TweetFollow Us on Twitter

Project Builder Revealed

Volume Number: 19 (2003)
Issue Number: 4
Column Tag: Getting Started

Project Builder Revealed

by Dave Mark

In this month's column, we're going to explore some of Project Builder's nooks and crannies. The column started on a completely different tack, when I found myself trying to find the definition for a specific class function. I dug through the /Developer/Documentation/ directory, which is absolutely worth doing, but there's a lot of doc there.

I went on line to ask some of my Project Builder buddies how they would go about solving this particular problem and got a bunch of different responses, all of which led to the same end, and each of which taught me something new about Project Builder. This month, I'd like to share what I've learned with you.

Creating CrannyTester

Let's start off by creating a new project, called CrannyTester. Launch Project Builder, select New Project... from the File menu, scroll down to the bottom of the New Project window and create a Foundation Tool project. Name the project CrannyTester.

One Window, Some, or Many?

One Project Builder feature I really like is the ability to customize PB's use of windows. Select Preferences... from the Project Builder menu, then click on the Task Templates icon at the top of the prefs window. Now click on the Basic Settings tab (Figure 1).


Figure 1. The window template settings in the Preferences... dialog.

As you can see, there are four basic window setups. Single Window forces the entire Project Builder interface into a single swiss-army-knife of an interface, a single window filled with tabbed panes (Figure 2). If you are working on a laptop or on a smaller monitor, this is a very efficient way to go.


Figure 2. The CrannyTester project in Single Window mode.

    One bit of funkiness to be aware of: When you change selections in the Task Templates preference panes, your changes won't take effect until you open a new window. To get the change to affect your current project, make the change, then close your project and reopen it.

    To see this for yourself, set the preference to Single Window, then open a project or create a new one. A set of horizontal tabs (similar to the Find/Build/Run/Debug/CVS tags in Figure 2) will appear in the window.

    Now go into preferences and change to Some Windows. Even if you click the Apply button, the tabs will still be visible. Now close the project and reopen it. The tabs disappear as the Some Windows preference is applied.

    Chances are, you'll pick a mode you like, then create all your projects in that mode. If you do find yourself playing with the windowing modes, be sure to reopen the project to see the effect properly.

"Some Windows" adds separate windows for Find, Build and Debug. "Many Windows" opens everything in its own window and feels most like CodeWarrior to me. I spend most of my time in Some Windows but love the flexibility of switching to Single Window when I'm on the road. Sweet!

Finding the Doc

Now that you've got your project setup the way you like it, I'd like to share another Project Builder nook with you. Or maybe it's a cranny. Hmmm.

Open the CrannyTester project you created at the beginning of this month's column. Click on the Files tab, open the Source triangle, and click on the source file main.m. Here's the source code you should see:

#import <Foundation/Foundation.h>
int main (int argc, const char * argv[]) {
  NSAutoreleasePool *pool=[[NSAutoreleasePool alloc] init];
    // insert code here...
    NSLog(@"Hello, World!");
    [pool release];
    return 0;
}

This is the default source for a Foundation Tool and should look reasonably familiar to you. One of the keys to understanding any new framework is the ability to find descriptions of the classes and utility functions that you encounter in the framework's documentation. One thing Apple's dev tools have no shortage of is documentation. While I do recommend that you spend some time prowling through the /Developer/Documentation/ subdirectories, there are some clever little shortcuts built into Project Builder that will bring you right to the pages you are looking for.

Let's start with the most obvious path. If you click on the Classes tab, you'll see a list of classes in the upper pane, with a list (empty, right now) of members in the lower pane. Below that is a popup menu that should be set to "Heirarchy, all classes" with an Options button to its right (See Figure 3.)


Figure 3. The Classes tab, with its list of classes.

Lets say you wanted to read up on the NSObject class (and you should). NSObject is the root of most of the classes you'll use to develop your Cocoa applications. Click on NSObject in the Class pane. You'll immediately see a list of its member functions in the lower pane. Click on a member function, and that function's declaration appears in the main editing pane.

Now for the coolness. Notice that little blue book icon to the left of the NSObject entry in the Class pane? Click on it. Ka-ching! The NSObject documentation appears in the editing pane. Apple's documentation is extensive. For each class, you'll learn where the class fits into the class hierarchy, protocols it conforms to, in what include files it is declared, methods and fields (with lots of "see also" links), and more. At the very least, spend some time reading about the NSObject class, since the vast majority of your classes will inherit from this class.

Here's another example: Go back to the Class pane and click on the triangle to the left of NSObject. This will reveal the classes derived from NSObject. Near the top of that list is NSArray. Click on the triangle to the left of NSArray, revealing NSMutableArray. Click on the book icon for NSMutableArray. The doc for NSMutableArray will appear in the main pane (see Figure 4).


Figure 4. The documentation for NSMutableArray.

Notice that the doc lists the inheritance hierarchy NSArray : NSObject. As you can see, you've got several ways to find your class in the hierarchy. You can use the triangles to drill down through a parent class. You can also use the "Inherits from" links in the doc to get to an ancestor class.

