TweetFollow Us on Twitter

May 95 Dialog Box
Volume Number:11
Issue Number:5
Column Tag:Dialog Box

Dialog Box

By Scott T Boyd, Editor

Concerned By The Rising Tide

I have developed several large programs for use in my engineering classes during the past six years. Although I am not a professional programmer, I believe my programs to be of commercial quality and at least one has been fairly widely distributed among universities. My programs have all been developed in Pascal with separate versions to operate within the Macintosh, DOS and Windows environments. I use Borland’s Pascal on the PC and Think Pascal on the Macintosh. I use objects extensively for both operating system needs and for my own applications.

I have been watching with some concern as the popularity of Pascal has declined in favor of C/C++. I decided to learn C/C++ so that I could see for myself why it is gaining in popularity. The basic concepts and constructs of Pascal and C++ are quite similar and, after getting used to the syntax, it was not difficult to translate code from Pascal to C/C++.

Having now translated several small programs and one large application, I thought that you might be interested in a summary of my assessment of the two languages.

One feature provided by Pascal that I sorely miss in C/C++ is nested procedures. In Pascal, a function or procedure can be placed within another function or procedure so that it visible only to the external routine. Variables declared within the nested routine are local to that routine and not accessible to the external routine whereas variables declared in the external routine are accessible to the nested routine. I find this nesting capability to be very helpful and I often nest my routines four or five levels deep. I find the nesting parallels my thinking and aid programming. As with objects, nested routines tends to encapsulate code and data and make the overall function of a routine more clear. Nested routines are not allowed in C++. I was forced to de-nest all of my routines in translating from Pascal to C++ resulting in a large number of routines all at the same level. The difference in variable scoping complicated this process.

A serious disadvantage of C++ that I encountered is that the time required to compile and link was much greater than in Pascal. Because I program in a manner in which I make a change and then test it, I found the speed difference to be irritating. The difference exists on both the Macintosh and the PC even though the Pascal and C++ compilers were from the same vendors. I understand that pre-compiled headers can be used to speed the compile/link process and I experimented with them, but I never approached the compile and link speed of Pascal. Why is it that Pascal does not require pre-compiled headers? I truly don’t understand why this difference exists. Does it reflect poor compiler design or an innate problem with C++?

I also noted that small programs compiled as code resources were much larger when compiled in C++ than in Pascal. This size difference is probably due to C++ including some libraries but I was unsuccessful in finding a way to reduce the size. In any case, I did not observe significant execution speed differences between programs compiled in Pascal and C++.

In summary, I have not found any capabilities in C++ that I need and do not already have in Pascal. I find the Pascal environment preferable, and I found the auto-formatting and integrated debugging provided by Think Pascal on the Macintosh to be much more friendly than the C/C++ environment. I’m curious to know if I am missing something or whether others have had similar experiences.

- S.A. Klein, University of Wisconsin Madison
klein@engr.wisc.edu

OpenDoc Draws Some Fire

I read the OpenDoc and SOM articles in the January MacTech. I have some comments, mostly skeptical ones.

It seems to me, OpenDoc was born as a succession of ideas:

• Bundle MacApp into the MacOS ROM and System 7.5, and

• change this class library into robust objects for everyone.

• Emphasize document mobility among apps using these objects.

• Call it “Documents On-top-of Classes”, or DOC.

Now, the Apple budget guys come into the picture.

• No more free lunch, so it doesn’t go into the ROMs.

• No more funding either, so spin it off to a 3rd party: CIL.ORG.

• IBM wants a kickback for PowerPC, so push SOM.

The Apple Evangelists have a field day!

• Model all users as “document fiddlers”: readers, writers, editors.

• Model all data processing as “document processing”.

• Model all software vendors (eg, Microsoft) as “editor vendors”.

• Hook up with other popular hype floating around:

- Cobra Objects Really Biting Applications (CORBA)

- Subtle Object Mangler (SOM)

• Rename the project OpenDoc, reflecting the open question of “Who pays for all of this?”

Now we are faced with some questions. What is Apple’s strategic perspective on this; e.g., will they push OpenDoc as a replacement for MacApp?

Will OpenDoc be an optional, extra-cost item (like System 7 Pro), or a developer giveaway on the ETO disk? Or perhaps just a standard for other developers since Apple doesn’t manufacture any “editors” except TeachText and ResEdit?

