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

Is there cross-platform play in slither....
So you've sunken plenty of hours into crawling around in slither.io on your iPhone or iPad. You've got your stories of tragedy and triumph, the times you coiled four snakes at one time balanced out by the others when you had a length of more than... | Read more »
Rodeo Stampede guide to running a better...
In Rodeo Stampede, honing your skills so you can jump from animal to animal and outrun the herd as long as possible is only half the fun. Once you've tamed a few animals, you can bring them home with you. [Read more] | Read more »
VoxSyn (Music)
VoxSyn 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Music Price: $6.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: VoxSyn turns your voice into the most flexible vocal sound generator ever. Instantly following even subtle modulations of pitch and... | Read more »
Catch Battleplans on Google Play from Ju...
Real-time strategy title Battleplans is due for release on Google Play on June 30th, following its release for iOS systems last month. With its simple interface and pretty graphics, the crowd-pleaser brings a formerly overlooked genre out for the... | Read more »
iDoyle: The interactive Adventures of Sh...
iDoyle: The interactive Adventures of Sherlock Holmes - A Scandal in Bohemia 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Books Price: $1.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: Special Release Price $1.99 (Normally $3.99) | Read more »
Five popular free apps to help you slim...
Thanks to retail and advertising, we're used to thinking one season ahead. Here we are just a week into the summer and we're conditioned to start thinking about the fall. [Read more] | Read more »
How to ride longer and tame more animals...
It's hard to accurately describe Rodeo Stampede to people who haven't seen it yet. It's like if someone took Crossy Roadand Disco Zoo and put them in a blender, yet with a unique game mechanic that's still simple and fun for anyone. [Read more] | Read more »
Teeny Titans - A Teen Titans Go! Figure...
Teeny Titans - A Teen Titans Go! Figure Battling Game 1.0.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $3.99, Version: 1.0.0 (iTunes) Description: Teeny Titans, GO! Join Robin for a figure battling RPG of epic proportions! TEENY... | Read more »
NinjAwesome: Tips and tricks to be a mor...
Sorry about that headline, but I'm going to go ahead and assume that GameResort would not have named its game NinjAwesome without expecting some of that. It is, in fact, pretty awesome the way it combines an endless runner and old school arcade... | Read more »
Into Mirror (Games)
Into Mirror 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $1.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: "Is all that we see or seem, but a dream within a dream?"- Edgar Allan Poe New game by Lemon Jam Studio, the team behind Pursuit... | Read more »

Price Scanner via MacPrices.net

15-inch Retina MacBook Pros on sale for $200-...
B&H Photo has 15″ Retina MacBook Pros on sale for up to $210 off MSRP. Shipping is free, and B&H charges NY tax only: - 15″ 2.2GHz Retina MacBook Pro: $1799.99 $200 off MSRP - 15″ 2.5GHz... Read more
Mac minis on sale for up to $100 off MSRP
B&H Photo has Mac minis on sale for up to $100 off MSRP including free shipping plus NY sales tax only: - 1.4GHz Mac mini: $449 $50 off MSRP - 2.6GHz Mac mini: $649 $50 off MSRP - 2.8GHz Mac mini... Read more
Clearance 2015 13-inch MacBook Airs available...
B&H Photo has clearance 2015 13″ MacBook Airs available for $300 off original MSRP. Shipping is free, and B&H charges NY sales tax only: - 13″ 1.6GHz/4GB/128GB MacBook Air (MJVE2LL/A): $799.... Read more
Apple refurbished Mac minis available for up...
Apple has Certified Refurbished Mac minis available starting at $419. Apple’s one-year warranty is included with each mini, and shipping is free: - 1.4GHz Mac mini: $419 $80 off MSRP - 2.6GHz Mac... Read more
ABBYY TextGrabber: 1,000,000 Installs in 5 Da...
ABBYY, an international OCR technologies provider, has announced that their image-to-text application TextGrabber, got installed 1,000,000 times in just five days while being featured by the App... Read more
New SkinIt Waterproof Case For iPhone 6
With its impact and waterproof design, the Skinit Waterproof case provides security and protection to guarantee your phone will get you through even the most demanding outdoor conditions. The impact-... Read more
iMacs on sale for up to $150 off MSRP
B&H Photo has 21″ and 27″ iMacs on sale for up to $150 off MSRP including free shipping plus NY sales tax only: - 27″ 3.3GHz iMac 5K: $2181.11 $118 off MSRP - 27″ 3.2GHz/1TB Fusion iMac 5K: $1949... Read more
12-inch 1.1GHz Retina MacBooks on sale for $5...
B&H Photo has 2016 12″ 1.1GHz/256GB Retina MacBooks on sale for up to $50 off MSRP. Shipping is free, and B&H charges NY tax only: - 12″ 1.1GHz Space Gray Retina MacBook: $1249 $50 off MSRP... Read more
WWDC Announcements Revisited Still Underwhelm...
I was disappointed that no new MacBook hardware was announced at this year’s all-software World Wide Developer’s Conference. Not even a hint about what’s in the development pipeline. Of course, we... Read more
Twelve South Compass 2 iPad Stand Now Availab...
Twelve South has updated its most popular iPad stand, Compass 2, with the introduction of two new colors — Gold and Rose Gold. These new color options n perfectly complement the new Rose Gold iPad... Read more

Jobs Board

Music Marketing Lead, iTunes & *Apple*...
…Music Marketing Lead is responsible for developing robust marketing campaigns and programs for Apple Music and iTunes across the whole of Apple ecosystem. This Read more
*Apple* Valley Medical Clinic is Hiring - AP...
Apple Valley Medical Clinic is Hiring! Apple Valley Medical Clinic is an independently owned practice operating a Family Medicine Clinic, a 24/7 Urgent Care, Read more
*Apple* New Products Testers Needed - Apple...
…we therefore look forward to put out products to quality test for durability. Apple leads the digital music revolution with its iPods and iTunes online store, Read more
*Apple* Solutions Consultant - APPLE (United...
Job Summary As an Apple Solutions Consultant, you'll be the link between our future customers and our products. You'll showcase your entrepreneurial spirit as you 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
All contents are Copyright 1984-2011 by Xplain Corporation. All rights reserved. Theme designed by Icreon.