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From the Editor

Volume Number: 23 (2007)
Issue Number: 07
Column Tag: Letter From the Editor

From the Editor

Welcome to the July issue of MacTech -- something we're loosely referring to as the programming issue. See, MacTech started off life as a programmer's journal. That was in 1984, for those of you that don't remember back that far. The developer market has gone through many changes, and, MacTech has, too, along with it. Bring us up to the present, and there's probably no better time to jump into some kind of development. There are new tools and utilities that help a developer -- one of almost any skill level -- turn the idea in their head into a functioning application. Of course, while a pencil allows me to draw, I'm no artist. However, through practice and learning from the masters, you can be a developer of some success.

This month, we're very, very pleased to introduce a new column, "The Road to Code." Authored by Dave Dribin, The Road to Code gets you started along the path of becoming a Macintosh Programmer. We've had requests from people -- sysadmins included -- that want to dive in deeper, write their own apps, or at least have the ability to read source code. Think about it: you're a sysadmin and cron isn't doing just what you want. Well, you can download the version of cron that is used in OS X and modify it to your liking, or simply read the source and then know why it is behaving as it is. You can then even file a bug report with the solution to the issue, if you like! This first column starts us off with the basics of C and XCode so we're all starting from the same foundation. Never fear, though, we'll be up to Objective-C, Cocoa and other topics before you know it! You'll also find Dave hanging out on Apple's Cocoa-dev list from time to time, and contributing to the Mac community through his blog at http://www.dribin.org/dave/blog/

John Welch returns with a topic that should interest all system administrators out there, large or small. He teaches us how to automate Apple Remote Desktop using AppleScript. To quote John, "the best sysadmins are lazy." This is why you need to learn how to automate an automation tool like ARD. John gives us several examples with great example AppleScript code.

Ben Greisler brings us another way to increase the value of a machine we already have: Take a standard OS X machine and turn it into a DNS server -- no additional software required. Having a secondary (or tertiary) DNS server available when you're serving DNS is really critical. It's also a nice way to offload lookups from a main machine that may be doing other things as well (like running as an OpenDirectory master).

José Cruz teaches us about using tables in AppleScript, along with presenting those tables in a GUI using AppleScript Studio. Tables, or 'grids,' are a common and important way to display data. Editable tables are even cooler. José takes us through doing just this in "Advanced Tables with AppleScript Studio."

Our MacEnterprise feature this month from Philip Rinehart talks about an interesting, if not little-known feature of OS X. OS X has the ability to bring shell variables into the GUI. However, a piece of that changed when Apple rolled out Security Update 2007-004. Of course, there are applications out there that rely on this functionality. So, how do you work around this new limitation? Check out what the MacEnterprise community came up with!

Want some tips and tricks on serving up Netboot images for multiple Macs? Criss Myers brings you his techniques to having your machines up and running from a Netboot server.

Finally, we feature Steve Modica in our MacTech Spotlight this month. Steve is the founder and CTO of Small Tree Communications, which many of us know from their unique networking products for the Mac platform. The original (and at one point only) source for multiple-Ethernet cards for Macs, we're looking forward to the next round of innovation from Small Tree.

Enjoy the issue -- we're here playing with all of this on our shiny new Leopard Betas, making sure we can bring you the most up to date information when it ships in October!

Edward Marczak,

Executive editor

 

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