TweetFollow Us on Twitter

Oct 01 WebObjects

Volume Number: 17 (2001)
Issue Number: 10
Column Tag: Beginning WebObjects 5

Part 2 - The Project Builder

by Emmanuel Proulx

Overview and First Application

Opening the Project Builder

The Project Builder is the central tool for developing WebObjects applications, so this article talks about how to use this tool. The first thing you're going to do is open the Project Builder, by going to your disk, under the folder /Developer/Applications, and double-clicking on Project Builder.

Currently there's no project opened. Let's make a blank one. For now, don't try to understand the different options, as we'll cover them all later. In the menu, choose File | New Project. The dialog that pops up contains many different types of projects: WebObjects, Carbon, Cocoa, bundles, frameworks, Applet, driver, C++, and many more.

WebObjects is the development platform for the Mac OS X operating system, and it can produce many kinds of projects. This column is scoped to help you develop Web applications using Java, so for now let's concentrate on this kind of project:

Select the WebObjects Application project type and click Next.

Enter the project name and location. This column assumes the project name is Find-A-Luv, under the folder ~/projects/Find-A-Luv. (Create the ‘projects' folder under the home folder). Click on Finish.

The window that comes up next is the Project Builder, containing the project you just created:


Figure 1. Project Builder.

This window is crowded with controls, which we'll cover shortly.

Overview

The Project Viewer is an IDE (Integrated Development Environment) for the Mac OS X operating system. Its graphical user interfaces resembles a Web browser. It is in fact a file browser; it lets you see the files of the project. The left part of the Project Builder ("Groups & Files") lets you select files, organizing them in a tree-like fashion into categories. I will refer to that part as the file browser tab. The right pane lets you edit the selected file - I call it the editor. Finally, the toolbar has buttons to build and run your project.

File Browser Tab

A project is a set of files that are used by a Web application. As explained in the introduction, and as you can see in the first level of the file browser, many types of files are necessary. Here's how they are classified in the Project Builder:

  • Classes: these include all Java files - the ones associated with a Web Page (or Web Component), the ones linked to the database through the model, and the utility ones that you make yourself.
  • Web Components: this contains subfolders, one for each Web page. They in turn contain all files that constitute Web Pages, for both behavior and appearance.
  • Resources: the model file (more on these later).
  • Web Server resources: all files that should be sent to the Web Server's root folder and that are not specific to components (graphics, multimedia files, executables, etc)
  • Interfaces: Java Applets.
  • Frameworks: the WebObjects-supplied libraries used by your project.
  • Documentation: HTML files containing the documentation for this project.
  • Products: the generated files for this project, including intermediate files and the final executable.

When you expand one of the categories of the first level, you can see other categories or files you may select. When you click on anything in the file browser, you will see the file appear in the editor pane.

Items in the file browser can be clicked on, double-clicked on or dragged around, just like icons of the operating system.

WARNING: If you drag something out of the file browser pane, it will be moved out of the project. The file will no longer be available in the project. If you want to copy the file, don't use the Project Builder. Use the operating system (Finder) to access the project's folder, and then copy the file from there.

The same is true when dragging files into the file browser. The file gets added to the project.

WARNING: If you drag something into the file browser pane, by default the file will not get copied. It will only be referenced. This means if you change, move or delete the file, the project will be affected. When you want to put the file inside the project, copy it into the project's folder first, and then drag it to the proper location in the file browser.

There will be more information on file management in a future article.

Editor

The second item in this window is the Editor. It works just like any text editor, except for a few features, like colored Java syntax and automatic indentation.

  • Automatic indentation: the editor adds or removes spaces and tabulations automatically as you type. When you type an open curly brace "{", it can also add automatically a closing one "}".
  • TRICK: If you want to fix the indentation for a block of text, you can do so by following these steps: select your block of text, go to menu Format | Shift Right ((-]) or Shift Left ((-[). I use this often.
  • PREFERENCE: the automatic indentation of your text can be customized by going to menu Project Builder | Preferences, and by choosing the Text Editing category. There are many options to try out.
  • Colored Java Syntax: the editor displays the keywords, comments and content using a color scheme.
  • PREFERENCE: you can decide the colors to use by going to menu Project Builder | Preferences and by choosing the Syntax Coloring category.
  • Multi-windowed view: You can open each document in its own window, that "float" above the Project Builder. You do that by choosing the menu Navigation | Open in Separate Editor. The new window doesn't have any tabs, so it maximizes the editing area.
  • TRICK: If you want to dock the tabs out of the way, you can do so simply by clicking on the currently selected tab again. The tab slides out of the view, and the editor pane becomes larger.
  • Split-window view: You can also get two views of the same document simultaneously in the same editor pane by "splitting" the editor. You do that by clicking on the button in the navigation bar. When the editor is split, you can close one of the two halves by clicking on the corresponding button.

Toolbar

The last item of this window is the toolbar. Let's briefly describe the buttons. We'll deal with what they do in great detail subsequently.

