TweetFollow Us on Twitter

Jan 00 Factory Floor

Volume Number: 16 (2000)
Issue Number: 1
Column Tag: From the Factory Floor

From the Factory Floor

by Ron Liechty

This month's interview is with Ron Liechty, who gives us his insights on the past, present and future of Macintosh development.

As someone who's been involved with CodeWarrior development from its earliest days, you've had a ringside seat as the Macintosh community has matured. How do you think the Mac development community has changed over the years?

Ron: There is a new sense of competitiveness among Mac programmers today that didn't exist years ago. Not competitiveness between each other, but with programmers developing for other operating systems. There is a realization that Macintosh programs have to be better than the other operating system. In the early 1990s programmers relied on the interface to be superior and to sell their products for them. Now Macintosh developers have realized that no matter how superior the Macintosh operating system is, their products must also be better than their counterparts' on other operating systems.

What hasn't changed is the helpfulness of the Macintosh community online. I see Java programmers and catch a glimpse of the camaraderie that is evident in the Macintosh developer community. However, it never matches the amount and quality of help that Macintosh programmers give each other.

Where are some of the best places you've seen where Mac developers can go for help?

Ron: There are many avenues for help to both new programmers and seasoned veteran programmers. I wish I could mention all of the folks that are out there providing help internationally. It is amazing, the speed and depth of help you can get on the newsgroups and other Internet sources.

Of course, there are the institutional resources, like those provided by MacTech:

Macintosh C by K. J. Bricknell and Macintosh Pascal by Koryn Grant and K. J. Bricknell.

These online resources consist of a book and a package of demonstration program files easily downloadable from: www.mactech.com/macintosh-c

Apple has an excellent online source for developers at the Apple Developer Connection web site: http://www.apple.com/developer/

My personal favorite Apple link is the page for Mac OS 8 and 9 Developer Documentation: http://developer.apple.com/techpubs/FunctionIndex/FunctionIndex.html

This index provides links to function descriptions from Inside Macintosh and from new and revised Mac OS 8 documents. From there you can find sample code and white pages in regards to the various functions as well as a description of their use.

Individuals and groups also work together to provide help with programming. An example is the group of Mac programmers that help with online self-study groups known as MOST. You can access the MOST web site at: http://www.themost.org

The MOST web site and services are the gifts of altruistic Mac OS professionals and amateurs to anyone - high school/college students, developers for other platforms, or current Mac OS developer - who wants access to net-based resources which will help them produce high quality Mac OS applications

Another independent list server is AIMED-TALK, which is a discussion list for AIMED (the Association of Independent Macintosh Engineers and Developers.)

The purpose of AIMED-TALK is to discuss information that AIMED members are concerned with, new members want to know about, and interested (potential future members) want to find out about.

Send E-mail with a blank subject line and the command SUBSCRIBE as the first (and only) line of the message body to: aimed-talk-request@aimed.org

For Macintosh Pascal Programmers, Bill Catambay hosts Pascal Central, which can be found at: http://pascal-central.com/

The intent of Pascal Central is to provide the Pascal community one place to obtain Pascal technical information, Pascal source code, and Pascal-related Internet links.

Speaking of Pascal, there is the MacPascal list server, which is always eager to help others at any time: http://www.eGroups.com/list/macpascal/

Metrowerks is planning on having an online support FAQ and already has several white papers regarding our technology online.

It seems like some individuals are online helping others 24 hours a day, seven days a week. One of those is Miro Jurisic, who hosts a CodeWarrior FAQ at the following address: http://cw-faq.mit.edu/cw-faq/faq

But Miro is not alone. There are literally thousands of individuals that are online offering tech support and advice to each other on the newsgroups.

There are so many helpful people online that it would be impossible to name them all. They span the globe from Australia to the Austria, from South Africa to Sweden. What always amazes me is how contagious it can be. I see a person sign on as a newbie asking for help and within a few days that person is helping others with their problems.

I browse scores of newsgroups every day, and there are none with the camaraderie and brotherhood exhibited on the comp.sy.mac.programmer newsgroups:

When it comes to helping others, Mac Developers have an open heart and give sage advice. When I see this spirit and openness I know that the Mac will always be the premier operating system.

Looking back, what do you think were some of the most important developments surrounding the Mac over the years?

