TweetFollow Us on Twitter

OPENSTEP Porting to Rhapsody

Volume Number: 13 (1997)
Issue Number: 7
Column Tag: Rhapsody

Porting to Rhapsody PPC from OPENSTEP

by Andrew Stone, Chief Executive Haquer, Stone Design Corp.

Want your OPENSTEP application to run on more than one platform? Apple is making it easy

In late 1995, when the future for NeXT Software, Inc. seemed rather bleak, the first beta version of OPENSTEP 4.0 shipped to a few faithful developers. Faced with doing Java development in incomplete environments, I decided to yet again recommit to OPENSTEP and port our best selling drawing and design program, Create, which contains the Stone Libraries upon which our other apps are based. In an effort to save others from the pitfalls I fell into, I produced a porting guide http://www.stone.com/porting/ documenting the likely gotchas of the process of porting from NEXTSTEP to OPENSTEP.

It took me one month to port this 100,000 line code base to a state of linking and limping. After 8 months of intense debugging and working back and forth between the NT and MACH teams at NeXT and the SOLARIS OPENSTEP team at SUN Microsystems, Create 4.0 rolled into beta, and was the first app to ship for OPENSTEP in the fall of 1996. Proving the claim of true cross platform compatibility, it ran on Windows 95 and Window NT, SOLARIS, and OPENSTEP MACH for Motorola, Intel and SPARC architectures. Since the development and porting tools were just being debugged for the first time and my OPENSTEP knowledge was still nascent, the process was lengthier than a port from NEXTSTEP to OPENSTEP would be today. We shipped, and were underwhelmed by the lack of response from a beleaguered set of OPENSTEP users.

Apple acquiring NeXT on December 20th, 1996 changed all of that, proving once again that reality is far stranger than fiction. The Wheel turned full circle and the renegade ex-Mac developers were back home!

'Tis true that perseverance furthers, because 2 weeks prior to the 1997 WWDC on Cinco de Mayo, I was invited to NeXT Software's headquarters in Redwood City to build Create for the PowerPC. Unlike any previous visit to NeXT where I was watched with hawk-eye and not allowed to go anywhere unescorted, I was given full reign of the second floor of engineering, replete with my own office and access to that legendary espresso maker.

Two binaries were needed for the show: one for Rhapsody running on Intel, the other for Rhapsody running on PowerPC. The app was also built to showcase Yellow Box running on Windows with the Windows look and feel. This build compiled without warning, the app launched and hung. It turns out that I had a vestigial line of code from NEXTSTEP 1.0 circa 1989:

[menu display];

This was a workaround to get the menu to redraw after dynamically adding menu items. However, in the brave new world of Rhapsody, one cannot be sure what a menu is. Normally a menu is a subclass of NSView, which contains a display method. Under Rhapsody, Apple's drop-down menu is not a subclass of NSView, and does not recognize the display method.

The engineers at Apple/NeXT, in the midst of going through a total reorganization, had ported the kernel and compiler tools to PPC within a matter of months. They had built a cross-compiler to build PPC binaries from Intel machines, and once again, Create compiled cleanly. The PPC kernel was only a few days old, still dripping with amniotic fluid, when the first commercial app just came up and ran. As key team member Matt Watson is oft heard saying, "It just works!" Shouts of joy from the team could be heard throughout the building.

True to the promise of Rhapsody, no coding changes were required for the PPC/Yellow Box port, a few NeXT Interface Builder files (nibs) had to be adjusted to be more Mac-like -- mainly Create's main menu had to have its menu items reordered and renamed slightly to feel like a Mac. To solve this problem, a new interface loading paradigm was introduced: if a nib file has a platform suffix, that nib file is loaded instead of the one without a suffix:

NEXTSTEP look as provided by _NEXTSTEP___<NIB_FILE_NAME>-nextstep.nib

Macintosh look as provided by _Macintosh:__<NIB_FILE_NAME>-macintosh.nib

Windows look as provided by _Windows NT/95_<NIB_FILE_NAME>-windows.nib

The Mac and Windows NT/95 menus use a separation marker that you can find on the Menu palette of IB when you set the "Interface Style" in Interface Builder's Preferences (General) to "OPENSTEP for Windows." The separation marker must be disabled in the IB inspector to give it the light gray look. Menu organization and menu item naming should follow the User Interface guidelines of the target platform.

Having taken the time to learn Java and the various development environments from Sun and Symantec over the last couple of years, I can unreservedly say that Rhapsody rocks the house and Java has a lot to implement before it offers the power, elegance and integration of Rhapsody. After this delightful porting experience, I believe that Rhapsody is Write Once -- Runs Right Everywhere.