What is Microsoft’s perspective on all this, given that they are probably the biggest producer of “commercial editors” (formerly known as “business software”)? The MacTech article says the OLE is just a subset of OLE - how is this enforced, and does Microsoft agree?

Before Apple pushes the hype of OpenDoc, shouldn’t it first come up with some systematic scheme about parts? What are standard “parts” anyway? If each developer whips up their own set of “parts”, how does this lead to interoperability?

Is Apple committed to supporting this technology in the future, or just committed to advertising and evangelizing the idea?

As an analogy, compare “handlers and parts” with the “Communications Toolbox and Tools”. Apple did OK with the first one, but skimped on the second, and the result is a less useful system. Certainly modem communication has not become easier as a result of the CommToolbox. What prevents this from happening with OpenDoc?

More brickbats - Compare the OpenDoc plan with the MIT X-Windows project, which also started out as a simple idea (a windowing system for Unix) but ended up so complex it rivals Vax/VMS. Problems include being the lowest common denominator to all types of hardware, too many toolkits but no standard of functionality within them, and implementation by student/researchers with little vested interest in simplicity. The result is a system which works well, but don’t try to program it directly without lots of available staff time. What will keep OpenDoc from becoming so complicated when it’s finished?

Compare the OpenDoc plan with Ada, the programming language of the future just ten years ago. Ada has all sorts of “necessary” features for dealing with interrupts, multi-tasking, events, and real-time structures. Too bad most operating systems can’t or don’t or won’t provide all the necessary support for these things, otherwise we’d be using it today. The OpenDoc plan appears to require standardized features across operating systems (eg: network clipboards) which just aren’t present today, at least, not in an “open” sense. Ask yourself again, what is Apple’s role in all of this, and what guarantees us that Apple won’t change its commitment like it did with Bedrock.

Compare the OpenDoc plan with OSI (Open Systems Interconnect), the new reference standard network protocol, which has made itself obsolete in just a few years. Why should we believe that OpenDoc will be any more of a universal standard than OSI ?

Compare the OpenDoc plan with Apple’s OpenTransport. Unlike OpenDoc, the OpenTransport plan has specific goals, a specific plan of implementation and timeframe, and a specific support commitment from Apple. The marketing side of OpenTransport exactly matches its technical specifications. On the other hand, the OpenDoc literature talks about “Apple’s approach towards reducing the complexity of computing today”, and “providing users with a new level of computer power, flexibility, and ease of use”. Sounds like they’re talking about the Mac itself, until you read the fine print about compound documents.

The OpenDoc blurb talks about user interfaces and standard user operations, yet from what I can see, these implicit issues lack any sort of formal model or standard definition. Just what does standard text editing mean anyway, and why should I switch away from MS-Word to some new editor?

So far, OpenDoc is a philosophy rather than a product. Example: consider a C++ program as a document. There are a variety of handlers available: editors: MPW, vi, emacs, Think Project, BBEdit; Lint’ers; parenthesis matchers; compilers for the code. Yet the “document” - source code for some program - is already “sharable” with the first set, and usually incompatible with the last set. That is, a large body of code typically cannot be sent to just any other compiler, certainly not cross-platform, without manual intervention, setting compilation flags, adjust the code a bit, etc. What value does OpenDoc add to this scenario?

I suppose I have the wrong idea - I’m not supposed to think of “source code” as a document. Instead, the main focus of my work should be writing letters with text processors, and this entitles me to subscribe to the OpenDoc hype. Unfortunately this isn’t true, and therefore I’m concerned that OpenDoc will just lead to a more complicated development environment with little added benefit.

Well, these are my observations. - John Buehrer, jdb@ecofin.ch

Apple’s Jens Alfke responds:

John Buehrer seems to have gotten a very mistaken impression of what OpenDoc is and what it aims to do; this is understandable, since it’s hard to describe a complex system in a short article.

The three major assumptions he makes are that OpenDoc is supposed to be a universal solution for all types of software; that it is a framework (like MacApp or PowerPlant); and that it is vaporware without an implementation. None of these is true.

• OpenDoc does not claim to “model all data processing as ‘document processing’” and we do not expect every type of software to become a part editor. However, most of what users do with their computers is document processing - text, spreadsheets, drawings, page layouts, et cetera - so focusing OpenDoc on documents doesn’t seem like much of a restriction. But there is certainly still room for traditional apps and other types of software in the world.

