme...
FontExplorer X Pro is optimized for professional use; it's the solution that gives you the power you need to manage all your fonts. Now you can more easily manage, activate and organize your... Read more

Latest Forum Discussions

See All

Fire Emblem Heroes event announces new m...
As reported yesterday, Nintendo was gearing up a live press event for their popular mobile game,Fire Emblem Heroes. While the stream revealed a lot of new things, the event was entirely in Japanese. Luckily we have a rundown of what was announced... | Read more »
Best games we played this week
Another week, another slate of new mobile games. Although there weren't as many big name releases as last week, there were plenty of unique video game titles that came out that's sure to keep you interested over the weekend. Everything from classic... | Read more »
Olli by Tinrocket (Photography)
Olli by Tinrocket 1.0 Device: iOS iPhone Category: Photography Price: $2.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: Get drawn in with Olli by TinrocketOlli instantly turns your everyday moments into hand-drawn art and animations. • Watch... | Read more »
Penarium (Games)
Penarium 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $1.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: | Read more »
Fire Emblem Heroes is way more profitabl...
Profits for Nintendo's mobile game Fire Emblem Heroes are apparently impressive enough to beat out other Nintendo titles likeSuper Mario Run, despite having 10 times fewer downloads. [Read more] | Read more »
Classic series Robot Unicorn Attack 3 no...
The classic Adult Swim browser game, Robot Unicorn Attack, branched off into a series of popular mobile games. Now, the latest entry into the series, Robot Unicorn Attack 3, is available for iOS and Android mobile devices. [Read more] | Read more »
Sudoku Sweeper (Games)
Sudoku Sweeper 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $2.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: A minimalist mashup of Minesweeper and Sudoku. Logic puzzle perfection. Every row, column and zone contains a bomb and one of... | Read more »
Under Leaves (Games)
Under Leaves 1.0.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $1.99, Version: 1.0.0 (iTunes) Description: Journey into the forest, the jungle or the depths of the deep blue sea. Find chestnuts for the pigs, a caterpillar for the... | Read more »
Ninja Pizza Girl (Games)
Ninja Pizza Girl 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $2.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: In the not-so-distant future, rampart traffic congestion has resulted in only one way to deliver pizzas across town in thirty... | Read more »
SCRAP (Games)
SCRAP 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $2.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: That day, for no apparent reason, SCRAP decided to wake up and run. He had to, because his activation was a mistake the "Factory" could... | Read more »

Price Scanner via MacPrices.net

15-inch 2.7GHz Space Gray Touch Bar MacBook P...
B&H Photo has the 15″ 2.7GHz Space Gray Touch Bar MacBook Pro in stock today and on sale for $2599…$200 off MSRP. Shipping is free, and B&H charges NY & NJ sales tax only: - 15″ 2.7GHz... Read more
13-inch 2.9GHz/256GB Space Gray Touch Bar Mac...
B&H Photo has the 13″ 2.9GHz/256GB Space Gray Touch Bar MacBook Pro in stock today and on sale for $150 off MSRP including free shipping plus NY & NJ sales tax only: - 13″ 2.9GHz/256GB Touch... Read more
21-inch iMacs on sale for up to $151 off MSRP
B&H Photo has 21″ iMacs on sale for up to $151 off MSRP, each including free shipping plus NY sales tax only: - 21″ 3.1GHz iMac 4K: $1348 $151 off MSRP - 21″ 2.8GHz iMac: $1199.99 $100 off MSRP... Read more
Weekend deal: Up to $420 off new MacBook Pros...
Apple has Certified Refurbished 2016 15″ and 13″ MacBook Pros available for $230 to $420 off original MSRP. An Apple one-year warranty is included with each model, and shipping is free: - 15″ 2.6GHz... Read more
Price drop: 15-inch 2.2GHz Retina MacBook Pro...
Amazon has dropped their price on 15″ 2.2GHz Retina MacBook Pros (MJLQ2LL/A) to $1709.99 including free shipping. Their price is $290 off MSRP for this model. Note that stock may sell out quickly at... Read more
2.8GHz Mac mini on sale for $899, save $100
B&H Photo has the 2.8GHz Mac mini (model number MGEQ2LL/A) on sale for $899 including free shipping plus NY & NJ sales tax only. Their price is $100 off MSRP. Read more
Check Apple prices on any device with the iTr...
MacPrices is proud to offer readers a free iOS app (iPhones, iPads, & iPod touch) and Android app (Google Play and Amazon App Store) called iTracx, which allows you to glance at today’s lowest... Read more
New System Clock for macOS by B-Eng Now Avail...
Fehraltorf, Switzerland based B-Eng has announced the release and immediate availability of System Clock, the company’s new system monitor and information app developed exclusively for macOS. System... Read more
DEVONtechnologies Celebrates 15th Anniversary...
DEVONtechnologies celebrates its 15th company anniversary with a 30% discount on all its software products from May 1st through 5th, 2017. In spring 2002, DEVONtechnologies opened its website and... Read more
WaterField Designs Invites Customers to Help...
San Francisco based WaterField Designs invites customers and air travelers to participate in developing the next generation in-flight travel case, the Air Porter. Frustrated with limited legroom,... Read more

Jobs Board

*Apple* OS X Server Administrator (Active Se...
** Apple OS X Server Administrator \(Active Secret Clearance\)** **Description** Come be a part of a top notch team, apply today\!\! Tuva TUVA provides turnkey Read more
*Apple* Mac Computer Technician - GeekHampto...
…complex computer issues over the phone and in person? GeekHampton, Long Island's Apple Premium Service Provider, is looking for you! Come work with our crew Read more
Best Buy *Apple* Computing Master - Best Bu...
**501846BR** **Job Title:** Best Buy Apple Computing Master **Location Number:** 001126-South Bay Center-Store **Job Description:** **What does a Best Buy Apple Read more
Consultant or Sr. Consultant, *Apple* Allia...
…improve our business and your clients will be heard.Project Manager, Apple AllianceLocation:San Francisco preferred, open to other locationsLevel:Consultant or Sr. Read more
*Apple* Mac Computer Technician - GeekHampto...
…complex computer issues over the phone and in person? GeekHampton, Long Island's Apple Premium Service Provider, is looking for you! Come work with our crew Read more
All contents are Copyright 1984-2011 by Xplain Corporation. All rights reserved. Theme designed by Icreon.