  • Build: this compile your project, letting you see the output and errors in a special pane called the Build tab.
  • Clean: I call this the "cleanup" button. This removes all intermediate files and produced binary files. Once this operation is done, the build button can rebuild everything. The output is sent to the Build tab.
  • Run: this lets you run your application. A new pane called the Run tab comes up and displays the application's output and errors.
  • Debug: this runs the application in debug mode, enabling breakpoints. You may then use the debugging buttons to control the flow of execution. You can also use the Debug tab to view the debugger's console, the variables and the frames being watched. Breakpoints are not shown in this tab; they have their own tab on the left side, called the Breakpoints tab.
  • Stop: This button appears only when the Project Builder is busy. You can stop the compilation or the cleanup by clicking it.
  • Active Target: Lets you choose which build target you are working on. A target is a set of compilation options for the current project. The targets can be configured using the Target tab.
  • Debugging buttons: lets you control the flow of execution while running the application in debug mode. The buttons are, from left to right: pause, continue, step over method, step into method, step out of method.
  • PREFERENCES: The toolbar tailored to suite your tastes. To add, remove, move and modify the appearance of the buttons of the toolbar, go to menu Window | Customize Toolbar. You may also remove the toolbar by going to menu Window | Hide Toolbar.

Other elements of the Project Builder window are:

  • The navigation bar: this lets you select which of the opened documents you wish to see, and in what class or method the cursor should jump to. With the left and right arrows, you can go back and forward in the list of documents. See this as the "Address" box, and the "Back" and "Forward" buttons of your Web browser. One more thing, you see the icon in this bar? It displays the type of document. Moreover, when a document needs to be saved, the icon becomes gray.
  • The Find tab, which lets you find (and replace) strings in the whole project.
  • The editor can be split into multiple sections, to view two different areas of the same file. These buttons let you split and close the sections.
  • The bookmarks tab, which lists the ‘favorite' files and lines of code for later retrieval.
  • The status bar, which displays the progress and result of the last operation.

Hello World Example

The Hello World Code

Enough talking. Now is time to write you first piece of code.

Open your Project Builder, pointing to the Find-A-Luv project. In the file browser tab, expand "Classes". Then, select Main.java. In the editor, you can see that file ready to be edited.

Although this class' name is Main, it has nothing to do with Java's public static void main(String []) member function. The class Main is associated with the Web Component of the same name, and for every instance of that Web Component, a new instance of the class is created too. The good news is, the Main page is the default home page for the project. So the Main class will be instantiated automatically when a user accesses your site through the ‘front door'.

We're going to make a plain Hello World example program right in here, in the constructor of the class:

Listing 1. Main.java

Main Web component
This code sample shows where to add the line that prints "hello world". 

// Main.java: Class file for WO Component ‘Main'
// Project Find-A-Luv
//
// Created by eproulx on Wed May 16 2001
//
 
import com.webobjects.foundation.*;
import com.webobjects.appserver.*;
import com.webobjects.eocontrol.*;
import com.webobjects.eoaccess.*;

public class Main extends WOComponent {

    public Main(WOContext context) {
        super(context);
        System.out.println("Hello World!");
    }
}

Bear in mind two things before we move on: first, you can use any classes of the standard JDK 1.3 here. That's good to know because we don't have to rely on any third-party tools and libraries to do most of the work. For example, here we printed to the Console using the System class.

Second, you must know that your development environment is emulating the Web server environment. That means if you try to use any visible objects, like AWT or Swing dialogs and frames, the user will never see them. The only person that will see even just "Hello World!" is the operator guy in the Web server room. Anything you do must be just non-interactive non-graphical pure processing code (server-side processing, or business logic). The real interaction takes place when dealing with Web Components (the Web pages).

Save your code now - menu File | Save (or (-S).

Building

You are now ready to compile your project. Go to the toolbar, and click on the button with the hammer . The Build tab comes up, as shown below:


Figure 2. The build tab.

Obviously, the build has failed for this example (look at the status bar).

Let's examine the build tab. The lower half shows the compiler output. But you shouldn't have to look there, because the upper half of the build tab displays the compilation errors. In this example, there was a syntax error in the file Main.java. Clicking on the compilation error actually opens the right file and points you to the line where the error is. This is very handy.

If there were errors when you clicked on the build button, I will trust your programmer aptitudes for fixing them now. If there are no errors after the compilation, you are ready to go to the next step.

PREFERENCE: You can customize the behavior of the build process by going to menu Project Builder | Preferences, then by selecting the Build category. One of my favorite settings is to change the "Unsaved files" option to "Always Save". This way, whenever I build my project, I don't get the annoying dialog popping up asking "Save before building?"

Running

Let's see how well your "Hello World" program works. Go to the Project Builder and click on the toolbar button with the computer monitor . This opens the Run tab, as shown next:


Figure 3. The run tab and the Console.