• OpenDoc is not a framework in the traditional sense. The developer does not assemble classes provided by OpenDoc to produce a piece of software; rather, OpenDoc assembles the developer’s editors at runtime to produce a document. In other words, OpenDoc lives in the spaces between editors, not within them. It’s more like that Macintosh Toolbox in that regard.

Frameworks can certainly take advantage of OpenDoc (and MacApp 3.5 and the OpenDoc Parts Framework will do so, as may PowerPlant) but the tasks they perform are orthogonal. OpenDoc itself does the minimum it can do to guarantee smooth operation of multiple components in a document; everything beyond that is a job for the developer or for a framework.

(The history of OpenDoc really had nothing to do with the MacApp project; instead, it grew out of an investigation of how to extend technologies like Apple Events, the Edition Manager and Bento into a true compound document architecture.)

• Mr. Buehrer also seems concerned whether OpenDoc really exists and whether Apple is truly committed to it. OpenDoc has an large engineering effort, of which I’m a part, and a public delivery schedule. We’ve done a lot more than just “advertising and evangelizing the idea”; we’ve been working on the implementation since 1992. The software on the CD should attest to this. Moreover, Apple executives from Spindler on down are committed to OpenDoc; they rightly see it as an absolute necessity if Apple is to maintain its technological leadership and its control of its platform. From my position in the engineering trenches I see every indication that OpenDoc is one of the most high-priority projects at Apple.

He then asks what will keep OpenDoc from becoming unusably complex. Some complexity is inevitable, but what developers who’ve used it tell us is that the architecture makes sense and that it’s much cleaner than OLE. Take a look for yourself; the APIs on the CD are pretty close to final (in the next release they truly will be frozen.)

He sums it up by saying that “So far, OpenDoc is a philosophy rather than a product.” One might get this impression by reading just the (admittedly rather marketing-oriented) article in the magazine. But if you go beyond that and examine the more technical documentation provided on the CD or on the Internet (by FTP from cilabs.org) we hope you’ll see that OpenDoc is solid, implemented, and well on its way to completion. - Jens Alfke, OpenDoc Engineering Team

An Interesting Design Philosophy

Here’s a Word 6 “glitch” I thought you might find interesting. Go into Word and try to type control-Q or control-T (in Chicago font, the command key symbol and the apple symbol, respectively). Of course, nothing happens. Someone at Microsoft decided that the control keys shouldn’t be typeable! So I got onto the MSWord forum and asked for help. These folks are great. To their credit, every question I’ve posed them has been answered promptly and accurately, if not necessarily to my satisfaction. However, below is their response to my query. As Dave Barry would say, “I’m not making this up!”

- Dave Mark

from the MSWord forum:

Word 6 now inserts special characters with the Symbol dialog. To access the dialog, choose Symbol from the Insert menu and click on the Symbols tab. The drawback to using the Symbol pallet is that special characters below the value of 32 (check Appendix A to determine what value is associated with a character) in the Macintosh character set are not available. Unfortunately, for characters 0 through 31, you’ll need to go through a couple extra steps to insert them with a keystroke.

To get around this problem, insert the Command character and the Apple characters in Word 6.0 using fields, and then for convenience, make the character into a glossary entry, and assign your own keystroke to them.

To use the symbol field, Choose Field from the Insert menu, click on “Equations and Formulas” under Categories, then click on “Symbol” under Field Names. Place the cursor in the text box next to the word “SYMBOL”, type in the value for the character and a space (see Appendix A: you’ll see the Command character has a value of 17), then click on the Options button and add the \f switch. Then click in the text box after the \f switch and type in the name of the font you want, in your case, “Chicago” without quotes. Click OK. Then click OK again. You should see the Command character at this point. If you do not see it, place the cursor on the field (It might look like {SYMBOL 17 \f Chicago \*MERGEFORMAT}) and then press SHIFT F9. This keystroke changes the view of the field to the Command character.

To make the process more convenient for future use, select the symbol, choose AutoText from the Edit menu, type a name in the Name box; for example, “command”, and click the Add button. Then, to assign the keystroke, choose Customize from the Tools menu, on the Categories side select AutoText (it’s near the bottom of the list), select the AutoText entry on the right side, place the cursor in the “Press New Shortcut Key” box, press the keystroke CONTROL Q and click the Assign button. The next time you need to use the character, just press CONTROL Q.

