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.

 
AAPL
$101.79
Apple Inc.
+0.21
MSFT
$46.68
Microsoft Corpora
+0.16
GOOG
$589.27
Google Inc.
+4.50

MacTech Search:
Community Search:

Software Updates via MacUpdate

Quicken 2015 2.0.4 - Complete personal f...
Quicken 2015 helps you manage all your personal finances in one place, so you can see where you're spending and where you can save. Quicken automatically categorizes your financial transactions,... Read more
iMazing 1.0 - Complete iOS device manage...
iMazing (formerly DiskAid) is the ultimate iOS device manager with capabilities far beyond what iTunes offers. With iMazing and your iOS device (iPhone, iPad, or iPod), you can: Copy music to and... Read more
Xcode 6.0.1 - Integrated development env...
Apple Xcode is Apple Computer's integrated development environment (IDE) for OS X. The full Xcode package is free to ADC members and includes all the tools you need to create, debug, and optimize... Read more
Apple Safari 7.1 - Apple's Web brow...
Apple Safari in OS X Mavericks brings you all-new ways to find and enjoy the best of the web. It works with iCloud to give you a seamless browsing experience across all your devices. It looks out for... Read more
Delivery Status 6.1.2 - Check delivery s...
Delivery Status displays delivery status of packages for a variety of shipment services. Can't wait for your packages to arrive? Don't waste your time checking the site constantly, just open this all... Read more
Mavericks Cache Cleaner 8.0.9 - Clear ca...
Mavericks Cache Cleaner is an award-winning general purpose tool for OS X. MCC makes system maintenance simple with an easy point-and-click interface to many OS X functions. Novice and expert users... Read more
OneNote 15.2.2 - Free digital notebook f...
OneNote is your very own digital notebook. With OneNote, you can capture that flash of genius, that moment of inspiration, or that list of errands that's too important to forget. Whether you're at... Read more
Apple Configurator 1.6 - Configure and d...
Apple Configurator makes it easy for anyone to mass configure and deploy iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch in a school, business, or institution. Three simple workflows let you prepare new iOS devices... Read more
SpamSieve 2.9.16 - Robust spam filter fo...
SpamSieve is a robust spam filter for major email clients that uses powerful Bayesian spam filtering. SpamSieve understands what your spam looks like in order to block it all, but also learns what... Read more
OS X Server 3.2.1 - For OS X 10.9.5 Mave...
OS X Server is the next generation of Apple's award winning server software. Designed for OS X and iOS devices, OS X Server makes it easy to share files, schedule meetings, synchronize contacts, host... Read more

Latest Forum Discussions

See All

Down Among the Dead Men (Games)
Down Among the Dead Men 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: Avast! Take to the high seas in a fully interactive piratical tale of broadsides and buccaneers. From author Dave... | Read more »
Sling Adds Chromecast Support Through Sl...
Sling Adds Chromecast Support Through Slingplaye​r Mobile Apps Posted by Jessica Fisher on September 18th, 2014 [ permalink ] | Read more »
How to Completely Delete Your iPhone’s C...
The iPhone 6 is out tomorrow, and plenty of people are excited about it. So much so that they’re planning to – or already have – traded in their old iPhone to go towards it. The thing about trading in hardware is it’s very important to make sure... | Read more »
Dragon Quest I Review
Dragon Quest I Review By Andrew Fisher on September 18th, 2014 Our Rating: :: THINE QUEST AWAITETHUniversal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad Its historical significance aside, Dragon Quest 1 is a fun, campy, difficult, thoroughly... | Read more »
It Came From Canada: Overkill 3
Overkill 3 is like every trope of big modern gaming rolled into one. It’s a sequel to an action-packed military shooter. It’s flashy and scripted and flaunts its sophisticated graphics. And it’s a mobile game with a heavy emphasis on in-app... | Read more »
New Modes and Leader Boards in Update fo...
New Modes and Leader Boards in Update for Rules! Posted by Jessica Fisher on September 18th, 2014 [ permalink ] Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad | Read more »
TwistedRun Review
TwistedRun Review By Rob Thomas on September 18th, 2014 Our Rating: :: DON'T TWIST YOUR ANKLE!Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad TwistedRun is kind of like running up a giant curly fry into the sky. Or maybe that was just... | Read more »
Scope Review
Scope Review By Jennifer Allen on September 18th, 2014 Our Rating: :: LOCATION AWAREiPhone App - Designed for the iPhone, compatible with the iPad Want to easily find photos from around the world based on their location? Scope is a... | Read more »
HipstaFox Review
HipstaFox Review By Jordan Minor on September 18th, 2014 Our Rating: :: FANTASTIC MR. FOXUniversal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad HipstaFox is a great single that makes players long for the whole album.   | Read more »
Ninja Raft (Games)
Ninja Raft 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: ** Special Launch Price ** "Ninja Raft is definitely the game to play if you’re into Tower Defense games and want to play something... | Read more »