Andrew Stone, an early HyperTalk developer and co-author of "Tricks of the HyperTalk Masters" emigrated to the NeXT community in 1989, going on to write such NeXT classics as TextArt, Create, DataPhile and 3Dreality.

 

Community Search:
MacTech Search:

Software Updates via MacUpdate

Bookends 13.2.5 - Reference management a...
Bookends is a full-featured bibliography/reference and information-management system for students and professionals. Bookends uses the cloud to sync reference libraries on all the Macs you use.... Read more
Quicken 2019 5.11.2 - Complete personal...
Quicken makes managing your money easier than ever. Whether paying bills, upgrading from Windows, enjoying more reliable downloads, or getting expert product help, Quicken's new and improved features... Read more
Dashlane 6.1927.0 - 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
Capo 3.7.4 - Slow down and learn to play...
Capo lets you slow down your favorite songs so you can hear the notes and learn how they are played. With Capo, you can quickly tab out your songs atop a highly-detailed OpenCL-powered spectrogram... Read more
BetterTouchTool 3.153 - 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
calibre 3.46.0 - Complete e-book library...
Calibre is a complete e-book library manager. Organize your collection, convert your books to multiple formats, and sync with all of your devices. Let Calibre be your multi-tasking digital librarian... Read more
Firefox 68.0.1 - Fast, safe Web browser.
Firefox offers a fast, safe Web browsing experience. Browse quickly, securely, and effortlessly. With its industry-leading features, Firefox is the choice of Web development professionals and casual... Read more
Vivaldi 2.6.1566.49 - An advanced browse...
Vivaldi is a browser for our friends. We live in our browsers. Choose one that has the features you need, a style that fits and values you can stand by. From the look and feel, to how you interact... Read more
Daylite 6.7.3.1 - Dynamic business organ...
Daylite helps businesses organize themselves with tools such as shared calendars, contacts, tasks, projects, notes, and more. Enable easy collaboration with features such as task and project... Read more
Vivaldi 2.6.1566.49 - An advanced browse...
Vivaldi is a browser for our friends. We live in our browsers. Choose one that has the features you need, a style that fits and values you can stand by. From the look and feel, to how you interact... Read more

Latest Forum Discussions

See All

Void Tyrant guide - Tips and tricks for...
Void Tyrant continues to get a lot of play in these parts. Probably because the game is just so deep and varied. The next stop on our guide series for Void Tyrant is class-specific guides. First up is the Knight, as it’s the first class anyone has... | Read more »
Summon beasts and battle evil in epic re...
Imagine a tale of conlict between factions of good and evil, where rogueish heroes summon beasts to aid them in them in warfare and courageously battle dragons over fields of scorched earth and brimstone - that's exactly the essence of epic fantasy... | Read more »
Upcoming visual novel Arranged shines a...
If you’re in the market for a new type of visual novel designed to inform and make you think deeply about its subject matter, then Arranged by Kabuk Games could be exactly what you’re looking for. It’s a wholly unique take on marital traditions in... | Read more »
TEPPEN guide - The three best decks in T...
TEPPEN’s unique take on the collectible card game genre is exciting. It’s just over a week old, but that isn’t stopping lots of folks from speculating about the long-term viability of the game, as well as changes and additions that will happen over... | Read more »
Intergalactic puzzler Silly Memory serve...
Recently released matching puzzler Silly Memory is helping its fans with their intergalactic journeys this month with some very special offers on in-app purchases. In case you missed it, Silly Memory is the debut title of French based indie... | Read more »
TEPPEN guide - Tips and tricks for new p...
TEPPEN is a wild game that nobody asked for, but I’m sure glad it exists. Who would’ve thought that a CCG featuring Capcom characters could be so cool and weird? In case you’re not completely sure what TEPPEN is, make sure to check out our review... | Read more »
Dr. Mario World guide - Other games that...
We now live in a post-Dr. Mario World world, and I gotta say, things don’t feel too different. Nintendo continues to squirt out bad games on phones, causing all but the most stalwart fans of mobile games to question why they even bother... | Read more »
Strategy RPG Brown Dust introduces its b...
Epic turn-based RPG Brown Dust is set to turn 500 days old next week, and to celebrate, Neowiz has just unveiled its biggest and most exciting update yet, offering a host of new rewards, increased gacha rates, and a brand new feature that will... | Read more »
Dr. Mario World is yet another disappoin...
As soon as I booted up Dr. Mario World, I knew I wasn’t going to have fun with it. Nintendo’s record on phones thus far has been pretty spotty, with things trending downward as of late. [Read more] | Read more »
Retro Space Shooter P.3 is now available...
Shoot-em-ups tend to be a dime a dozen on the App Store, but every so often you come across one gem that aims to shake up the genre in a unique way. Developer Devjgame’s P.3 is the latest game seeking to do so this, working as a love letter to the... | Read more »

