TweetFollow Us on Twitter

Oct 01 WebObjects

Volume Number: 17 (2001)
Issue Number: 10
Column Tag: Beginning WebObjects 5

Part 2 - The Project Builder

by Emmanuel Proulx

Overview and First Application

Opening the Project Builder

The Project Builder is the central tool for developing WebObjects applications, so this article talks about how to use this tool. The first thing you're going to do is open the Project Builder, by going to your disk, under the folder /Developer/Applications, and double-clicking on Project Builder.

Currently there's no project opened. Let's make a blank one. For now, don't try to understand the different options, as we'll cover them all later. In the menu, choose File | New Project. The dialog that pops up contains many different types of projects: WebObjects, Carbon, Cocoa, bundles, frameworks, Applet, driver, C++, and many more.

WebObjects is the development platform for the Mac OS X operating system, and it can produce many kinds of projects. This column is scoped to help you develop Web applications using Java, so for now let's concentrate on this kind of project:

Select the WebObjects Application project type and click Next.

Enter the project name and location. This column assumes the project name is Find-A-Luv, under the folder ~/projects/Find-A-Luv. (Create the ‘projects' folder under the home folder). Click on Finish.

The window that comes up next is the Project Builder, containing the project you just created:


Figure 1. Project Builder.

This window is crowded with controls, which we'll cover shortly.

Overview

The Project Viewer is an IDE (Integrated Development Environment) for the Mac OS X operating system. Its graphical user interfaces resembles a Web browser. It is in fact a file browser; it lets you see the files of the project. The left part of the Project Builder ("Groups & Files") lets you select files, organizing them in a tree-like fashion into categories. I will refer to that part as the file browser tab. The right pane lets you edit the selected file - I call it the editor. Finally, the toolbar has buttons to build and run your project.

File Browser Tab

A project is a set of files that are used by a Web application. As explained in the introduction, and as you can see in the first level of the file browser, many types of files are necessary. Here's how they are classified in the Project Builder:

  • Classes: these include all Java files - the ones associated with a Web Page (or Web Component), the ones linked to the database through the model, and the utility ones that you make yourself.
  • Web Components: this contains subfolders, one for each Web page. They in turn contain all files that constitute Web Pages, for both behavior and appearance.
  • Resources: the model file (more on these later).
  • Web Server resources: all files that should be sent to the Web Server's root folder and that are not specific to components (graphics, multimedia files, executables, etc)
  • Interfaces: Java Applets.
  • Frameworks: the WebObjects-supplied libraries used by your project.
  • Documentation: HTML files containing the documentation for this project.
  • Products: the generated files for this project, including intermediate files and the final executable.

When you expand one of the categories of the first level, you can see other categories or files you may select. When you click on anything in the file browser, you will see the file appear in the editor pane.

Items in the file browser can be clicked on, double-clicked on or dragged around, just like icons of the operating system.

WARNING: If you drag something out of the file browser pane, it will be moved out of the project. The file will no longer be available in the project. If you want to copy the file, don't use the Project Builder. Use the operating system (Finder) to access the project's folder, and then copy the file from there.

The same is true when dragging files into the file browser. The file gets added to the project.

WARNING: If you drag something into the file browser pane, by default the file will not get copied. It will only be referenced. This means if you change, move or delete the file, the project will be affected. When you want to put the file inside the project, copy it into the project's folder first, and then drag it to the proper location in the file browser.

There will be more information on file management in a future article.

Editor

The second item in this window is the Editor. It works just like any text editor, except for a few features, like colored Java syntax and automatic indentation.

  • Automatic indentation: the editor adds or removes spaces and tabulations automatically as you type. When you type an open curly brace "{", it can also add automatically a closing one "}".
  • TRICK: If you want to fix the indentation for a block of text, you can do so by following these steps: select your block of text, go to menu Format | Shift Right ((-]) or Shift Left ((-[). I use this often.
  • PREFERENCE: the automatic indentation of your text can be customized by going to menu Project Builder | Preferences, and by choosing the Text Editing category. There are many options to try out.
  • Colored Java Syntax: the editor displays the keywords, comments and content using a color scheme.
  • PREFERENCE: you can decide the colors to use by going to menu Project Builder | Preferences and by choosing the Syntax Coloring category.
  • Multi-windowed view: You can open each document in its own window, that "float" above the Project Builder. You do that by choosing the menu Navigation | Open in Separate Editor. The new window doesn't have any tabs, so it maximizes the editing area.
  • TRICK: If you want to dock the tabs out of the way, you can do so simply by clicking on the currently selected tab again. The tab slides out of the view, and the editor pane becomes larger.
  • Split-window view: You can also get two views of the same document simultaneously in the same editor pane by "splitting" the editor. You do that by clicking on the button in the navigation bar. When the editor is split, you can close one of the two halves by clicking on the corresponding button.

