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

Latest Forum Discussions

See All

Can PokeMatch help you find love with Po...
The unofficial Pokemon GO companion app space has exploded almost as fast as the game itself over the last few weeks. Aspiring app developers, many of them working solo, have given us apps that locate Pokemon, keep track of the server status, and... | Read more »
How to get started with Prisma
If there's one thing people like to do more than taking pictures with their smartphones, it's tinkering with those photos in some way. Numerous apps have sprung up over the last several years that allow you to use filters and special effects to... | Read more »
6 Pokemon GO updates you can expect, acc...
Pokemon GO had a scheduled appearance at this year's San Diego Comic-Con for a while, but it was only relatively close to the show that it was upgraded to a spot in Hall H. That's the biggest venue at SDCC, one usually reserved for the largest... | Read more »
How to evolve Eevee in Pokemon GO
By now, almost everyone should be hip to how to evolve Pokemon in Pokemon GO (and if not, there's a guide for that). Just gather enough candy of the appropriate type, feed them all to the Pokemon, and evolution happens. It's a miracle that would... | Read more »
CSR Racing 2: Guide to all game modes
It might not seem like there are all that many ways to go fast in a straight line, but CSR Racing 2 begs to differ. [Read more] | Read more »
Bulb Boy (Games)
Bulb Boy 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $2.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: Multi-award winning 2D point & click horror adventure about a boy with a glowing head. | Read more »
5 top free emoji keyboard apps
If we're not at peak emoji yet as a society, it feels like we definitely should be. The emoji concept has gone far beyond what anyone in Japan could have envisioned when the people there unleashed it on an unsuspecting world, but the West has... | Read more »
How to unlock more characters in Disney...
One of the big charms of Disney Emoji Blitz is seeing a wide variety of beloved Disney and Pixar characters transformed into smiling emojis. Even someone like the sneaky Randall from Monsters Inc., who probably never cracked a smile on film, is... | Read more »
Cubway (Games)
Cubway 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $1.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: Cubway is a journey with an abstract story of lifecycle of rebirth, called Samsara. Guide the cube through the long way full of dangers... | Read more »
Colorcube (Games)
Colorcube 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $1.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: Turn pieces and blend colours in this minimal yet visually stunning puzzler.Over 200 handcrafted and challenging levels. Features... | Read more »

Price Scanner via MacPrices.net

Clearance 12-inch Retina MacBooks, Apple refu...
Apple has Certified Refurbished 2015 12″ Retina MacBooks available starting at $929. Apple will include a standard one-year warranty with each MacBook, and shipping is free. The following... Read more
13-inch Retina MacBook Pros on sale for up to...
B&H Photo has 13″ Retina MacBook Pros on sale for up to $150 off MSRP. Shipping is free, and B&H charges NY tax only: - 13″ 2.7GHz/128GB Retina MacBook Pro: $1199 $100 off MSRP - 13″ 2.7GHz/... Read more
13-inch 1.6GHz/128GB MacBook Air on sale for...
Amazon has the 13″ 1.6GHz/128GB MacBook Air on sale for $200 off MSRP for a limited time. Shipping is free: - 13″ 1.6GHz/128GB MacBook Air (sku MMGF2LL/A): $799.99 $200 off MSRP Their price is the... Read more
13-inch 1.6GHz/256GB MacBook Air on sale for...
Amazon has the 13″ 1.6GHz/256GB MacBook Air on sale for $200 off MSRP for a limited time. Shipping is free: - 13″ 1.6GHz/256GB MacBook Air (sku MMGG2LL/A): $999.99 $200 off MSRP Their price is the... Read more
Free iOS Business App notably* Helps Service...
PayStudio Inc. has introduced their new business app notably* 1.0, developed for iPhone and iPod touch. notably* was specifically developed to help service and trade professionals go digital and... Read more
27-inch iMacs on sale for $200 off MSRP
Amazon has 27″ iMacs on sale for $200 off MSRP including free shipping: - 27″ 3.3GHz iMac 5K: $2099 $200 off MSRP - 27″ 3.2GHz/1TB Fusion iMac 5K: $1799.99 $200 off MSRP - 27″ 3.2GHz/1TB HD iMac 5K... Read more
Mac Pros on sale for $200 off MSRP
B&H Photo has Mac Pros on sale for $200 off MSRP. Shipping is free, and B&H charges sales tax in NY only: - 3.7GHz 4-core Mac Pro: $2799, $200 off MSRP - 3.5GHz 6-core Mac Pro: $3799, $200... Read more
Save up to $600 with Apple refurbished Mac Pr...
Apple has Certified Refurbished Mac Pros available for up to $600 off the cost of new models. An Apple one-year warranty is included with each Mac Pro, and shipping is free. The following... Read more
Apple price trackers, updated continuously
Scan our Apple Price Trackers for the latest information on sales, bundles, and availability on systems from Apple’s authorized internet/catalog resellers. We update the trackers continuously: - 15″... Read more
13-inch 2.5GHz MacBook Pro (Apple refurbished...
Apple has Certified Refurbished 13″ 2.5GHz MacBook Pros available for $829, or $270 off the cost of new models. Apple’s one-year warranty is standard, and shipping is free: - 13″ 2.5GHz MacBook Pros... Read more

Jobs Board

*Apple* Retail - Multiple Positions, Willow...
Job Description:SalesSpecialist - Retail Customer Service and SalesTransform Apple Store visitors into loyal Apple customers. When customers enter the store, Read more
*Apple* Evangelist - JAMF Software (United S...
The Apple Evangelist is responsible for building and cultivating strategic relationships with Apple 's small and mid-market business development field teams. This Read more
*Apple* Solutions Consultant - APPLE (United...
Job Summary As an Apple Solutions Consultant, you'll be the link between our future customers and our products. You'll showcase your entrepreneurial spirit as you Read more
*Apple* Professional Learning Specialist - A...
Job Summary The Apple Professional Learning Specialist is a full-time position for one year with Apple in the Phoenix, AZ area. This position requires a high Read more
*Apple* Picker - Apple Hill Orchard (United...
Apple Hill Orchard, Co. Rte. 21,Whitehall, NY 9/7/16-10/228/16. Pick fresh market or processing apples Productivity of 60 boxes and 80 boxes processing fruit per Read more
All contents are Copyright 1984-2011 by Xplain Corporation. All rights reserved. Theme designed by Icreon.