TweetFollow Us on Twitter

OPENSTEP Porting to Rhapsody

Volume Number: 13 (1997)
Issue Number: 7
Column Tag: Rhapsody

Porting to Rhapsody PPC from OPENSTEP

by Andrew Stone, Chief Executive Haquer, Stone Design Corp.

Want your OPENSTEP application to run on more than one platform? Apple is making it easy

In late 1995, when the future for NeXT Software, Inc. seemed rather bleak, the first beta version of OPENSTEP 4.0 shipped to a few faithful developers. Faced with doing Java development in incomplete environments, I decided to yet again recommit to OPENSTEP and port our best selling drawing and design program, Create, which contains the Stone Libraries upon which our other apps are based. In an effort to save others from the pitfalls I fell into, I produced a porting guide http://www.stone.com/porting/ documenting the likely gotchas of the process of porting from NEXTSTEP to OPENSTEP.

It took me one month to port this 100,000 line code base to a state of linking and limping. After 8 months of intense debugging and working back and forth between the NT and MACH teams at NeXT and the SOLARIS OPENSTEP team at SUN Microsystems, Create 4.0 rolled into beta, and was the first app to ship for OPENSTEP in the fall of 1996. Proving the claim of true cross platform compatibility, it ran on Windows 95 and Window NT, SOLARIS, and OPENSTEP MACH for Motorola, Intel and SPARC architectures. Since the development and porting tools were just being debugged for the first time and my OPENSTEP knowledge was still nascent, the process was lengthier than a port from NEXTSTEP to OPENSTEP would be today. We shipped, and were underwhelmed by the lack of response from a beleaguered set of OPENSTEP users.

Apple acquiring NeXT on December 20th, 1996 changed all of that, proving once again that reality is far stranger than fiction. The Wheel turned full circle and the renegade ex-Mac developers were back home!

'Tis true that perseverance furthers, because 2 weeks prior to the 1997 WWDC on Cinco de Mayo, I was invited to NeXT Software's headquarters in Redwood City to build Create for the PowerPC. Unlike any previous visit to NeXT where I was watched with hawk-eye and not allowed to go anywhere unescorted, I was given full reign of the second floor of engineering, replete with my own office and access to that legendary espresso maker.

Two binaries were needed for the show: one for Rhapsody running on Intel, the other for Rhapsody running on PowerPC. The app was also built to showcase Yellow Box running on Windows with the Windows look and feel. This build compiled without warning, the app launched and hung. It turns out that I had a vestigial line of code from NEXTSTEP 1.0 circa 1989:

[menu display];

This was a workaround to get the menu to redraw after dynamically adding menu items. However, in the brave new world of Rhapsody, one cannot be sure what a menu is. Normally a menu is a subclass of NSView, which contains a display method. Under Rhapsody, Apple's drop-down menu is not a subclass of NSView, and does not recognize the display method.

The engineers at Apple/NeXT, in the midst of going through a total reorganization, had ported the kernel and compiler tools to PPC within a matter of months. They had built a cross-compiler to build PPC binaries from Intel machines, and once again, Create compiled cleanly. The PPC kernel was only a few days old, still dripping with amniotic fluid, when the first commercial app just came up and ran. As key team member Matt Watson is oft heard saying, "It just works!" Shouts of joy from the team could be heard throughout the building.

True to the promise of Rhapsody, no coding changes were required for the PPC/Yellow Box port, a few NeXT Interface Builder files (nibs) had to be adjusted to be more Mac-like -- mainly Create's main menu had to have its menu items reordered and renamed slightly to feel like a Mac. To solve this problem, a new interface loading paradigm was introduced: if a nib file has a platform suffix, that nib file is loaded instead of the one without a suffix:

NEXTSTEP look as provided by _NEXTSTEP___<NIB_FILE_NAME>-nextstep.nib

Macintosh look as provided by _Macintosh:__<NIB_FILE_NAME>-macintosh.nib

Windows look as provided by _Windows NT/95_<NIB_FILE_NAME>-windows.nib

The Mac and Windows NT/95 menus use a separation marker that you can find on the Menu palette of IB when you set the "Interface Style" in Interface Builder's Preferences (General) to "OPENSTEP for Windows." The separation marker must be disabled in the IB inspector to give it the light gray look. Menu organization and menu item naming should follow the User Interface guidelines of the target platform.

Having taken the time to learn Java and the various development environments from Sun and Symantec over the last couple of years, I can unreservedly say that Rhapsody rocks the house and Java has a lot to implement before it offers the power, elegance and integration of Rhapsody. After this delightful porting experience, I believe that Rhapsody is Write Once -- Runs Right Everywhere.


Andrew Stone, an early HyperTalk developer and co-author of "Tricks of the HyperTalk Masters" emigrated to the NeXT community in 1989, going on to write such NeXT classics as TextArt, Create, DataPhile and 3Dreality.

