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Surf's Up: Catch The Comm Toolbox Wave

Surf's Up: Catch The Comm Toolbox Wave

ROB BERKOWITZ AND ALEX KAZIM

The Macintosh Communications Toolbox provides managers and utilities that offer basic networking and communications services to applications. This article introduces you to three of the Communications Toolbox managers--the Connection Manager, the Terminal Manager, and the File Transfer Manager--as well as Surfer, a sample application that uses the Communications Toolbox to implement simple networking and communications services.

Networking and communications applications running on the Macintosh are like a good pair of rose-colored shades. They filter out the harshness of antiquated architectures and conventions, and present users with a familiar, intuitive interface. The Macintosh Communications Toolbox provides a standard framework in which you can develop modular, consistent networking and communications applications. As a developer using the Communications Toolbox, you can write applications without having to know the complexities of each networking and communications environment your applications run in. For example, imagine writing a chess program that enables users to play opponents over any sort of data connection, without having to code for each type of connection. The Communications Toolbox makes this possible.

COMMUNICATIONS TOOLBOX CONTENTS

The Communications Toolbox consists of four managers and a set of utilities that provide basic networking and communications services. Think of these managers and utilities as an extension to the Macintosh Toolbox. Each of the managers in the Communications Toolbox--the Connection Manager, the Terminal Manager, the File Transfer Manager, and the Communications Resource Manager--handles a different aspect of networking and communications. The utilities provide routines that perform a variety of useful auxiliary functions. This article focuses on the Connection Manager, the Terminal Manager, and the File Transfer Manager. Communications Toolbox managers work with communications tools, which are self-contained software modules that provide protocol-specific services. The managers and tools perform the following functions:
  • The Connection Manager and tools are the mechanism for establishing and maintaining a data connection between machines.
  • The Terminal Manager and tools show data to users in a manner that emulates the characteristics of specific terminal types.
  • The File Transfer Manager and tools handle the protocols for sending and receiving files.
  • The Communications Resource Manager helps applications keep track of necessary resources.

You code to the application programming interface defined by the managers. In turn, the managers request specific services from communications tools. The interaction between the tool and the manager is invisible to your application, so when you design your application, you don't have to be concerned with what sort of data connection is in place, what kind of terminal to emulate, or what type of file transfer to perform. It's similar to the way applications deal with the Printing Manager. Applications say "Print," and the Printing Manager sends the request to the Printer Driver, which figures out how to print on a specific device.

By providing basic services, communications tools free application developers from having to learn the most heinous intricacies of communications conventions. That work is left up to those who practice the black art of writing communications tools.

Communications tools live in the Communications folder, which is in the System Folder and is created and populated when you install the Communications Toolbox. (Under System 7.0 they will reside in the Extensions folder.) A number of communications tools are available from APDA. Others, from Apple and third-party developers, will be available in the near future.

Figure 1 shows how the Communications Toolbox managers and tools fit between your application and the operating system. The application interacts with the manager, which in turn interacts with the tool. The tool, in turn, communicates with the operating system (or Communications Resource Manager), provides a specific service, and passes back to the application (through the manager) any relevant informationp.

[IMAGE SURFER_v004_html1.GIF]

Figure 1 How the Communications Toolbox Fits In

USING THE MANAGERS: AN OVERVIEW

In this section we give an overview of how your application uses each manager. The sample application Surfer, discussed in detail in the next section, provides a model of how an application uses the Communications Toolbox.

To get each of the Communications Toolbox managers ready for action, your application does the following:

  1. Initializes the manager, by calling InitCM, InitTM, or InitFT.
  2. Gets the procID for a specified tool (this is a tool file reference number, similar to the ones returned by the File and Resource Managers), by calling CMGetProcID, TMGetProcID, or FTProcID.
  3. Creates a new instance of the tool, by calling CMNew, TMNew, or FTNew.
  4. Configures the tool. You can present users with a standard tool-settings dialog box by calling CMChoose, TMChoose, or FTChoose, or you can set the configuration directly using a configuration string. Figure 2 shows the dialog box that is put up in response to a call to TMChoose while the VT 102 tool is active.