I like to call the run tab "the Console". It displays the runtime messages, like the ones from WebObjects itself, System.err messages and guess what else? The System.out messages.

When you run the "Hello World" example, the Console displays lots of message - don't worry about these. Three things happen when you click on the Run button:

The WebObjects server is started.

Your Web application is deployed to that server.

Your Web browser pops up, pointing to the application.

The application is not displayed right away in the browser. We are redirected to it, with a page saying "One moment please...". This is just a redirection page generated by WebObjects. Immediately after that, a blank page appears. What page is this? This is the default page for your Web application, the "Main" Web Component. Does that means an instance of the Main class was created, and that the constructor we wrote was called? Go back to the Console to check it out.

Success! The words "Hello World" are displayed.

TRICK: "Compiling and running" is a common task that you will do so often, it deserves a shortcut. You can save a lot of mouse clicks by typing (-R.

You can now close the Web browser if you want. To stop the server, go back to the Console again, and click on the stop button . This will bring you back to the build tab.

Getting Help

When it comes to getting help with WebObjects, you have many choices. Often, any one source of information will do the trick, but usually one source is always better then the others for finding the specific information you're looking for. It's like wanting to listen to music and owning tons of CDs. You could pick up any one, but you have your favorite ones depending on the mood you're in right now.

Let's take a good look at each of these sources of information and check out what they do best.

Project Builder Help Menu

This contains these items:

  • Project Builder Help: this contains help on the Project Builder itself, and how to use it. It has tutorials for most of the features of the tool.
  • Developer Center, Developer Tools Help, Cocoa Help, Carbon Help: these items will get you going on using all the development libraries and tools for Mac OS X.
  • Release Notes: the latest news about the Project Builder at the time of shipping.

The help topics appear in the Mac OS X Help Viewer program, except for the release notes, which appear inside the Project Builder editor.

For API, you must know the name of the class or method you wish to look up.

WebObjects Builder Help

We'll see the WebObjects Builder in a coming article, but I wanted to introduce its Help menu right away because I prefer using it instead of the Project Builder Help menu. It contains way more material, and it brings up the Web browser right away. Invoke it from within the WebObjects Builder by going to menu Help | Help Topics or by pressing F1.

Also, the WebObjects Builder help page contains an item called "Updated Docs at Apple", that brings you the exact same help contents but with all the fixes and updates that Apple introduced over time. Be sure to bookmark that page!

Lastly, it contains a link to Apple's Search Engine when clicking on the item "WEB SITE SEARCH". Note that you have to specify what you are searching for (in the subject field, select "WebObjects Documentation").

Oh and there's also the WebObjects Builder's "tip of the day" dialog that shows up every time you start it. I'll let you explore it yourself.

Java Browser

Imagine a situation where you know what class (and what package) you want to use, but you can't remember the exact syntax for a member variable or method, or even the types and order of a method's parameters. It doesn't have to be a WebObjects class; you could want to know that for any class.

You could bring up the API help documents, but instead I suggest you fire up the Java Browser. This tool lets you explore all available packages, and view the class interfaces. I use this very often.

To open the Java Browser, open the folder /Developer/Applications, and double-click on Java Browser. A window comes up, and you can now navigate through all packages and classes that are in the classpath. Most of the WebObjects-specific classes are located under the package com.apple.


Figure 4. The Java browser

Inspector attributes help

When using the Inspector (a window that floats above tools, and show you the properties of the selected object), you can sometimes see a button in the lowest part that looks like this: . When an item is selected in the Inspector, clicking on this button will bring up the related help. This help mechanism is very specific to the context, as opposed to the previous approaches.

Help on the Web

There are several sources of help available on the Internet:

 

Community Search:
MacTech Search:

Software Updates via MacUpdate

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
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
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
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
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
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
DEVONthink Pro 3.0beta4 - Knowledge base...
DEVONthink Pro is your essential assistant for today's world, where almost everything is digital. From shopping receipts to important research papers, your life often fills your hard drive in the... Read more
Adobe Creative Cloud 4.9.0.512 - Access...
Adobe Creative Cloud costs $20.99/month for a single app, or $52.99/month for the entire suite. Introducing Adobe Creative Cloud desktop applications, including Adobe Photoshop CC and Illustrator CC... Read more
Chromium 75.0.3770.142 - 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 75.0.3770.142: Release notes were... 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

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
AirPods with Wireless Charging Case now on sa...
Amazon has extended their Prime Day savings on Apple AirPods by offering AirPods with the Wireless Charging case for $169.99. That’s $30 off Apple’s MSRP, and it’s the cheapest price available for... Read more

Jobs Board

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
Business Development Manager, *Apple* Globa...
Business Development Manager, Apple Global Tampa, FL, US Requisition Number:73805 As a Global Apple Business Development Manager at Insight, you proactively Read more
All contents are Copyright 1984-2011 by Xplain Corporation. All rights reserved. Theme designed by Icreon.