Archive for the_time('F Y')

Leopard upgrade
28 October 2007 in Apple & Code | Comments (2)

Once again, Apple did well with their logistics and our pre-ordered copies of Leopard arrived at the Mindscape office at about 11am Friday. I did my install in the evening and much like Rod’s comments, it took a wee while but was about the most painless OS upgrade I’ve ever done.

I was certainly looking for “wow” features and so far I have not really found any – it is very much just additional polish to the OS. Spaces seem cool, the dock update is nice, having a “current time” line in iCal is finally there. There is apparently 1500+ of these types of changes and I’m sure I’ll keep coming across more of them as time goes on.

So what are some of the more major features for the developer crowd?

XCode 3.0 is included and Leopard also adds support for Objective-C 2.0 which is a nice step up from previous versions which did not have automatic garbage collection. I’ll certainly be having a bit more of a look into what else is lurking in the XCode box (so far I haven’t had the time).

Instruments is an interesting new tool for profiling your applications. I haven’t had a chance to poke around with this tool yet and it looks from screen shots that it’s mostly somewhat “fuzzy” in profiling (e.g. showing cpu load or network load in a graph rather than giving extremely detailed dumps of what is going on). I’m looking forward to seeing how Instruments performs.

Dashcode is a tool for helping build dashboard widgets. I’m not quite sure why it’s not included in XCode which seems to have templates for just about every other sort of project under the sun. I’ve never been a big user of widgets so I doubt I’ll use this tool very much.

One of the pain points with doing any development on the Mac is that the books currently in circulation all seem rather out of date. This could be because the documentation explorer, so far, seems quite impressive. Can anybody suggest a good book on Mac development?

– JD

HTML Rendering Unification
1 October 2007 in Business | Comments (4)

I’ve been thinking about this for a while – why doesn’t an organisation such as the W3C undertake the development of an HTML rendering engine that can be used by all browser makers? Ignore that they may not have developers or money for a moment.

It strikes me that one of the bigger slow downs in web application development is trying to deliver for multiple browsers that supposedly support all the same standards. There is very very little benefit to any one browser being ahead of the pack in terms of standards support because developers still need to build for all browsers and their employers need to pay for that (read: zero competitive advantage in building the most advanced rendering engine).

If browser makers focused more on the chrome and value-add features I’m sure we should see some terrific innovation in browsers. Feature additions to a renderer, outside the standards support, only serves to splinter said standards.

The same could be extended to elements of that browser, e.g. the javascript engine.

John
believes this would be the worst case scenario – there would be no innovation of the underlying engine. My argument is that standards move slowly and, despite their being 5 major browser makers I can think of, innovation of the renderer is somewhat slow anyway. Perhaps because there is no major competitive advantage for supporting new standards when nobody else supports them yet?

All very pie in the sky but sometimes it is worth pondering the theoretical.

John-Daniel