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The MacTech Spotlight: Jean-Daniel Dupas, Ninsight

Volume Number: 25
Issue Number: 05
Column Tag: The MacTech Spotlight

The MacTech Spotlight: Jean-Daniel Dupas, Ninsight

http://www.ninsight.fr/UK/


What do you do?

I'm employed at Ninsight. This is a small French company specialized in subtitling, asset management and broadcast software. I'm a Software Designer & Developer, but I'm also doing project management.

Actually, the company previously provided software for Windows only but one year ago, it decided to expand its market to Mac users. My job is to study and develop these new Mac OS X products.

One of my activities is to find solutions and develop small utilities to improve our Windows product's interoperability with the Mac.

My other main activity is to develop new Mac software that will not have a Windows counterpart. That allows me to use all wonderful Mac OS technologies (like OpenGL, CoreVideo, CoreImage, CoreAnimation, QuartzComposer) without having to bother with portability issues.

Actually, we do not plan to port all of our existing Windows products to Mac OS, as the needs and market are very different.

I'm also in charge of some networks services (intranet servers, subversion, backup).

How long have you been doing what you do?

I started this job one year ago.

What was your first computer?

The first time I saw a computer, I was five year old. It was a Macintosh Plus my father bought. I spend a lot of time playing Lode Runner and drawing wonderful artworks (for a 6 year old kid) in MacPaint ;-)

The first computer I bought was a PowerMac G4 QuickSilver 733Mhz (July 2001). Just in time to start the Mac OS X transition.

I still use it from time to time.

Are you Mac-only, or a multi-platform person?

I'm only using a Mac at home, but I'm also using Windows for some specific development at work.

I'm also using a Unix/Linux platform to build low-cost servers for the company network.

What's the coolest thing about the Mac?

This is a developer point of view, but one thing I find really cool is that you can have developer tools for free. I'm not talking about some stripped down version of the official tools, but the whole developer tools collection: Xcode IDE, the profiling tools, the packaging tools, and a lot more.

What is the advice you'd give to someone trying to get into this line of work today?

If you want to do it well, this is a very time consuming activity. You will have to be patient, and take the time to learn how the OS and the API works, even if you already are an experienced developer on other platform.

Buy a book, start with small projects, take the time to read the API programming guide on the Apple site, and don't expect to be able to do some complex project without having a strong understanding of how things works.

What's the coolest tech thing you've done using OS X?

There is so much to do technically, that I don't know what to answer. There are some cool (but very technical) things to do at the Mach and BSD level.

I did some cool things like a Wiimote driver, but one of my favorite projects is an engine to generate and play video in real-time. It uses all the "Core*" API of OS X to read frames from different sources (Video cards, movie files, Quartz Composition, etc.), it transforms them and apply all kind of effects (CoreImage, GLSL, Quartz Compositions) and then it plays them on screen, or it sends them to a video device (or both). I'm planning to use it as the basis for a broadcasting solution.

Where can we see a sample of your work?

My professional projects are not released yet, but you can see some of my freeware at http://www.shadowlab.org/softwares/

And for the record, here are two Open Source projects I did:

A Wiimote Driver (which should be updated soon): http://code.google.com/p/wiimotekit/

A XAR manipulation (an open source archive format) Objective-C library: http://code.google.com/p/sarchivekit/

The next way I'm going to impact the Mac universe is:

I do not have any plan yet, and I do not have a lot of free time those days, so I don't think I'm going to start new personal projects.

But who knows what the future is made of ;-) ?


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