Toolbar

The last item of this window is the toolbar. Let's briefly describe the buttons. We'll deal with what they do in great detail subsequently.

  • Build: this compile your project, letting you see the output and errors in a special pane called the Build tab.
  • Clean: I call this the "cleanup" button. This removes all intermediate files and produced binary files. Once this operation is done, the build button can rebuild everything. The output is sent to the Build tab.
  • Run: this lets you run your application. A new pane called the Run tab comes up and displays the application's output and errors.
  • Debug: this runs the application in debug mode, enabling breakpoints. You may then use the debugging buttons to control the flow of execution. You can also use the Debug tab to view the debugger's console, the variables and the frames being watched. Breakpoints are not shown in this tab; they have their own tab on the left side, called the Breakpoints tab.
  • Stop: This button appears only when the Project Builder is busy. You can stop the compilation or the cleanup by clicking it.
  • Active Target: Lets you choose which build target you are working on. A target is a set of compilation options for the current project. The targets can be configured using the Target tab.
  • Debugging buttons: lets you control the flow of execution while running the application in debug mode. The buttons are, from left to right: pause, continue, step over method, step into method, step out of method.
  • PREFERENCES: The toolbar tailored to suite your tastes. To add, remove, move and modify the appearance of the buttons of the toolbar, go to menu Window | Customize Toolbar. You may also remove the toolbar by going to menu Window | Hide Toolbar.

Other elements of the Project Builder window are:

  • The navigation bar: this lets you select which of the opened documents you wish to see, and in what class or method the cursor should jump to. With the left and right arrows, you can go back and forward in the list of documents. See this as the "Address" box, and the "Back" and "Forward" buttons of your Web browser. One more thing, you see the icon in this bar? It displays the type of document. Moreover, when a document needs to be saved, the icon becomes gray.
  • The Find tab, which lets you find (and replace) strings in the whole project.
  • The editor can be split into multiple sections, to view two different areas of the same file. These buttons let you split and close the sections.
  • The bookmarks tab, which lists the ‘favorite' files and lines of code for later retrieval.
  • The status bar, which displays the progress and result of the last operation.

Hello World Example

The Hello World Code

Enough talking. Now is time to write you first piece of code.

Open your Project Builder, pointing to the Find-A-Luv project. In the file browser tab, expand "Classes". Then, select Main.java. In the editor, you can see that file ready to be edited.

Although this class' name is Main, it has nothing to do with Java's public static void main(String []) member function. The class Main is associated with the Web Component of the same name, and for every instance of that Web Component, a new instance of the class is created too. The good news is, the Main page is the default home page for the project. So the Main class will be instantiated automatically when a user accesses your site through the ‘front door'.

We're going to make a plain Hello World example program right in here, in the constructor of the class:

Listing 1. Main.java

Main Web component
This code sample shows where to add the line that prints "hello world". 

// Main.java: Class file for WO Component ‘Main'
// Project Find-A-Luv
//
// Created by eproulx on Wed May 16 2001
//
 
import com.webobjects.foundation.*;
import com.webobjects.appserver.*;
import com.webobjects.eocontrol.*;
import com.webobjects.eoaccess.*;

public class Main extends WOComponent {

    public Main(WOContext context) {
        super(context);
        System.out.println("Hello World!");
    }
}

Bear in mind two things before we move on: first, you can use any classes of the standard JDK 1.3 here. That's good to know because we don't have to rely on any third-party tools and libraries to do most of the work. For example, here we printed to the Console using the System class.

Second, you must know that your development environment is emulating the Web server environment. That means if you try to use any visible objects, like AWT or Swing dialogs and frames, the user will never see them. The only person that will see even just "Hello World!" is the operator guy in the Web server room. Anything you do must be just non-interactive non-graphical pure processing code (server-side processing, or business logic). The real interaction takes place when dealing with Web Components (the Web pages).

Save your code now - menu File | Save (or (-S).

Building

You are now ready to compile your project. Go to the toolbar, and click on the button with the hammer . The Build tab comes up, as shown below:


Figure 2. The build tab.

Obviously, the build has failed for this example (look at the status bar).

