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May 97 Newsbits

Volume Number: 13 (1997)
Issue Number: 5
Column Tag: Newsbits


By Jessica Courtney

Open Door Networks Ships HomeDoor 2.0

Major new upgrade to industry-pioneering product

Open Door Networks, Inc. announces the shipment of HomeDoor 2.0, a major new release of the product that started the Macintosh multi-domain Internet services market. HomeDoor 2.0, which works both conventionally and as a plug-in for WebSTAR and compatible servers, provides Webmasters with unprecedented levels of flexibility in setting up multi-domain Web servers using the Macintosh. HomeDoor remains the only Macintosh product to offer "any browser, any server" compatibility, and with the 2.0 release it becomes the only product to provide Webmasters with the option of implementing either or both of the two current mechanisms for providing multi-domain Web service.

HomeDoor 1.0 pioneered the multi-domain Internet services market on the Macintosh by providing Mac Webmasters with the ability to serve Web pages for multiple independent domains from a single Macintosh server. Apple Computer quickly recognized HomeDoor's value by bundling the product with its Apple Internet Server Solution soon after HomeDoor's introduction. Open Door continued to grow the multi-domain services market through the introduction of its LogDoor and MailDoor products, providing single server, real-time monitoring/logging and e-mail on a domain-by-domain basis. Most recently, Open Door introduced its Multi-domain Webmaster Suite, an integrated set of multi-domain products and accessories.

With the evolution of the World Wide Web and its underlying protocol, the HyperText Transfer Protocol (HTTP), a new technique for providing multi-domain Web service has recently become available. HTTP 1.1 includes a "host" field, which enables an alternate way of providing multi-domain Web service. The host field is sent by most current Web browsers, but is not supported by some old browsers, including Netscape Navigator version 1.1 and many America Online browsers. Nonetheless, in certain situations, "host field mapping" does provide advantages over the "any browser, any server" technique pioneered by HomeDoor 1.0 (see To provide for maximum flexibility, HomeDoor 2.0 offers the Webmaster a choice between techniques on a domain-by-domain basis, enabling Webmasters to "mix and match" as desired.

HomeDoor 2.0 also includes a completely redesigned Admin application. Written from the ground up as a full-fledged Macintosh app, HomeDoor Admin 2.0 integrates both multi-domain Web service techniques through a single, consistent user interface. HomeDoor 2.0 also incorporates new features, such as the ability to export configuration data to a tab-delimited text file.

All Open Door products, including HomeDoor 2.0 can be ordered securely from

Apprentice 6 is Now Available!

Weighing in at well over 600 megabytes, you'll find hundreds of high-quality and up-to-date source code examples. And all of the source code is either new or updated for this release! Included are some of the coolest new code, designed specifically to demonstrate the latest techniques, and all of the code is in C/C++, or Pascal, using CodeWarrior, Symantec, and MPW. You'll find complete working examples of applications, games, control panels, extensions, utilities, and more.

If you are new to programming, the included "frameworks" will help tremendously. These are complete program shells that take care of many of the tedious tasks associated with Mac programming, including menus, standard dialogs, file handling, and the like.

Looking for libraries or routines designed around a specific task? Apprentice contains dozens of libraries and classes (including a complete suite of PowerPlant and Think Class Libraries), from graphics and sounds to menu management and TCP/IP communications. Many of the libraries include complete source code. If you are just looking for a small routine to do a specific thing, you'll find hundreds of useful code "snippets", small routines that perform specific programming tasks.

Programming languages interest you? There are over a dozen complete programming environments to suit any taste. Basic, Clean, Eiffel, Lisp, ML, Modula-2, Python, and Tcl-Tk are only a few of the languages included. Most come complete with documentation and programming examples, and some include complete source code to the language itself.

Roaster Technologies Licenses Object Design's PSE for Java to Integrate with Roaster Release 3

Roaster Technologies today announced that Roaster Release 3 will include Object Design's ObjectStore PSE for Java. Roaster, the pioneering Integrated Development Environment for Java on the Macintosh, has added significant functionality by tightly integrating ObjectStore PSE into its new release.

Written entirely in Java, ObjectStore PSE for Java is a high-speed, small-footprint database that provides portable, transparent Java object persistence. This integration will enable Roaster users to access data from their Java applications easily, without having to map Java objects to sequential files or tables. When combined with the ability of Roaster Release 3 to create stand-alone Java applications, the possibilities afforded Roaster owners by this integration are limitless.

