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.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Winter Warm-up 2/3 Over and Nothing to Show?

Ok, so the Winter Warm-up is 2/3 over, and I haven't made a post. What have I been up to? A nasty cold accounts for a missing week of January.

I spent a few days looking into the viability of coding a Blogger app for 68k macs...

I think a blogger browsing app would be possible, but I decided to shelve it. The original idea was to have an app that would let someone read all of the retro-challenge blogs hosted by blogger. There are 4 or 5 of us using, so it could be fun. Of course, after thinking about it, it seems like it'd be infinitely better if we could *post* to our Blogger blogs. No-brainer there. Well, the blogger api requires the use of https for authentication -- and SSL is a bit daunting -- but I decided to look into it anyway, just in case there's some easy library sitting out there.

Well, source code for MacSSH may or may not exist, but I was unable to find it. Even with a plug & play SSL library (which I doubt exists), it looks very unrealistic to get SSL working usably for a simple Blogger app. According to Raymond Ingles from the vintage-mac mailing list, it takes 30 seconds for SSH to make a connection on his SE/30 running NetBSD. Since I'm developing for an SE with MacTCP, I'd imagine it's pretty killer to wait a minute or more just to log into your Blogger account.

Obviously a Blogger *reader* would still be possible, and there's a 50% I might go for it. In the meantime I'm playing with the Macintosh application framework TransSkel, and will post more about it soon.