Price Scanner via MacPrices.net

Flash sale! New 11″ 1TB WiFi iPad Pros for th...
Amazon has the 11″ 1TB WiFi iPad Pro on sale today for only $1199.99 including free shipping. Their price is $350 off Apple’s MSRP for this model, and it’s the lowest price ever for a 1TB 11″ iPad... Read more
Weekend Deal: 2018 13″ MacBook Airs starting...
B&H Photo has clearance 2018 13″ MacBook Airs available starting at only $999 with all models now available for $200 off Apple’s original MSRP. Overnight shipping, or expedited shipping, is free... Read more
Apple has clearance 10.5″ iPad Pros available...
Apple has Certified Refurbished 2017 10.5″ iPad Pros available starting at $469. An Apple one-year warranty is included with each iPad, outer shells are new, and shipping is free: – 64GB 10″ iPad Pro... Read more
Apple restocks refurbished iPad mini 4 models...
Apple has restocked Certified Refurbished 32GB iPad mini 4 WiFi models for $229 shipped. That’s $70 off original MSRP for the iPad mini 4. Space Gray, Silver, and Gold colors are available. Read more
Apple, Yet Again, Is Missing An Ultraportable...
EDITORIAL: 07.19.19 Prior to the decision made by Apple earlier this month to retire the thin and light MacBook model with a 12-inch retina display, the Cupertino, California-based company offered,... Read more
Verizon is offering a 50% discount on iPhone...
Verizon is offering 50% discounts on Apple iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus models though July 24th, plus save 50% on activation fees. New line required. The fine print: “New device payment & new... Read more
Get a new 21″ iMac for under $1000 today at t...
B&H Photo has new 21″ Apple iMacs on sale for up to $100 off MSRP with models available starting at $999. These are the same iMacs offered by Apple in their retail and online stores. Shipping is... Read more
Clearance 2017 15″ 2.8GHz Touch Bar MacBook P...
Apple has Certified Refurbished 2017 15″ 2.8GHz Space Gray Touch Bar MacBook Pros available for $1809. Apple’s refurbished price is currently the lowest available for a 15″ MacBook Pro. An standard... Read more
Clearance 12″ 1.2GHz MacBook on sale for $899...
Focus Camera has clearance 12″ 1.2GHz Space Gray MacBooks available for $899.99 shipped. That’s $400 off Apple’s original MSRP. Focus charges sales tax for NY & NJ residents only. Read more
Get a new 2019 13″ 2.4GHz 4-Core MacBook Pro...
B&H Photo has new 2019 13″ 2.4GHz MacBook Pros on sale for up to $150 off Apple’s MSRP. Overnight shipping is free to many addresses in the US: – 2019 13″ 2.4GHz/256GB 6-Core MacBook Pro Silver... Read more

Jobs Board

Best Buy *Apple* Computing Master - Best Bu...
**707083BR** **Job Title:** Best Buy Apple Computing Master **Job Category:** Sales **Location Number:** 000045-Rockford-Store **Job Description:** **What does a Read more
Geek Squad *Apple* Master Consultation Agen...
**702908BR** **Job Title:** Geek Squad Apple Master Consultation Agent **Job Category:** Services/Installation/Repair **Location Number:** 000360-Williston-Store Read more
Best Buy *Apple* Computing Master - Best Bu...
**711023BR** **Job Title:** Best Buy Apple Computing Master **Job Category:** Sales **Location Number:** 000012-St Cloud-Store **Job Description:** **What does a Read more
*Apple* Systems Architect/Engineer, Vice Pre...
…its vision to be the world's most trusted financial group. **Summary:** Apple Systems Architect/Engineer with strong knowledge of products and services related to Read more
Best Buy *Apple* Computing Master - Best Bu...
**696259BR** **Job Title:** Best Buy Apple Computing Master **Job Category:** Store Associates **Location Number:** 001076-Temecula-Store **Job Description:** The Read more
All contents are Copyright 1984-2011 by Xplain Corporation. All rights reserved. Theme designed by Icreon.