TweetFollow Us on Twitter

Sep 98 Online

Volume Number: 14 (1998)
Issue Number: 9
Column Tag: MacTech Online

The Little Framework that Could

by Jeff Clites, online@mactech.com

Getting Started with C++

Code reuse was one of the key motivating forces behind the development of object-oriented programming. It's a simple idea, really - come up with a way to organize code so that conceptually separate pieces are independent and self-contained. Then, since these pieces don't rely on other parts of an application, they can be reused in multiple projects without modification.

The obvious next step in this evolution is the development of application frameworks, and the idea here is simple, too: most Macintosh applications, for instance, have a lot of code in common - they initialize managers, track mouse clicks in menus, and use scroll bars. This is where a framework comes in - it collects commonly-used code and organizes it so that you can develop an application by focusing on the parts which make your application distinctive while ignoring the mundane. This frees you from the burden of writing the same code over and over, and provides you with well-debugged code to do the dirty work. This all sounds great - so you may be asking, "what's the problem?"

MacZoop

Beginning C++ programmers on the Mac face a bit of a Catch-22. On the one hand, they need to be able to test out small stretches of code while they are learning, but there really is a lot of work to be done just to get a small application up and running. So, they could really benefit from a framework - it would relieve them from writing support code which they don't yet feel confident writing, and would allow them to be pretty sure that if something doesn't work then it is a problem with their code and not, say, that they forgot to initialize TextEdit. But, frameworks such as Apple's MacApp and Metrowerks' PowerPlant were not designed with the beginner in mind - they were designed for industrial-strength commercial application development. (For instance, the front end to the Mac version of Netscape Navigator is PowerPlant-based.) Despite excellent documentation, they can be overwhelming, especially for someone who is just learning what inheritance and polymorphism are all about.

This is where MacZoop comes in. It is a small (well, maybe medium-sized) Macintosh application framework generously developed and supported by Graham Cox, and it was specifically designed to be a learning tool for those just starting out with C++. And, in the spirit of enriching the Macintosh community, it's free.

MacZoop!
http://www.maczoop.com
MacApp
http://developer.apple.com/dev/tools/macapp/index.html
Metrowerks (PowerPlant)
http://www.metrowerks.com/

In fact, without any additional code MacZoop builds into a working application. The application doesn't do much, but it has File and Edit menus with the usual menu items, and you can open new (empty) windows which are movable, zoomable, and resizable, and they tile nicely across the screen, just as you would expect from a Mac application. This may not sound like much, but any Mac programmer knows how much effort it takes to set up such things, and how hard it can be for a beginner. This lets them build their code in top of something which already works.

Graham has included a full bag of goodies to help you along. There is an electronic manual, just shy of 200 pages, which uses color more effectively than any other technical documentation I have seen. It provides a compact introduction to the key concept of C++ and of programming the Macintosh in general, and really touches on most subjects that a first-time Mac programmer needs to have under his belt. Also, there is a small demo application showing off many of its main features, and a full-featured paint program which serves as a more extensive example. (Both, of course, come with full source code, and the manual has detailed instructions for compiling the framework using CodeWarrior.)

Harnessing the Power of Resources

MacZoop sports a wealth of very clever features which make it useful beyond its role as a learning tool, and it warrants a look from more experienced programmers as well. For example, if you create a window with one of the traditional floating-window WDEFs, it floats - it stays above all other windows in your application, and hides itself when your application goes into the background - you don't have to worry about the details. It also takes full advantage of ResEdit as an interface editor; for instance, it provides two separate methods (one based on TCL and one on MacApp) for associating commands with menu items, so that after setting up your resources you can forget about your menus and think in terms of commands that your classes understand. ResEdit is also used to create enhanced dialogs, with icon lists or scrolling text boxes installed as easily as any other control.

A few other niceties round out the package, and are worthy of special mention. The framework comes with its own small set of container classes and avoids any use of the STL. This seems to violate the spirit of code reuse, since it duplicates functionality already available as part of the language. But it is actually a clever move - it introduces the concept of containers and templates without requiring a full understanding of the ins and outs of the STL, and it avoids the code bloat often associated with it. Finally, there are many utility classes which make things like creating custom icons or displaying JPEGs a snap.

