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Jul 00 Factory Floor

Volume Number: 16 (2000)
Issue Number: 7
Column Tag: From the Factory Floor

Arnold goes to WWDC

By Richard Atwell, ©2000 by Metrowerks, Inc., all rights reserved

Another Worldwide Developer's Conference (WWDC) hosted by Apple has come and gone and once again Metrowerks was there in person to meet with you, listen to your feedback and converse about the future of CodeWarrior.

This year we sent more engineers than in previous years, which was fortunate because attendance this year was at record levels and we would have been swamped due to the excitement built around the upcoming Mac OS X.

We were present in the exhibit hall for the first two days it was open, as we were last year, and we gave out thousands of copies of a special WWDC CD containing a beta version of new CodeWarrior tools for Mac OS X. Those tools will become part of CodeWarrior for Mac OS, Version 6.0. By the time this article hits the stands, the CD will have expired and Version 6.0 will be very close to shipping, if it hasn't shipped already.

Last year we had a single keynote event to talk about the current state of CodeWarrior, but this year, in addition to our booth in the exhibit hall, we hosted and attended several sessions.

Here's an overview of what went down in case you missed it.

Session: Mac OS X THIRD Party Tools

Presenter: Berardino Baratta,

Vice President of Software Engineering

After Real Basic demonstrated their latest offering (written using CodeWarrior, by the way) Berardino gave his CodeWarrior state of the union address and showed off the latest IDE (IDE 4.1) that will ship with Version 6.0.

The IDE has been fully Carbonized, as have our support libraries, PowerPlant and other development tools like Constructor and Profiler. This is our Carbon release for Mac OS X developers and the basis for Metrowerks' future development on the Mac OS platform.

When running on Mac OS X, the IDE exhibits the attractive new Aqua interface. It's interesting to note that the IDE itself is written with CodeWarrior using PowerPlant, so your applications will look "Aquafied" if you use PowerPlant as the framework on which to base your application.

At the end of his session, Berardino answered many questions from the audience. Of note, attendees asked about Pascal support. Metrowerks didn't ship Pascal tools and support libraries for CodeWarrior for Mac OS, Version 5.0 — the first time in several releases that we had not. At the time, however, we made a promise to deliver those tools at a later date. Berardino reiterated that promise to update our Pascal tools, which will be based on Version 6.0 and which will ship one last time shortly after Version 6.0 ships.

Version 6.0 will also be the last release to support 68K code generation since Mac OS X only runs on recent PowerPC-based Macs. The demand for generating fat binaries has dropped dramatically and Berardino stated that after Version 6.0 those tools will be put into maintenance mode and decisions about availability will be made at a future date.

The other popular question was when is Metrowerks going to deliver Mach-O tools? First, the Version 6.0 CD will contain our latest Mach-O plugins in pre-release form. We will also provide a command line compiler to substitute for the GCC compiler that ships with Mac OS X. We will follow that with support for debugging Mach-O binaries, which contain stabs symbolics that run on Mac OS X.

The BoF (Birds of a Feather)

Presenters: Tim Freehill, Director of Desktop Products and Matt Henderson, Mac OS X Technical Lead

This session was our "Birds of a Feather" session. The theme was "CodeWarrior is now rated X". We gave away more beta CDs, threw t-shirts into the audience and raffled off a new Powerbook — so naturally a riot broke out.

Tim was emcee for the evening and introduced Matt, who ran through a demonstration of the latest tools.

Our engineers took questions from the audience and after we ran out of shirts and beta CDs we drew the winning entry for the Powerbook. Congratulations to the winner: Mark Nelson from the Vancouver Film School. We also gave away five three-year subscriptions to CodeWarrior.

Session: Tuning for MP and Velocity Engine

Presenters: Bob Campbell, PPC Compiler Lead,

Ken Ryall, Debugger Lead Engineer and

Richard Atwell, Mac OS Debugger Engineer

Velocity Engine is Apple's name for the AltiVec unit that is integrated into the Motorola PowerPC 7400 that ships in every PowerMac G4. Bob opened the session with an explanation of vectorization tips that CodeWarriors need to consider when writing AltiVec code.

