TweetFollow Us on Twitter

Sep 98 Online

Volume Number: 14 (1998)
Issue Number: 9
Column Tag: MacTech Online

The Little Framework that Could

by Jeff Clites, online@mactech.com

Getting Started with C++

Code reuse was one of the key motivating forces behind the development of object-oriented programming. It's a simple idea, really - come up with a way to organize code so that conceptually separate pieces are independent and self-contained. Then, since these pieces don't rely on other parts of an application, they can be reused in multiple projects without modification.

The obvious next step in this evolution is the development of application frameworks, and the idea here is simple, too: most Macintosh applications, for instance, have a lot of code in common - they initialize managers, track mouse clicks in menus, and use scroll bars. This is where a framework comes in - it collects commonly-used code and organizes it so that you can develop an application by focusing on the parts which make your application distinctive while ignoring the mundane. This frees you from the burden of writing the same code over and over, and provides you with well-debugged code to do the dirty work. This all sounds great - so you may be asking, "what's the problem?"

MacZoop

Beginning C++ programmers on the Mac face a bit of a Catch-22. On the one hand, they need to be able to test out small stretches of code while they are learning, but there really is a lot of work to be done just to get a small application up and running. So, they could really benefit from a framework - it would relieve them from writing support code which they don't yet feel confident writing, and would allow them to be pretty sure that if something doesn't work then it is a problem with their code and not, say, that they forgot to initialize TextEdit. But, frameworks such as Apple's MacApp and Metrowerks' PowerPlant were not designed with the beginner in mind - they were designed for industrial-strength commercial application development. (For instance, the front end to the Mac version of Netscape Navigator is PowerPlant-based.) Despite excellent documentation, they can be overwhelming, especially for someone who is just learning what inheritance and polymorphism are all about.

This is where MacZoop comes in. It is a small (well, maybe medium-sized) Macintosh application framework generously developed and supported by Graham Cox, and it was specifically designed to be a learning tool for those just starting out with C++. And, in the spirit of enriching the Macintosh community, it's free.

MacZoop!
http://www.maczoop.com
MacApp
http://developer.apple.com/dev/tools/macapp/index.html
Metrowerks (PowerPlant)
http://www.metrowerks.com/

In fact, without any additional code MacZoop builds into a working application. The application doesn't do much, but it has File and Edit menus with the usual menu items, and you can open new (empty) windows which are movable, zoomable, and resizable, and they tile nicely across the screen, just as you would expect from a Mac application. This may not sound like much, but any Mac programmer knows how much effort it takes to set up such things, and how hard it can be for a beginner. This lets them build their code in top of something which already works.

Graham has included a full bag of goodies to help you along. There is an electronic manual, just shy of 200 pages, which uses color more effectively than any other technical documentation I have seen. It provides a compact introduction to the key concept of C++ and of programming the Macintosh in general, and really touches on most subjects that a first-time Mac programmer needs to have under his belt. Also, there is a small demo application showing off many of its main features, and a full-featured paint program which serves as a more extensive example. (Both, of course, come with full source code, and the manual has detailed instructions for compiling the framework using CodeWarrior.)

Harnessing the Power of Resources

MacZoop sports a wealth of very clever features which make it useful beyond its role as a learning tool, and it warrants a look from more experienced programmers as well. For example, if you create a window with one of the traditional floating-window WDEFs, it floats - it stays above all other windows in your application, and hides itself when your application goes into the background - you don't have to worry about the details. It also takes full advantage of ResEdit as an interface editor; for instance, it provides two separate methods (one based on TCL and one on MacApp) for associating commands with menu items, so that after setting up your resources you can forget about your menus and think in terms of commands that your classes understand. ResEdit is also used to create enhanced dialogs, with icon lists or scrolling text boxes installed as easily as any other control.

A few other niceties round out the package, and are worthy of special mention. The framework comes with its own small set of container classes and avoids any use of the STL. This seems to violate the spirit of code reuse, since it duplicates functionality already available as part of the language. But it is actually a clever move - it introduces the concept of containers and templates without requiring a full understanding of the ins and outs of the STL, and it avoids the code bloat often associated with it. Finally, there are many utility classes which make things like creating custom icons or displaying JPEGs a snap.

Extra Toppings

Well, I hope I've given you a sense of what MacZoop has to offer to beginners and to experts alike - there are a multitude of features that I didn't get to mention. In addition to the core distribution, there are a few must-have items contributed by other authors. M. Uli Kusterer has written an extensive set of pane classes specifically for MacZoop, which allow you to organize elements of your visual interface in a natural, hierarchical manner. Uli is also developing Resurrection, a free resource editor for use with MacZoop, written (of course) using MacZoop itself. Finally, Joe Strout has a smaller set of pane classes, which work with MacZoop and with his own framework Moof, which is much smaller than 'Zoop and which would also be well-suited to a beginner.