[IMAGE SURFER_v004_html2.GIF]

Figure 2 The Dialog Box for Choosing and Configuring a Terminal Tool

Associated with each communications service (connection, terminal, and file transfer) is a data structure that the manager, tool, and application maintain. For the Connection Manager, this data structure is called the connection record; for the Terminal Manager, the terminal record; for the File Transfer Manager, the file transfer record. These records are discussed in detail in Macintosh Communications Toolbox Reference . Your application refers to these records for information upon which to base decisions, similarly to how the Window Manager uses information in the window record.

An important concept central to the architecture of the Communications Toolbox is that applications wait on events. When an application (Surfer, for example) gets an event to pass to one of the communications tools, it tells the manager, which then passes a message to the appropriate tool, along with a handle to the associated data structure (that is, connection record, terminal record, or file transfer record). The communication between the tool and the manager is done through the data structure and return codes. The section "Handling Events" goes into more detail about this.

A LOOK AT SURFER

Surfer is a simple terminal emulation package that Alex adapted from the DTS sample code sent out to developers. It uses the Communications Toolbox to implement simple networking and communications services. It provides support for data connections, terminal emulations, and file transfers; and can use new communications tools without changing one line of code. Keep in mind that you can use the Communications Toolbox to go well beyond the domain of standard terminal emulation software, to seamlessly incorporate networking and communications functionality into all kinds of programs.

Here we'll show you selected portions of Surfer to illustrate how it uses the Communications Toolbox. First we'll show you code to help you get a feel for the structure and flow of the program. Then we'll show how Surfer meets the common communications challenges of establishing and maintaining a connection, emulating a terminal, and tranferring files. Finally, we'll discuss how Surfer handles two common problems. You should examine the source code, which appears in its entirety on theDeveloper Essentials disc, to fully understand Surfer. You should also examine the connection record, terminal record, and file transfer record in Surfer. As mentioned earlier, these records are fundamental to the operation of each manager.

HOW SURFER STARTS UP
Here's Surfer's main routine:

BEGIN
	UnloadSeg(@_DataInit);	{ Note that _DataInit must not be in
	                          Main! }
	MaxApplZone;			{ Expand the heap so code segments load
	                          at the top. }
	Initialize;				{ Initialize the program. }
	UnloadSeg(@Initialize);	{ Note that Initialize must not be in
	                          Main! }
	EventLoop;				{ Call the main event loop. }
END.

As with surfing, where you've got to get out the wetsuit and put the board on the Bug, Surfer has some preparation it needs to do before it calls its main event loop. The following fragment from the Initializeprocedure shows how Surfer initializes the Communications Toolbox:

{ Does CommToolbox exist? }
IF NOT TrapAvailable(_CommToolboxTrap, OSTrap) THEN
	AlertUser('ACK!! No CommToolbox',TRUE);

{ Check for System 6.0 or better, 64K ROM. }
ignoreError := SysEnvirons(kSysEnvironsVersion, TerraMac);

WITH TerraMac DO
IF (systemVersion < $0600) OR (machineType < 0) THEN 
AlertUser('Need System 6.0 or better',TRUE);

{ Check various memory configs. } IF ORD(GetApplLimit) - ORD(ApplicZone) < kMinHeap THEN AlertUser('Out of Memory',TRUE);

PurgeSpace(total, contig);IF total < kMinSpace THEN AlertUser('Out of Memory',TRUE);

{ Load up the Communications Toolbox. } { Must initialize CRM & CTBUtilities first. } err := InitCTBUtilities; err := InitCRM;

err := InitTM; {Initialize the Terminal Manager.} IF err = TMNoTools THEN AlertUser('No terminal tools found',TRUE);

err := InitCM; { Initialize the Connection Manager. } IF err = CMNoTools THEN AlertUser('No connection tools found',TRUE);

err := InitFT; { Initialize the File Transfer Manager. } IF err = FTNoTools THEN AlertUser('No file transfer tools found',FALSE);

HANDLING EVENTS
After dealing with the initialization details, Surfer loops, waiting for events to wave through, handling them like this:

PROCEDURE EventLoop;
VAR
	gotEvent	: BOOLEAN;
	event		: EventRecord;

BEGIN
	REPEAT
		DoIdle;
		