 

Community Search:
MacTech Search:

Software Updates via MacUpdate

Notion 2.1.3 - A unified workspace for m...
Notion is the unified workspace for modern teams. Features: Integration with Slack Documents Wikis Tasks More improvements to editing Browse through a page’s images from one place Choose a type... Read more
Cocktail 15.3.7 - General maintenance an...
Cocktail is a general purpose utility for macOS that lets you clean, repair and optimize your Mac. It is a powerful digital toolset that helps hundreds of thousands of Mac users around the world get... Read more
Dropbox 158.4.4564 - Cloud backup and sy...
Dropbox is a file hosting service that provides cloud storage, file synchronization, personal cloud, and client software. It is a modern workspace that allows you to get to all of your files, manage... Read more
WhatsApp 2.2236.10 - Desktop client for...
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
VOX 3.5.2 - Music player that supports m...
VOX just sounds better! The beauty is in its simplicity, yet behind the minimal exterior lies a powerful music player with a ton of features and support for all audio formats you should ever need.... Read more
TeamViewer 15.34.4 - Establish remote co...
TeamViewer gives you remote control of any computer or Mac over the Internet within seconds, or can be used for online meetings. Find out why more than 200 million users trust TeamViewer! Free for... Read more
ClamXAV 3.5 - Virus checker based on Cla...
ClamXAV is a popular virus checker for OS X. Time to take control ClamXAV keeps threats at bay and puts you firmly in charge of your Mac’s security. Scan a specific file or your entire hard drive.... Read more
Ableton Live 11.2 - Record music using d...
Ableton Live lets you create and record music on your Mac. Use digital instruments, pre-recorded sounds, and sampled loops to arrange, produce, and perform your music like never before. Ableton Live... Read more
Viber 18.5.0 - Send messages and make fr...
Viber lets you send free messages and make free calls to other Viber users, on any device and network, in any country! Viber syncs your contacts, messages and call history with your mobile device, so... Read more
CrossOver 22.0.1 - Run Windows apps on y...
CrossOver can get your Windows productivity applications and PC games up and running on your Mac quickly and easily. CrossOver runs the Windows software that you need on Mac at home, in the office,... Read more

Latest Forum Discussions

See All

TouchArcade Game of the Week: ‘Tallowmer...
With its pre-determined launch date of September 30th it didn’t quite make it in time for our weekly round-up of new game releases, but darn it, I just don’t care. I’m not letting that technicality keep me from picking Tallowmere 2 as our Game of... | Read more »
SwitchArcade Round-Up: Reviews Featuring...
Hello gentle readers, and welcome to the SwitchArcade Round-Up for September 30th, 2022. In today’s article, our pal Mikhail has another review for us. Gosh, that guy needs a day off! He’s taking a look at Let’s Build a Zoo, and it’s not exactly the... | Read more »
Seven Knights 2 recieves global update i...
Netmarble has announced the latest global update for mobile role-playing game Seven Knights 2. The update will bring brand new characters, some very rewarding events, and reworks to a few old favourite heroes. [Read more] | Read more »
‘GRIS+’ Is This Week’s New Apple Arcade...
Nomada Studio and Devolver Digital’s brilliant GRIS+ () has joined Apple Arcade today as an App Store Great. If you’ve not played it yet, GRIS debuted on PC and Nintendo Switch before seeing PS4 and mobile releases later on. I reviewed the iOS... | Read more »
SwitchArcade Round-Up: Reviews Featuring...
Hello gentle readers, and welcome to the SwitchArcade Round-Up for September 29th, 2022. In today’s article, we have a bunch of new releases to check out with the spearhead being The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim Anniversary Edition. There’s a little here... | Read more »
‘Residual’ Controller Fix Update Release...
A few weeks back developer OrangePixel released their newest game on mobile called Residual. This is a roguelike survival game where you play as a pilot who crash lands on a procedurally generated planet, filled with all sorts of crazy creatures and... | Read more »
‘Queen’s Wish 2: The Tormentor’ Launchin...
We learned back in July that Spiderweb Software’s latest game Queen’s Wish 2: The Tormentor would be heading to desktop platforms in August, which is exactly what happened, and at that time we were guessing that the iOS version of the game would... | Read more »
‘Kingdom Rush Vengeance’ Primal Ravage U...
Ironhide Game Studio’s Kingdom Rush Vengeance ($4.99) has gotten quite a few updates over the years on iOS, Android, and PC. | Read more »
Interactive Film The Gallery screens at...
The FMV/interactive film hybrid video game genre has been around for a while but doesn’t seem to have that many games out there, but they just might get some more exposure as The Gallery has landed a spot in the Dinar Film Festival 2022. [Read... | Read more »
Terraria’s Massive Labor of Love Update...
Re-Logic’s action platforming sandbox game Terraria ($4.99) has just been updated on mobile and console platforms with its newest major update titled the ‘Labor of Love’ update. | Read more »