Ron: Clearly the PowerPC chip was the most significant change in the Macintosh over the past 10 years. When Apple introduced its PowerPC computers, the Macintosh was on a slow decline, losing market share every year. The PowerPC revitalized the entire Macintosh community. No longer did the Mac just have a better operating system, now it was faster. Many people have given Metrowerks a lot of credit for helping Apple's recovery with CodeWarrior and the early investment Metrowerks made in the PowerPC chip. Metrowerks believed in PowerPC, and CodeWarrior gave programmers a way to easily transition their 68k applications to PowerPC, to make them FAT so they would run on both operating systems.

The second most important development was the emergence of the Internet. Macintosh is the premier operating system for the Internet. Nothing interoperates with the Internet as fast as smooth or as seamlessly as a Macintosh. I have one of those other operating systems and trying to use it for mail or web surfing is painful compared to using my Macintosh. The Internet has helped level the playing field among operating systems and forced a commonality in file types. Five years ago I would estimate that 80 percent of the computers sold for the home market were sold for gaming. Now I would estimate that 80 percent are sold for Internet access. Apple has reinvented itself with the I-Mac and has created another resurgence in Macintosh development.

What lies ahead for Mac developers as we begin the new millennium?

Ron: Every five years the home computer reinvents itself. In the early 80s it was a toy - a gadget for gadget freaks. Then in the mid-80s it became a tool for students, necessary for word processing and small databases. In the early 90s it became the game players' machine, as faster graphics, cheaper RAM and processor speeds made dramatic improvements. In the late 90s and now at the turn of the millennium, we've seen the Internet become probably the most important factor in the use of home computers.

If I knew what the next reinvention would be, I'd certainly be a billionaire. One can, however, speculate on what will be happening in the years to come. Certainly a blending of television with computers is inevitable, in my opinion. With the new HDTV and the ability to transmit and receive side bands, this is an area in which Macintosh computers will excel. Home networking is another area where I see computers headed. No longer will there be one computer per home. Just as children have their own TVs and telephones, they will have their own computers. Personal robotics and the ability to program a robot are certainly in the future. Compression of sound and video will certainly impact the future of home computers, and again the Macintosh PowerMac will be an excellent choice for that.

How would you characterize Mac developers' attitudes towards the Linux movement?

Ron: The attitude of some Macintosh developers regarding the Linux movement has always been humorous to me as people pit the PowerPC-hosted Linux against the Intel-hosted Linux. I think the average Mac programmer has an interest in Linux and sees it as an alternative to Windows, but not to Macintosh. While the PowerPC is a great CPU for Linux, there isn't the incentive to change the operating system. It's not worth it just to be a renegade.

The open source philosophy has never been limited to Linux or to GNU tools. Netscape is an excellent example of open sourcing that benefits the company and the developer. I recall a posting written by a developer named Simon Fraser in response to another developer who was having a problem posting a dialog while handling a drag and drop. This problem points out the value of applying open source for one application to an entirely different application. Fraser advised:

"You should avoid posting a dialog while handling the drag receive; it's better to save state somewhere, and process the results of the drag the next time an event is handled. That way, you can debug the code, and handle user events with no problems. For an example, see the NewsWatcher source code."

Metrowerks has been an advocate of open source as well. GameCode was released under the Metrowerks Public License (MWPL), which is based on the Netscape open source model.

The GameCode web site is hosted by Søren Grønbech, the original engineer who developed GameCode for Metrowerks: http://sunsite.auc.dk/gamecode/about.html

GameCode is an open source, cross-platform multimedia development library. GameCode consists of three primary parts: an easy-to-use programmers API which takes care of the basic setup; a number of functions to display graphics, play sounds, display text, etc.; and a converter-tool which uses a simple script-language to convert graphics, sounds and other types of resource files.

Another source for code help is the PowerPlant contributed classes. On this site, Macintosh PowerPlant developers contribute their useful classes to aid other PowerPlant users and create better, more useful applications more quickly. You can contribute or search for these extensions to PowerPlant on the Metrowerks web page. http://208.226.102.11/powerplant.qry?function=form

Metrowerks also includes both PowerPlant and Metrowerks Standard Libraries in source versions. While still copyrighted and non-distributable in source code form, you can look at the code and see how it is done and change or alter it if necessary to make your own versions.

Metrowerks has always felt the power to make programming decisions should be given to programmers. Ultimately, this allows for better Macintosh code.

What emerging technologies do you think will have the greatest impact on Mac developers?

Ron: I'm very bullish on Mac OS X and new applications that will be created to take advantage of its power and capabilities. I see this as another boost to help Apple compete with Microsoft. I'm also very excited about Java. I don't think any language in such a short time has became so popular. In hardware, I am excited about video/audio compression technology.