		IF gHasWaitNextEvent THEN 	{ Put us 'asleep' forever
		                              under MultiFinder }
			gotEvent := WaitNextEvent(everyEvent, event, 0, NIL)
		
ELSE BEGIN
			SystemTask;	{ Must be called if using GetNextEvent. }
			gotEvent := GetNextEvent(everyEvent, event);
		END;
		
		IF gotEvent THEN BEGIN
			AdjustCursor(event.where);	{ Make sure we have the
			                              right cursor. }
			DoEvent(event);
		END;
		
		AdjustCursor(event.where);
	UNTIL FALSE;		{ Loop forever; we quit through an
	                      ExitToShell. }
END; { EventLoop }

The procedure DoEvent is where much of the code surfing takes place. The procedure is too long to reproduce here, but Figure 3 shows the important points schematically, and you can read the source code on the CD for more details.

[IMAGE SURFER_v004_html4.GIF]

Figure 3 How Surfer Handles Events

Events received by Surfer come in two main flavors: Surfer-owned and tool-owned. Tools can create their own windows behind Surfer's back (for instance, file transfer tools can put up a status window during a transfer), but since Surfer is in control, events destined for these windows come through Surfer's main event loop. Luckily, when a tool creates its own window, it stuffs a handle to itself in the window's refCon field. All Surfer has to do to determine who owns a window is compare the window's refCon to the existing tool handles. If a match is found, Surfer calls the appropriate routine ( TMEvent, CMEvent, or FTEvent) so that the tool can handle the event. Otherwise, Surfer handles the event itself.

Even Surfer's window, though, has "guests." The terminal tool needs to receive mouse clicks and update events, and all the tools need to receive activate/deactivate and suspend/resume events. These are passed to the tool with the appropriate routine: TMClick, TMUpdate, CMActivate, and so on.

MANAGING IDLE TIME
The idle procedure is a little convoluted because so much is happening. Surfer has to read and send data someplace, blink cursors, and provide all the sessions time for background file transfers. It's something like the action at O'Hare Airport.

Because communications tools can display their own windows, Surfer must walk the window list to give each tool time in a session. Although idle time is provided to tools with CMIdle, FTExec, and TMIdle, Surfer doesn't want to send data to the terminal tool if there's a file transfer in progress and the tools are using the same channel. Another thing worth checking is the file transfer status. Did the transfer start? Has it just ended? Was it successful? Did an auto- receive sequence come across? These concerns are discussed in greater detail later in this article in the section "Doing a File Transfer."

Surfer also needs to get data to the terminal tool. Surfer checks to see if the connection is open or data is available, and if so tells the tool to read it and stream it to the terminal:

{ Get the state of the connection. }
theErr := CMStatus(gConn, sizes, status);

IF (theErr = noErr) THEN  BEGIN
	{ Route the data if we have any. }
	IF (BAND(status, cmStatusOpen + cmStatusDataAvail) <>  0) AND
			(sizes[cmDataIn] <>  0) THEN BEGIN
		
		{ Tell the tool to get the data. }
		theErr := CMRead(gConn, gBuffer, sizes[cmDataIn],
					cmData, FALSE,NIL,0,flags);
		
		{ Send data to the terminal. }
		IF (theErr = noErr) THEN
			bytesEaten := TMStream(gTerm,gBuffer,
					sizes[cmDataIn],flags);
									
		{ Could check bytesEaten vs. sizes[cmDataIn]. }
	END; { Sizes <>  0. }
END; { Good status. }

Now that you've seen something of Surfer's main event loop, we'll look at how Surfer uses the Communications Toolbox managers.

INITIATING A CONNECTION
For two computers to talk to each other, they must establish and maintain a data connection. Applications that provide terminal emulation or file transfer services use the data connection to physically transfer the data. Before an application can open a data connection, the Connection Manager has to be properly set up. Surfer does this during initialization by calling InitCM to initialize the Connection Manager; calling CMGetProcID to get its ProcID; and calling CMNew to create a new instance of a connection tool. Note that Surfer does not explicitly configure the tool: CMNew automatically configures the tool to its default settings. The user can reconfigure the tool by choosing the appropriate menu item.