Price Scanner via MacPrices.net

Apple has M1 Mac minis in stock again startin...
Apple has restocked a full line of M1-powered Mac minis available in their Certified Refurbished section starting at only $589 and up to $140 off MSRP. Each mini comes with Apple’s one-year warranty... Read more
13″ M1 MacBook Airs with 16GB of RAM availabl...
Apple has 13″ M1 MacBook Airs (8-Core CPU/7-Core GPU) in stock today with 16GB of RAM for $190 off MSRP, Certified Refurbished. Apple includes a standard one-year warranty with these models, each... Read more
Update: 13-inch Apple M2 MacBook Airs now on...
Amazon has 13″ MacBook Airs with M2 CPUs in stock today and on sale for $150 off MSRP. Shipping is free. Their prices are now $150 off Apple’s MSRP, and they are the lowest prices available for these... Read more
Save $240 on a 14″ 8-core CPU M1 Pro MacBook...
Apple has the 14″ M1 Pro MacBook Pro with 32GB of RAM and a 512GB SSD (Space Gray) in stock for $2159, Certified Refurbished. Regular price for this configuration is $2399, so their savings amounts... Read more
Save $170 on this 13″ M2 MacBook Pro with 16G...
Apple has 13″ M2 MacBook Pros with 16GB of RAM and 512GB SSDs in stock today for $170 off MSRP ($1529), Certified Refurbished. These are the cheapest 13″ M2 MacBook Pros with this configuration... Read more
This Apple retailer is offering a $350 discou...
Apple retailer Expercom is offering a $350 instant discount on select upgraded 16″ Apple MacBook Pros through October 4, 2022. Shipping is free. Their sale price applies to the following... Read more
Clearance 27″ 5K Apple iMacs are on sale star...
Other World Computing has dropped prices on Apple refurbished, factory-sealed, recently-discontinued 27″ 5K iMacs with models now on sale for up to $950 off Apple’s MSRP, starting at only $849. Their... Read more
Get a new Mac for up to $400 off MSRP at Appl...
Need a new Apple Mac for school? Whether you’re a student, teacher, or staff member, you can use your .edu email address when ordering at Apple Education to take up to $400 off the price of a new Mac... Read more
13-inch Apple MacBook Airs with M2 processors...
Amazon has 13″ MacBook Airs with M2 CPUs in stock today and on sale for $1099. Shipping is free. Their prices are $100 off Apple’s MSRP, and they are the lowest prices available for M2-powered Macs... Read more
AR Glasses That Work With Apple’s Hardware? T...
NEWS – Lenovo has created quite the spectacle(s) with its latest product. “Apple Glass” — the purported name of Apple’s forthcoming AR glasses — is not expected to be released until 2025 (at the... Read more

Jobs Board

*Apple* Electronic Repair Technician - PlanI...
…a highly motivated individual to join our Production Department as an Apple Electronic Repair Technician. The computer repair technician will diagnose, assemble, Read more
( *Apple* ) Production Designer/Artist - TEKs...
…Art Ops team supports production, asset management, quality control, and global publishing for Apple Media Products, like Apple Music. The Art Ops team is Read more
Operations Associate - *Apple* Blossom Mall...
Operations Associate - Apple Blossom Mall Location:Winchester, VA, United States (https://jobs.jcp.com/jobs/location/191170/winchester-va-united-states) - Apple Read more
Cashier - *Apple* Blossom Mall - JCPenney (...
Cashier - Apple Blossom Mall Location:Winchester, VA, United States (https://jobs.jcp.com/jobs/location/191170/winchester-va-united-states) - Apple Blossom Mall Read more
Sephora Beauty Advisor - *Apple* Blossom Ma...
Sephora Beauty Advisor - Apple Blossom Mall Location:Winchester, VA, United States (https://jobs.jcp.com/jobs/location/191170/winchester-va-united-states) - Apple Read more
All contents are Copyright 1984-2011 by Xplain Corporation. All rights reserved. Theme designed by Icreon.