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

Suitcase Fusion 6 17.3.0 - Font manageme...
Suitcase Fusion 6 is the creative professional's font manager. Every professional font manager should deliver the basics: spectacular previews, powerful search tools, and efficient font organization... Read more
Nisus Writer Pro 2.1.2 - Multilingual wo...
Nisus Writer Pro is a powerful multilingual word processor, similar to its entry level products, but brings new features such as table of contents, indexing, bookmarks, widow and orphan control,... Read more
calibre 2.40.0 - Complete e-book library...
Calibre is a complete e-book library manager. Organize your collection, convert your books to multiple formats, and sync with all of your devices. Let Calibre be your multi-tasking digital librarian... Read more
Vivaldi - 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
OmniPlan 3.0 - Robust project management...
With OmniPlan, you can create logical, manageable project plans with Gantt charts, schedules, summaries, milestones, and critical paths. Break down the tasks needed to make your project a success,... Read more
Yummy FTP 1.11 - FTP/SFTP/FTPS client fo...
Yummy FTP is an FTP + SFTP + FTPS file transfer client which focuses on speed, reliability and productivity. Whether you need to transfer a few files or a few thousand, schedule automatic backups, or... Read more
Tweetbot 2.1 - Popular Twitter client. (...
Tweetbot is a full-featured OS X Twitter client with a lot of personality. Whether it's the meticulously-crafted interface, sounds and animation, or features like multiple timelines and column views... Read more
MacPilot 8.0 - Enable over 1,200 hidden...
MacPilot gives you the power of UNIX and the simplicity of Macintosh, which means a phenomenal amount of untapped power in your hands! Use MacPilot to unlock over 1,200 features, and access them all... Read more
Typinator 6.7 - Speedy and reliable text...
Typinator turbo-charges your typing productivity. Type a little. Typinator does the rest. We've all faced projects that require repetitive typing tasks. With Typinator, you can store commonly used... Read more
Adobe Lightroom 6.2 - Import, develop, a...
Adobe Lightroom is available as part of Adobe Creative Cloud for as little as $9.99/month bundled with Photoshop CC as part of the photography package. Lightroom 6 is also available for purchase as a... Read more

Balloony Land offers a fresh twist on th...
Balloony Land by Palringo offers a fresh twist on the match three genre and is out now on iOS and Android. First-off, you'll be popping balloons instead of crushing candy and the balloons will float up and fill the empty spaces instead of dropping... | Read more »
Graphic - vector illustration and design...
Graphic - vector illustration and design 1.0 Device: iOS iPhone Category: Productivity Price: $2.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: Autodesk Graphic is a powerful full-featured vector drawing and illustration application right in... | Read more »
Sago Mini Babies (Education)
Sago Mini Babies 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Education Price: $2.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: Introducing the Sago Mini babies. Boys and girls love caring for these adorable characters. Feed Robin her favorite mush... | Read more »
PAUSE - Relaxation at your fingertip (H...
PAUSE - Relaxation at your fingertip 1.1 Device: iOS iPhone Category: Healthcare & Fitness Price: $1.99, Version: 1.1 (iTunes) Description: | Read more »
Super Sharp (Games)
Super Sharp 1.1 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $1.99, Version: 1.1 (iTunes) Description: Your finger has never been so sharp! Cut with skill to complete the 120 ingenious physics levels of Super Sharp and become a cut... | Read more »
Assembly - Graphic design for everyone...
Assembly - Graphic design for everyone 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Photography Price: $2.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: Assembly is the easiest most powerful design tool on the App Store. Create anything you can... | Read more »
Dub Dash (Games)
Dub Dash 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $1.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: ARE YOU READY FOR THE ULTIMATE CHALLENGE? UNIQUE SYMBIOSIS OF MUSIC AND GRAPHICS | Read more »
Leave Me Alone (Games)
Leave Me Alone 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $1.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: 33% off launch sale!!! Somewhere between the 1980s and 1990s there exists a world that never was. A world of skatepunks,... | Read more »
YAMGUN (Games)
YAMGUN 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $2.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: The invasion has begun! Protect the walls of the citadel against waves of enemies! But watch out, you will soon run out of ammo...... | Read more »
Chesh (Games)
Chesh 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $2.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: It’s like chess, only not at all. ***40% off for a limited time to celebrate our launch!*** Chesh is a game of skill, strategy, luck,... | Read more »