Here's how Surfer calls CMNew:

sizes[cmDataIn] := kBufferSize;
sizes[cmDataOut] := kBufferSize;
sizes[cmCntlIn] := 0;
sizes[cmCntlOut] := 0;
sizes[cmAttnIn] := 0;
sizes[cmAttnOut] := 0;

{ refCon and UserData are 0. }
gConn := CMNew(procID, cmData, sizes, 0, 0);
IF gConn = NIL THEN
	AlertUser('Can''t create a connection tool',TRUE);

Surfer supports only the data channel and asks for a 1K buffer for both input and output. Because the connection tool may be unable to handle the requested buffer size, Surfer needs to look at the bufSizesfield in the connection record and use that value to allocate space for the buffer.

gBuffer := NewPtr(gConn^^.bufSizes[cmDataIn]);
IF MemError <> noErr THEN
	AlertUser('Out of memory',TRUE);

Before Surfer initiates a connection, it checks the state of the connection with CMStatus. If the connection is not already open or in the process of opening, Surfer issues a CMOpen call, in this case synchronously with a 0 time-out. A timeout of 0 says, "Make a single attempt to open the connection."

{ Get connection info. }
theErr := CMStatus(gConn, sizes, status);
IF (theErr = noErr) THEN BEGIN
	{ If it isn't already open, then open it. }
	IF BAND(status, cmStatusOpen + cmStatusOpening) = 0 THEN
		theErr := CMOpen(gConn, FALSE, NIL, 0);
END;

ONCE THE CONNECTION IS OPEN . . .
Using the Connection Manager to maintain a data connection is a lot like talking with a friend. You start off by saying hello ( CMOpen, CMAccept, or CMListen), ask how he's doing ( CMStatus), engage in small talk (CMRead and CMWrite), take a deep breath once in a while (CMIdle), and end by saying goodbye ( CMClose).

Surfer uses CMStatus a lot to return information like whether there is data waiting to be read, and whether the connection is open or closed. If CMStatus shows that data is available, Surfer reads it and passes the data to the terminal tool or the file transfer tool, whichever is appropriate.

Closing a connection is similar to opening one, except, of course, the logic is reversed: Surfer only closes the connection if it's open. When Surfer is done with the session, it disposes of the tool with CMDispose and gets rid of the buffer with DisposPtr.

STARTING A TERMINAL EMULATION SESSION
In Surfer, a session is a connection, terminal, and file transfer tool, along with a data buffer tied to an owning window. Surfer is limited to one window and one session. To create a new session, Surfer calls

{ Get window. } 
window := GetNewWindow(rWindow, NIL, WindowPtr(-1));
SetPort(window);

The first thing to notice right after the GetNewWindow call is the SetPort. The terminal tool does as little port manipulation as possible and assumes that the port where it's drawing is the correct one. Surfer sets the port so it can direct drawing to either a window graphics port or a printer graphics port. Be warned that the terminal tool may die ungracefully if the current port is not valid.

During initialization, Surfer gets the Terminal Manager ready for action by calling InitTM, TMGetProcID, and TMNew. Surfer creates a new instance of a terminal tool as follows:theRect := window^.portRect;

{ Flags set to 0; no cacheProc, breakProc, or clikLoop;  }
{ refCon and UserData are 0. }
gTerm := TMNew(theRect,theRect,0,procID,window, 
		@TermSendProc,NIL,NIL,NIL,@ToolGetConnEnvirons,0,0);
IF gTerm = NIL THEN
	AlertUser('Can''t create a terminal tool',TRUE);

In TMNew, Surfer specifies the bounds of the drawing area, the terminal tool to use, the owning window, two internal procedures, and some application data.

When Surfer is done with the session, it disposes of the tools withTMDispose.

ONCE THE TERMINAL SESSION HAS STARTED . . .
The Terminal Manager handles the interaction between the host and the user during a session. Through the Terminal Manager, terminal tools can display both words and images to the user in a manner that emulates the characteristics of specific terminal types. The Terminal Manager also accepts information from the user (such as keystrokes), which is sent back to the host.

Many Terminal Manager routines are similar to TextEdit routines. Since the Terminal Manager is in charge of interacting with the user, most of the calls to the Terminal Manager that Surfer uses are event- oriented--even events like streaming data, when data becomes available, and passing data between Surfer and the tool.

