Sunday, January 27, 2008

Participant List App w/ Pascal Code

I shouldn't be surprised at how hard early Macintosh programming can be, but I almost always am. It is elegant, and I enjoy it, but sometimes it's very difficult to figure out how something is 'supposed' to be done.

Wanting to explore the TransSkel framework (circa 1987) for Macintosh application development, I decided to follow the lead of Wgoodf and MacTV with a RetroChallenge participant list project.

What was learned in bullet points...

* Think Pascal 4.5 and TransSkel 2.5 play well together.
* Think Pascal and BasiliskII running 7.5.5 play together well.
* TextEdit Records aren't the best choice for animated text.

I tried getting the text (composed of two TE records) to bounce around the screen. It did, but the flicker was bad, and I abandoned the idea pretty quickly. I was exploring the use of TE records for future app development, and didn't want to get off track.

So here is a link to the almost completely unexciting macintosh app that displays the RetroChallenge Winter Warm-up 2008 participants. Source code is included...

It has a few display/update bugs, nothing serious. It was tested on 7.5.5 (BasiliskII), 6.0.5 (SE) and 9.1 (iMac).

In the end I'm very happy with TransSkel. It's a simple framework that doesn't get in the way, or require an outlandish frame of reference. I'll keep using it, and at 20 years old, it's very retro-computing.

1 comment:

Ingemar said...

It is very nice to see someone showing an interest in TransSkel! I am working on version 5 now, which is quite similar to the old package, but expanded to also provide replacements for old Toolbox tasks like creating windows and menus.

I have made some comparisons by writing TransSkel workalikes to Cocoa programs, and guess which one comes out winner every time? TS combines less code *and* less information hidden in nibs!

TransSkel sure is old now, but I think its fundamental design is so good that it works just fine even today.

IMHO "retro computing" has a big value in identifying "forgotten treasures", ideas that can be rejuvenated and brought back. Many old ideas come back in new forms.

BTW, for those who use C, the old TransSkel exists in C, and the new will get a C interface too.