Now take a look at the popup menu at the bottom of the Members pane. It currently reads "Hierarchy, all classes". There are some other choices as well. Selecting "Hierarchy, project classes" will restrict the class list to classes you've declared in your project. "Flat, all classes" gives you a straight alphabetical listing of all classes, irrespective of hierarchy. This is very useful when you know the name of a class, but don't know where it sits in the class tree. "Flat, project classes" does the same thing, but restricts the list to classes used by your project.

Another nice Project Builder feature is that you can add your own customized views to this list. Figure 5 shows the dialog that appears when you click the Options button to the right of the popup menu. Basically, you use the controls in the dialog to customize the class listing, then click the Add... button. When prompted, name your custom listing, and it will appear in the popup menu along with the other listings. Spend a few minutes playing with this dialog, just so you have a sense of what options are available to you.


Figure 5. This dialog appears when you click the Options button in the Classes tab.

Other Paths to the Documentation

As you might expect, there are other ways to get from a symbol to its documentation. In your CrannyTester project, click on the Files tab, then open the Source triangle and click on main.m. Now hold down the option key and double-click on the class name NSAutoreleasePool.

Ta-daa! Project Builder takes you straight to the doc page for NSAutoreleasePool. To get back to your source code, click on the "back" button (the button the cursor is pointing to in Figure 6). Go ahead, click on it. Just like your browser, it takes you back to the previous page, in this case, your source code.


Figure 6. The cursor is pointing to the back button.

Let's try another experiment. This time, hold down the command key and double-click on NSAutoreleasePool. Instead of jumping to the doc, Project Builder jumps to the declaration of NSAutoreleasePool in NSAutoreleasePool.h.

Notice the two popup menus to the right of the back and forward browser buttons. The first popup (Figure 7) lists the recently visited frames, including source code and documentation. The second popup (Figure 8) allows you to jump to individual declarations within the current source file.


Figure 7. The first popup to the right of the browser buttons shows recently visited files.


Figure 8. The second popup lets you jump to the declarations within the current file.

Till Next Month...

There are a lot more elements worth exploring within Project Builder but, unfortunately, I've run out of room. More cool stuff next month, plus we'll dig into some actual code. See you then.


Dave Mark is a long-time Mac developer and author and has written a number of books on Macintosh development, including Learn C on the Macintosh, Learn C++ on the Macintosh, and The Macintosh Programming Primer series. Be sure to check out Dave's web site at http://www.spiderworks.com.

 
AAPL
$111.78
Apple Inc.
-0.87
MSFT
$47.66
Microsoft Corpora
+0.14
GOOG
$516.35
Google Inc.
+5.25

MacTech Search:
Community Search:

Software Updates via MacUpdate

Monolingual 1.6.2 - Remove unwanted OS X...
Monolingual is a program for removing unnecesary language resources from OS X, in order to reclaim several hundred megabytes of disk space. It requires a 64-bit capable Intel-based Mac and at least... Read more
NetShade 6.1 - Browse privately using an...
NetShade is an Internet security tool that conceals your IP address on the web. NetShade routes your Web connection through either a public anonymous proxy server, or one of NetShade's own dedicated... Read more
calibre 2.13 - Complete e-library manage...
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 librarian... Read more
Mellel 3.3.7 - Powerful word processor w...
Mellel is the leading word processor for OS X and has been widely considered the industry standard since its inception. Mellel focuses on writers and scholars for technical writing and multilingual... Read more
ScreenFlow 5.0.1 - Create screen recordi...
Save 10% with the exclusive MacUpdate coupon code: AFMacUpdate10 Buy now! ScreenFlow is powerful, easy-to-use screencasting software for the Mac. With ScreenFlow you can record the contents of your... Read more
Simon 4.0 - Monitor changes and crashes...
Simon monitors websites and alerts you of crashes and changes. Select pages to monitor, choose your alert options, and customize your settings. Simon does the rest. Keep a watchful eye on your... Read more
BBEdit 11.0.2 - Powerful text and HTML e...
BBEdit is the leading professional HTML and text editor for the Mac. Specifically crafted in response to the needs of Web authors and software developers, this award-winning product provides a... Read more
ExpanDrive 4.2.1 - Access cloud storage...
ExpanDrive builds cloud storage in every application, acts just like a USB drive plugged into your Mac. With ExpanDrive, you can securely access any remote file server directly from the Finder or... Read more
Adobe After Effects CC 2014 13.2 - Creat...
After Effects CC 2014 is available as part of Adobe Creative Cloud for as little as $19.99/month (or $9.99/month if you're a previous After Effects customer). After Effects CS6 is still available... Read more
Evernote 6.0.5 - Create searchable notes...
Evernote allows you to easily capture information in any environment using whatever device or platform you find most convenient, and makes this information accessible and searchable at anytime, from... Read more