The calls TMIdle, TMStream, and TMKey enable Surfer to provide basic terminal emulation services. Surfer calls TMIdle during its idle loop so, among other things, the tool can blink its cursor (similar to the way TEIdle works). When data becomes available from the connection tool, Surfer calls TMStream to stream the data to the terminal tool for drawing to the window. When a key event occurs, Surfer calls TMKey. The terminal tool processes the keystroke and then uses a Surfer procedure, specified in TMNew, to send data back to the connection. Since Surfer is in charge of this procedure, it can do some data filtering, use synchronous or asynchronous write calls, or just drop the request on the floor if it wants to.

Your application will probably support multiple sessions, making it difficult to find the connection handle associated with a particular terminal record. To help your application out, the terminal tool'srefCon is passed along in the parameter list to TMNew. Your application can put the connection tool handle in this location for this purpose. Then, in TermSendProc (a procedure that terminal tools expect your application to provide), your application can get the connection handle back by casting the refCon to a ConnHandle. Of course, this is only one possibility; you can store whatever you want in the refCon.

DOING A FILE TRANSFER
The File Transfer Manager provides file transfer services for a transfer between Surfer and another computer process. The other process can be running on the same computer as Surfer or on any other type of computer. Surfer makes a request of the File Transfer Manager in order to transfer a file or perform some other file transfer related function. The File Transfer Manager then sends this request to one of the tools it manages. The tool provides the service according to the specifics of its file transfer protocol. Once the tool has finished, it passes back to Surfer any relevant parameters and return codes. It's very similar to the way the other Communications Toolbox managers work.

During initialization, Surfer gets the File Transfer Manager ready for action by calling InitFT, FTGetProcID, and FTNew. Surfer uses the following code to create a new instance of a file transfer tool:

{ Flags set to 0, no read/write proc (let the tool use its own), }
{ refCon and UserData are 0.  }
gFT := FTNew(procID,0,@FTsendProc,@FTreceiveProc,NIL,NIL,
		@ToolGetConnEnvirons,window,0,0);
IF gFT = NIL THEN
	AlertUser('Can''t create a file transfer tool',TRUE);

For FTNew, Surfer specifies a send-and-receive procedure for the file transfer tool to use, if it doesn't already have one. Some file transfer tools, like ftp, handle their own connection and therefore don't use these procedures.

To start a file transfer, either sending or receiving, Surfer callsFTStart. To keep the transfer going, Surfer callsFTExecin its idle loop. That's it. When the transfer has completed, the tool takes care of closing itself. If Surfer needs to stop during the transfer, it can callFTAbort, and the tool automatically cleans up its mess.

Surfer needs to handle three things during a file transfer. First, it needs to look out for an auto-receive string, a sequence of characters supported by some file transfer protocols that throws Surfer into receive mode (MacTerminal 1.1 does this). If the file transfer tool supports auto-receive strings, Surfer uses the Connection Manager routine CMAddSearch to tell the connection tool to look out for the auto-receive string. Incidentally, when the connection tool is looking for an auto-receive string and the user chooses a new connection tool or modifies the current one, the Connection Manager destroys the old search for this string. Surfer, therefore, needs to add the search again.

Second, Surfer needs to handle data routing. Most file transfer tools use the current connection to get data. However, if a file transfer is in progress, we don't want Surfer trying to send data to the terminal tool. Some file transfer tools establish their own connection separate from the one Surfer has established, so any data read from the connection should go to the terminal tool as usual.

Third, Surfer needs to check that the file transfer was copacetic. Here's how it does this. During a file transfer, the File Transfer Manager turns on a bit in the file transfer record called ftIsFTMode. By keeping track of this bit, Surfer can tell when a file transfer has completed. It can then check the FTSucc bit in the file transfer record to see if the file transfer went according to plan.

Two of the procedures file transfer tools use areFTSendProc and FTReceiveProc, which respectively send and receive data. FTSendProc and FTReceiveProc are similar to TermSendProc, except the file transfer tool can specify which connection channel Surfer should use to read or write the data.

When Surfer is done with the session, it disposes of the tools with FTDispose.

