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

Chromium 44.0.2403.125 - Fast and stable...
Chromium is an open-source browser project that aims to build a safer, faster, and more stable way for all Internet users to experience the web. Version 44.0.2403.125: This release contains a number... Read more
iMazing 1.2.2 - Complete iOS device mana...
iMazing (was DiskAid) is the ultimate iOS device manager with capabilities far beyond what iTunes offers. With iMazing and your iOS device (iPhone, iPad, or iPod), you can: Copy music to and from... Read more
Audio Hijack 3.2.0 - Record and enhance...
Audio Hijack (was Audio Hijack Pro) drastically changes the way you use audio on your computer, giving you the freedom to listen to audio when you want and how you want. Record and enhance any audio... Read more
FontExplorer X Pro 5.0.1 - Font manageme...
FontExplorer X Pro is optimized for professional use; it's the solution that gives you the power you need to manage all your fonts. Now you can more easily manage, activate and organize your... Read more
Calcbot 1.0.2 - Intelligent calculator a...
Calcbot is an intelligent calculator and unit converter for the rest of us. Featuring an easy-to-read history tape, expression view, intuitive conversion, and much more! Features History Tape -... Read more
MTR 5.0.0.1 - The Mac's oldest and...
MTR (was MacTheRipper)--the Mac's oldest and smartest DVD-backup app--is now updated to version 5.001 MTR -- the complete toolbox, not a one-trick, point-and-click extractor. MTR is intended for... Read more
LibreOffice 4.4.5.2 - Free, open-source...
LibreOffice is an office suite (word processor, spreadsheet, presentations, drawing tool) compatible with other major office suites. The Document Foundation is coordinating development and... Read more
Adobe Lightroom 6.1.1 - Import, develop,...
Adobe Lightroom is available as part of Adobe Creative Cloud for as little as $9.99/month bundled with Photoshop CC as part of the photography package. Lightroom 6 is also available for purchase as a... Read more
File Juicer 4.41 - Extract images, video...
File Juicer is a drag-and-drop can opener and data archaeologist. Its specialty is to find and extract images, video, audio, or text from files which are hard to open in other ways. It finds and... Read more
A Better Finder Rename 9.52 - File, phot...
A Better Finder Rename is the most complete renaming solution available on the market today. That's why, since 1996, tens of thousands of hobbyists, professionals and businesses depend on A Better... Read more

Pac-Man Championship Edition DX has brou...
Bandai Namco has released Pac-Man Championship Edition DX on iOS and Android, which features the classic arcade gameplay that we've all grown to love. Pac-Man Championship Edition DX can be enjoyed in much shorter bursts than the arcade versions... | Read more »
Cosmonautica (Games)
Cosmonautica 1.1 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $6.99, Version: 1.1 (iTunes) Description: Cast off! Are you ready for some hilarious adventures in outer space? | Read more »
Rescue humanity from a Demon horde in An...
Angel Stone is Fincon's follow up to the massively successful Hello Hero and is out now on iOS and Android. You play as a member of The Resistance, a group of mighty human warriors who have risen up in defiance of the Demon horde threatening to... | Read more »
Gallery Doctor (Photography)
Gallery Doctor 1.0 Device: iOS iPhone Category: Photography Price: $2.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: Free up valuable iCloud and iPhone storage with Gallery Doctor, the only iPhone cleaner that automatically identifies the... | Read more »
You Against Me (Games)
You Against Me 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: A simple game… You. Me. Claim, steal, lock, score, win! | Read more »
Yep, it's True - Angry Birds 2 is O...
The not exactly rumors were true and the birds are back. Angry Birds 2 has come to the App Store and the world will... well I suppose it'll still be the same, but now we have more bird-flinging options! [Read more] | Read more »
You Could Design Your Own Card for Chain...
If you've ever wanted to create your own item, weapon, trap, or even monster for Chainsaw Warrior: Lords of the Night, this is your chance. Auroch Digital is currently holding a contest so that fans can fight to the death (not really) to see which... | Read more »
Bitcoin Billionaire is Going Back in Tim...
If you thought you managed to buy everything there is to buy in Bitcoin Billionaire and make all the money, well you though wrong. Those of you who made it far enough might remember investing in time travel - and it looks like that investment is... | Read more »
Domino Drop (Games)
Domino Drop 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $1.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: Domino Drop is a delightful new puzzle game with dominos and gravity!Learn how to play it in a minute, master it day by day.Your... | Read more »
OPERATION DRACULA (Games)
OPERATION DRACULA 1.0.1 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $5.99, Version: 1.0.1 (iTunes) Description: 25% off launch sale!!! 'Could prove to be one of the most accurate representations of the Japanese bullet hell shmup... | Read more »

