Solipsism Gradient

Rainer Brockerhoff’s blog

Browsing Posts tagged RBSplitView

Well, here I’m plugging away at XRay II and making reasonably good, if at times uneven, progress.

People ask now and then how I work. Just now I was reflecting on how, sometimes, reams of code get turned out on one day and then almost nothing on another day. Or how, sometimes, many parts are changed or refactored, while at other times updates are confined to a single routine or source file…

It may just be true for my style of programming, but I now see the process resembles very much the way a Mandelbrot Set is plotted. I start out with an empty project and iterate over everything repeatedly, adding a handful of code at a time, zooming in on as much details as is needed, then zooming out again to recheck the broad outlines, then zooming in again elsewhere.

I never manage to plan ahead how it will work, except for having a broad idea of what I want to do, and often I need to change direction radically at some point, either in fine or broad detail. Sometimes I need to take off for hours or days (or even months, as was the case for RBSplitView) to investigate a possible solution. I spent a couple of months learning about WebKit to format my information, only to run into trouble on some details and abandoning it again.

Then, of course, there are phases where it seems necessary to refactor some stuff that’s already done, either to make it smaller, more elegant, or just nice to look at – even if nobody else ever sees this code. It makes for slow progress sometimes, but the results are usually very satisfactory.

MemoryMiner

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Congratulations to John Fox, author of MemoryMiner. MemoryMiner won one of the Best of Show awards at Macworld Expo 2006!

And, MemoryMiner uses RBSplitView for its cool user interface… icon_wink.gif

XRay reviewed…

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Just found a nice review of XRay (and some competitors, but that’s cool) by MacFixit’s Dan Frakes in an article called “Troubleshooting Tools: File Utilities“. Thanks Dan!

In other news, work on XRay 2 is continuining although I hesitate to insert the word “apace” here – there have been many offline emergencies to take care of, unfortunately. Basically, I think I have the general UI reasonably well defined and now am working on the background file engine. I’ve retreated from using WebKit for the main info view because of efficiency issues. However, the benefits of reading the WebKit source code were great, and I may still use it for some parts.

As usual, UI considerations are very important in my mind and I got sidetracked, although profitably, several times. The longest delay happened when I got tired of battling NSSplitView and took several months off to write RBSplitView. The experience gained from this proved invaluable later on, although at a time it looked like my other UI revisions would make a split view completely unnecessary… but right now it’s in again.

More on this as it happens!

RBSplitView 1.1.3 has just been published.

Also, Michael Dupuis has more insightful comments about Brent’s writings, which are multiplying faster than I can get a handle on. Marvelous.

I was going to rave again about Brent Simmons’ excellent GUI posts, but Dan Wood beat me to it. (And managed to plug RBSplitView in the same paragraph!) Thanks!

Meanwhile, only one serious bug remains before I release 1.1.3…

Brent Simmons of NetNewsWire fame wrote about Apple’s inconsistent use of split views. I posted some comments there.

Ongoing stuff

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In a little over a week I’ll be off to WWDC, so I’ve been busy preparing.

First of all, I’m trying to tame the intricacies of applying WebKit to a purpose not really intended by its designers. The idea is to use it in XRay 2.0 for displaying file info and contents in a more flexible manner. Also, if all goes well, I might take a shot at starting work on an interim XRay 1.2 release in order to learn more about showing Tiger metadata. I want to have at least the broad outlines of both releases working so I can ask people about details.

It’s been hard to disengage a little from my work on RBSplitView, though. The current 1.1.2 version seems to be working well for most people; a few feature requests have come in and I’m slowly working them into a 1.1.3 version, which hopefully will be ready for publication after WWDC.

Brad Miller wrote:

The ADA would be nice. Hopefully what actually happens is that they give you a fat check and replace the piece of #@!%$ that is NSSplitView. icon_biggrin.gif icon_biggrin.gif icon_biggrin.gif

Indeed! One can only hope…

Update: Just FYI, Brad (with help from Andreas Monitzer) was runner-up for the ADA last year, for PulpFiction, in the “Best Use of Mac OS X Technology” category.

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