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CodeWarrior Gold 11

Wednesday 28th May, 1997

CodeWarrior is a software development environment for writing programs on the Mac. But not only does it allow you to write your Mac applications in C, C++, Object Pascal, and Java. It also lets you write applications for the Mac and Power Mac, Windows 95, Windows NT, Magic Cap, and PowerTV. In other words, you can develop your applications for both the Mac OS and Windows at the same time.

The latest version, CodeWarrior Gold 11, includes the CW compilers, MacApp, MPW, the Microsoft Foundation Classes (MFC) and Metrowerks own applications framework, PowerPlant.

Most of the work is done inside the CodeWarrior integrated development environment (IDE) application. The IDE is a powerful scriptable text editor (featuring word colouring, drag-and-drop editing, file-parsed function selections, and so on) that lets you write your code and then group your files, libraries and resources together, ready to be built into an application. Because CodeWarrior is built around a plug-in compiler architecture, you use the same IDE application to write code, whatever language or platform it is intended for.

Of course, writing some code and getting it to work are two separate things. When you run a CW compiler, any errors or warnings are listed in a window. Selecting an error in the list displays the source code in the pane beneath, allowing you to fix trivial punctuation errors on the fly, without having to open huge lists of files. CW includes a full suite of debugging tools, allowing you to debug all languages on all platforms, and if you’ve already compiled your code, you can display the source code and assembly code simultaneously in the IDE. (For the advanced user, Metrowerks now includes full source libraries for C and C++ so you can fine-tune that code, and a pre-release version 2.0 of the IDE, which lets you compile for different target platforms from within the same project file).

Creating a modern application is no simple task: you need to assemble libraries (bits of pre-written code that talk to the Mac OS); resources for your application (such as icons, pictures, dialog box layouts); and, of course, write the code that ties all this together. But Metrowerks has gone to some lengths to include all sorts of useful bits and pieces to get the neophyte programmer up and running.

If you are new to programming, included on the two CDs are volumes from the Mac beginner’s programming canon, such as Learn C on the Macintosh and Learn C++ on the Macintosh by Dave Mark, Learn Java on the Macintosh by Barry Boone, Programming Starter Kit for Macintosh by Jim Trudeau, and Mac to Windows by Stephen Chernicoff. All these, apart from the last, ship with a cut-down version of CodeWarrior in paper form; in the full package, each of the books ships in Acrobat format along with the associated files. PDFs may not be an ideal medium, but with a good-sized monitor, it’s possible to work through them alongside the CodeWarrior IDE application. There’s also plenty of online help, and you’re entitled to free technical support on registration.

However, the documentation on the Mac OS itself is a little sparse, and given Metrowerks' all-inclusive one-price policy, It’s surprising the company hasn’t done a deal with Addison-Wesley-Longman and included the ‘Inside Macintosh’ CD-ROM.

Now that CodeWarrior is most programmers' weapon of choice, there’s a huge following on the Web (look out for the comp.sys.mac.programmer.codewarrior newsgroup). Updates to the software are also available at the Metrowerks Web site (http://www.metrowerks.com), and you get two free CD updates when you register. In addition, there’s also a 30-day money back guarantee.


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Rating 3.5
Manufacturer Metrowerks
Pros Real cross-platform development for the Mac OS and Windows NT ˜ Almost everything is included on the two CDs ˜ Free technical support and two free upgrades
Cons No paper manuals ˜ Large hard disk install (around 100Mb)
Price 295
Originally Published MacUser, Volume: 13, Issue: 10, p34