TweetFollow Us on Twitter

IAC Toolkit
Volume Number:7
Issue Number:5
Column TagTools of the Trade

IAC with UserLand's Toolkit

By Dave Kelly, MacTutor Editorial Staff

Perhaps you have heard about interapplication communication. First, look at the way most applications communicate. This investigation will turn out to be an analysis of the evolution of the Macintosh. Up to now communications between applications have been done by the “Export-Import” method. That is, data is exported from the first application to the clipboard or an external file and then pasted or imported into the second application. This method usually requires a user to “baby-sit” the operation. Cut and paste operations don’t make any assumptions about what application is doing the paste and passes on very little knowledge of where the data came from. At most, all that is known is the type of data that is being pasted (TEXT, PICT, etc.).

Of course, ingenious utilities such as QuicKeys and MacroMaker can “automate” some of these operations. These macro utilities have been a great help, but can’t possibly do everything. They extend applications to make them appear to have more features.

Applications running with MultiFinder have had a slight edge up to now when it comes to communicating with each other. A few companies have come up with their own system of communication between applications. For example, you can link data in MS Word to data in MS Excel and changes in the data are reflected in the linked application. There are other “integrated” software packages available. These “custom” applications are designed to work with each other. The problem is that they don’t work outside the set of integrated applications.

With MultiFinder the user can load two or more applications into memory at once, but the only thing that is stopping the applications from talking to one another is the lack of a little bit of software to hook them up. Have you ever written an application and wanted to add the text processing capabilities of MS Word, the communications capabilities of AppleLink and drawing tools of MacDraw II? Since it usually isn’t so smart to “reinvent the wheel”, wouldn’t it be good if you could link you favorite applications together to have the best of all worlds?

The idea of IAC is much more than integrating applications. IAC gives applications the power to ask other applications to perform tasks for them and then return the results. The user can combine the features of several different programs to create new functionality that would otherwise be unavailable. It may help to imagine that you are adding a scripting system to your application. Scripts sent to other applications could look in menus and dialog boxes and assume full control over another application. The difficulty is that IAC must be implemented in the client and server applications before any intercommunication can take place.

Until now the only form of IAC was in custom programs that only talked to each other. System 7.0 defines a common method for applications to communicate. Apple calls it AppleEvents. AppleEvents are only available under system 7.0, which brings up a complication for developers that want their applications to support both System 6.0 and 7.0. There are still many 1 Meg Macintosh systems in use that will still be running 6.0 systems for some time to come.

In January (1991) a new software company called UserLand Software, Inc. released new software support for IAC. The company has been quiet until last November when they disclosed their development of the UserLand IAC Toolkit that first shipped on December 31st. There are several advantages with working with UserLand IAC Toolkit. In particular your application can communicate using System 6.0 or System 7.0 and possibly future operating systems in the future. There are implications that IAC will be available for MS-DOS, Windows, or Unix. The IAC Toolkit was designed so that your application can be driven by a user scripting system. The main advantage is that the toolkit provides an IAC environment that is not biased toward any one platform, yet provides one that will be supported on major platforms like System 7.0.

The Toolkit is simpler to use than AppleEvents (System 7.0). The manual is an indication of this simplicity. The introduction gives a thorough overview of IAC and some real examples of how it could be used. The step by step installation tells what files will be used for using the Toolkit with THINK C version 4.0 or MPW C 3.1 or later. When using system 6.0 the UserLand INIT is required to be installed in your system folder. Next, four sample programs are provided with source code so you can see how it’s done. Implementation of the Toolkit with your projects is presented in a detailed format that shows how to add IAC capability to your applications. The last half of the 71 page manual is a complete reference of the UserLand IAC Toolkit library. If you become familiar with the manual, you should have no problem implementing UserLand IAC. The IAC toolkit adds about 12K to the size of you program. That’s not counting the UserLand INIT that takes about 6K.

Before you get started writing your IAC applications, you should be aware of some costs of IAC. Implementation of UserLand IAC comes at the reasonable price of $395 (retail price, street prices are possibly lower). Distributing IAC using UserLand IAC Toolkit will require that you get a distribution license from UserLand Software before shipping. The cost is $4000 for a fully-paid, royalty-free license to include the Toolkit with as many of your company’s applications as you like. If that doesn’t sound bad enough, they put a 5 year term on the license so that in 1995 you’ll have to renew the license or a new one for a more powerful product that 1995 may produce. When you purchase the distribution license, UserLand will deliver the complete C source code so you can support IAC better especially as Apple introduces new hardware and system software.

