TweetFollow Us on Twitter

March 92 - Third Annual MADA Conference

Third Annual MADA Conference

James Plamondon

By every conceivable standard, the conference in Orlando in late February was a smashing success. With well over 250 attendees, it was MADA's biggest annual conference so far. The memory of last year's Phoenix fiasco-the Holiday Inn's lousy audio-visual support, the "brown stuff" and "yellow stuff" for dessert-can now be safely put behind us.

Five days a week

I'd seen AdventureLand, and I'd seen FantasyLand, but until I saw the Marriott Orlando World Center, I'd never seen LuxuryLand. The place had hot and cold running servants, a pool the size of a lagoon, and so much room that they ought to have handed out bicycles to every guest so they could get around.

But such decadence is not without price; at $176 per night with tax, a room cost a little more than $7 per hour, 24 hours per day. If you were making $22 per hour, in a normal eight-hour day you'd earn just enough to pay your nightly bill-with nothing left over for food. And the hotel's restaurants were not cheap. A lot of guys saved money by eating nothing but take-out pizza the whole conference. But we are talking programmers, here; maybe that was their regular diet.

Monday

Monday, the conference got off to a rousing start-except for Steve Jasik's "Debugging MacApp Applications" session. Rousing Steve out of bed took a while; he was about forty-five minutes late to his session. But everyone seemed to take it in stride. Such things can happen to the best of us, after all. Despite the late start, Steve hung on to about 35 attendees, 5 of whom bore shiny new PowerBooks.

Jesse Feiler's "Solution Design Workshop," took its 64 attendees through an object-oriented design exercise. The exercise was intended to explore the feasibility of using behaviors whenever possible, instead of overriding TView methods. The reviews of this session were mixed, ranging from "really eye-opening" to "weird." Personally, I enjoyed the high degree of audience participation.

The big winner of the day was Jeff Alger and Neal Goldstein's session, "Introduction to Solution-Based Modeling." Neal and Jeff describe Solution-Based Modeling (SBM) in their brand-new book, "Object Oriented Software Development on the Macintosh" (instantly dubbed OOSDM, pronounced "Ooze-dumb," by the acronym-crazed). The book sold out at the conference, despite having two extra shipments brought in overnight. Copies became status symbols, almost as cool as PowerBooks.

Jeff and Neal's all-day presentation on SBM drew a huge crowd-110 people, or about half of the conference attendees. As the day wore on, the attendance at some of the other sessions declined, as people wandered over to the SBM session instead.

Two of Monday afternoon sessions were really great-Neil Rhodes' session on "Advanced C++," and David Taylor's session on "Tools for MacApp Programmers." Unfortunately, since they were both held at the same time, you could only attend one of them (unless you'd overridden self.Clone(), of course). I couldn't make up my mind which to attend, so I shuttled between them during the breaks.

Neil Rhodes has forgotten more about using C++ with MacApp than I may ever know. Copy constructors? Operator overloading? Memory management? If it was obscure, and it was in C++, Neil showed how it worked. I and the other 80 attendees came out of his session knowing how to make C++ memory management sing. I wish it had built-in garbage collection, so we could forget the whole problem. Are you listening, Bjarne?

David Taylor's session on "Tools for MacApp Programmers" gave its 50 attendees a fast-paced introduction to just about every tool a MacApp programmer might ever consider using. Starting with MPW, ViewEdit, and MacBrowse, David worked his way up to AppMaker, IcePick, and ObjectMaster. By the time he was done, one attendee-a known Microsoft spy (it said so on his badge)-was almost in tears with frustrated lust. He would have killed to have such powerful tools available to him on Windows. Well, too bad, buddy; get a Mac, OK?

Also on Monday afternoon, Jeff and Neal continued their all-day Solution-Based Modeling Marathon. Unfortunately, their slides had not improved; they were almost completely unreadable from halfway back in the room. Their talk ended with a series of testimonials from their users ("My name is Joe, and I'm addicted to SBM"). They were all pretty enthusiastic about it; but then, would they have been up there if they weren't?

The final tally's not yet in, but exit polls indicate that SBM is a software development methodology that actually seems to work. It is said to bring order to the chaos of specification changes, schedule slippages, and cost overruns. It's too late for you to see Jeff and Neal's presentation, but not too late to buy the book-just bill it to your boss, eh?