However, what really excites me is the concept of personal computer cooperation as used for SETI, and the possibilities that other mass cooperation could achieve. A cure for cancer running on millions of home computers overnight is possible. Also, multiple weather forecastings linked together over the Internet, allowing for instant access to precise readings, could predict a tornado hours before it happens. Just about anything is possible, and that's what is so exciting.


Ron Liechty is the ombudsman and award-winning online representative for Metrowerks. His e-mail box is always open at MWRon@metrowerks.com. A grandfather with two grandsons Jaymz and Jaysn and a granddaughter Odessa, Ron works from his home in Michigan writing technical documentation and providing online support for Metrowerks' customers.

 
AAPL
$100.11
Apple Inc.
-0.64
MSFT
$46.44
Microsoft Corpora
+0.03
GOOG
$576.36
Google Inc.
-0.74

MacTech Search:
Community Search:

Software Updates via MacUpdate

QuickBooks 2015 16.0.0.1352 R1 - Financi...
QuickBooks 2015 helps you manage your business easily and efficiently. Organize your finances all in one place, track money going in and out of your business, and spot areas where you can save.... Read more
Mac DVDRipper Pro 5.0.1 - Copy, backup,...
Mac DVDRipper Pro is the DVD backup solution that lets you protect your DVDs from scratches, save your batteries by reading your movies from your hard disk, manage your collection with just a few... Read more
SyncTwoFolders 2.0.5 - Syncs two user-sp...
SyncTwoFolders simply synchronizes two folders. It supports synchronization across mounted network drives and it is a possibility to run a simulation showing in a log what will be done. Please visit... Read more
FinderPop 2.5.7 - Classic Mac utility, n...
FinderPop is a Universal preference pane that extends OS X's contextual menus using a FinderPop Items folder much as the Apple Menu Items folder used to do for the Apple menu. It has other features... Read more
VueScan 9.4.45 - Scanner software with a...
VueScan is a scanning program that works with most high-quality flatbed and film scanners to produce scans that have excellent color fidelity and color balance. VueScan is easy to use, and has... Read more
LibreOffice 4.3.2.2 - Free Open Source o...
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
calibre 2.4 - Complete e-library managem...
Calibre is a complete e-book library manager. Organize your collection, convert your books to multiple formats, and sync with all of your devices. Let Calibre be your multi-tasking digital... Read more
Default Folder X 4.6.9b1 - Enhances Open...
Default Folder X attaches a toolbar to the right side of the Open and Save dialogs in any OS X-native application. The toolbar gives you fast access to various folders and commands. You just click... Read more
Beamer 2.0.4 - Stream any movie file fro...
Beamer streams to your Apple TV.... Plays any movie file - Just like the popular desktop movie players, Beamer accepts all common formats, codecs and resolutions. AVI, MKV, MOV, MP4, WMV, FLV. To... Read more
Adobe Premiere Elements 13.0 - Consumer...
Adobe Premiere Elements just got better. Now you can create quick movies from favorite parts of your clips or tell big life stories in full-on productions. Add motion inside movie titles, punch up... Read more

Latest Forum Discussions

See All

This Week at 148Apps: September 22-26, 2...
Your Source For The Latest App Reviews   | Read more »
Kill Shot Review
Kill Shot Review By Jennifer Allen on September 29th, 2014 Our Rating: :: OCCASIONAL MISFIRESUniversal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad Kill Shot is often satisfying, but its more than pushy in-app purchases will leave you... | Read more »
It Came From Canada: Vainglory
I’m going to be straight you with folks. I don’t know much about MOBAs, and I’m certainly no professional. That means I don’t know how well Vainglory, the upcoming multiplayer online battle arena showcased in the most recent Apple keynote, compares... | Read more »
The Tunnel – An Endless Fall Review
The Tunnel – An Endless Fall Review By Nadia Oxford on September 29th, 2014 Our Rating: :: FREE FALLIN' Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad The Tunnel – An Endless Fall is a bit harder to get the hang of than most “endless... | Read more »
Ubisoft Launches Just Dance Now in the A...
Ubisoft Launches Just Dance Now in the App Store Worldwide Posted by Jessica Fisher on September 29th, 2014 [ permalink ] Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad | Read more »
For Better, or for Worse? How the New Ap...
With the release of iOS 8 (finally), Apple has made some noticeable changes on the App Store – bundles, videos, and Testflight integration, to name a few. Many of these additions will make things friendlier for App Store shoppers, but how has it... | Read more »
Asphalt Overdrive Review
Asphalt Overdrive Review By Jennifer Allen on September 29th, 2014 Our Rating: :: SHORT LIVED ADRENALINEUniversal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad Asphalt Overdrive is a fairly simple auto-running racing game, but one that’s... | Read more »
Kritika: Wrath of the Pirate King Update...
Kritika: Wrath of the Pirate King Update Introduces New Class: Shadow Mage. Posted by Jessica Fisher on September 29th, 2014 [ permalink ] | Read more »
Vampire Tribunals Review
Vampire Tribunals Review By Campbell Bird on September 29th, 2014 Our Rating: iPhone App - Designed for the iPhone, compatible with the iPad Hunt other vampires in the “real world” in this location-based multiplayer game.   | Read more »
Simogo Tease The Sailor’s Dream Via Thei...
Simogo Tease The Sailor’s Dream Via Their New Trailer Posted by Ellis Spice on September 29th, 2014 [ permalink ] A new trailer has arrived for the newest title from Device 6 and | Read more »