Let's examine the build tab. The lower half shows the compiler output. But you shouldn't have to look there, because the upper half of the build tab displays the compilation errors. In this example, there was a syntax error in the file Main.java. Clicking on the compilation error actually opens the right file and points you to the line where the error is. This is very handy.

If there were errors when you clicked on the build button, I will trust your programmer aptitudes for fixing them now. If there are no errors after the compilation, you are ready to go to the next step.

PREFERENCE: You can customize the behavior of the build process by going to menu Project Builder | Preferences, then by selecting the Build category. One of my favorite settings is to change the "Unsaved files" option to "Always Save". This way, whenever I build my project, I don't get the annoying dialog popping up asking "Save before building?"

Running

Let's see how well your "Hello World" program works. Go to the Project Builder and click on the toolbar button with the computer monitor . This opens the Run tab, as shown next:


Figure 3. The run tab and the Console.

I like to call the run tab "the Console". It displays the runtime messages, like the ones from WebObjects itself, System.err messages and guess what else? The System.out messages.

When you run the "Hello World" example, the Console displays lots of message - don't worry about these. Three things happen when you click on the Run button:

The WebObjects server is started.

Your Web application is deployed to that server.

Your Web browser pops up, pointing to the application.

The application is not displayed right away in the browser. We are redirected to it, with a page saying "One moment please...". This is just a redirection page generated by WebObjects. Immediately after that, a blank page appears. What page is this? This is the default page for your Web application, the "Main" Web Component. Does that means an instance of the Main class was created, and that the constructor we wrote was called? Go back to the Console to check it out.

Success! The words "Hello World" are displayed.

TRICK: "Compiling and running" is a common task that you will do so often, it deserves a shortcut. You can save a lot of mouse clicks by typing (-R.

You can now close the Web browser if you want. To stop the server, go back to the Console again, and click on the stop button . This will bring you back to the build tab.

Getting Help

When it comes to getting help with WebObjects, you have many choices. Often, any one source of information will do the trick, but usually one source is always better then the others for finding the specific information you're looking for. It's like wanting to listen to music and owning tons of CDs. You could pick up any one, but you have your favorite ones depending on the mood you're in right now.

Let's take a good look at each of these sources of information and check out what they do best.

Project Builder Help Menu

This contains these items:

  • Project Builder Help: this contains help on the Project Builder itself, and how to use it. It has tutorials for most of the features of the tool.
  • Developer Center, Developer Tools Help, Cocoa Help, Carbon Help: these items will get you going on using all the development libraries and tools for Mac OS X.
  • Release Notes: the latest news about the Project Builder at the time of shipping.

The help topics appear in the Mac OS X Help Viewer program, except for the release notes, which appear inside the Project Builder editor.

For API, you must know the name of the class or method you wish to look up.

WebObjects Builder Help

We'll see the WebObjects Builder in a coming article, but I wanted to introduce its Help menu right away because I prefer using it instead of the Project Builder Help menu. It contains way more material, and it brings up the Web browser right away. Invoke it from within the WebObjects Builder by going to menu Help | Help Topics or by pressing F1.

Also, the WebObjects Builder help page contains an item called "Updated Docs at Apple", that brings you the exact same help contents but with all the fixes and updates that Apple introduced over time. Be sure to bookmark that page!

Lastly, it contains a link to Apple's Search Engine when clicking on the item "WEB SITE SEARCH". Note that you have to specify what you are searching for (in the subject field, select "WebObjects Documentation").

Oh and there's also the WebObjects Builder's "tip of the day" dialog that shows up every time you start it. I'll let you explore it yourself.

Java Browser

Imagine a situation where you know what class (and what package) you want to use, but you can't remember the exact syntax for a member variable or method, or even the types and order of a method's parameters. It doesn't have to be a WebObjects class; you could want to know that for any class.

You could bring up the API help documents, but instead I suggest you fire up the Java Browser. This tool lets you explore all available packages, and view the class interfaces. I use this very often.

To open the Java Browser, open the folder /Developer/Applications, and double-click on Java Browser. A window comes up, and you can now navigate through all packages and classes that are in the classpath. Most of the WebObjects-specific classes are located under the package com.apple.


Figure 4. The Java browser

Inspector attributes help

When using the Inspector (a window that floats above tools, and show you the properties of the selected object), you can sometimes see a button in the lowest part that looks like this: . When an item is selected in the Inspector, clicking on this button will bring up the related help. This help mechanism is very specific to the context, as opposed to the previous approaches.