The license fee sounds excessive, but in the price UserLand has taken into account their development expenses, developer needs, and future development of cross-platform and network-aware versions In addition, they provide excellent product support by getting involved with IAC developers without an additional charge for support. You’ll need to evaluate the pros and cons vs. cost to decide if the toolkit is the way for you to go. Keep in mind that there will be a bit more of a learning curve to implement AppleEvent IAC for system 7.0. than to implement UserLand IAC. If you’re a small developer and feel that the license is too excessive, you may want to negotiate a “technology exchange” with UserLand, if you have any technology to exchange.

In contrast, other “toolkits” have a much less costly license agreement. Many products such as the Programmer’s Extender and the Extender DialogHandler from Invention Software allow you to distribute freely and/or market programs that use their toolbox if no portions of the source code library, user manuals or other documentation is distributed. UserLand should review their license policy to encourage more small developers to want to use it. I might suggest a license with limited support or without the source code for small developers. It’s too bad, but UserLand’s license was designed for larger commercial and in-house developers. The small struggling developers just have to pay the price like everybody else. Remember, you can still work with the toolkit for the $395 price and don’t have to license your product until it ships. If your product is worth it’s weight, you should be able to come up with the license fee. Dave Winer, President of UserLand puts it this way: “We’ve put a lot of thought into the pricing of this product. If it’s out of reach for some developers, and they don’t have any technology they want to exchange, so be it. We hope at least those developers will consider putting System 7.0 AppleEvents into their products. We believe IAC is worth doing even if it’s only for System 7.0, and even if the developer has to do more work than absolutely necessary. On the other hand, we think that any developer who passes on UserLand IAC Toolkit is being penny-wise and pound-foolish, and missing a great opportunity to make their software more useful and more competitive.”

In summary, the UserLand IAC Toolkit provides support for IAC in System 6.0 not available elsewhere. It has been designed to support multi-platforms including System 7.0. You need the toolkit if you want IAC support in both System 6.0 and 7.0. Although the Userland toolkit is easier to use, the cost to license it for distribution may be a trade off for the time it takes to develop a similar IAC application using System 7.0 AppleEvents. You’ll have to be the judge of that. The toolkit doesn’t support other languages except C at this time.

Userland Software, Inc.

490 California Avenue

Palo Alto, CA. 94306

Phone: 415 325-5700

FAX 415-325-9829

AppleLink USERLAND.DTS

Price: $395 + $4000 license fee (5 year term) to distribute applications that use the Userland IAC Toolkit.

Requires: THINK C version 4.0 or later or MPW C 3.1 or later; a Macintosh computer with at least 2MB RAM, running MultiFinder, System 6.X or System 7.X; a hard disk.

OTHER STUFF

calenDAr™ from Psybron Systems is not just a calendar DA, but is a calendar with fully programmable alarms. If you didn’t think LifeGuard would provide enough for you (March 1991 MacTutor, p.79), calenDAr may provide similar reminders for you. It doesn’t count keystrokes for you, but you can have calenDAr remind you with either a sound and/or a message dialog on periodic intervals or on a one time basis. It’s set up to record new sounds or audio messages for you with MacRecorder or the built in sound support of the Macintosh LC or SI.

The calendar correctly displays calendars for months between January 1583 (the first month of the first full year in which the Gregorian calendar was used) through December 99,999. All major US, Canadian and Jewish holidays are displayed for every year as well as other special dates such as beginning of spring, summer, fall, and winter.

Psybron Systems says that calculating the dates of holidays like Hanukkah and Easter aren’t as easy as it might seem, but calenDAr does an excellent job of it. It’s a spiffy little DA that you might find useful.

Psybron Systems, Inc.

1116 Smith Street Suite 206

Post Office Box 431

Charleston, WV. 25322-0431

(304) 340-4260 or (800) 866-4260

FAX: (304) 345-3312

Price: $49.95 plus shipping.

Update on bugs that were reported in the Programmer’s Assistants from Aladdin Systems: The Bystander bug has been corrected. It was a memory management problem. All of the DAs are being updated to support System 7.0.