Developers who use Roaster will have the added bonus that Netscape has licensed PSE for Java for inclusion in their upcoming Communicator. Therefore, Roaster developers will be able to write applets that allow users of Communicator to leverage the distributed computing environment of the Web.

In addition to licensing ObjectStore PSE for Java, Roaster Technologies will port Object Design's ObjectStore PSE Pro for Java to the Macintosh and resell it to Roaster customers. ObjectStore PSE Pro for Java adds advanced transaction-level recovery and support for multiple databases from a single application. Roaster's edition of ObjectStore PSE Pro for Java will be available soon for electronic purchase from a secure commerce server available on the Roaster Website at

Leverage the Power of your AppleScript and 4th Dimension Applications with ScriptAgent.

ScriptAgent embeds AppleScript into the 4D procedural language, which enables 4D to communicate bi-directionally with virtually any AppleScriptable application.

A user can enter a customer code into a 4D layout, press Tab, and instantly return the matching customer record into the layout from an outside source (like MacP&L, an AppleScriptable accounting application). Or build a complete publishing workflow solution using QuarkXpress, 4D, and your favorite scriptable graphics cataloging application.

ScriptAgent works great with the new 4D Version 6, and will provide the developer with massive background processing power using the new EXECUTE ON SERVER command.

ScriptAgent includes a complete users guide and tutorial in Acrobat format, tutorial sample application, and the AppleScript external for 4D. Upgrades are free of charge, as is Internet technical support.

NeoLogic Augments Capabilities and Accessibility of Object Database Technology

NeoAccess 5.0 brings added performance, capabilities and full support for the latest releases of all major compilers and development frameworks

NeoLogic Systems, Inc., a leading provider of object-oriented database technology, announced the release of NeoAccess 5.0, a significant enhancement to the company's cross-platform, object database management system. Featuring added support for large databases (over four gigabytes) and expanded schema evolution support, NeoAccess 5.0 simplifies the development of sophisticated applications for a broad range of professional developers. NeoAccess 5.0 includes full support for the latest releases of all major compilers and application frameworks. It ships with full C++ source code to provide maximum flexibility for both commercial and corporate developers. NeoAccess 5.0 is available today for Windows, Macintosh and UNIX platforms.

NeoAccess reduces development time and costs for commercial and corporate application developers by offering fast storage and management of database objects in an easy-to-use class library.

NeoAccess supports all major compilers and application frameworks including Borland's OWL, Microsoft's Foundation Classes and MetroWerks' Powerplant.

Applications built with NeoAccess take advantage of its powerful caching system which keeps objects in memory, even after being disposed of by the application.

NeoAccess has been used as the backend database infrastructure for such applications as ClickWorks by Scitex Corporation, NetObjects' Fusion by NetObjects and the mail and newsgroup components in Communicator by Netscape.

A free evaluation copy of NeoAccess 5.0 sample applications and source code can be obtained via the NeoLogic corporate web site at

VOODOO 1.8 integrates version control into CodeWarrior

New release 1.8 of the popular version control tool VOODOO offers scriptability and integration into Metrowerks' CodeWarrior IDE.

UNI SOFTWARE PLUS today announced that the new version 1.8 of its popular version control tool VOODOO will be released soon. In order to bring the new features to the customers as soon as possible UNI SOFTWARE PLUS further announced the immediate availability of a full functional free pre-release of VOODOO 1.8.

In version 1.8 the delta generation process has been improved again and is much faster. Besides that, the new version supports even the comparison of files of different types.

Right now VOODOO can display the differences of text files, MS Word files and resource files using different helper applications. Other file types will follow.

VOODOO Engine For OEMs

In addition to the full version control tool UNI SOFTWARE PLUS will soon release a "VOODOO Engine" which is a server application with an AppleEvent interface that can be used to integrate version control functionality in other applications.

PreFab's Player 1.1 - Essential Scripting Utility Gets Even Better

PreFab Software, Inc. announced that version 1.1 of Player is now shipping. Player adds verbs to AppleScript and Frontier to query and control non-scriptable applications and control panels. The 1.1 release offers new verbs, enhanced options, revised documentation and new example scripts.

PreFab Player 1.1 includes a feature for automating Adobe Photoshop. It is the only product on the market that can control Photoshop dialog items by name. Scripts can now "check" or "uncheck" a checkbox and call Player's standard query verbs, e.g. to verify that a certain item is enabled or execute a difference sequence depending on which radio button is selected. Photoshop 4.0 takes a preliminary step towards automation with built-in "Actions." Player is still required for the many real-world tasks that require the flexibility of scripting. Over the coming weeks, PreFab will highlight examples and customer success stories on its new website at

I am using Photoshop 4.0 and had great expectations when I heard about the action palette. Unfortunately, it only records about half the activity that I am interested in. Very top level. It provides no mechanism for plugging in custom values or detailed control of the dialog boxes. It was so incomplete that I backed away from it and I am using PreFab Player for all control. We now process thousands of images per month, each anywhere from 50 to 90 megs in size.