Help on the Web

There are several sources of help available on the Internet:

 

Community Search:
MacTech Search:

Software Updates via MacUpdate

TextSoap 8.4.1 - Automate tedious text d...
TextSoap can automatically remove unwanted characters, fix up messed up carriage returns, and do pretty much anything else that we can think of to text. Save time and effort. Be more productive. Stop... Read more
Backblaze 4.3.0.44 - Online backup servi...
Backblaze is an online backup service designed from the ground-up for the Mac. With unlimited storage available for $5 per month, as well as a free 15-day trial, peace of mind is within reach with... Read more
Numi 3.15 - Menu-bar calculator supports...
Numi is a calculator that magically combines calculations with text, and allows you to freely share your computations. Numi combines text editor and calculator Support plain English. For example, '5... Read more
EtreCheck 3.3.3 - For troubleshooting yo...
EtreCheck is an app that displays the important details of your system configuration and allow you to copy that information to the Clipboard. It is meant to be used with Apple Support Communities to... Read more
BusyContacts 1.1.8 - Fast, efficient con...
BusyContacts is a contact manager for OS X that makes creating, finding, and managing contacts faster and more efficient. It brings to contact management the same power, flexibility, and sharing... Read more
TunnelBear 3.0.14 - Subscription-based p...
TunnelBear is a subscription-based virtual private network (VPN) service and companion app, enabling you to browse the internet privately and securely. Features Browse privately - Secure your data... Read more
Apple Final Cut Pro X 10.3.4 - Professio...
Apple Final Cut Pro X is a professional video editing solution.Completely redesigned from the ground up, Final Cut Pro adds extraordinary speed, quality, and flexibility to every part of the post-... Read more
Hopper Disassembler 4.2.1- - Binary disa...
Hopper Disassembler is a binary disassembler, decompiler, and debugger for 32-bit and 64-bit executables. It will let you disassemble any binary you want, and provide you all the information about... Read more
Slack 2.6.2 - Collaborative communicatio...
Slack is a collaborative communication app that simplifies real-time messaging, archiving, and search for modern working teams. Version 2.6.2: Fixed Inexplicably, context menus and spell-check... Read more
Arq 5.8.5 - Online backup to Google Driv...
Arq is super-easy online backup for Mac and Windows computers. Back up to your own cloud account (Amazon Cloud Drive, Google Drive, Dropbox, OneDrive, Google Cloud Storage, any S3-compatible server... Read more

Latest Forum Discussions

See All

Goat Simulator PAYDAY (Games)
Goat Simulator PAYDAY 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $4.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: ** IMPORTANT - SUPPORTED DEVICES **iPhone 4S, iPad 2, iPod Touch 5 or better Goat Simulator: Payday is the most... | Read more »
Zombie Gunship Survival Beginner's...
The much anticipated Zombie Gunship Survival is here. In this latest entry in the Zombie Gunship franchise, you're tasked with supporting ground troops and protecting your base from the zombie horde. There's a lot of rich base building fun, and... | Read more »
Mordheim: Warband Skirmish (Games)
Mordheim: Warband Skirmish 1.2.2 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $3.99, Version: 1.2.2 (iTunes) Description: Explore the ruins of the City of Mordheim, clash with other scavenging warbands and collect Wyrdstone -... | Read more »
Mordheim: Warband Skirmish brings tablet...
Legendary Games has just launched Mordheim: Warband Skirmish, a new turn-based action game for iOS and Android. | Read more »
Magikarp Jump splashes onto Android worl...
If you're tired ofPokémon GObut still want something to satisfy your mobilePokémon fix,Magikarp Jumpmay just do the trick. It's out now on Android devices the world over. While it looks like a simple arcade jumper, there's quite a bit more to it... | Read more »
Purrfectly charming open-world RPG Cat Q...
Cat Quest, an expansive open-world RPG from former Koei-Tecmo developers, got a new gameplay trailer today. The video showcases the combat and exploration features of this feline-themed RPG. Cat puns abound as you travel across a large map in a... | Read more »
Jaipur: A Card Game of Duels (Games)
Jaipur: A Card Game of Duels 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $1.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: ** WARNING: iPad 2, iPad Mini 1 & iPhone 4S are NOT compatible. ** *** Special Launch Price for a limited... | Read more »
Subdivision Infinity (Games)
Subdivision Infinity 1.03 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $2.99, Version: 1.03 (iTunes) Description: Launch sale! 40% Off! Subdivision Infinity is an immersive and pulse pounding sci-fi 3D space shooter. https://www.... | Read more »
Clash of Clans' gets a huge new upd...
Clash of Clans just got a massive new update, and that's not hyperbole. The update easily tacks on a whole new game's worth of content to the hit base building game. In the update, that mysterious boat on the edge of the map has been repaired and... | Read more »
Thimbleweed Park officially headed to iO...
Welp, it's official. Thimbleweed Park will be getting a mobile version. After lots of wondering and speculation, the developers confirmed it today. Thimbleweed Park will be available on both iOS and Android sometime in the near future. There's no... | Read more »