HOW SURFER WORKS WITH AUTO-RECEIVE STRINGS
Whenever a new file transfer tool is created, either through an FTNew or FTChoose, Surfer searches the file transfer record for an auto-receive string. If there is one, Surfer calls CMAddSearch to tell the Connection Manager to look for the string in the incoming data.

IF (gFT <> NIL) AND (gConn <> NIL) THEN BEGIN
	tempStr := gFT^^.AutoRec; { Do I need to add a search? }
	IF (tempStr <> '') THEN BEGIN
		gFTSearchRefNum := CMAddSearch(gConn,tempStr,
		        cmSearchSevenBit, @AutoRecCallback);
		IF gFTSearchRefNum = -1 THEN BEGIN
			AlertUser('Couldn''t add stream search',FALSE);
			gFTSearchRefNum := 0;
		END;
	END; { Can autoreceive. }
END; { Good FT and conn. }

Surfer passes a procPtr to CMAddSearch so that when the search completes, the connection tool calls Surfer's AutoRecCallback. If more than one search was going on simultaneously, Surfer also gets back a refNum to help identify the returning search.

When the file transfer tool calls AutoRecCallback, Surfer starts to receive a file. Unfortunately, Surfer can't call FTStart from the callback procedure, because that procedure may be called at interrupt time, and FTStart cannot be called at interrupt time because it may move memory. So Surfer does the next best

thing. It sets a global flag in AutoRecCallback that says it received the auto-receive string. During the idle loop, it then looks at the flag to see if it's time to start the file transfer.

Here's how Surfer start to receive a file transfer.

IF gFT <> NIL THEN BEGIN
	{ Let the FT tool use its own default file info. }
	theReply.vRefNum := 0;
	theReply.fName := '';
	theReply.good := TRUE;
	
	gStartFT := FALSE; { Shut the flag down. }
	
	{ We remove the search temporarily in case it comes }
	{ across during the transfer. Will be re-added in the }
	{ idle loop once the transfer is completed. }
	
	IF gConn <> NIL THEN
		IF (gFT^^.autoRec <> '') AND
		       (gFTSearchRefNum <> 0) THEN BEGIN
			CMRemoveSearch(gConn, gFTSearchRefNum);
			gFTSearchRefNum := 0; { We found it already. }
		END;
	
	{ Start receiving the file. }
	{ The rest gets transferred in the Idle loop. }
	
	anyErr := FTStart(gFT,ftReceiving,theReply);
	
	IF (anyErr <> noErr) THEN
		; { File Transfer tool will alert user on an error. }
END; { Good handle. }

One other thing to think about is the string itself. If the string randomly came across again during the file transfer, Surfer doesn't want to start the transfer again because it's already in progress. Therefore, when starting the transfer, Surfer removes the search for the string, transfers the file, and adds the search back in the idle loop when finished.

HOW SURFER HANDLES TWO COMMON PROBLEMS
Two useful routines--IsAppWindow and FindToolID--help Surfer determine the owner of a window and the procID for a given tool.

As discussed earlier, a tool-owned window has a handle to the owning tool in its refCon. In IsAppWindow, Surfer makes sure the window is an application window by checking the refCons against all the tool handles.

IF window = NIL THEN
	IsAppWindow := FALSE

ELSE BEGIN
	theRefCon := GetWRefCon(window);
	WITH WindowPeek(window)^ DO
		IsAppWindow := ((windowKind > = userKind) | 
			(windowKind = dialogKind)) &
			(gTerm <> TermHandle(theRefCon)) &
			(gConn <> ConnHandle(theRefCon)) &
			(gFT <> FTHandle(theRefCon));
END;

As mentioned earlier, all three managers--the Terminal, Connection, and File Transfer Managers--require a procID when specifying a new instance of a tool. To go from a name of a terminal tool, for instance, to a procID, Surfer calls TMGetProcID(theName) first. (You can also do this with Connection Manager and File Transfer Manager routines.) Because the procID is dynamic, Surfer works with the name of the tool, rather than this value.

