TweetFollow Us on Twitter

Oct 98 Factory Floor

Volume Number: 14 (1998)
Issue Number: 10
Column Tag: From The Factory Floor

A PowerPlant Update

by Greg Dow and Dave Mark, ©1998 by Metrowerks, Inc., all rights reserved

This month's column is the start of a series on PowerPlant. We'll start off with a short interview with the godfather of PowerPlant, Greg Dow. Look for more on PowerPlant in next month's column.

Gregory Dow pretends to be the creator and chief architect of PowerPlant at Metrowerks. In reality, he is the sock puppet of a stuffed pink bear named Snuffles, who enjoys watching television, doing backflips, and casino gambling.

Dave: How would you suggest someone get started learning PowerPlant?

Greg: The best way to learn PowerPlant is to come up with an idea for a program that you'd like to write and then begin reading The PowerPlant Book which comes with CodeWarrior. While reading the first few chapters of the book and performing the code exercises, think about how the concepts apply to your program.

After you absorb the basic concepts, create a new project for your program using one of the PowerPlant stationery projects. As you read about features in the book, try implementing them in your project. Also, concurrently read the first few chapters of the manual for Constructor, which is the visual editor for PowerPlant. If you're too impatient to finish the entire book, at least read enough to reach the point where you can build menus and windows, and add code to respond to menu selections and manipulate views.

As you continue to work on your program, look at the sample PowerPlant projects on the CodeWarrior reference CD and at the PowerPlant Contributed Class Archives on the Metrowerks web site: http://www.metrowerks.com

Very often, someone else has already done something similar to what you want to do.

Finally, participate in the Usenet newsgroup comp.sys.mac.oop.powerplant. Follow the discussions, ask your own questions, and answer other's questions if you can. John C. Daub, one of the PowerPlant programmers at Metrowerks, and I read every message on this newsgroup and frequently answer questions.

Dave: Tell me about some of the more recent additions that have made PowerPlant easier to use.

Greg: The LString class provides many routines for creating and manipulating the Pascal-style strings (the first byte is a length count) used by the Mac Toolbox. For example, it can concatenate strings, find substrings within a string, and load strings from resources.

Based on some recent postings on the PowerPlant newsgroup, I just added new functions for converting between strings and floating point numbers. These conversion routines use the Toolbox's StringToExtended and ExtendedToString functions, which have flexible formatting options that account for country-based differences such as the currency symbol and whether to use a comma or period for the decimal point.

The LRadioGroupView and LTabGroupView classes are replacements for the old LRadioGroup and LTabGroup classes. As the names imply, the new classes are views, which makes them easier to create in the Constructor visual editor. I wrote the old classes before Constructor existed, so I didn't consider the problems of dealing with non-visual elements.

Another improvement is a set of debugging classes that John Daub wrote. These classes help stress test a program and provide diagnostic information while a program is running. For example, you can have a debugging window which dynamically displays the chain of command and visual hierarchy.

Dave: How did Mac OS 8 affect PowerPlant?

Greg: Mac OS 8 introduced many changes to the standard Mac interface. The platinum appearance makes traditional controls such as buttons and check boxes look gray and puffy. And there are many new controls, progress bars, sliders, and buttons containing graphics.

PowerPlant already had versions of most of these controls based on the Apple Grayscale Appearance (AGA). Apple published the AGA specification in technical notes for developers, giving pixel-level detail on how to draw each visual element. Robin Mair wrote PowerPlant classes for these visual elements, mostly for internal use by Metrowerks for the interface of the CodeWarrior IDE (integrated development environment). Unfortunately, the Mac OS 8 versions of the visual elements did not follow the AGA specification.

Whenever Apple introduces new OS features, I need to decide how to support them in PowerPlant and whether to have backward compatibility. Backward compatibility means supporting the same or similar features on older versions of the OS.

In this case, it meant implementing all the new Mac OS 8 visual elements with code that runs on System 7. The goal was to allow PowerPlant users to write programs that look and work the same on System 7 and Mac OS 8. So, we made the AGA classes obsolete, and wrote new ones that have the Mac OS 8 look and feel. We call these the GA (Grayscale Appearance) implementations.

At the same time, we wrote classes that create the controls using the new Toolbox calls in Mac OS 8. We call these the AM (Appearance Manager) implementations.

To make a program that runs on both System 7 and Mac OS 8, a programmer can always use the GA version, or can use the hybrid approach of performing a runtime check and using the AM version if the machine supports it. The hybrid approach has more code, but has the advantage of tracking changes that Apple makes to the new Toolbox calls in future versions of Mac OS.

Dave: What about PowerPlant and Carbon?

Greg: Carbon will support a subset of the current Toolbox. Fortunately, PowerPlant does not use many Toolbox calls that Carbon won't support. Typical PowerPlant programs are over 90% Carbon-compatible according to Apple's Carbon Dater program. As Apple provides more details, we will make PowerPlant 100% Carbon-compatible.