Price Scanner via MacPrices.net

Save up to $300 on the price of a new Mac wit...
Purchase a new Mac or iPad at The Apple Store for Education and take up to $300 off MSRP. All teachers, students, and staff of any educational institution qualify for the discount. Shipping is free,... Read more
13-inch 2.8GHz Retina MacBook Pro available f...
B&H Photo has the new 2014 13″ 2.8GHz Retina MacBook Pro on sale for $1699.99 including free shipping plus NY sales tax only. They’ll also include free copies of Parallels Desktop and LoJack for... Read more
16GB iPad Air on sale for $449, save $50
Walmart has the 16GB iPad Air WiFi on sale for $449 on their online store for a limited time. Choose free home shipping or free local store pickup. Their price represents a $50 savings over standard... Read more
13-inch 256GB MacBook Air on sale for $1099,...
B&H Photo has the 2014 13″ 1.4GHz 256GB MacBook Air on sale for $1099.99. Shipping is free, and B&H charges NY sales tax only. Their price is $100 off MSRP. Read more
Toshiba Introduces TransMemory ID High-Speed...
Toshiba’s Digital Products Division (DPD), a division of Toshiba America Information Systems, Inc., today introduced the TransMemory ID USB 3.0 Flash Drive, a simpler storage solution for people who... Read more
New iPads and OS X Yosemite Release Coming Oc...
The DailyDot’s Micah Singleton reports that Apple is planning to hold its next product announcement event on Oct. 21, at which it will unveil the iPad Air 2 and iPad mini 3 and release a final build... Read more
Logitech Bluetooth Multi-Device Cross-Platfor...
Logitech has an enviable track record of making some of the best computer keyboards and mice. At least in my estimation, the best freestanding keyboards I’ve ever used have been Logitech units,... Read more
Roundup of Apple refurbished iPad Airs and iP...
Apple is offering Certified Refurbished iPad Airs for up to $140 off MSRP. Apple’s one-year warranty is included with each model, and shipping is free. Stock tends to come and go with some of these... Read more
Sprint offers 16GB iPad mini for $199.99 with...
Sprint is offering 1st generation 16GB iPad minis for $199.99 with a 2-year service agreement. Standard MSRP for this iPad is $429. Their price is the lowest available for this model. Read more
2.5GHz Mac mini remains on sale for $549, sav...
B&H Photo has the 2.5GHz Mac mini on sale for $549.99 including free shipping. That’s $50 off MSRP, and B&H will also include a free copy of Parallels Desktop software. NY sales tax only. Read more

Jobs Board

Project Manager, *Apple* Financial Services...
**Job Summary** Apple Financial Services (AFS) offers consumers, businesses and educational institutions ways to finance Apple purchases. We work with national and Read more
*Apple* Retail - Multiple Positions (US) - A...
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
*Apple* Retail - Multiple Positions (US) - A...
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
*Apple* Retail - Multiple Positions (US) - A...
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
*Apple* Retail - Multiple Positions (US) - A...
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
All contents are Copyright 1984-2011 by Xplain Corporation. All rights reserved. Theme designed by Icreon.