 

Community Search:
MacTech Search:

Software Updates via MacUpdate

Dr. Panda Racers (Education)
Dr. Panda Racers 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Education Price: $2.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: STEP ON THE GAS, RACE AND WIN!Fasten your seat belts and get ready to race! Speed your way to the finish line while doing... | Read more »
ROMANCING SAGA 2 (Games)
ROMANCING SAGA 2 1.0.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $17.99, Version: 1.0.0 (iTunes) Description: Romancing SaGa 2, originally released only in Japan in 1993, has been completely remastered and now receives its first... | Read more »
WRIO Keyboard (Utilities)
WRIO Keyboard 1.0 Device: iOS iPhone Category: Utilities Price: $2.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: 40% OFF DURING LIMITED INTRODUCTORY OFFER | Read more »
Hatoful Boyfriend (Games)
Hatoful Boyfriend 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $4.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: The hit PC game that everybirdie loves has now migrated to your mobile device! Now you are free to explore the wonders of St... | Read more »
Warp Shift (Games)
Warp Shift 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $2.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: [ CHECK YOUR HARDWARE: Warp Shift does NOT run on iPhone 4, iPad 1 and iPod touch 4G or older devices! It requires at least iOS8... | Read more »
Lifeline: Whiteout (Games)
Lifeline: Whiteout 1.0.2 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $2.99, Version: 1.0.2 (iTunes) Description: Alone in a frozen wasteland with no memory of how he got there, a lost adventurer’s only hope is his last line of... | Read more »
Castles of Mad King Ludwig (Games)
Castles of Mad King Ludwig 1.0.1 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $6.99, Version: 1.0.1 (iTunes) Description: | Read more »
How to command and conquer in Raid HQ
Raid HQ is a satisfyingly deep base building game with over-the-top macho action and explosions. This little free to play bundle gives you a lot to do from managing a squad to building the most powerful base you possibly can. [Read more] | Read more »
How to build a successful civilisation i...
GodFinger 2 grants you godlike powers, leaving you to raise a civilization of followers. In the spirit of games like Black & White, the GodFinger games will see you building bigger and better villages, developing more advanced technology and... | Read more »
How to get all the crabs in Mr Crab 2
Mr. Crab 2 may look like a cutesy platformer for kids, but if you're the kind of person who likes to complete a game 100%, you'll soon realise that it's a tougher than a crustacean's shell. [Read more] | Read more »

Price Scanner via MacPrices.net

Kanex Introduces GoPower USB-C Rechargeable B...
Kanex has announced its GoPower USB-C portable battery for the USB-C MacBook, featuring the new industry standard connector and cable used for connectivity and power. Providing users with a new... Read more
Convertible and Detachable Devices Winning Ov...
According to the latest figures published by International Data Corporation (IDC), Western European shipments of ultraslim convertibles and detachables posted positive growth (44.7%) to account for... Read more
New MacBook Pros And Will MacBook Air Be Upgr...
With my mid-2013 13-inch MacBook Air closing on its third anniversary come November, I’m in system upgrade mode. Actually the Haswell CPU equipped Air is still doing a fine job, but my good wife is... 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
13-inch 2.5GHz MacBook Pro on sale for $999,...
B&H Photo has the 13″ 2.5GHz MacBook Pro on sale for $999 including free shipping plus NY sales tax only. Their price is $100 off MSRP. Read more
Apple refurbished iMacs available for up to $...
Apple has Certified Refurbished 2015 21″ & 27″ iMacs available for up to $350 off MSRP. Apple’s one-year warranty is standard, and shipping is free. The following models are available: - 21″ 3.... Read more
Textkraft Professional Becomes A Mobile Produ...
The new update 4.1 of Textkraft Professional for the iPad comes with many new and updated features that will be particularly of interest to self-publishers of e-books. Highlights include import and... Read more
SnipNotes 2.0 – Intelligent note-taking for i...
Indie software developer Felix Lisczyk has announced the release and immediate availability of SnipNotes 2.0, the next major version of his productivity app for iOS devices and Apple Watch.... Read more
Pitch Clock – The Entrepreneur’s Wingman Laun...
Grand Rapids, Michigan based Skunk Tank has announced the release and immediate availability of Pitch Clock – The Entrepreneur’s Wingman 1.1, the company’s new business app available exclusively on... Read more
13-inch 2.9GHz Retina MacBook Pro on sale for...
B&H Photo has the 13″ 2.9GHz Retina MacBook Pro (model #MF841LL/A) on sale for $1599 including free shipping plus NY tax only. Their price is $200 off MSRP. Amazon also has the 13″ 3.9GHz Retina... Read more

Jobs Board

Editor, *Apple* News - APPLE (United States...
Job Summary The Apple News team is looking for a passionate and knowledgeable editor with experience covering entertainment/pop culture and experience running social Read more
*Apple* Nissan Service Technicians - Apple A...
Apple Automotive is one of the fastest growing dealer...and it shows. Consider making the switch to the Apple Automotive Group today! At Apple Automotive , Read more
ISCS *Apple* ID Site Support Engineer - APP...
…position, we are looking for an individual who has experience supporting customers with Apple ID issues and enjoys this area of support. This person should be Read more
Automotive Sales Consultant - Apple Ford Linc...
…you. The best candidates are smart, technologically savvy and are customer focused. Apple Ford Lincoln Apple Valley is different, because: $30,000 annual salary Read more
*Apple* Support Technician II - Worldventure...
…global, fast growing member based travel company, is currently sourcing for an Apple Support Technician II to be based in our Plano headquarters. WorldVentures is Read more
All contents are Copyright 1984-2011 by Xplain Corporation. All rights reserved. Theme designed by Icreon.