WoT News: Robert Jordan Has Passed

WoT News: Robert Jordan Has Passed: “WoT News: Robert Jordan Has Passed
Posted by wotmania (9/16/2007 8:08:04 PM)

It is with great sadness that I pass along the news that Robert Jordan has passed away… The official news was first posted on [url=’http://www.dragonmount.com/RobertJordan/?p=90′%5DJordan’s blog[/url], he passed at 2:45PM.

On behalf of wotmania’s entire team and community, I would like to pass along our deepest condolences to Jordan’s entire family. He brought many here – and elsewhere – great joy through his writing, wit, and wisdom. He will be greatly missed. Our thoughts and prayers are with you all.

Speaking for myself, I can still remember taking home my sample copy of EotW all those years ago. Right from the start, I was hooked. I don’t think I could have imagined at that time what WoT would end up meaning to me, the chance to build a fantastic community around a wonderful world developed by a gifted writer. WoT has been a big part of my life for over a decade, and for that I’m truly grateful. Thanks to Jordan, and my deepest regrets to his family for their loss.

Recognizing that the two main conversations to be had over the next couple days are (1) expressing feelings over the loss of Jordan and (2) the future of WoT, I posted a few notes regarding [url=’wotmessageboard2showmessage.asp?MessageID=68400′]the future of WoT[/url] in a separate thread to (hopefully) pass along useful news.”

(Via wotmania: WoT News.)


Sidekick 1.4.1 available

I’ve released a new version of Sidekick, a menu bar item for AppleWorks 6. This is a maintenance release that allows users to conveniently start Numbers (part of the iWork ’08 suite) from Sidekick’s menu bar, and removes some defunct links AppleWorks web sites.

If you’re an AppleWorks user let me know what you think!


Scary PhotoBooth

The kids mucking around in Photo Booth produced this extremely disturbing image!


Redbubble, t-shirt and art site

Redbubble is a new Australian web site where artists or anyone can create art and sell it. So cards, wall art and t-shirts can all be created and sold for reasonable prices.

I’ve created a couple of t-shirts for myself and would love feedback. My software development business was an obvious candidate for a shirt, so I’ve created a simple shirt using the Zapfino and Myriad fonts using the business name.

I’m also pleased with the other shirt which features the typeface Zapfino. I’ve slightly offset the typeface name to draw a person’s eye to it, and embellished it with the alphabet plus two pangrams (a sentence including every letter of the alphabet).

The two pangrams are:

How razorback-jumping frogs can level six piqued gymnasts!

Foxy parsons quiz & cajole the lovably dim wiki-girl

AppleWorks retired

Macworld UK reported this week that Apple is no longer selling AppleWorks, and that the AppleWorks web page redirects to AppleWorks Support.The successor to AppleWorks is iWork. With the release of iWork ’08 last week we have a word processor, spreadsheet, and presentation package that can open the equivalent AppleWorks documents.There are still many users of AppleWorks so I will be maintaining Sidekick for their use. At this stage, I’m unsure of Sidekick and AppleWorks compatability with Mac OS X 10.5 (aka Leopard). I’ll provide an update in October when Leopard is released.

iPhoto 7 available on August 7?

Apple will be hosting a “Mac only” event next week. Here’s hoping we see iLife ’08 and a new version of iPhoto. 

Build the Apple Mail interface

Check out Dave Batton’s article about creating the Apple Mail interface. What’s interesting about the article is that Apple’s tools and frameworks can’t be used to create the interface. Instead, third-party source code has to be used to this.

Leopard Developer Application Technologies Overview

The Application Technologies Overview is the third instalment in the Leopard Technology Series for Developers and was partly authored by James Duncan Davidson.

It briefly covers integrating your application with Time Machine, iChat, and Calendar Store. More interesting is the new Scripting Bridge. It’s a replacement for using AppleScript in your app to communicate with another app. The “Scripting Bridge uses native Cocoa data types, such as NSString and NSArray, requires far less code than using an NSAppleEventDescriptor, and runs more than twice as fast as a precompiled NSAppleScript”. An example is given for getting the current track name from iTunes.