Tuesday

Getting off to a late start, Curtis Faith drew only 20 souls for his Third Annual Seminar on "Databases and MacApp." It wasn't exactly an all-day advertisement for his firm's database product (Inside Out)-but it was close.

All of Tuesday's sessions were all-day affairs. Neal Goldstein's session, "Introduction to MacApp 3," was really good. Before attending his session, I was intimidated by the changes made between MacApp 2 and 3. Afterwards, I can see that they were, for the most part, good, clean, well-implemented solutions that make MacApp better and more powerful. (But they're still a little intimidating.) Over 80 people attended this bang-up session.

But the real big bang of the conference was Eric Berdahl's session on the "Grand Unified Theory: AppleEvents, the Object Model, and MacApp." Over 100 people turned out to learn how to make MacApp hum in the increasingly object-oriented Mac OS. The combination of AppleEvents, the Object Support Library, and MacApp makes supporting the Edition Manager trivially easy-well, maybe not that easy, but a heck of a lot easier, anyway. The MacApp Team attended Eric's session in force, so maybe we'll see some of his ideas incorporated into MacApp sometime soon.

Tuesday night, it rained like hell. That ruined everyone's plans to go to DisneyWorld, so they came to my presentation on "OOP Tools for Windows" instead. Over 200 people attended, expecting to see demonstrations of OOP tools from Borland, Zortech, and others. But since those guys welshed on me, opting instead to go to the Software Development '92 Conference in Santa Clara, I had to change the topic of the presentation to "A MacApp Programmer's Journey into Windows Land."

The presentation concentrated on three basic topics: an explanation of what Windows is, a discussion of why and how to become a Windows programmer, and, finally, a detailed discussion of the Microsoft Foundation Classes (MFC), Microsoft's low-level application framework for Windows. MFC is my pick for the best application framework for Windows. It's small, fast, and clean; it's from Microsoft, so it'll be around for a while; and Microsoft is committed to it, so it is being well-funded and rapidly improved. MFC ships with Microsoft C/C++ 7, coming soon to a mail-order house near you. Try it-you'll like it.

Wednesday

Wednesday was Apple Day. Members of the MacApp Team made presentations on failure handling, memory management, object dependency, and a host of other improvements to MacApp. Many of these topics had already been covered in the earlier tutorials, but no one seemed to mind hearing it again, straight from the source.

In the afternoon, we were treated to an amazingly stilted, content-free video starring Steve Weyl, Apple's manager of developer tools, Tony Meadow, the outgoing MADA president, and Eric Berdahl, the incoming MADA president. I can't tell you what the video was about, because it wasn't really about anything. Steve talked as if in slow motion, with long… pregnant… pauses… between… each… and… every… word. Tony and Eric were playing tag-team straight men, feeding Steve leading questions that were obviously rehearsed. Despite its being almost totally devoid of content, the video had great production values-good lighting, editing, and so on. Style over substance-proof that Apple is taking the battle to Microsoft's home turf.

The afternoon was not a total loss, however. Ameet Zaveri of Apple's MacApp Group gave the audience a lot of insight into where we could expect MacApp to go over the next year or so. The primary goals for MacApp seem to be adoption of the Grand Unified stuff Eric Berdahl had talked about the day before (AppleEvents and the Object Support Library), supporting run-time framework extensions, possibly using Apple's new Dinker (which I'll describe below), and-gasp!-producing a Windows version of MacApp (or at least a multi-platform application framework; the details seem a little sketchy).

Ameet said that development of a Windows-compatible framework was undergoing "urgent technology evaluation." I like that phrase, don't you? It reminds me of the time my motorcycle broke down 500 miles from home. I sat by the side of the road for about three hours, doing "urgent technology evaluation," and managed to bungee-cord the cycle together well enough to get it to the nearest repair shop. (I still have that bungee cord, Ameet, if you need it.)

Wednesday night we had the Annual Banquet. A Polynesian band provided the music for a couple of hula dancers-perfect for a bunch of nerdy computer jocks, although I can't imagine that the ladies in the audience were that impressed. I was certainly impressed; those guys had the loudest drums I'd ever heard. We must have really pissed off the group that was meeting in the adjacent salon; they got even by blasting their Golden Oldies at top volume over Larry Tesler's keynote address. Imagine an energetic, thought-provoking discussion of "Dynamic Interactive Object Programming," sung to the tunes of "Johnny, Don't Be a Hero," "I'm Special," and "Only the Good Die Young." It was oodles of fun.