Uli's MacZoop Classes
http://www.weblayout.com/witness/ZoopClasses.htm
Uli's Resurrection
http://www.weblayout.com/witness/Resurrection.htm
Joe's MacDev Page (Pane Classes, Moof, etc.)
http://www.strout.net/info/coding/macdev/intro.html

The Future

I encourage you to give MacZoop a look, or to point it out to your friends who are just beginning to tinker with programming on the Mac. Professional programmers will at some point want to learn about larger frameworks, but MacZoop will introduce you to concepts that you can take with you when you move on, and it's a rich source of code snippets and example of how to do things the "right" way. This is an especially exciting time to be a Mac developer, with the advent of Mac OS X and ever-faster hardware, and I hope that MacZoop and the work of other generous folk can help open the door to non-programmers wishing to try their hand. Graham intends to make MacZoop fully Mac OS X compliant as soon as the API is finalized (support for Appearance and Navigation Services is in place now), and he has already begun work on a gaming framework built around MacZoop. It should all be a lot of fun.

These and piles of other links are available from the MacTech Online web pages at www.mactech.com/online/.

 

Community Search:
MacTech Search:

Software Updates via MacUpdate

Unite 3 3.1 - Turn websites into full-fe...
Unite 3 lets you turn websites into apps on your Mac and change the way you use your computer forever Creating your app It all starts with the new Unite creation tool. Simply enter a name for your... Read more
App Tamer 2.5.2 - Efficiently manage you...
App Tamer tames your processor-monopolizing apps and keeps them from chewing up excessive CPU time and battery life. Powered by a unique AutoStop feature, App Tamer stops each application when you... Read more
Sid Meier's Civilization IV 1.74 -...
Note: Sid Meier's Civilization IV is no longer under development and the developer provides no support for it. With Civilization IV, history as you know it, is history. Rule throughout time and... Read more
Day One 4.15.3 - Maintain a daily journa...
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
Backblaze 7.0.1.450 - Online backup serv...
Backblaze is an online backup service designed from the ground-up for the Mac. With unlimited storage available for $6 per month, as well as a free 15-day trial, peace of mind is within reach with... Read more
Visual Studio Code 1.47.0 - Cross-platfo...
Visual Studio Code provides developers with a new choice of developer tool that combines the simplicity and streamlined experience of a code editor with the best of what developers need for their... Read more
Apple Pages 10.1 - Apple's word pro...
Apple Pages is a powerful word processor that gives you everything you need to create documents that look beautiful. And read beautifully. It lets you work seamlessly between Mac and iOS devices, and... Read more
Shimo 5.0.2 - VPN client for everyone.
Shimo is the most versatile VPN client for OS X and it enables really everybody to master secure network. It supports more protocols than any other VPN application out there! CiscoVPN, AnyConnect,... Read more
Yasu 6.0.1 - System maintenance app.
Note: Yasu is not being sold anymore and is listed only for people who had purchased it in the past. Yasu was created with system administrators who service large groups of workstations in mind, Yasu... Read more
Keynote 10.1 - Apple's presentation...
Easily create gorgeous presentations with the all-new Keynote, featuring powerful yet easy-to-use tools and dazzling effects that will make you a very hard act to follow. The Theme Chooser lets you... Read more

Latest Forum Discussions

See All

Puzzle & Dragons welcomes the cast o...
Puzzle & Dragons has a history of wild crossovers, and its latest is no exception. The gates of hell are now open, and the cast of Devil May Cry have made their grand entrance into the world Puzzle & Dragons. The collaboration is set to... | Read more »
Meteorfall: Krumit's Tale is launch...
Meteorfall: Krumit's Tale is getting an iOS & Android beta test this Thursday, and you can sign up now to get involved. [Read more] | Read more »
Marvel Duel, NetEase's promising ca...
Marvel Duel, NetEase's collectable card battler, has now opened for pre-registration in Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia, and the Philippines. [Read more] | Read more »
PUBG Mobile teams up with Yamaha for a l...
PUBG Mobile has had various collaborations with various companies since it first burst onto the scene. The latest sees the popular battle royale title teaming up with vehicle and marine products company Yamaha, meaning players can take one of... | Read more »
Marvel Super War launches its third seas...
Marvel Super War, NetEase's popular MOBA, has kicked off its third season today, introducing its Zone Invasion beta and an all-new playable superhero. [Read more] | Read more »
Brave Dungeon, Unlock Games' idle-R...
Brave Dungeon, Unlock Games' idle-RPG and auto chess title, has been downloaded over 1 million times since it launched last week. To commemorate reaching this milestone the developers have decided to host a series of in-game events. [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 »
Steam Link Spotlight - Disco Elysium
Steam Link Spotlight is a feature where we look at PC games that play exceptionally well using the Steam Link app. Our last entry was Signs of the Sojourner Read about how it plays using Steam Link over here. | 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 »
Pokemon Go's July Community Day wil...
Pokemon Go developers have announced the details concerning the upcoming Gastly Community Day. This particular event was selected by the players of the game after the Gas Pokemon came in second place after a poll that decided which Pokemon would... | Read more »

