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.

 

Community Search:
MacTech Search:

Software Updates via MacUpdate

MacFamilyTree 8.2.1 - Create and explore...
MacFamilyTree gives genealogy a facelift: modern, interactive, convenient and fast. Explore your family tree and your family history in a way generations of chroniclers before you would have loved.... Read more
Spotify 1.0.57.474. - Stream music, crea...
Spotify is a streaming music service that gives you on-demand access to millions of songs. Whether you like driving rock, silky R&B, or grandiose classical music, Spotify's massive catalogue puts... Read more
VOX 2.8.26 - Music player that supports...
VOX just sounds better! The beauty is in its simplicity, yet behind the minimal exterior lies a powerful music player with a ton of features and support for all audio formats you should ever need.... Read more
beaTunes 5.0.1 - Organize your music col...
beaTunes is a full-featured music player and organizational tool for music collections. How well organized is your music library? Are your artists always spelled the same way? Any R.E.M. vs REM?... Read more
LibreOffice 5.3.4.2 - Free, open-source...
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
Sparkle Pro 2.2 - $79.99
Sparkle Pro will change your mind if you thought building websites wasn't for you. Sparkle is the intuitive site builder that lets you create sites for your online portfolio, team or band pages, or... Read more
calibre 3.1.1 - Complete e-book library...
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
calibre 3.1.1 - Complete e-book library...
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
Sparkle Pro 2.2 - $79.99
Sparkle Pro will change your mind if you thought building websites wasn't for you. Sparkle is the intuitive site builder that lets you create sites for your online portfolio, team or band pages, or... Read more
Spotify 1.0.57.474. - Stream music, crea...
Spotify is a streaming music service that gives you on-demand access to millions of songs. Whether you like driving rock, silky R&B, or grandiose classical music, Spotify's massive catalogue puts... Read more

Latest Forum Discussions

See All

This War of Mine gets a new ending and m...
This War of Mine just got a big new update, featuring free DLC that adds a new ending to the game, among other exciting changes. The update is celebrating the game's two-year release anniversary. Apart from the new ending, which will be quite... | Read more »
Summon eight new heroes in Fire Emblem H...
Nintendo keeps coming at us with Fire Emblem Heroes updates, and it doesn't look like that trend is stopping anytime soon. The folks behind the game have just announced the new War of the Clerics Voting Gauntlet, expected to start next Tuesday. [... | Read more »
The best deals on the App Store this wee...
iOS publishers are pulling out all the stops this week -- there's a huge number of seriously great games at discounted prices this week. Let's not waste any time and get right down to business. [Read more] | Read more »
The House of da Vinci (Games)
The House of da Vinci 1.0.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $4.99, Version: 1.0.0 (iTunes) Description: Enter The House of Da Vinci, a new must-try 3D puzzle adventure game. Solve mechanical puzzles, discover hidden... | Read more »
Solve the disappearance of history’s gre...
Blue Brain Games invites you to indulge in an immersive hands-on 3D puzzle adventure in similar vein to The Room series, with its debut release The House of Da Vinci. Set during the historic period of the Italian Renaissance (when Leonardo himself... | Read more »
Age of Rivals (Games)
Age of Rivals 3.3 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $.99, Version: 3.3 (iTunes) Description: Deep civilization-building strategy in a fast-paced card game! | Read more »
Panthera Frontier (Games)
Panthera Frontier 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $4.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: | Read more »
Angry Birds Evolution beginner's gu...
Angry Birds changes things up a fair bit in its latest iteration, Angry Birds Evolution. The familiar sling-shot physics mechanics are still there, but the game now features team-based gameplay, RPG elements, and a new top-down view. With all of... | Read more »
Sega Forever is for the retro game fans
Sega is launching a new retro games service titled Sega Forever, in a move that's sure to delight games enthusiasts with a bit of nostalgia. Sega's releasing five classic games for free. The titles include Sonic the Hedgehog, Phantasy Star II,... | Read more »
The Little Acre (Games)
The Little Acre 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $2.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: | Read more »