 

Community Search:
MacTech Search:

Software Updates via MacUpdate

BetterTouchTool 3.401 - 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
Vienna 3.5.6 :e12c952d: - RSS and Atom n...
Vienna is a freeware and Open-Source RSS/Atom newsreader with article storage and management via a SQLite database, written in Objective-C and Cocoa, for the OS X operating system. It provides... Read more
WhatsApp 2.2031.5 - Desktop client for W...
WhatsApp is the desktop client for WhatsApp Messenger, a cross-platform mobile messaging app which allows you to exchange messages without having to pay for SMS. WhatsApp Messenger is available for... Read more
Day One 4.16 - Maintain a daily journal.
Day One is an easy, great-looking way to use a journal / diary / text-logging application. Day One is well designed and extremely focused to encourage you to write more through quick Menu Bar entry,... Read more
VMware Fusion 11.5.6 - Run Windows apps...
VMware Fusion and Fusion Pro - virtualization software for running Windows, Linux, and other systems on a Mac without rebooting. The latest version includes full support for Windows 10, macOS Mojave... Read more
Alfred 4.1 - Quick launcher for apps and...
Alfred is an award-winning productivity application for OS X. Alfred saves you time when you search for files online or on your Mac. Be more productive with hotkeys, keywords, and file actions at... Read more
Dashlane 6.2032.0 - Password manager and...
Dashlane is an award-winning service that revolutionizes the online experience by replacing the drudgery of everyday transactional processes with convenient, automated simplicity - in other words,... Read more
Skype 8.63.0.76 - Voice-over-internet ph...
Skype is a telecommunications app that provides HD video calls, instant messaging, calling to any phone number or landline, and Skype for Business for productive cooperation on the projects. This... Read more
Mellel 5.0.3 - The word processor for sc...
Mellel is the leading word processor for OS X and has been widely considered the industry standard for long form documents since its inception. Mellel focuses on writers and scholars for technical... Read more
A Better Finder Rename 11.20 - File, pho...
A Better Finder Rename is the most complete renaming solution available on the market today. That's why, since 1996, tens of thousands of hobbyists, professionals and businesses depend on A Better... Read more

Latest Forum Discussions

See All

Motorball is a car football game from No...
A few years back Noodlecake Studios announced that they would be dipping in the multiplayer gaming realm with two different games. The first of those, Golf Blitz, released a while back and has proven to be very popular. Now, the second has arrived... | Read more »
SINoALICE's latest update introduce...
SINoALICE's latest update has now arrived, adding several fan-favourite characters from popular RPG series NieR. Young Nier, Kaine, and Young Emil are available in-game as part of a limited-time crossover event set to run until August 20th. [Read... | Read more »
Rocat Jumpurr is an intense roguelite pl...
Rocat Jumpurr is a roguelite platformer from developer Mousetrap Games. You might already be familiar with it if you follow the Big Indie Pitch, where it won first place during this year's Pocket Gamer Connects London competition. Following its... | Read more »
PUBG Mobile's Play As One campaign...
Back in mid-July, we reported that PUGB Mobile had teamed up with Direct Relief to help raise money for the charity's COVID-19 response project. It focused on an in-game running challenge for players, which lead to the PUBG Mobile donating $2... | Read more »
Marvel Contest of Champions' latest...
Marvel Contest of Champions' latest motion comic has arrived, and it shows off new fighters Air-Walker and Dragon Man. Both characters are set to arrive in-game this month. [Read more] | Read more »
Clash Royale: The Road to Legendary Aren...
Supercell recently celebrated its 10th anniversary and their best title, Clash Royale, is as good as it's ever been. Even for lapsed players, returning to the game is as easy as can be. If you want to join us in picking the game back up, we've put... | Read more »
Global Spy is an intriguing 2D spy sim f...
Developer Yuyosoft Innovations' Global Spy launched last month for iOS and Android, though if you missed it at the time, we're here to tell you why it's well worth a go. This one's all about international espionage, tracking down elusive spies,... | Read more »
Distract Yourself With These Great Mobil...
There’s a lot going on right now, and I don’t really feel like trying to write some kind of pithy intro for it. All I’ll say is lots of people have been coming together and helping each other in small ways, and I’m choosing to focus on that as I... | Read more »
Hyena Squad is sci-fi turn-based strateg...
Wave Light Games has just revealed its latest release, Hyena Squad, a turn-based RPG set in a space station infested by gross aliens and the living dead. The announcement was first reported on by Touch Arcade. [Read more] | Read more »
Idle Guardians: Never Die is a pixel art...
SuperPlanet has been fairly prolific with game releases so far this year with both Evil Hunter Tycoon and Lucid Adventure releasing earlier this year. Now, they've released another idle RPG called Idle Guardians: Never Die, which you can download... | Read more »