Price Scanner via MacPrices.net

Apple has 2020 13″ 4-Core MacBook Airs availa...
Apple has a full line of Certified Refurbished 2020 13″ 4-Core MacBook Airs available for $200 off the cost of new models. Each MacBook features a new outer case, comes with a standard Apple one-year... Read more
Apple restocks clearance 2019 13″ MacBook Pro...
Apple has restocked Certified Refurbished 2019 13″ 1.4GHz 4-Core Touch Bar MacBook Pros starting at $979 and up to $440 off original MSRP. Apple’s one-year warranty is included, shipping is free, and... Read more
US Cellular offers $300 off any new Cellular...
US Cellular is offering a $300 discount on any new Cellular Apple iPad, iPad Air, iPad Pro, or iPad mini with a new line of service. According to US Cellular, “Promotional pricing requires purchase... Read more
Sale! 16″ MacBook Pros for $400 off Apple’s M...
Amazon has 16″ MacBook Pros on sale for $400 off Apple’s MSRP today with prices starting at $1999. Shipping is free: – 2019 16″ 2.6GHz 6-Core MacBook Pro Space Gray: $1999.99 $400 off MSRP – 2019 16... Read more
Lowest price ever: Apple AirPods Pro for $214...
Amazon-owned Woot has new Apple AirPods Pro on sale for today only (Monday, July 13th) for $214.99 including free shipping for Prime members. Their price is $35 off Apple’s MSRP, and it’s the lowest... Read more
Woot is selling refurbished Apple iPhones tod...
Amazon-owned Woot is selling refurbished unlocked Apple iPhones today for as low as $99. Shipping is free for prime members. The following models are available, and note that many will sell out... Read more
Take $50 off the 64GB Apple iPhone SE at Simp...
Use coupon code SUMMER2020 at Simple Mobile through July 31, 2020, and take 20% off the 64GB Apple iPhone SE + service plan. This is in addition to their standard $50 discount on the iPhone SE.... Read more
Weekend Sale: Woot offers clearance MacBook,...
Amazon-owned Woot is blowing out a wide range of MacBooks, MacBook Airs, and MacBook Pros starting at only $389. All models are open-box returns, and according to Woot, “these MacBooks are in New-... Read more
Apple’s 2020 Mac minis on sale for up to $100...
B&H Photo has Apple’s 2020 Mac minis on sale today for $40-$100 off MSRP, each including free expedited delivery for many US addresses. These are the same Mac minis sold by Apple in their retail... Read more
Apple restocks refurbished 10.5″ iPad Airs fo...
Apple has restocked 10.5″ WiFI iPad Airs models for up to $100 off MSRP, Certified Refurbished. Each iPad comes with Apple’s standard one-year warranty and includes a new outer case. Shipping is free... Read more

Jobs Board

Perioperative RN - ( *Apple* Hill Surgical C...
Perioperative RN - ( Apple Hill Surgical Center) Tracking Code 62018 Job Description Monday - Friday - Full Time Days Possible Saturdays General Summary: Under the Read more
Surgical Coord/Scheduler-MG - *Apple* Hill...
Surgical Coord/Scheduler-MG - Apple Hill Medical Center - (full-time) - Days Tracking Code 62537 Job Description General Summary: Under general supervision, provides Read more
Office Assistant - *Apple* Hill Medical Cent...
Office Assistant - Apple Hill Medical Center- (part-time) - Days Tracking Code 62649 Job Description General Summary: Under general supervision, performs diversified Read more
Blue *Apple* Cafe Student Worker - Fall - P...
…to enhance your work experience. Student positions are available at the Blue Apple Cafe. Employee meal discount during working hours is provided. Duties include food Read more
Geek Squad Advanced Repair *Apple* Professi...
**769390BR** **Job Title:** Geek Squad Advanced Repair Apple Professional **Job Category:** Store Associates **Store Number or Department:** 000580-Reading-Store Read more
All contents are Copyright 1984-2011 by Xplain Corporation. All rights reserved. Theme designed by Icreon.