Price Scanner via MacPrices.net

ABBYY TextGrabber 6 for iOS Implements Instan...
ABBYY has announced the release of TextGrabber 6.0.0, an important feature update to the company’s productivity app developed for iOS and Android devices. TextGrabber 6.0 now offers Real-Time... Read more
vPhone, First Smartphone That Can’t Be Lost,...
Austin, Texas based Hypori has introduced the vPhone, a virtual smartphone that affords every business user the benefits of separate work and personal phones, conveniently delivered on a single... Read more
Save this weekend with 2016 refurbished MacBo...
Apple has dropped prices on Certified Refurbished 2016 15″ and 13″ MacBook Pros by as much as $590 off original MSRP. An Apple one-year warranty is included with each model, and shipping is free: -... Read more
New 27-inch 3.4GHz iMac on sale for $1699, sa...
MacMall has the new 2017 27″ 3.4GHz iMac (MNE92LL/A) in stock and on sale for $1699 including free shipping. Their price is $100 off MSRP. Read more
Clearance 2016 MacBook Pros available for up...
B&H Photo has clearance 2016 13″ and 15″ MacBook Pros in stock today and on sale for up to $400 off original MSRP. Shipping is free, and B&H charges NY & NJ sales tax only: - 15″ 2.7GHz... Read more
Apple Ranks 9th In comScore Top 50 U.S. Digit...
comScore, Inc. has released its monthly ranking of U.S. online activity at the top digital media properties for May 2017 based on data from comScore Media Metrix Multi-Platform. * Entity has... Read more
10.5-inch iPad Pros available for up to $20 o...
B&H Photo has the new 2017 10.5″ iPad Pros available for up to $20 off MSRP including free shipping plus NY & NJ sales tax only: - 64GB iPad Pro WiFi: $649 - 256GB iPad Pro WiFi: $749 - 512GB... Read more
Three Off-The-Beaten-Track iOS Apps That Dese...
One of the great things about using iPads and iPhones is the vast selection of apps available for most anything you want or need to do. The three outlined in this article have been in my core app... Read more
Apple No. 1 Spot In Gartner Top 100 Vendors i...
Gartner, Inc. has unveiled the top global 100 vendors in IT in 2016 based on their revenue across IT (excluding communication services) and component market segments. In the Gartner Global Top 100:... Read more
Clearance iMacs available for up to $300 off...
B&H Photo has clearance 21″ and 27″ Apple iMacs available starting at $949, each including free shipping plus NY & NJ sales tax only: - 27″ 3.3GHz iMac 5K: $1999 $300 off original MSRP - 27″... Read more

Jobs Board

*Apple* News Product Marketing Mgr., Publish...
…organizational consensus on strategy and vision for publisher tools, authoring, and Apple News Format.Carries this strategy and vision across the organization to Read more
*Apple* Retail - Multiple Positions - Apple,...
Job Description: Sales Specialist - Retail Customer Service and Sales Transform Apple Store visitors into loyal Apple customers. When customers enter the store, Read more
Security Data Analyst - *Apple* Information...
…data sources need to be collected to allow Information Security to better protect Apple employees and customers from a wide range of threats.Act as the subject matter Read more
Lead *Apple* Solutions Consultant - Apple I...
…integrity, and trust.Success Metrics/Key Performance Indicators:Quantitative* Year over Year growth in Apple Product and Beyond the Box sales in the assigned Point of Read more
*Apple* Solutions Consultant till v%u00E5r...
…ethics, integrity, and trust.Success Metrics/Key Performance Indicators:QuantitativeYear over Year growth in Apple Product and Beyond the Box sales in the assigned Point Read more
All contents are Copyright 1984-2011 by Xplain Corporation. All rights reserved. Theme designed by Icreon.