--Mark R. Lucas, Technical Officer, ImageLinks, Inc.,

One of the most common uses of Player is to process a whole folder full of files, opening each in turn and saving in a different format to a new folder. Player 1.1 speeds this process with a new verb to directly set the folder for the standard file dialog. Other user-requested speed enhancements include the ability to set multiple checkboxes with a single verb and a fast way to list every menu item.

I was faced with the daunting task of updating approximately 1400 Illustrator files to the most current version. Since the folks at Adobe can't quite deliver a scriptable version of their product, I needed Player to get the job done. Great product!

--Patrice VanAcker, Simon & Schuster

Player was designed by script writers, for script writers. It offers the flexibility required to handle diverse tasks while remaining simple, focused, and easy to learn. Player 1.1 smooths the path even more, with over 60 example scripts, new libraries for Photoshop and Illustrator containing dozens of useful subroutines, a revised manual (in HTML format) and a new tech support FAQ (frequently asked questions).

I was pleased by the level of control afforded by Player. I am not a regular Applescript programmer and I had never before used Player. Despite this, I was able to get a working solution implemented quickly due to Player's ease of use. I tried QuicKeys before Player and was disappointed by the lack of true AppleScript support. In my implementation, QuicKeys would not remain stable and inevitably hung my system. Also, QuicKeys did not allow me to get dialog values -- information that was required for accurate document conversion.

--Sam Russo, Group Montenegro, Inc.

Although many new applications include some support for scripting, key features are left untouched, beyond the reach of AppleScript and Frontier. Player fills the gap; the 1.1 release streamlines common scriptings tasks. The "choose menu" verb now includes an option to continue trying until it is successful, e.g. to wait until a progress window disappears with no extra effort by the script writer. Player 1.1 continues to take advantage of features unique to the Frontier environment, including enhanced "short" and "long" menus with improved support for inserting verbs into the outline-based script editor.

I have written literally hundreds of scripts, using Player in 25% to 30% of them to do things that simply couldn't have been done without it. There are so many apps out there that just don't lend themselves well to scripting, or the particular things that you want to automate aren't possible. Player allows me to add that functionality. Thanks for a great product and for terrific tech support.

--Cliff Nowack, Microsystems Analyst, Harte-Hanks Communications

Player goes beyond just controlling an application, it can query the interface to determine the name of the frontmost window, status of a checkbox -- or even the text of an error message. With the release of 1.1, Player can resolve text that is inserted by an application when posting a dialog (in addition to text that is stored with the dialog resource). The query features are vital for in-house and commercial developers who need a reliable solution for software testing & quality assurance.

We've been using PreFab Player in our Macintosh test automation effort as an alternative to Apple's Virtual User. Player's ability to run on a single machine (as opposed to Virtual User's networking requirement) was key to our initial purchase. Since then, Player's robustness on all of the applications we test and its flexibility has shown us that it's possible to use a Player/AppleScript solution for all of our Mac test automation needs.

--Marlon Jackson, Manager, Test Tools Development, Electronics for Imaging

A free 30-day trial version of Player can be downloaded from the web; a disk is available on request.

I'm convinced! I downloaded the demo at midnight and by 1 AM had solved all my problems -- thanks to Player.

--Bernard Harte, 100111,2511 on CompuServe

Player continues to retail for $95; the price includes one license for Player Runtime. Additional Runtime licenses are $25 each, with volume discounts available. Free updaters to Player 1.1 and Player Runtime 1.1 are available on PreFab's website, Alternatively, a disk is available for a nominal shipping charge (free on request for customers who purchased within the past 90 days).

PreFab Software, Inc. was founded to meet the emerging demand for scripting tools, automation utilities and "pre-fabricated software components". Player(tm) 1.0 shipped in August 1994. Text Machine(tm), scheduled for release in Q2 1997, brings the power of pattern matching search and replace to the desktop.

PreFab Player, Player Runtime, PreFab Text Machine, "The simple way to handle complex text", PreFab Software and the PreFab logo are trademarks of PreFab Software, Inc. All other product and company names are trademarks or registered trademarks of their respective holders.


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