TweetFollow Us on Twitter

Sep 96 Viewpoint
Volume Number:12
Issue Number:9
Column Tag:Viewpoint

Viewpoint

By Will Iverson

This issue marks the first of my tenure as Editor-in-Chief of MacTech Magazine. Some of you may recognize me from my earlier role as Symantec’s Macintosh Developer Relations Manager. I am excited to be at the helm of the magazine, and look forward to its growth over the next year. Write me at editor-in-chief@mactech.com with your ideas.

First, a brief comment about Apple Computer (leaving to others the lengthy non-technical dissertations on “what Apple should do”). Suffice it to say that the times may be a-changing, but that just makes for more excitement. Less than a year ago, Sun had a mixed future, and Java was barely on the horizon. Some were even wondering if the Power Macintosh might spell the end of Sun! Today Sun and Java are Well, I think you get the point. The great thing about this industry is that both success and failure are fickle.

Overall, there’s reason to be bullish. The Macintosh development tools market has never been stronger. There are more tools out there than ever before, and more people are learning to program. This is where the magazine comes in - we intend to expand coverage to meet the needs of this burgeoning market. One important piece of this is to challenge the ever-increasing marketing which inevitably comes with a healthy market. Who really is fastest, provides the best results?

Another component is the expansion of our Web site to form the new MacTech NOW. A problem with traditional print is the relatively long lag between timely news and the appearance of the information in print. We’ve been online for over a year, with over 1500 pages of back issues and online documentation. Now you can look to http://www.mactech.com/ for breaking news in the Macintosh Developer Tools community as well.

Mac OS 8, OpenDoc, SOM and Java

Pop quiz - what do Mac OS 8, OpenDoc, SOM and Java have in common? Give up? The futures of all four are tied together in a fundamental, albeit confusing, way.

A fundamental problem with the current implementation of object-oriented languages is the lack of a common calling mechanism - there is no easy way to mix and match pieces of object-oriented code. The most common place you run into this is trying to mix C++ libraries from two different compiler vendors in your project. For that matter, even C++ code compiled under different versions of the same compiler usually won’t mix. This makes life for third-party library vendors very difficult, as they must maintain potentially dozens of different versions of their libraries. It also makes it very difficult for languages other than C++ (such as Smalltalk or Prograph) to make inroads into mainstream community.

There are two solutions. The easy but limited route is to develop a C++ accepted binary interface, or ABI. There are variants, but generally this model takes C++ as gospel for how object-orientation works and provides a relatively direct mapping. All compilers would then support this standard. This doesn’t work across languages, and leads to annoyances like the pascal keyword in C. This is more or less the route Microsoft has taken with Windows.

The hard but robust solution is SOM. SOM (System Object Model) was developed by IBM, and in typical IBM fashion it is very robust, very powerful, and a royal pain to use.

The Macintosh Way

The only company which can actually present and enforce such standards is Apple. Apple has decided on SOM as a standard, and we are already seeing this technology in OpenDoc. SOM will provide (among other things) the foundation on which the Mac OS 8 Appearance Manager is built. In addition, SOM libraries will finally allow us to share code between different tools.

SOM finally allows us to dispense with talking protocols, and to get on with generating content - in this case, code. There is a caveat, however. There are two ways to access SOM. The nasty way requires learning a new language and writing special .IDL header files, which are then mangled by an intermediate tool which actually generates the proper .h files. The easy way is something called Direct to SOM. (Do not confuse Direct to SOM with DSOM, which stands for Distributed SOM and is beyond the scope of this text.)

With Direct to SOM, you essentially keep working in C++ as normal, and things just work. The compiler is responsible for generating the proper code. This is also the problem with Direct to SOM - it basically involves rewriting the compiler. Metrowerks announced at MacHack that Direct To SOM was a principal component of CW10, and Apple has also announced Direct To SOM support in MrC. If your tool vendor doesn’t support Direct to SOM, write and encourage them to do so.

So what does this have to do with Java and OpenDoc? OpenDoc suffers a critical flaw: a single misbehaved part can take down an entire document. Java, on the other hand, suffers from a lack of any structured, well-designed component architecture. At WWDC, Apple demonstrated a Java-based OpenDoc part which included access to native code and other neat things, like automatic persistence. The best part: it was roughly a page of code, a fraction of what it would have been in C++.