Latest Forum Discussions

See All

Make your own Tribez Figures (and More)...
Make your own Tribez Figures (and More) with Toyze Posted by Jessica Fisher on December 19th, 2014 [ permalink ] Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad | Read more »
So Many Holiday iOS Sales Oh My Goodness...
The holiday season is in full-swing, which means a whole lot of iOS apps and games are going on sale. A bunch already have, in fact. Naturally this means we’re putting together a hand-picked list of the best discounts and sales we can find in order... | Read more »
It’s Bird vs. Bird in the New PvP Mode f...
It’s Bird vs. Bird in the New PvP Mode for Angry Birds Epic Posted by Jessica Fisher on December 19th, 2014 [ permalink ] Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad | Read more »
Telltale Games and Mojang Announce Minec...
Telltale Games and Mojang Announce Minecraft: Story Mode – A Telltale Games Series Posted by Jessica Fisher on December 19th, 2014 [ permalink ] | Read more »
WarChest and Splash Damage Annouce Their...
WarChest and Splash Damage Annouce Their New Game: Tempo Posted by Jessica Fisher on December 19th, 2014 [ permalink ] WarChest Ltd and Splash Damage Ltd are teaming up again to work | Read more »
BulkyPix Celebrates its 6th Anniversary...
BulkyPix Celebrates its 6th Anniversary with a Bunch of Free Games Posted by Jessica Fisher on December 19th, 2014 [ permalink ] BulkyPix has | Read more »
Indulge in Japanese cuisine in Cooking F...
Indulge in Japanese cuisine in Cooking Fever’s new sushi-themed update Posted by Simon Reed on December 19th, 2014 [ permalink ] Lithuanian developer Nordcurrent has yet again updated its restaurant simulat | Read more »
Badland Daydream Level Pack Arrives to C...
Badland Daydream Level Pack Arrives to Celebrate 20 Million Downloads Posted by Ellis Spice on December 19th, 2014 [ permalink ] | Read more »
Far Cry 4, Assassin’s Creed Unity, Desti...
Far Cry 4, Assassin’s Creed Unity, Destiny, and Beyond – AppSpy Takes a Look at AAA Companion Apps Posted by Rob Rich on December 19th, 2014 [ permalink ] These day | Read more »
A Bunch of Halfbrick Games Are Going Fre...
A Bunch of Halfbrick Games Are Going Free for the Holidays Posted by Ellis Spice on December 19th, 2014 [ permalink ] Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad | Read more »

Price Scanner via MacPrices.net

The Apple Store offering free next-day shippi...
The Apple Store is now offering free next-day shipping on all in stock items if ordered before 12/23/14 at 10:00am PT. Local store pickup is also available within an hour of ordering for any in stock... Read more
It’s 1992 Again At Sony Pictures, Except For...
Techcrunch’s John Biggs interviewed a Sony Pictures Entertainment (SPE) employee, who quite understandably wished to remain anonymous, regarding post-hack conditions in SPE’s L.A office, explaining “... Read more
Holiday sales this weekend: MacBook Pros for...
 B&H Photo has new MacBook Pros on sale for up to $300 off MSRP as part of their Holiday pricing. Shipping is free, and B&H charges NY sales tax only: - 15″ 2.2GHz Retina MacBook Pro: $1699... Read more
Holiday sales this weekend: MacBook Airs for...
B&H Photo has 2014 MacBook Airs on sale for up to $120 off MSRP, for a limited time, for the Thanksgiving/Christmas Holiday shopping season. Shipping is free, and B&H charges NY sales tax... Read more
Holiday sales this weekend: iMacs for up to $...
B&H Photo has 21″ and 27″ iMacs on sale for up to $200 off MSRP including free shipping plus NY sales tax only. B&H will also include a free copy of Parallels Desktop software: - 21″ 1.4GHz... Read more
Holiday sales this weekend: Mac minis availab...
B&H Photo has new 2014 Mac minis on sale for up to $80 off MSRP. Shipping is free, and B&H charges NY sales tax only: - 1.4GHz Mac mini: $459 $40 off MSRP - 2.6GHz Mac mini: $629 $70 off MSRP... Read more
Holiday sales this weekend: Mac Pros for up t...
B&H Photo has Mac Pros on sale for up to $500 off MSRP. Shipping is free, and B&H charges sales tax in NY only: - 3.7GHz 4-core Mac Pro: $2599, $400 off MSRP - 3.5GHz 6-core Mac Pro: $3499, $... Read more
Save up to $400 on MacBooks with Apple Certif...
The Apple Store has Apple Certified Refurbished 2014 MacBook Pros and MacBook Airs available for up to $400 off the cost of new models. An Apple one-year warranty is included with each model, and... Read more
Save up to $300 on Macs, $30 on iPads with Ap...
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
iOS and Android OS Targeted by Man-in-the-Mid...
Cloud services security provider Akamai Technologies, Inc. has released, through the company’s Prolexic Security Engineering & Research Team (PLXsert), a new cybersecurity threat advisory. The... Read more

Jobs Board

*Apple* Store Leader Program (US) - Apple, I...
…Summary Learn and grow as you explore the art of leadership at the Apple Store. You'll master our retail business inside and out through training, hands-on experience, 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
*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...
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
All contents are Copyright 1984-2011 by Xplain Corporation. All rights reserved. Theme designed by Icreon.