NSString *currentTrackName = [[iTunes currentTrack] name];

As far as I know, the Scripting Bridge hasn’t been mentioned in any Leopard discussions. It appears the Bridge lets a developer write Cocoa, but paraphrasing the classes and commands in an application’s Scripting Dictionary. If so, this will be quite tedious for developers to implement. In practice, they’ll have to write an AppleScript to determine how an application’s Scripting Dictionary works. Then developers will have to translate the AppleScript into the equivalent Cocoa code. It would have been nice if Apple could have provided practical information how developers will work with the Scripting Bridge. As well, the example given only demos the Scripting Bridge getting data from an application. But does the Scripting Bridge work both ways? Will it also send data to another application, and does it provide for the receiving application transforming the data and returning the result to your application? If the Scripting Bridge is two-way then the benefits gained by using it will far outweigh the mucking around us developers have to do with NSAppleScript and friends.

The article also mentions Core Animation and 64/32-bit hardware support, but these are treated too briefly to get an idea of how they might be used in an application.

Sidekick 1.4 available now

Just in time for Christmas…

I’ve released a new version of Sidekick, a menu bar item for AppleWorks 6. The main feature of this release is being able to use Mac OS X 10.4’s Dictionary and Thesaurus program directly (indirectly?) from AppleWorks 6.

AppleWorks is a Carbon application that really wasn’t updated for Mac OS X. It was ported to Mac OS X, but no Mac OS X specific features were added. So you can’t do things like use Mac OS X’s Services from AppleWorks. I’ve addressed this by having Sidekick grab highlighted text from the frontmost word processing document and pass it on to NSPerformService() for action. So now AppleWorks users can use the Dictionary and Thesaurus program, do a Spotlight search, Summarize text, Speak text, open a URL, or copy selected text to a new Mail message.

But this feature is only available to registered users – those who’ve purchased it. I’m not sure if this is going to be controversial or not. Sidekick’s user base is relatively small and most have purchased it. New users will be able to get a taste of the feature by using the existing Send Selection feature to do a Google search, etc.

Leopard Developer Tools Overview

Apple have published the second article in their Leopard Technology Series for Developers. This one’s about the updated dev tools in 10.5.

The Xcode Editor improvements will be nice, especially highlighting compile-time errors and warnings. Fixing these is a pain in 10.4. You have to click the red, round, error icon in the bottom right of the Xcode window to jump to the first error. With Xcode 3 a bubble appears at the line where the error occurred. This doesn’t appear to be much of an improvement. It appears you still have to scroll thru your file to find the bubble. I’d much rather be presented with a list of errors in a separate HUD window so that I could pick an error and jump immediately to it and then inspect the info in the bubble. Don’t get me wrong, the bubble feature is a definite improvement because it provides info about, and an easy way to correct errors.

Code folding has been added to the Xcode Editor. This feature needs a shortcut key if it is to be useful. (I loathe dragging a mouse about on screen.) I wonder if the folding feature is now available to all Cocoa apps via NSTextView or some other API?

The new Research Assistant in Xcode is an excellent addition. In 10.4 you have to swap between the Documentation window and your code window. But in 10.5 you’ll be able to view the Research Assistant window right beside your code window.

The article also discusses Objective-C’s automatic garbage collection feature, the new for iterator, and a simpler way to create accessor methods, similar to Ruby.

Interface Builder gets an update in 10.5 too. Unfortunately the screen shots are very small and I could barely see details of the new Core Animation properties in the Inspector window and the new UI palette.

Lastly, the article discusses ‘the poor man’s source code control’ feature – Project Snapshots. I’m really looking forward to this so I can go to town on my source code and being able to simply revert my changes without having to muck around with a SCM system.