IF (toolClass = ClassTM) THEN BEGIN
	{ If it can't get the default, get the first. }
	toolName := kDefaultTermTool; {VT102 Tool}
	procID := TMGetProcID(toolName);

	IF (procID = -1) THEN BEGIN
		anyErr := CRMGetIndToolName(toolClass,1,toolName);
		IF (anyErr = noErr) THEN
			procID := TMGetProcID(toolName);
	END;
END { ClassTM. }

THE END OR JUST THE BEGINNING?

It should be clear by now that the Communications Toolbox makes writing full-blown communications applications and adding networking and communications services to existing applications easier than it used to be. By coding to the Communications Toolbox application programming interface, you can focus on providing networking and communications services rather than worrying about support for various industry standards. Seamless and easy access to information all over the world is revolutionizing how we communicate and think about each other. The Macintosh Communications Toolbox helps application developers and users become part of this revolution.

ROB BERKOWITZ'S career has come a long way, despite getting off to a dubious start (he worked for the large blue corporation). His B.S. in English (emphasis on the BS, he says) from Carnegie Mellon put him on the path to his Great American Reference Manual, the Macintosh Toolbox Reference. He likes working at Apple because "the offices are right next to some pretty primo cycling trails" and he has "the freedom to thrash around in the dirt in the middle of the day all year round." He is a Grateful Dead enthusiast who feels that "most Deadheads are genuinely good people. It would be nice if more people were like that." Truck on, Rob.

KAZ doesn't know his official title, but thinks he may be a Communications Toolbox Engineer. We try to be understanding of these lapses; he's got his hands full keeping track of and remembering the names of his hundreds of colorful family members worldwide. He, himself, is an international sort; he was born in Trinidad and has lived in Toronto and Texas. He's been at Apple since 1988, after getting his degree in mechanical engineering from Rice University. He tries to stay as busy as possible, especially with sailing, skiing, gliding, cooking, dancing, and writing fiction. He likes his food extremely(!) spicy, so we suggest caution if he invites you to lunch. His goal in life is not to get convicted, and he studies karate. Again, we suggest caution if he invites you to lunch. *

The definitive reference on the Communications Toolbox is Macintosh Communications Toolbox Reference , available from APDA. *

Thanks to Our Technical Reviewers: Mark Baumwell, Mary Chan, Byron Han, Rob Neville, Mike Shoemaker

 

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You may have seen over the past couple weeks a that a bunch of premium games have suddenly become free. This isn’t a mistake, nor is it some last hurrah before Apple Arcade hits, and it’s important to know that these games aren’t actually becoming... | Read more »
Yoozoo Games launches Saint Seiya Awaken...
If you’re into your anime, you’ve probably seen or heard of Saint Seiya. Based on a shonen manga by Masami Kurumada, the series was massively popular in the 1980s – especially in its native Japan. Since then, it’s grown into a franchise of all... | Read more »
Five Nights at Freddy's AR: Special...
Five Nights at Freddy's AR: Special Delivery is a terrifying new nightmare from developer Illumix. Last week, FNAF fans were sent into a frenzy by a short teaser for what we now know to be Special Delivery. Those in the comments were quick to... | Read more »
Rush Rally 3's new live events are...
Last week, Rush Rally 3 got updated with live events, and it’s one of the best things to happen to racing games on mobile. Prior to this update, the game already had multiplayer, but live events are more convenient in the sense that it’s somewhat... | Read more »
Why your free-to-play racer sucks
It’s been this way for a while now, but playing Hot Wheels Infinite Loop really highlights a big issue with free-to-play mobile racing games: They suck. It doesn’t matter if you’re trying going for realism, cart racing, or arcade nonsense, they’re... | Read more »
Steam Link Spotlight - The Banner Saga 3
Steam Link Spotlight is a new feature where we take a look at PC games that play exceptionally well using the Steam Link app. Our last entry talked about Terry Cavanaugh’s incredible Dicey Dungeons. Read about how it’s a great mobile experience... | Read more »
Combo Quest (Games)
Combo Quest 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: Combo Quest is an epic, time tap role-playing adventure. In this unique masterpiece, you are a knight on a heroic quest to retrieve... | Read more »
Hero Emblems (Games)
Hero Emblems 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $2.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: ** 25% OFF for a limited time to celebrate the release ** ** Note for iPhone 6 user: If it doesn't run fullscreen on your device... | Read more »
Puzzle Blitz (Games)
Puzzle Blitz 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $1.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: Puzzle Blitz is a frantic puzzle solving race against the clock! Solve as many puzzles as you can, before time runs out! You have... | Read more »