Price Scanner via

TP-LINK Next-Gen Routers Support a Large Numb...
TP-LINK, specialists in consumer and business networking products, have announced the availability of Archer C2600, the company’s next-generation router featuring wireless AC, multi-user MIMO, and 4-... Read more
Apple’s Education discount saves up to $300 o...
Purchase a new Mac or iPad using Apple’s Education Store and take up to $300 off MSRP. All teachers, students, and staff of any educational institution qualify for the discount. Shipping is free, and... Read more
Save up to $350 with Apple refurbished iMacs
Apple has Certified Refurbished iMacs available for up to $350 off the cost of new models. Apple’s one-year warranty is standard, and shipping is free: - 27″ 3.5GHz 5K iMac – $1949 $350 off MSRP - 27... Read more
Mac Pros on sale for up to $300 off MSRP
B&H Photo has Mac Pros on sale for up to $300 off MSRP. Shipping is free, and B&H charges sales tax in NY only: - 3.7GHz 4-core Mac Pro: $2818.99, $181 off MSRP - 3.5GHz 6-core Mac Pro: $3699... Read more
5K iMacs on sale for up to $150 off MSRP, fre...
B&H Photo has the 27″ 3.3GHz 5K iMac on sale for $1899.99 including free shipping plus NY tax only. Their price is $100 off MSRP. They have the 27″ 3.5GHz 5K iMac on sale for $2149, $150 off MSRP... Read more
Twelve South Redesigns BookArc For Today’s Sm...
Twelve South has announced a redesigned version of their very first product, BookArc for MacBook. Tailored specifically for the newest generation of MacBooks, BookArc holds the new, smaller Apple... Read more
Phone 6s Tips & Tricks – Tips Book For iP...
Poole, United Kingdom based Tap Guides Ltd. has announced the release and immediate availability of iPhone 6s Tips & Tricks, an in-depth eBook available in the iBookstore that’s priced just $2.99... Read more
Apple refurbished 2014 13-inch Retina MacBook...
Apple has Certified Refurbished 2014 13″ Retina MacBook Pros available for up to $400 off original MSRP, starting at $979. An Apple one-year warranty is included with each model, and shipping is free... Read more
13-inch 2.5GHz MacBook Pro on sale for $994,...
Best Buy has the 13″ 2.5GHz MacBook Pro available for $994.99 on their online store. Choose free shipping or free instant local store pickup (if available). Their price is $105 off MSRP. Price valid... Read more
Is The iPad Pro Really A Serious Laptop Repla...
Probably not, at least for productive professionals and other power users. Steve Jobs declared that we’d entered the “post-PC Era” with the advent of the original iPad in 2010, a phrase we don’t hear... Read more

Jobs Board

*Apple* Desktop Analyst - KDS Staffing (Unit...
…work with some of the brightest engineers. Job Description Title: Apple Desktop AnalystPosition Type: Full-time PermanentLocation: White Plains, NYHot Points:Depth of Read more
*Apple* Retail Online, Customer Experience R...
**Job Summary** Apple Retail's Online Store sells Apple products to customers around the world. In addition to selling Apple products with unique services such Read more
Frameworks Engineer, *Apple* Watch - Apple...
**Job Summary** Join the team that is shaping the future of software development for Apple Watch! As a software engineer on the Apple Watch Frameworks team you will Read more
Senior Manager, Global Direct Marketing *App...
**Job Summary** Apple Retail is looking for an experienced Direct Marketing Leader to join its Marketing team. This position will take a leadership role in creating Read more
*Apple* Online Store Expansion - Apple (Unit...
**Job Summary** The Online Apple Store is seeking a person to lead its expansion into new countries. Based in Cupertino, CA, this person will develop and maintain an Read more
All contents are Copyright 1984-2011 by Xplain Corporation. All rights reserved. Theme designed by Icreon.