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.


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