Extra Toppings

Well, I hope I've given you a sense of what MacZoop has to offer to beginners and to experts alike - there are a multitude of features that I didn't get to mention. In addition to the core distribution, there are a few must-have items contributed by other authors. M. Uli Kusterer has written an extensive set of pane classes specifically for MacZoop, which allow you to organize elements of your visual interface in a natural, hierarchical manner. Uli is also developing Resurrection, a free resource editor for use with MacZoop, written (of course) using MacZoop itself. Finally, Joe Strout has a smaller set of pane classes, which work with MacZoop and with his own framework Moof, which is much smaller than 'Zoop and which would also be well-suited to a beginner.

Uli's MacZoop Classes
http://www.weblayout.com/witness/ZoopClasses.htm
Uli's Resurrection
http://www.weblayout.com/witness/Resurrection.htm
Joe's MacDev Page (Pane Classes, Moof, etc.)
http://www.strout.net/info/coding/macdev/intro.html

The Future

I encourage you to give MacZoop a look, or to point it out to your friends who are just beginning to tinker with programming on the Mac. Professional programmers will at some point want to learn about larger frameworks, but MacZoop will introduce you to concepts that you can take with you when you move on, and it's a rich source of code snippets and example of how to do things the "right" way. This is an especially exciting time to be a Mac developer, with the advent of Mac OS X and ever-faster hardware, and I hope that MacZoop and the work of other generous folk can help open the door to non-programmers wishing to try their hand. Graham intends to make MacZoop fully Mac OS X compliant as soon as the API is finalized (support for Appearance and Navigation Services is in place now), and he has already begun work on a gaming framework built around MacZoop. It should all be a lot of fun.

These and piles of other links are available from the MacTech Online web pages at www.mactech.com/online/.

 

Community Search:
MacTech Search:

Software Updates via MacUpdate

Apple macOS Sierra 10.12.3 - The latest...
With Apple macOS Sierra, Siri makes its debut on Mac, with new features designed just for the desktop. Your Mac works with iCloud and your Apple devices in smart new ways, and intelligent... Read more
Lyn 1.8.5 - 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
iClock Pro 3.4.7 - Customize your menuba...
iClock Pro is a menu bar replacement clock for Apple's default clock. iClock Pro is an update, total rewrite and improvement to the popular iClock. Have the day, date and time in different fonts and... Read more
Opera 42.0.2393.137 - High-performance W...
Opera is a fast and secure browser trusted by millions of users. With the intuitive interface, Speed Dial and visual bookmarks for organizing favorite sites, news feature with fresh, relevant content... Read more
Apple Security Update 2016-003 Supplemen...
Apple Security Update is recommended for all users and improves the security of OS X. For detailed information about the security content of this update, please visit: http://support.apple.com/kb/... Read more
Apple iOS 10.2.1 - The latest version of...
iOS 10 is the biggest release of iOS ever. A massive update to Messages brings the power of the App Store to your conversations and makes messaging more personal than ever. Find your route with... Read more
BetterTouchTool 1.992 - Customize Multi-...
BetterTouchTool adds many new, fully customizable gestures to the Magic Mouse, Multi-Touch MacBook trackpad, and Magic Trackpad. These gestures are customizable: Magic Mouse: Pinch in / out (zoom... Read more
Viber 6.5.5 - Send messages and make cal...
Viber lets you send free messages and make free calls to other Viber users, on any device and network, in any country! Viber syncs your contacts, messages and call history with your mobile device, so... Read more
Lyn 1.8.5 - 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
Apple iOS 10.2.1 - The latest version of...
iOS 10 is the biggest release of iOS ever. A massive update to Messages brings the power of the App Store to your conversations and makes messaging more personal than ever. Find your route with... Read more