Price Scanner via MacPrices.net

11″ WiFi iPad Pros on sale today for up to $2...
Amazon has new 2018 Apple 11″ WiFi iPad Pros in stock today and on sale for up to $200 off Apple’s MSRP. These are the same iPad Pros sold by Apple in its retail and online stores. Be sure to select... Read more
Select 12″ iPad Pros on sale for $200 off App...
Amazon has select 2018 Apple 12″ iPad Pros in stock today and on sale for $200 off Apple’s MSRP. These are the same iPad Pros sold by Apple in its retail and online stores. Be sure to select Amazon... Read more
Get one of Apple’s new 2019 iPhone 11 models...
Boost Mobile is offering the new 2019 Apple iPhone 11, iPhone 11 Pro, and 11 Pro Max for $100 off MSRP. Their discount reduces the cost of an iPhone 11 to $599 for the 64GB models, $899 for the 64GB... Read more
13″ 1.4GHz Silver MacBook Pros on sale for $1...
B&H Photo has new 2019 13″ 1.4GHz 4-Core Touch Bar Silver MacBook Pros on sale for $100 off Apple’s MSRP. Overnight shipping is free to many addresses in the US. These are the same MacBook Pros... Read more
4-core and 6-core 2018 Mac minis available at...
Apple has Certified Refurbished 2018 Mac minis available on their online store for $120-$170 off the cost of new models. Each mini comes with a new outer case plus a standard Apple one-year warranty... Read more
$250 prepaid Visa card with any Apple iPhone,...
Xfinity Mobile will include a free $250 prepaid Visa card with the purchase of any new iPhone, new line activation, and transfer of phone number to Xfinity Mobile. Offer is valid through October 27,... Read more
Sprint is offering the 64GB Apple iPhone 11 P...
Sprint has the new 64GB iPhone 11 Pro available for $12.50 per month for new customers with an eligible trade-in in of iPhone 7 or newer. That’s down from their standard monthly lease of $41.67. The... Read more
Final week: Apple’s 2019 Back to School Promo...
Purchase a new Mac using Apple’s Education discount, and take up to $400 off MSRP. All teachers, students, and staff of any educational institution with a .edu email address qualify for the discount... Read more
Save $30 on Apple’s AirPods at these reseller...
Amazon is offering discounts on new 2019 Apple AirPods ranging up to $30 off MSRP as part of their Labor Day sale. Shipping is free: – AirPods with Charging Case: $144.95 $15 off MSRP – AirPods with... Read more
Preorder your Apple Watch Series 5 today at A...
Amazon has Apple Watch Series 5 GPS models available for preorder and on sale today for $15 off Apple’s MSRP. Shipping is free and starts on September 20th: – 40mm Apple Watch Series 5 GPS: $384.99 $... Read more

Jobs Board

*Apple* Mobile App Developer - eiWorkflow So...
…eiWorkflow Solutions, LLC is currently looking for a consultant for the following role. Apple Mobile App Developer Tasks the role will be performing: ? Mobile App Read more
Essbase Developer - *Apple* - Theorem, LLC...
Job Summary Apple is seeking an experienced, detail-minded Essbase developer to join our worldwide business development and strategy team. If you are someone who Read more
Student Employment (Blue *Apple* Cafe) Spri...
Student Employment (Blue Apple Cafe) Spring 2019 Penn State University Campus/Location: Penn State Brandywine Campus City: Media, PA Date Announced: 12/20/2018 Date Read more
Best Buy *Apple* Computing Master - Best Bu...
**732093BR** **Job Title:** Best Buy Apple Computing Master **Job Category:** Store Associates **Location Number:** 001441-Beaumont-Store **Job Description:** The Read more
*Apple* Mobile Master - Best Buy (United Sta...
**733770BR** **Job Title:** Apple Mobile Master **Job Category:** Store Associates **Location Number:** 000376-Benton Harbor-Store **Job Description:** **What does a Read more
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