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

Kill the Plumber World guide - How to ou...
You already know how to hop around like Mario, but do you know how to defeat him? Those are your marching orders in Kill the Plumber, and it's not always as easy as it looks. Here are some tips to get you started. This is not a seasoned platform... | Read more »
Planar Conquest (Games)
Planar Conquest 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $12.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: IMPORTANT: Planar Conquest is compatible only with iPad 3 & newer devices, iPhone 5 & newer. It’s NOT compatible with... | Read more »
We talk to Cheetah Mobile about its plan...
Piano Tiles 2 is a fast-paced rhythm action high score chaser out now on iOS and Android. You have to tap a series of black tiles that appear on the screen in time to the music, being careful not to accidentally hit anywhere else. Do that and it's... | Read more »
Ultimate Briefcase guide - How to dodge...
Ultimate Briefcase is a simple but tricky game that’s highly dependent on how fast you can react. We can still offer you a few tips and tricks on how to survive though. Guess what? That’s exactly what we’re going to do now. Take it easy [Read more... | Read more »
SoundPrism Link Edition (Music)
SoundPrism Link Edition 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Music Price: $4.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: ***Introductory price for a the first few days after launch - if you're reading this, get it while it's fresh out of... | Read more »
Pre-register now for hack and slasher An...
Fincon, which won Facebook's Studio to Watch award in 2015, has announced that pre-registration is now open for the massive 3.0 update for its award-winning hack and slasher Angel Stone. Angel Stone is a post-apocalyptic action RPG in which the... | Read more »
Google has named Piano Tiles 2 as its Be...
Google has named Piano Tiles 2, which launched back in August last year, as its Best Game of 2015. If you're yet to play it, now's a good time to do so. It's a sequel to the hugely successful viral hit Piano Tiles (Don't Tap the White Tile) but... | Read more »
Sago Mini Trucks and Diggers (Education...
Sago Mini Trucks and Diggers 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Education Price: $2.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: Drive a dump truck with Rosie the hamster! Pile dirt high and dig deep in the ground with diggers, cranes and... | Read more »
Day One 2 Journal + Notes (Lifestyle)
Day One 2 Journal + Notes 2.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Lifestyle Price: $4.99, Version: 2.0 (iTunes) Description: **New Release Sale—50% off for a Limited Time!** Capture life as you live it. From once-in-a-lifetime events to... | Read more »
Pull My Tongue (Games)
Pull My Tongue 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: Meet Greg. A hungry little chameleon that loves popcorn! Help feed Greg by pulling his tongue through a series of fun puzzles... | Read more »

Price Scanner via MacPrices.net

Watch Super Bowl 50 Live On Your iPad For Fre...
Watch Super Bowl 50 LIVE on the CBS Sports app for iPad and Apple TV. Get the app and then tune in Sunday, February 7, 2016 at 6:30 PM ET to catch every moment of the big game. The CBS Sports app is... Read more
Two-thirds Of All Smart Watches Shipped In 20...
Apple dominated the smart watch market in 2015, accounting for over 12 million units and two-thirds of all shipments according to Canalys market research analysts’ estimates. Samsung returned to... Read more
12-inch 1.2GHz Retina MacBooks on sale for up...
B&H Photo has 12″ 1.2GHz Retina MacBooks on sale for $180 off MSRP. Shipping is free, and B&H charges NY tax only: - 12″ 1.2GHz Gray Retina MacBook: $1499 $100 off MSRP - 12″ 1.2GHz Silver... Read more
12-inch 1.1GHz Gray Retina MacBook on sale fo...
B&H Photo has the 12″ 1.1GHz Gray Retina MacBook on sale for $1199 including free shipping plus NY sales tax only. Their price is $100 off MSRP, and it’s the lowest price available for this model... Read more
Apple now offering full line of Certified Ref...
Apple now has a full line of 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... Read more
Free GUI Speedometer – The Ultimate Digital D...
Miami, Florida based RMKapps has announced the official release of GUI Speedometer 1.0, their digital dashboard display developed for iOS devices. GUI Speedometer allows users to track their precise... Read more
FutureCalc: Ergonomic iOS Calculator App For...
London, United Kingdom based Independent software developer and entrepreneur, Hovik Melikyan has announced the release and immediate availability of FutureCalc 1.0, his new ergonomic calculator app... Read more
Save up to $600 with Apple refurbished Mac Pr...
Apple has Certified Refurbished Mac Pros available for up to $600 off the cost of new models. An Apple one-year warranty is included with each Mac Pro, and shipping is free. The following... Read more
Apple’s ‘Next Big Thing’ Drought And Mature M...
Apple’s first fiscal quarter 2016 financial results yielded both good news and bad news. In the positive column, Apple made another boatload of money, reporting record quarterly revenue of $75.9... Read more
Lifeproof NUUD For iPhone 6S, iPhone 6S Plus...
LifeProof NUUD was designed to defy more than the elements. It defies logic itself by combining legendary four-proof protection and screenless technology to survive mountaintop missions and seaside... Read more

Jobs Board

*Apple* Macintosh OSX - Net2Source Inc. (Uni...
…: * Work Authorization : * Contact Number(Best time to reach you) : Skills : Apple Macintosh OSX Location : New York, New York. Duartion : 6+ Months The associate would Read more
Computer Operations Technician ll - *Apple*...
# Web Announcement** Apple Technical Liaison**The George Mason University, Information Technology Services (ITS), Technology Support Services, Desktop Support Read more
Restaurant Manager - Apple Gilroy Inc./Apple...
…in every aspect of daily operation. WHY YOU'LL LIKE IT: You'll be the Big Apple . You'll solve problems. You'll get to show your ability to handle the stress and Read more
Simply Mac *Apple* Specialist- Service Repa...
Simply Mac is the largest premier retailer of Apple products in the nation. In order to support our growing customer base, we are currently looking for a driven Read more
*Apple* IOS / OS X Level 3 Support Analyst -...
Needed: Apple Support Analyst (OS X / IOS); 50k-60k/yr +…Horizon Technology Partners has an immediate opening for an Apple IOS / OS X LEVEL 3 Support Analyst. Your Read more
All contents are Copyright 1984-2011 by Xplain Corporation. All rights reserved. Theme designed by Icreon.