Price Scanner via MacPrices.net

Sale! 13-inch MacBook Pros on sale for $100 o...
B&H Photo has 13″ MacBook Pros on sale for $100 off MSRP. Shipping is free, and B&H charges NY sales tax only: - 13″ 2.5GHz/500GB MacBook Pro: $999.99 save $100 - 13″ 2.7GHz/128GB Retina... Read more
Sale! Save $100 on 13-inch MacBook Airs this...
B&H Photo has the 13″ 1.6GHz/128GB MacBook Air on sale for $899.99 including free shipping plus NY tax only. Their price is $100 off MSRP, and it’s the lowest price available for this model.... Read more
Worldwide Tablet Market Decline Continues, Ap...
The worldwide tablet market declined -7.0% year-over-year in the second quarter of 2015 (2Q15) with shipments totaling 44.7 million units according to preliminary data from the International Data... Read more
TP-LINK TL-PA8030P KIT Powerline Featuring Ho...
Consumer and business networking products provider TP-LINK is now shipping its TL-PA8030P KIT AV1200 3-Port Gigabit Passthrough Powerline Starter Kit that expands your home’s network over its... Read more
Apple refurbished iPad Air 2s available for u...
The Apple Store has Apple Certified Refurbished iPad Air 2s available for up to $140 off the price of new models. Apple’s one-year warranty is included with each model, and shipping is free: - 128GB... Read more
Updated Apple iPad Price Trackers
We’ve updated our iPad Air Price Tracker and our iPad mini Price Tracker with the latest information on prices and availability from Apple and other resellers. Read more
Apple refurbished 2014 13-inch 128GB MacBook...
The Apple Store has Apple Certified Refurbished 2014 13″ MacBook Airs available starting at $759. An Apple one-year warranty is included with each MacBook, and shipping is free: - 13″ 1.4GHz/128GB... Read more
Apple’s Education discount saves up to $300 o...
Purchase a new Mac or iPad at The Apple Store for Education and take up to $300 off MSRP. All teachers, students, and staff of any educational institution qualify for the discount. Shipping is free,... Read more
Save up to $600 with Apple refurbished Mac Pr...
The Apple Store has Apple 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... Read more
Mac Pros on sale for up to $260 off MSRP
B&H Photo has Mac Pros on sale for up to $260 off MSRP. Shipping is free, and B&H charges sales tax in NY only: - 3.7GHz 4-core Mac Pro: $2799, $200 off MSRP - 3.5GHz 6-core Mac Pro: $3719.99... Read more

Jobs Board

*Apple* Retail - Multiple Positions (US) - A...
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* Online Store UAT Lead - Apple (Unite...
**Job Summary** The Apple Online Store is a fast paced and ever evolving business environment. The User Acceptance Testing (UAT) lead in this organization is able to Read more
*Apple* MAC Support Services Subject Matter...
Title: Apple MAC Support Services Subject Matter Expert Location: Pleasanton, CA Type of position: Temporary Contract for approximately 6 weeks Tasks The tasks for the Read more
Lead Infrastructure Engineer - *Apple* /Mac P...
…of a team * Requires proven problem solving skills Preferred Additional: * Apple Certified System Administrator (ACSA) * Apple Certified Technical Coordinator (ACTC) Read more
*Apple* Retail - Multiple Positions (US) - A...
Job Description: Sales Specialist - Retail Customer Service and Sales Transform Apple Store visitors into loyal Apple customers. When customers enter the store, Read more
All contents are Copyright 1984-2011 by Xplain Corporation. All rights reserved. Theme designed by Icreon.