Price Scanner via MacPrices.net

MacBook Airs on sale for $100 off MSRP, start...
Best Buy has the new 2014 MacBook Airs on sale for $100 off MSRP on their online store. Choose free home shipping or free local store pickup (if available). Prices valid for online orders only, in-... Read more
Apple Releases OS X Mavericks bash Update 1.0...
Apple has released a patch update for OS X Mavericks users to address the recently-detected “Shellshock” security bug in BSD UNIX’s bash shell. Apple says only a few Mac users who had manually... Read more
Pivotal Payments Ready for Apple Pay – FlexPo...
Pivotal Payments, a provider of merchant services and global payment processing solutions, has announced its proprietary FlexPoint platform will support credit and debit transactions through Apple’s... Read more
iStabilizer Announces Tabarm — First Friction...
iStabilizer, a specialist in universal lightweight compact tripods, steady cams, dollies, mounts, and remotes for smartphones, tablets, and cameras, announced today the iStabilizer tabArm, the first... Read more
IStabilizer Flex Smartphone Tripod Wins Usa T...
iStabilizer, a specialist in universal lightweight compact tripods, steady cams, and other products for smartphones, tablets, and cameras, has announced today that its iStabilizer Flex smartphone... Read more
13-inch 2.8GHz Retina MacBook Pro on sale for...
B&H Photo has the new 2014 13″ 2.8GHz Retina MacBook Pro on sale for $1699.99 including free shipping plus NY sales tax only. They’ll also include free copies of Parallels Desktop and LoJack for... Read more
15-inch Retina MacBook Pros on sale for up to...
B&H Photo has the new 2014 15″ Retina MacBook Pros on sale for up to $150 off MSRP. Shipping is free, and B&H charges NY sales tax only. They’ll also include free copies of Parallels Desktop... Read more
Get Down to Business On Your iPad With Free N...
Utah based Poem LLC has introduced Nexticy 1.0, a full-featured, affordable (Free) forms application for iPad. Nexticy makes it ‘way easy’ to create, store, retrieve and analyze paper-like forms of... Read more
13-inch Retina MacBook Pros on sale for $100...
Best Buy has 13-inch 2.6GHz Retina MacBook Pros on sale for $100 off MSRP on their online store. Choose free shipping or free local store pickup (if available). Prices are for online orders only, in-... Read more
Reports Outline Claimed 12-Inch Macbook Air D...
Blogger Jack March says that according to information he’s received from an anonymous “source familiar with Apple’s plans,” the next-generation MacBook Air will launch in mid-2015 and be available... Read more

Jobs Board

*Apple* Retail - Multiple Positions (US) - A...
Sales Specialist - Retail Customer Service and Sales Transform Apple Store visitors into loyal Apple customers. When customers enter the store, you're also the 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
Senior Event Manager, *Apple* Retail Market...
…This senior level position is responsible for leading and imagining the Apple Retail Team's global event strategy. Delivering an overarching brand story; in-store, Read more
*Apple* Solutions Consultant (ASC) - Apple (...
**Job Summary** The ASC is an Apple employee who serves as an Apple brand ambassador and influencer in a Reseller's store. The ASC's role is to grow Apple Read more
Project Manager / Business Analyst, WW *Appl...
…a senior project manager / business analyst to work within our Worldwide Apple Fulfillment Operations and the Business Process Re-engineering team. This role will work Read more
All contents are Copyright 1984-2011 by Xplain Corporation. All rights reserved. Theme designed by Icreon.