Price Scanner via MacPrices.net

Memorial Day savings: 13-inch Touch Bar MacBo...
B&H Photo has the 2016 Apple 13″ Touch Bar MacBook Pros in stock today and on sale for up to $150 off MSRP. Shipping is free, and B&H charges NY & NJ sales tax only: - 13″ 2.9GHz/512GB... Read more
Apple refurbished 13-inch MacBook Airs availa...
Apple has Certified Refurbished 2016 13″ MacBook Airs available starting at $849. An Apple one-year warranty is included with each MacBook, and shipping is free: - 13″ 1.6GHz/8GB/128GB MacBook Air: $... Read more
Apple restocks refurbished 11-inch MacBook Ai...
Apple has Certified Refurbished 11″ MacBook Airs (the latest models recently discontinued by Apple), available for up to $170 off original MSRP. An Apple one-year warranty is included with each... Read more
12-inch 1.2GHz Retina MacBooks on sale for up...
B&H has 12″ 1.2GHz Retina MacBooks on sale for up to $150 off MSRP. Shipping is free, and B&H charges NY & NJ sales tax only: - 12″ 1.2GHz Space Gray Retina MacBook: $1449.99 $150 off... Read more
15-inch 2.7GHz Silver Touch Bar MacBook Pro o...
MacMall has the 15-inch 2.7GHz Silver Touch Bar MacBook Pro (MLW82LL/A) on sale for $2569 as part of their Memorial Day sale. Shipping is free. Their price is $230 off MSRP. Read more
Free Tread Wisely Mobile App Endorsed By Fath...
Just in time for the summer driving season, Cooper Tire & Rubber Company has announced the launch of a new Tread Wisely mobile app. Designed to promote tire and vehicle safety among teens and... Read more
Commercial Notebooks And Detachable Tablets W...
Worldwide shipments of personal computing devices (PCDs), comprised of traditional PCs (a combination of desktop, notebook, and workstations) and tablets (slates and detachables), are forecast to... Read more
Best value this Memorial Day weekend: Touch B...
Apple has Certified Refurbished 2016 15″ and 13″ MacBook Pros available for $230 to $420 off original MSRP. An Apple one-year warranty is included with each model, and shipping is free: - 15″ 2.6GHz... Read more
13-inch MacBook Airs on sale for up to $130 o...
Overstock.com has 13″ MacBook Airs on sale for up to $130 off MSRP including free shipping: - 13″ 1.6GHz/128GB MacBook Air (sku MMGF2LL/A): $869.99 $130 off MSRP - 13″ 1.6GHz/256GB MacBook Air (sku... Read more
2.8GHz Mac mini available for $973 with free...
Adorama has the 2.8GHz Mac mini available for $973, $16 off MSRP, including a free copy of Apple’s 3-Year AppleCare Protection Plan. Shipping is free, and Adorama charges sales tax in NY & NJ... Read more

Jobs Board

Best Buy *Apple* Computing Master - Best Bu...
**509643BR** **Job Title:** Best Buy Apple Computing Master **Location Number:** 001482- Apple Valley-Store **Job Description:** **What does a Best Buy Apple Read more
*Apple* Media Products - Commerce Engineerin...
Apple Media Products - Commerce Engineering Manager Job Number: 57037480 Santa Clara Valley, California, United States Posted: Apr. 18, 2017 Weekly Hours: 40.00 Job Read more
*Apple* Mac and Mobility Engineer - Infogrou...
Title: Apple Mac and Mobility Engineer Location: Portland, OR Area Type: 12 month contract Job: 17412 Here's a chance to take your skills to the limit, learn new Read more
*Apple* Retail - Multiple Positions, White P...
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
Best Buy *Apple* Computing Master - Best Bu...
**509110BR** **Job Title:** Best Buy Apple Computing Master **Location Number:** 000048-Topeka-Store **Job Description:** **What does a Best Buy Apple Computing Read more
All contents are Copyright 1984-2011 by Xplain Corporation. All rights reserved. Theme designed by Icreon.