Price Scanner via MacPrices.net

Woot offers numerous 2018-2020 MacBook Pros a...
Amazon-owned Woot has many open-box return MacBook Airs and MacBook Pros available today at prices starting at $879. Shipping is free for Prime members. Here’s what they have as of this post, and... Read more
Apple restocks refurbished 2020 13″ MacBook A...
Apple has restocked Certified Refurbished 2020 13″ MacBook Airs starting at only $849 and up to $200 off the cost of new Airs. Each MacBook features a new outer case, comes with a standard Apple one-... Read more
Apple restocks clearance 2019 13″ 2.4GHz MacB...
Apple has restocked Certified Refurbished 2019 13″ 2.4GHz 4-Core Touch Bar MacBook Pros starting at $1359 and up to $560 off original MSRP. Apple’s one-year warranty is included, shipping is free,... Read more
Apple restocks refurbished iPhone XR models s...
Apple has restocked Certified Refurbished, unlocked, iPhone XR models in the refurbished section of their online store starting at $539. Each iPhone comes with Apple’s standard one-year warranty,... Read more
Price drops! $100-$200 off clearance 27″ 5K i...
B&H Photo has dropped prices on clearance, previous-generation 27″ 5K iMacs by up to $200 off Apple’s original MSRP: – 27″ 3.0GHz 6-Core 5K iMac: $1699 $100 off original MSRP – 27″ 3.1GHz 6-Core... Read more
Woot offers Apple Watch and iPhone models fro...
Amazon-owned Woot has refurbished Apple Watch and iPhone models available from $99-$749 through August 6th. According to Woot, the items may show some wear, but they have all been fully tested and... Read more
Apple’s Phil Schiller Steps Down As SVP OF Wo...
NEWS: 08.05.20 – Former Apple senior Vice President of worldwide marketing, Phil Schiller, is stepping down from his long time role at the company in order to focus on spending more time with family... Read more
Expercom offers $320 discount on the 6-core 1...
Apple reseller Expercom has the Silver 16″ 6-core MacBook Pro on sale for a limited time for $2079 shipped. Their price is $320 off Apple’s MSRP for this model, and it’s the cheapest price currently... Read more
Apple announces Education pricing for new 202...
Purchase a new 2020 iMac or iMac Pro at Apple 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... Read more
Apple reseller Expercom offers $256 discount...
Expercom has Apple’s new 2020 10-core iMac Pro available for order and on sale for $4743 shipped. Their price is $256 off Apple’s MSRP for this new model, and it’s the cheapest price we’ve seen so... Read more

Jobs Board

Cub Foods - *Apple* Valley - Now Hiring Par...
Cub Foods - Apple Valley - Now Hiring Part Time! United States of America, Minnesota, Apple Valley New Retail Post Date 3 days ago Requisition # 122305 Sign Up Read more
Executive Team Leader GM Sales (Assistant Man...
…(Assistant Manager General Merchandise and Operations) - Apple Valley, CaliforniaApply NowJob ID:R0000082364job family:Store Managementschedule:Full Read more
Cub Foods - *Apple* Valley - Now Hiring Par...
Cub Foods - Apple Valley - Now Hiring Part Time! United States of America, Minnesota, Apple Valley New Retail Post Date 2 days ago Requisition # 122305 Sign Up Read more
Part-time Geek Squad *Apple* Consultation P...
**770829BR** **Job Title:** Part-time Geek Squad Apple Consultation Professional-Store 384(Ithaca) **Job Category:** Store Associates **Store Number or Department:** Read more
Product Manager, *Apple* Commercial Sales -...
Product Manager, Apple Commercial Sales Austin, TX, US Requisition Number:77652 As an Apple Product Manager for the Commercial Sales team at Insight, you Read more
All contents are Copyright 1984-2011 by Xplain Corporation. All rights reserved. Theme designed by Icreon.