General Sessions

The General Sessions were held Thursday and Friday. Basically, the presentations were a series of vignettes: "here's something cool I did in my MacApp application, and here's how you can do it, too." The first of these demos and discussions, on FlightStar by Steven Splonskowski of MentorPlus Software, was a model of how such presentations should be made. "The Splonz" didn't dwell on how cool the app was (although it was pretty cool); he just just showed what it did, and described how he made MacApp do it. Good stuff.

Joost Kemink gave a great presentation on "A Faster Idle Mechanism for MacApp." It was great not because the idle mechanism he proposed is really slick (though it is), but because he used MacroMind Director for his presentation. Wow! I thought MORE II was good; if I'd ever doubted the punch animation could bring to a presentation, my doubts were dispelled by Joost's virtuoso presentation. Tricky little animations showed the flow of control through the system; little square list items moved from list to list on cue, changing color as they did so; it was impressive. Oh, and like I said, his idle mechanism was pretty neat, too.

Next up was Kurt Schmucker of Apple's Advanced Technology Group (ATG), proving once again that with a name like Schmucker, he has to be good. He showed off Dinker, Apple's first try at a dynamic linker. It works pretty darn well, too. Since it was aimed specifically at allowing developer's to add subclasses to a MacApp application at runtime, it does that job well.

Basically, anything you thought you might want to do with XCMDs, you can do better with Dinker. XTND? Forget it-use Dinked-in translator classes instead. You can ship your app today, and ship extensions later. Just dropping them into the application's folder makes them available to the app at run-time. Nothing could be simpler. Dinker is available on ETO.

THEMES

I'm afraid I haven't had the space to describe all of the presentations. Fortunately, you'll be able to get them all on the Conference CD; the compressed audio and slides can all be found there. For details, call the MacApp Developer's Association (MADA) at 206-252-6946, or link MADA on AppleLink.

There were a number of themes running through the conference. First, there was MacApp 3: Taming the Feral Beast. Somewhere between MacApp 2 and 3, our nice domesticated application framework went wild. It seems to be a lot more complicated than it used to be.

Behaviors, adorners, dependencies; what is all this stuff? Commands, failure handling, view resources: just when you thought you understood 'em, they've changed-just enough to throw you off. It's not a deceitful plot on Apple's part; MacApp 3 just does a lot more than 2 did, and it had to change a lot to do it. But all the changes seemed to make a lot of attendees nervous.

Another theme that ran through the conference was evidence to either the fickle nature of programmers, the rapid rise of C++, or the absence of a good Mac Eiffel compiler (you decide): the theme of "Object Pascal Must Die." It was by no means universal, but given the outcry over porting MacApp to C++ just a year ago, it was amazing to hear the majority of the conference attendees calling for the death of Object Pascal support in MacApp. Most attendees just wanted a crisp, clean C++ implementation, and a solid tool to convert their existing Object Pascal source to C++. Score one more for Bjarne.

The final theme that wove its way through the conference was-dare I say it?-"Windows, Windows, Windows." My Tuesday evening session on "A Programmer's Journey Into WindowsLand" drew the largest crowd of the Conference (many with ripe fruit, I'll admit). Steve Weyl's reiteration of Apple's official commitment to bringing out a multi-platform application framework was further evidence of the growing importance of Windows to MacApp developers. And, last but not least, Apple had just issued a proposed license agreement for porting MacApp to other platforms (specifically Windows). There was a lot of interest in the clandestine MacApp Porter's Meeting, held at a secret location on Monday night, at which a number of revisions to Apple's proposed license were drawn up (and later passed along to Steve Weyl).

Thanks

All in all, the conference was a great success. It would not have been so, had it not been for the heroic efforts of Bill Anderson of MADA, who spent six months on the phone setting the whole thing up. Hooray for Bill!

