Volume Number: 14 (1998)
Issue Number: 9
Column Tag: Tools Of The Trade
Resorcerer: What's New in 2.2
by John Schettino
Edited by the MacTech Magazine Editorial Staff
Reviewing the latest version of Resorcerer
Resorcerer is a professional quality resource editor that uses a GUI. It distinguishes itself from Apple's own free ResEdit in both power and safety. I'll toss in ease of use, to boot. It's better than Rez because it has a traditional Mac GUI. If you're doing professional development, and you spend a lot of time creating and editing resources, you owe it to yourself to take a close look at Resorcerer.
You can find a MacTech review of Resorcerer in Volume 10, Number 4, or at www.mactech.com/articles/mactech/Vol.10/10.04/Resorcerer-2/index.html.
The 2.2 version, recently release by Mathemaesthetics, Inc., builds on the current product by adding:
- a single instruction PPC disassembler,
- an Alias editor, support for Appearance in the Dialog editor,
- a grab bag of other new features, and
- a host of bug fixes.
The 2.2 version is available as a free upgrade from version 2.0, off the Mathemaesthetics web site at http://www.mathemaesthetics.com/.
As an incremental version upgrade, there are just a few new items in 2.2. Some point to future directions, while others just round out the already impressive feature set from 2.0.
The Value Converter now supports a preview of what you'll see in a later version of Resorcerer. You enter the opcode (as hex, octal, unsigned, or any other format) into the Value Converter, and you get back the disassembled PPC instruction, an English expansion of the opcode mnemonic, and then a nice description of what the instruction is actually doing. The information is based on that published in "The PowerPC Architecture - A Specification for a New Family of RISC Microprocessors." As it stands, its purely a novelty item, unless you have a burning desire to know that opcode 0x5403300 is mnemonic extlwi.
Figure 1. Value Converter Showing PPC disassembly.
What it shows is that, coming soon to a new release, will be a decent PPC disassembler that will also be able to help explain what the opcodes are doing.
AKA Alias Editor
The Alias editor lets you view, and update alis resources. It uses the Alias Manager to get and update its information, since the alis resource is officially undocumented. Apparently it doesn't get what it expects from System 7.5.5, since it does not seem to display the correct information for me. I know, I really should upgrade, but I was a little surprised that Resorcerer didn't work as advertised here (for me, on an older yet not archaic version of Mac OS) or at least detect that it couldn't work, and display an error message! Here's what Resorcerer could tell me about my alis resources:
Figure 2. Not Quite An Alias Editor For System 7.5.5.
The Appearance of a Dialog Editor
The Dialog editor shows Appearance Controls during layout, and does a better job of sizing those controls when you specify the Use Best Size command. At least that's what it claims to do. Again, I'm hampered by lacking Mac OS 8.0 or later, and this feature doesn't work without it.
I think this points out a minor drawback of the approach taken by Resorcerer: Specifically because it is a GUI based resource editor, and it uses the system services to provide information (for aliases and appearance controls, at least) you cannot use it to edit Mac OS 8.x specific resources on a pre-Mac OS 8.x machine. It's not a major drawback, but it is something I hadn't originally considered. Given the improved safety and accuracy using system services provides, its a reasonable tradeoff. I'm off to upgrade my OS!
Something For Everyone
There are a host of minor updates in this release. The File window's resource name display has been expanded (it now knows around 100 classes). For you CodeWarriors, it supports the Cmd-D to discard and Cmd-S to save keyboard commands when it displays Save/Discard alerts. Resorcerer already supported taking a screen shot and inserting it into a new PICT resource. Now you can press the w key to resize the screen shot area to match the entire frontmost window. That's handy.
There's now a way for you to edit TMPL resources, and the ability to edit System 8.2 icon suite resources. For those of you who use AppleScript in the development process, Resorcerer adds the compare newer file command:
tell application "Resorcerer® 2.2 Demo"
set theDiff to compare newer file "VersionA.rsrc" older file "VersionB.rsrc" with return differences
There is a list of 28 bug fixes in the 2.2 release notes. You can be sure that if they're willing to admit to 22 bugs, a couple more were also quietly exterminated under the cover of darkness.
Resorcerer retains its position as a well supported and maintained resource editor for professional programmers. If you prefer using a GUI editor, Resorcerer has so many obvious advantages over ResEdit that it is well worth the cost. The 2.2 release offers modest new features, a fair number of bug fixes, and a very attractive upgrade cost of $0.
If you already have version 2.0, browse on over to their web site and get the free 2.2 update. If you're new to Resorcerer, then download the 2.2 demo version. It's a completely functional version, with the save command disabled. See what you've been missing.
Resorcerer is still $256 (get it? 256 - or $0x100 in hexadecimal dollars - I love a company with a sense of humor!) and comes with a 60 day money-back guarantee.
P.O. Box 298
Boulder, CO 80306-0298 USA
Phone: (303) 440-0707
Fax: (303) 440-0504
John Schettino is an author and Principal Member of the Technical Staff at GTE Laboratories, Inc. He is the co-author of the books BASIC for the Newton: Programming for the Newton with NS BASIC, and AppleScript Applications: Building Applications with FaceSpan and AppleScript, both published by AP Professional. His new book. CORBA 2 For Dummies,, published by IDG books, is due out in September. He is also a contributing editor for the Handheld Systems Journal where he writes about Windows CE programming. You can reach him via http://members.aol.com/pdcjohns.