One thing that you can do now to prepare for Carbon is to use Navigation Services instead of Standard File to present the dialogs that ask a user to open or save a file. I just finshed adding Navigation Services support to PowerPlant. You can read about Navigation Services by downloading the SDK (software development kit) from Apple's web site at http://developer.apple.com/sdk/.

Dave: What do you see as the next big directional change for PowerPlant?

Greg: Presently, PowerPlant view layouts are static. There is no built-in mechanism for creating, rearranging, and resizing views based on content or runtime conditions. Future versions of PowerPlant will have better support for changing program appearance and behavior at runtime.

As part of this runtime adaptability, visual editing will be part of the framework itself. By attaching special editor objects, you'll be able to directly manipulate visual elements while a program is running.

 
AAPL
$97.67
Apple Inc.
+1.41
MSFT
$43.63
Microsoft Corpora
+0.89
GOOG
$511.17
Google Inc.
-13.34

MacTech Search:
Community Search:

Software Updates via MacUpdate

MenuMeters 1.8 - CPU, memory, disk, and...
MenuMeters is a set of CPU, memory, disk, and network monitoring tools for Mac OS X. Although there are numerous other programs which do the same thing, none had quite the feature set I was looking... Read more
Coda 2.5 - One-window Web development su...
Coda is a powerful Web editor that puts everything in one place. An editor. Terminal. CSS. Files. With Coda 2, we went beyond expectations. With loads of new, much-requested features, a few... Read more
Arq 4.6.1 - Online backup to Google Driv...
Arq is super-easy online backup for the Mac. Back up to your own Google Drive storage (15GB free storage), your own Amazon Glacier ($.01/GB per month storage) or S3, or any SFTP server. Arq backs up... Read more
Airfoil 4.8.10 - Send audio from any app...
Airfoil allows you to send any audio to AirPort Express units, Apple TVs, and even other Macs and PCs, all in sync! It's your audio - everywhere. With Airfoil you can take audio from any... Read more
Apple iMovie 10.0.6 - Edit personal vide...
With an all-new design, Apple iMovie lets you enjoy your videos like never before. Browse your clips more easily, instantly share your favorite moments, and create beautiful HD movies and Hollywood-... Read more
OnyX 2.8.8 - Maintenance and optimizatio...
OnyX is a multifunctional utility for OS X. It allows you to verify the startup disk and the structure of its System files, to run miscellaneous tasks of system maintenance, to configure the hidden... Read more
Parallels Desktop 10.1 - Run Windows app...
Parallels Desktop is simply the world's bestselling, top-rated, and most trusted solution for running Windows applications on your Mac. With Parallels Desktop for Mac, you can seamlessly run both... Read more
Apple Keynote 6.5 - Apple's present...
Apple Keynote makes it simple to create and deliver beautiful presentations. Powerful tools and dazzling effects bring your ideas to life. You can work seamlessly between Mac and iOS devices. And... Read more
OmniPlan 2.3.7 - Robust project manageme...
With OmniPlan, you can create logical, manageable project plans with Gantt charts, schedules, summaries, milestones, and critical paths. Break down the tasks needed to make your project a success,... Read more
Flavours 1.1.16 - Create and apply theme...
Flavours is a Mac application that allow users to create, apply and share beautifully designed themes. Classy Give your Mac a gorgeous new look by applying delicious themes! Easy Unleash your... Read more

Latest Forum Discussions

See All

My Very Hungry Caterpillar (Education)
My Very Hungry Caterpillar 1.0.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Education Price: $3.99, Version: 1.0.0 (iTunes) Description: Care for your very own Very Hungry Caterpillar! My Very Hungry Caterpillar will captivate you as he crawls... | Read more »
Dungeon Dick (Games)
Dungeon Dick 1.1 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $.99, Version: 1.1 (iTunes) Description: Dungeon Dick is a fantasy adventure where you must discover the wicked plot to destroy the lands . 'Fling' at your foes and land... | Read more »
Here’s How the Apple Watch Could Transfo...
With the Apple Watch’s generic release date of, “early 2015” hovering on the horizon, it’s only a matter of time before gamers begin to ask “What’s in it for us?” The obvious choice would be to place entire games directly on the face of the watch,... | Read more »
Republique Episode 3: Ones & Zeroes...
Republique Episode 3: Ones & Zeroes is Available Now Posted by Rob Rich on October 17th, 2014 [ permalink ] Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad | Read more »
Loot Raiders Review
Loot Raiders Review By Campbell Bird on October 17th, 2014 Our Rating: :: PRESS BUTTON, GET LOOTUniversal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad This menu-based loot game is suitable to compel those with pretty extreme loot lust.   | Read more »
Angry Birds are Crashing Puzzle & Dr...
Angry Birds are Crashing Puzzle & Dragons Next Week Posted by Rob Rich on October 17th, 2014 [ permalink ] Next week, Puzzle & Dragons is getting a little angry. Because, you know, Angry Birds. It’s a… a pun. I thought… never mind. | Read more »
Incandescence Review
Incandescence Review By Andrew Fisher on October 17th, 2014 Our Rating: :: ALL TAPPED OUTUniversal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad Incandescence promises intense tapping action, but isn’t particularly fun.   | Read more »
Lion Pig (Games)
Lion Pig 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $1.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: "Leaving aside the biology of how a pig and a lion might meet, fall in love, and create this curious cross-breed, Lion Pig is a... | Read more »
Zero Lives (Games)
Zero Lives 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $2.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: Zero Lives is a puzzle game. Simple and elegant at its core but deep and captivating the more you play. Each puzzle will challenge... | Read more »
#SUPERHYPER (Games)
#SUPERHYPER 001 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $.99, Version: 001 (iTunes) Description: "This is a game that fans of challenging minimalist arcade games, not to mention pixel art, should keep an eye on" - Touch Arcade "... | Read more »