Clash Royale gets some serious balance u...
| Read more »
Ironhide Game Studio prepares for a busy...
Kingdom Rush breathed fresh life into the tired tower defense genre way back in 2012. The game was a robust challenge that somehow managed to lift you up, rather than leaving you feeling crushed and hopeless. The rich array of unit types and... | Read more »
Collect pets and sling arrows in Arcane...
Mobile gaming is a crowded market, but regular updates are a good way to keep us attention-short players keen. The brand new content in Arcane Online is a prime example. Published by Japanese developer Gala, Arcane Online is a fantasy MMO that... | Read more »
Super Mario Run dashes onto Android in M...
Super Mario Run was one of the biggest mobile launches in 2016 before it was met with a lukewarm response by many. While the game itself plays a treat, it's pretty hard to swallow the steep price for the full game. With that said, Android users... | Read more »
WarFriends Beginner's Guide: How to...
Chillingo's new game, WarFriends, is finally available world wide, and so far it's a refreshing change from common mobile game trends. The game's a mix of tower defense, third person shooter, and collectible card game. There's a lot to unpack here... | Read more »
Super Gridland (Entertainment)
Super Gridland 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Entertainment Price: $1.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: Match. Build. Survive. "exquisitely tuned" - Rock Paper Shotgun No in-app purches, and no ads! | Read more »
Red's Kingdom (Games)
Red's Kingdom 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $4.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: Mad King Mac has kidnapped your father and stolen your golden nut! Solve puzzles and battle goons as you explore and battle your... | Read more »
Turbo League Guide: How to tame the cont...
| Read more »
Fire Emblem: Heroes coming to Google Pla...
Nintendo gave us our first look at Fire Emblem: Heroes, the upcoming mobile Fire Emblem game the company hinted at last year. Revealed at the Fire Emblem Direct event held today, the game will condense the series' tactical RPG combat into bite-... | Read more »
ReSlice (Music)
ReSlice 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Music Price: $9.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: Audio Slice Machine Slice your audio samples with ReSlice and create flexible musical atoms which can be triggered by MIDI notes or... | Read more »

Price Scanner via MacPrices.net

Deal alert! 13-inch 2.0GHz MacBook Pros for $...
B&H Photo has the new 2016 13″ 2.0GHz non-Touch Bar MacBook Pros in stock today and on sale for $225 off MSRP. Shipping is free, and B&H charges NY sales tax only: - 13″ 2.0GHz MacBook Pro... Read more
Free LibreOffice Portable 5.2.4 Complete Offi...
PortableApps.com and The Document Foundation have announce the release of LibreOffice Portable 5.2.4. LibreOffice Portable is an Open Source full-featured office suite — including a word processor,... Read more
Apple Planning Three New Tablets For 2017 – D...
Digitimes’ Rebecca Kuo and Joseph Tsai say that unnamed insider sources report Apple having three new tablets in the pipeline for 2017 release: a 9.7-inch model with a friendly price range, a new mid... Read more
Roundup of 15-inch Touch Bar MacBook Pro sale...
B&H Photo has the new 2016 15″ Apple Touch Bar MacBook Pros in stock today and on sale for up to $150 off MSRP. Shipping is free, and B&H charges NY sales tax only: - 15″ 2.7GHz Touch Bar... Read more
Apple refurbished iPad Pros available for up...
Apple has Certified Refurbished 9″ and 12″ Apple iPad Pros available for up to $160 off the cost of new iPads. An Apple one-year warranty is included with each model, and shipping is free: - 32GB 9″... Read more
16GB iPad Air 2, Apple refurbished, available...
Apple has Certified Refurbished 16GB iPad Air 2s available for $319 including free shipping. A standard Apple one-year is included. Their price is $60 off original MSRP for this model. Read more
Apple iMacs on sale for up to $120 off MSRP
B&H Photo has 21″ and 27″ Apple iMacs on sale for up to $120 off MSRP, each including free shipping plus NY sales tax only: - 27″ 3.3GHz iMac 5K: $2199 $100 off MSRP - 27″ 3.2GHz/1TB Fusion iMac... 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
Save up to $350 with Apple Certified Refurbis...
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
2015 12-inch Retina MacBooks, Apple refurbish...
Apple has Certified Refurbished 2015 12″ Retina MacBooks available for up to $410 off original MSRP. Apple will include a standard one-year warranty with each MacBook, and shipping is free. The... Read more

Jobs Board

*Apple* & PC Desktop Support Technician...
Apple & PC Desktop Support Technician job in Manhattan, NY Introduction: We have immediate job openings for several Desktop Support Technicians with one of our most Read more
*Apple* & PC Desktop Support Technician...
Apple & PC Desktop Support Technician job in Stamford, CT We have immediate job openings for several Desktop Support Technicians with one of our most well-known Read more
*Apple* Retail - Multiple Positions - Apple,...
Job Description: Sales Specialist - Retail Customer Service and Sales Transform Apple Store visitors into loyal Apple customers. When customers enter the store, Read more
*Apple* Site Security Manager - Apple (Unite...
# Apple Site Security Manager Job Number: 54692472 Culver City, California, United States Posted: Jan. 19, 2017 Weekly Hours: 40.00 **Job Summary** The Apple Read more
*Apple* macOS Systems Integration Administra...
…most exceptional support available in the industry. SCI is seeking an Junior Apple macOS systems integration administrator that will be responsible for providing Read more
All contents are Copyright 1984-2011 by Xplain Corporation. All rights reserved. Theme designed by Icreon.