Bob talked about data alignment issues, which affect performance and correctness. Many of these concerns are taken care of by using our MSL and runtime libraries, but data alignment is always an important consideration since the AltiVec unit works best with chunks of 16-byte aligned data.

Bob went on to explain some features of the AltiVec instruction set and ran through a demo of some AltiVec enhanced code. The results were compelling: a scalar image rotation routine that was highly optimized as scalar code processed approximately four mega-pixels per second. The AltiVec version using "all the tricks" benchmarked at 25 mega-pixels per second.

Afterwards, I demonstrated the features of the debugger that support AltiVec. CodeWarrior displays the individual scalar elements of each vector just as the fields of C structures are disclosed. To aid with debugging, all elements are editable and are highlighted in red when the values change.

To support vector editing at the register level, there is a new resizable register window that allows you to edit vectors in registers as more manageable 32-bit values. Values can be viewed as hex or floating point. Just like the variable view, as scalars are updated they are highlighted in red to show you how the register changed.

Finally, I demonstrated support for expression evaluation using scalar elements and showed how a conditional breakpoint could set on a portion of a vector register using the vector.[scalar] notation that we invented for this purpose. See the From the Factory Floor column on AltiVec from last year (MacTech Magazine - July, 1999) for a complete description of AltiVec support in CodeWarrior.

Next I presented the multiprocessing (MP) portion of the session. I took the CloseViewMP sample application from the Multiprocessing 2.1 SDK and debugged it using the beta tools for Mac OS X. The CloseViewMP code makes a good demo because it's visual: the application creates an MP task that continuously draws in a window whether you are holding down menus or moving windows which would normally halt any live updating in the UI. The window of course runs in the cooperative task.

Debugger support for MP 2.x exists in the Process window that shows you the list of cooperative threads and MP tasks belonging to each application. Debugging windows appear for each thread or task that generates an exception, such as hitting a breakpoint. Just like separate threads, you can step through code at any time independent of the state of other threads or tasks. Finally, register windows for all three register files (GPR, FPR and AltiVec) are available for each thread or task and, to aid with navigation, the window titles indicate which is which.

Session: Debugging Apps on Mac OS X

Presenter: Ken Ryall, Lead Debugger Engineer

This session began with a few demos from Apple and Ken followed with a demonstration of single machine debugging using the IDE 4.1.

In Version 5.0 we shipped an early remote debugger for Mac OS X. This consisted of the IDE 4.0, it's preference panels and debugging plugins, all of which allowed you to remotely debug Carbon-PEF based applications running on Mac OS X from an IDE hosting machine running Mac OS 9. The other piece of the debugging technology consisted of a resident debugging nub, such as MetroNub, that the IDE uses to control processes on the target machine.

Ken demonstrated how to debug a carbonized PowerPlant sample application from Mac OS X. With this level of support, it's possible to debug any combination of Mac OS X and Mac OS 9 machines.

Taking things a step further, Ken showed a new set of panels for remote debug settings. A new remote connections panel allows developers to define any set of remote TCP/IP connections much like an address book. This change allows the IDE to debug remotely or locally at the target level instead of running the IDE in one mode or the other.

Additional target settings panels allow you to choose which remote connection you'd like to use and allow you to specify the remote folder where you'd like to debug the target. The panels also let you choose the location of the remote host application that will host the shared libraries you'd like to debug. We also demonstrated upcoming support to allow you to move support files to the machine under remote control.

See 'Ya

Well that's it for this WWDC. See you next year. As always, visit our newsgroup or send us email directly.


Richard Alexander David Atwell, a.k.a. "ratwell," works on Metrowerks' CodeWarrior integrated debugger at the company's Austin-based headquarters. Richard welcomes your feedback and questions on any topic. You can reach him at ratwell@metrowerks.com.

 
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