Equally important, when taken together, were the efforts of Chuck and Charlotte Sohnly, Arvid and Bev Jedlicka, Eric Berdahl, Leslie Jeffries, and Bob Hablutzel. The hero of the conference may well have been Fred Reitberger from Apple Florida in Tampa, who stripped his office of Macs, and loaned them all to us, without even erasing their hard drives first. n

 

Community Search:
MacTech Search:

Software Updates via MacUpdate

Scrivener 3.1.5 - Project management and...
Scrivener is a project management and writing tool for writers of all kinds that stays with you from that first unformed idea all the way through to the first - or even final - draft. Outline and... Read more
KeyCue 9.6 - Displays all menu shortcut...
KeyCue has always been a handy tool for learning and remembering keyboard shortcuts. With a simple keystroke or click, KeyCue displays a table with all available keyboard shortcuts, system-wide... Read more
VirtualBox 6.1.0 - x86 virtualization so...
VirtualBox is a family of powerful x86 virtualization products for enterprise as well as home use. Not only is VirtualBox an extremely feature rich, high performance product for enterprise customers... Read more
Final Cut Pro X 10.4.8 - Professional vi...
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
BetterTouchTool 3.213 - Customize multi-...
BetterTouchTool adds many new, fully customizable gestures to the Magic Mouse, Multi-Touch MacBook trackpad, and Magic Trackpad. These gestures are customizable: Magic Mouse: Pinch in / out (zoom)... Read more
Dropbox 86.4.146 - Cloud backup and sync...
Dropbox is an application that creates a special Finder folder that automatically syncs online and between your computers. It allows you to both backup files and keeps them up-to-date between systems... Read more
PopChar 8.8 - Floating window shows avai...
PopChar helps you get the most out of your font collection. With its crystal-clear interface, PopChar provides a frustration-free way to access any font's special characters. Features Expanded... Read more
Tidy Up 5.3.1 - Find duplicate files and...
Tidy Up is a full-featured duplicate finder and disk-tidiness utility. Features: Supports Lightroom: it is now possible to search and collect duplicates directly in the Lightroom library. Multiple... Read more
Chromium 79.0.3945.79 - Fast and stable...
Chromium is an open-source browser project that aims to build a safer, faster, and more stable way for all Internet users to experience the web. Version 79.0.3945.79: Build from 79.0.3945.79 source... Read more
Catalina Cache Cleaner 15.0.1 - Clear ca...
Catalina Cache Cleaner is an award-winning general-purpose tool for macOS X. CCC makes system maintenance simple with an easy point-and-click interface to many macOS X functions. Novice and expert... Read more

Latest Forum Discussions

See All

Two Spies is pretty fun, but it's h...
Two Spies just dropped on the App Store this week, and it looks pretty neat. The game has two players capturing various cities across Europe, with the goal of eventually spotting and striking the other spy down. It may be simple-looking, but after... | Read more »
Two Spies is a turn-based game for iOS t...
There aren't too many games that feature pass and play multiplayer and there are even less where you can only play against people you know, even when playing online. But Two Spies does both of those things and you can get it for iOS right now. [... | Read more »
Solve your way through new low-poly puzz...
The best escape-the-room games don’t just test your creative problem-solving skills – they look great, too. Released in October this year by Antler (the developer of the succesful VR puzzle SVRVIVE: The Deus Helix), Krystopia offers everything you... | Read more »
Get ready for an epic adventure with Pea...
Following a hugely successful pre-registration campaign, Pearl Abyss' much-hyped MMORPG, Black Desert Mobile, has finally arrived for iOS and Android. With some of the most impressive visuals on mobile, a vast open world to explore, an in-depth... | Read more »
Elder Scrolls: Blades has ditched chest...
Elder Scrolls: Blades started out as one of the most hyped mobile games of 2019, boasting some impressive visuals and no shortage of promise. Our hopes were somewhat dashed when it eventually launched and we all became privy to its mishandled... | Read more »
Hands-On with the Pocket City December U...
At the end of last month, Codebrew Games announced an update coming to their popular city-builder, Pocket City some time this month. In this update is the promise of expanding your city out into other regions, enacting policies, and more. The full... | Read more »
Black Desert Mobile is available for pre...
Pearl Abyss' stunning open-world MMORPG, Black Desert Mobile, is set to launch for iOS and Android on December 11th at 12 AM PST (8 AM UTC). However, those looking to get in early and test out the in-depth character customisation will be able to... | Read more »
Extraordinary Ones, NetEase's innov...
NetEase's inventive 5v5 anime MOBA, Extraordinary Ones, has now opened for pre-registration ahead of its global launch in early 2020. The game seems to have received a fairly warm reception from fans after its soft-launch earlier in the year,... | Read more »
Dragon Raja is an upcoming MMORPG that b...
Dragon Raja is an upcoming MMORPG from Zulong Games. It’s proven to be an extremely popular title over in China. It’s set in a very cool-looking Cyberpunk world that oozes style. It’s now available for pre-register on Android. [Read more] | Read more »
Dream Detective is an object hunting gam...
Dream Detective is a very beautiful looking object hunting game from FunPlus and Game Century. I’m generally not massively fond of these types of games but this one certainly has an art style you don’t see often that really helps it stand out. It’... | Read more »