 

Community Search:
MacTech Search:

Software Updates via MacUpdate

Adium 1.5.10.3 - Popular instant messagi...
Adium is a fast and free instant messaging client which supports AIM, ICQ, Jabber, MSN, Yahoo!, Google Talk, Yahoo! Japan, Bonjour, Gadu-Gadu, Novell Groupwise, SIP/SIMPLE (Text), and Lotus Sametime... Read more
CleanMyMac 3.8.1 - $39.95
CleanMyMac makes space for the things you love. Sporting a range of ingenious new features, CleanMyMac lets you safely and intelligently scan and clean your entire system, delete large, unused files... Read more
BusyCal 3.1.7 - Powerful calendar app wi...
BusyCal is an award-winning desktop calendar that combines personal productivity features for individuals with powerful calendar sharing capabilities for families and workgroups. Its unique features... Read more
Lyn 1.8.9 - Lightweight image browser an...
Lyn is a fast, lightweight image browser and viewer designed for photographers, graphic artists, and Web designers. Featuring an extremely versatile and aesthetically pleasing interface, it delivers... Read more
Tweetbot 2.5 - 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
Monolingual 1.7.8 - Remove unwanted OS X...
Monolingual is a program for removing unnecesary language resources from OS X, in order to reclaim several hundred megabytes of disk space. If you use your computer in only one (human) language, you... Read more
Dash 4.0.3 - Instant search and offline...
Dash is an API documentation browser and code snippet manager. Dash helps you store snippets of code, as well as instantly search and browse documentation for almost any API you might use (for a full... Read more
Posterino 3.3.6 - Create posters, collag...
Posterino offers enhanced customization and flexibility including a variety of new, stylish templates featuring grids of identical or odd-sized image boxes. You can customize the size and shape of... Read more
Apple Numbers 4.1.1 - Apple's sprea...
With Apple Numbers, sophisticated spreadsheets are just the start. The whole sheet is your canvas. Just add dramatic interactive charts, tables, and images that paint a revealing picture of your data... Read more
Apple Pages 6.1.1 - Apple's word pr...
Apple Pages is a powerful word processor that gives you everything you need to create documents that look beautiful. And read beautifully. It lets you work seamlessly between Mac and iOS devices, and... Read more

Latest Forum Discussions

See All

Die With Glory (Games)
Die With Glory 1.2.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $2.99, Version: 1.2.0 (iTunes) Description: Die with Glory is an epic adventure game where your goal is to die in glorious fashion. You must help Sigurd, a brave old... | Read more »
Get Ike in the new Fire Emblem: Heroes u...
One of the most popular Fire Emblem characters is finally available in a new update to Nintendo'sFire Emblem: Heroes. [Read more] | Read more »
Die With Glory in a new viking adventure...
If you're a fan of classic adventure games you'll do well to pick upDie With Glory, the gorgeous new title from Cloud Castle inc. Die With Glory updatesthe gameplay of the same kind of adventure classics such asMonkey Island for modern, mobile... | Read more »
Get up to speed with everything you need...
In case you haven’t heard, MU Origin just got a colossal new update with new all-server events, battle modes, and systems making their way to the land of MU. Here’s a handy guide to everything you need to know about the latest content. [Read... | Read more »
Minimalist puzzle game, Cuts, free on iO...
If you're looking for a gorgeous puzzle experience on iOS devices, developer Gamebra.in's aesthetically interesting puzzler, Cuts, is discounted to free on the iOS App Store right now. [Read more] | Read more »
Anime tactical RPG, War of Crown, comes...
If you're looking for another tactical RPG fix to go alongside your Fire Emblem Heroes campaigns check out Gamevil's newest, anime-inspired tactics RPG, War of Crown, which comes out tomorrow. [Read more] | Read more »
Fantasy MMORPG MU Origin adds new modes,...
MU Origin, Webzen’s highly popular fantasy MMORPG is getting ready to shake things up for the second time this year, as a new update makes its way to the Google Play and App Store from today. Introducing new systems, modes, and events, the land of... | Read more »
Blizzard is looking to hire a mobile dev...
A new thread on the popular video game rumor forum, NeoGAF, uncovered an interesting job listing over at Blizzard Entertainment. It appears the studio behindStarCraft, World of WarCraft, Hearthstone,andOverwatch is looking to bring on a new hire... | Read more »
Legend of Zelda meets Cooking Mama in ne...
Dungeon Chef is what happens when you mix the RPG elements (and style) of a Legend of Zelda game, with cooking elements. Although, now that The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild also has cookingelements, so maybe the gameplay is not so novel.... | Read more »
ChordFlow (Music)
ChordFlow 1.0.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Music Price: $6.99, Version: 1.0.0 (iTunes) Description: ChordFlow is a chord sequencer with a unique 4-track polyphonic arpeggiator, extensive chord library, MIDI out and Ableton Link... | Read more »