Price Scanner via MacPrices.net

Apple Pay Available to Millions of Visa Cardh...
Visa Inc. brings secure, convenient payments to iPad Air 2 and iPad mini 3as well as iPhone 6 and 6 Plus. Starting October 20th, eligible Visa cardholders in the U.S. will be able to use Apple Pay,... Read more
Textkraft Pocket – the missing TextEdit for i...
infovole GmbH has announced the release and immediate availability of Textkraft Pocket 1.0, a professional text editor and note taking app for Apple’s iPhone. In March 2014 rumors were all about... Read more
C Spire to offer iPad Air 2 and iPad mini 3,...
C Spire on Friday announced that it will offer iPad Air 2 and iPad mini 3, both with Wi-Fi + Cellular, on its 4G+ LTE network in the coming weeks. C Spire will offer the new iPads with a range of... Read more
Belkin Announces Full Line of Keyboards and C...
Belkin International has unveiled a new lineup of keyboard cases and accessories for Apple’s newest iPads, featuring three QODE keyboards and a collection of thin, lightweight folios for both the... Read more
Verizon offers new iPad Air 2 preorders for $...
Verizon Wireless is accepting preorders for the new iPad Air 2, cellular models, for $100 off MSRP with a 2-year service agreement: - 16GB iPad Air 2 WiFi + Cellular: $529.99 - 64GB iPad Air 2 WiFi... Read more
Price drops on refurbished Mac minis, now ava...
The Apple Store has dropped prices on Apple Certified Refurbished previous-generation Mac minis, with models now available starting at $419. Apple’s one-year warranty is included with each mini, and... Read more
Apple refurbished 2014 MacBook Airs available...
The Apple Store has Apple Certified Refurbished 2014 MacBook Airs available for up to $180 off the cost of new models. An Apple one-year warranty is included with each MacBook, and shipping is free.... Read more
Refurbished 2013 MacBook Pros available for u...
The Apple Store has Apple Certified Refurbished 13″ and 15″ MacBook Pros available starting at $929. Apple’s one-year warranty is standard, and shipping is free: - 13″ 2.5GHz MacBook Pros (4GB RAM/... Read more
WaterField Designs Unveils Outback iPad Slip...
Fresh on the heels of Apple’s announcement Thursday, WaterField Designs unveils its new Outback Slip Case for the iPad Air 2 and iPad mini 3 — a custom-fitted case for the just-announced Apple iPads... Read more
Apple Introduces iPad Air 2 & iPad mini 3...
Apple on Thursday introduced iPad Air 2, slimmed down again to just 6.1 mm, and weighing less than a pound. iPad Air 2 also features an improved Retina display claimed to deliver enhanced contrast... Read more

Jobs Board

Position Opening at *Apple* - Apple (United...
**Job Summary** At the Apple Store, you connect business professionals and entrepreneurs with the tools they need in order to put Apple solutions to work in their Read more
Position Opening at *Apple* - Apple (United...
**Job Summary** The Apple Store is a retail environment like no other - uniquely focused on delivering amazing customer experiences. As an Expert, you introduce people Read more
Position Opening at *Apple* - Apple (United...
**Job Summary** As businesses discover the power of Apple computers and mobile devices, it's your job - as a Solutions Engineer - to show them how to introduce these Read more
Position Opening at *Apple* - Apple (United...
…Summary** As a Specialist, you help create the energy and excitement around Apple products, providing the right solutions and getting products into customers' hands. You Read more
Project Manager, *Apple* Financial Services...
**Job Summary** Apple Financial Services (AFS) offers consumers, businesses and educational institutions ways to finance Apple purchases. We work with national and Read more
All contents are Copyright 1984-2011 by Xplain Corporation. All rights reserved. Theme designed by Icreon.