Price Scanner via MacPrices.net

In stock! New 16″ MacBook Pros for $100 off A...
Apple Authorized Reseller Adorama has new 2019 16″ MacBook Pros in stock on sale today for $100 off Apple’s MSRP, each including free shipping. In addition, Adorama charges sales tax for NY & NJ... Read more
These 2019 13″ MacBook Pro prices at Apple, C...
Apple has a full line of Certified Refurbished 2019 13″ 2.4GHz 4-Core Touch Bar MacBook Pros available starting at $1529 and up to $300 off MSRP. Apple’s one-year warranty is included, shipping is... Read more
Best Holiday 2019 Apple AirPods sales
Apple resellers are offering discounts ranging up to $35 off MSRP on AirPods as part of their Holiday 2019 sales. Here are where to find the best deals today on various AirPods models. See our... Read more
Holiday 2019 Sale! 13″ MacBook Airs for $200...
B&H Photo has 13″ MacBook Airs on sale for $200 off Apple’s MSRP as part of their Holiday 2019 sale. Overnight shipping is free to many locations in the US: – 13″ 1.6GHz/128GB MacBook Air Space... Read more
Apple’s new Pro Display XDR already on sale f...
Apple Authorized Reseller Adorama is accepting preorders for Apple’s new Pro Display XDR models for up to $600 off MSRP, starting at $4499 with free shipping. Adorama charges sales tax for NY &... Read more
Price drop! 21″ 3.6GHz Quad-Core 4K iMac now...
B&H Photo has the 2019 21″ 3.6GHz Quad-Core 4K iMac in stock today and on sale for $1099.99 as part of their Holiday 2019 sale, including free next day shipping to many locations in the US. That’... Read more
Holiday 2019 sale: Apple’s 13″ 2.4GHz 4-Core...
B&H Photo has dropped prices on new 2019 13″ 2.4GHz/256GB 4-Core Touch Bar MacBook Pros to $250 off Apple’s MSRP, only $1549, as part of their Holiday 2019 sale. B&H is offering free... Read more
Apple announces Education savings on the new...
Apple has announced their Education savings on the new Mac Pro and Pro Display XDR. Students, teachers, and educators at any educational institution with a .edu email address can save $400 on the Mac... Read more
Apple’s new Mac Pro and Pro Display XDR now a...
Apple today made available their new Mac Pro and Pro Display XDR for order on their website. The new Mac Pro starts at $5999 for a 3.5GHz 8-Core Xeon W, 32GB RAM, 256GB SSD, Radeon Pro 580X 8GB GDDR5... Read more
Get a 2019 15″ MacBook Pro for only $1869 at...
Apple has clearance 2019 15″ 6-Core and 8-Core Touch Bar MacBook Pros available, Certified Refurbished, for up to $590 off original MSRP, starting at $1869. Each model features a new outer case,... Read more

Jobs Board

*Apple* Engineering Specialist - AECOM (Unit...
…Westfields Blvd **Job Summary** AECOM has an immediate opportunity for an Apple Engineering Solutions to support a government agency's capabilities in Washington, DC Read more
*Apple* Mobility Pro - Best Buy (United Stat...
**731682BR** **Job Title:** Apple Mobility Pro **Job Category:** Store Associates **Store NUmber or Department:** 001540-Tuscaloosa-Store **Job Description:** At Read more
Hair Stylist - *Apple* Blossom Mall - JCPen...
Hair Stylist - Apple Blossom Mall Location:Winchester, VA, United States- Apple Blossom Mall 1850 Apple Blossom Dr Job ID:1065040Salon Professionals Job Read more
*Apple* Help Desk Representative - Springboa...
…a definite plus. + Excellent verbal and written communication skills. + Apple Certified Support Professional (ACSP) certification is preferred but not required for Read more
Best Buy *Apple* Computing Master - Best Bu...
**746655BR** **Job Title:** Best Buy Apple Computing Master **Job Category:** Sales **Store NUmber or Department:** 002518-Atlantic Center-Store **Job Description:** Read more
All contents are Copyright 1984-2011 by Xplain Corporation. All rights reserved. Theme designed by Icreon.