Price Scanner via MacPrices.net

Digital Paper Tablet Offers Distraction Free...
I typically spend 8-10 hours a day gazing at the screens in my laptops and iPad, as tools of my livelihood, I don’t as a rule use electronic devices for pleasure reading. I subscribe to a daily... Read more
“Today at Apple” Bringing New Educational Ses...
Apple has announced plans to launch dozens of new educational sessions next month in all 495 Apple Stores ranging in topics from photo and video to music, coding, art and design, and more. The hands-... Read more
Smart Finance Free Comprehensive Personal Fin...
Moscow-based indie developer, Alexander Survillo has announced the release and immediate availability of Smart Finance: Personal Finance, Budget & Money 1.1.4, an update to his comprehensive... Read more
12-inch 1.1GHz Retina MacBooks on sale for $1...
B&H has 12″ 1.1GHz Retina MacBooks on sale for $100 off MSRP. Shipping is free, and B&H charges NY & NJ sales tax only: - 12″ 1.1GHz Space Gray Retina MacBook: $1199.99 $100 off MSRP - 12... Read more
13-inch 2.7GHz Retina MacBook Pro on sale for...
B&H Photo has the 13″ 2.7GHz Retina MacBook Pro on sale for $130 off MSRP. Shipping is free, and B&H charges NY & NJ tax only: - 13″ 2.7GHz/128GB Retina MacBook Pro (MF839LL/A): $1169 $... Read more
15-inch 2.2GHz Retina MacBook Pros available...
B&H Photo has the 15″ 2.2GHz Retina MacBook Pro available for $200 off MSRP including free shipping plus NY & NJ sales tax only: - 15″ 2.2GHz Retina MacBook Pro (MJLQ2LL/A): $1799.99 $200 off... Read more
13-inch Touch Bar MacBook Pros on sale for up...
B&H Photo has the 2016 Apple 13″ Touch Bar MacBook Pros in stock today for up to $150 off MSRP. Shipping is free, and B&H charges NY & NJ sales tax only: - 13″ 2.9GHz/512GB Touch Bar... Read more
Apple refurbished Apple TVs available for up...
Apple has Certified Refurbished 32GB and 64GB Apple TVs available for up to $30 off the cost of new models. Apple’s standard one-year warranty is included with each model, and shipping is free: -... Read more
12-inch 1.2GHz Retina MacBooks on sale for up...
B&H has 12″ 1.2GHz Retina MacBooks on sale for up to $160 off MSRP. Shipping is free, and B&H charges NY sales tax only: - 12″ 1.2GHz Space Gray Retina MacBook: $1439.99 $160 off MSRP - 12″ 1... Read more
HyperX Ships Pulsefire FPS Gaming Mouse, Winn...
Your reporter is a longtime fan of gaming mice for general purpose coomnputing use, finding them typically superior in comfort and performance. HyperX, a division of Kingston Technology Company, Inc... Read more

Jobs Board

*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
Product Manager, *Apple* Platforms - Viacom...
…Product Manager to drive the execution of its iOS and AppleTV experiences. The Apple Platform Product Manager will be a leader in our Agile/Scrum environment and Read more
Geek Squad *Apple* Master Consultation Agen...
**500662BR** **Job Title:** Geek Squad Apple Master Consultation Agent **Location Number:** 000286-Canton-Store **Job Description:** **What does a Geek Squad Read more
*Apple* Mobile Master - Best Buy (United Sta...
**500710BR** **Job Title:** Apple Mobile Master **Location Number:** 000279-North Olmsted-Store **Job Description:** **What does a Best Buy Apple Mobile Master Read more
*Apple* Engineering Specialist - CSRA (Unite...
Apple Engineering Specialist All times are in Eastern Daylight Time Requisition ID Job Locations US DC Washington DC Posted Date Category Engineering Sciences Read more
All contents are Copyright 1984-2011 by Xplain Corporation. All rights reserved. Theme designed by Icreon.