Codewarrior Pro 6.0
Wednesday 27th September, 2000
Well if nothing else Metrowerks latest version of CodeWarrior has solved one problem in the Dyce household. No more sleepless nights worrying about what to take (along with the complete works of Bill S. and the Good Book) to my desert island; the documentation files for CodeWarrior Pro 6.
For those programmers who aren’t already using it (what are you using?), CodeWarrior is an integrated development environment that provides the programmer with an editor in which to write your code (using C, C++, Objective C or Java); the compiler to turn your code into machine code (1s and 0s) for different target machines (PowerPC, 68k, x86), a debugger that lets you run your code a line at a time (so that you can check to see it’s behaving the way you expect and spot where the bugs are lurking); a set of code libraries and software development kits (SDKs) for simplifying the task of building applications (interface libraries for Mac and Windows, Java and multimedia classes). With CodeWarrior you really can develop cross-platform applications using the same code-base. So, as you can imagine this runs to quite a large amount of information; hence the size - 650M for more than 13,000 files which come compressed on two CDs- and the installation time - about 45 minutes for a full installation.
Unlike some previous full-numbered upgrades (notably Pro 4), version 6 really does pack some new features: most notably, both the tools and the integrated development environment (IDE) are fully ‘carbonized’, that is they run natively under OS X making use of the Aqua interface, and OS X services. This isn’t too surprising: CodeWarrior is the pre-eminent application development application on the Mac, and has been since MacOS moved to PowerPC back around 1993. The reason for this was that they were the first software developers to provide the tools for other developers to create 68K and PPC code at the same time. Metrowerks aren’t likely to forget that lesson in a hurry: Pro 6 will let you develop code for 68k, and PPC, as well as (in the combo version) Windows. However Metrowerks have let it be known that this will be the last version to support both 68k and PPC machines. From now on it will be PPC only, although support for non-‘Carbonized’ MacOS 8.x will probably still be included.
As well as the new look and feel (“Look Ma, it’s got an Aqua interface”) there is a list of about 35 new or seriously improved features in this version. Now although you should take any list of improved features in a development environment with a pinch of salt (one person’s improved feature, is another’s bug-fixed library) there really are a number of very welcome changes over previous versions.
If you don’t use you’re an external editor (CW allows you to use an external code editor instead of the built in one, for example BBEdit) then you’ll soon notice that the editing environment has been tweaked. You can still select inter-capped subwords (for example the ‘New’ of ‘myNewWind’) in variable and function names (although now its control-option-click), but the control key is now used correctly for a beefed up set of contextual menus. Finally, you can command-drag to select an area of text (Word 5.1 had this for goodness sake). And yes there’s symbol completion to save you typing repetitve, and long, method names.
If you’re serious about programming applications on the Mac, you probably already have a copy.
But the really good news are the new MacOS features that CW 6 brings to other developers. Now that PowerPlant (the Metrowerks application framework and class library on which a number of commercial apps are based), has been fully ‘carbonized’ so that it supports Carbon events and the core foundation, it should be a fairly straightforward process to move Classic application written using previous versions of CW directly to OS X. The debugger is also improved, with support for multi-thread debugging.
And if that’s whetted your appetite then Metrowerks even provide free online tuition at CodeWarriorU.com with courses such as “Introduction to C++ for Mac”, “Introduction to CodeWarrior for Mac,” and an “Introduction to PowerPlant.”
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Mice 4 Pros Powerful, OS X support, 68k and PowerPC development Cons Problems with Java interface apps under OS X beta, No cocoa support as yet Price CodeWarrior Pro 6 for the Macintosh £325, CodeWarrior Pro 6 Combo for MacOS & Windows £475, CodeWarrior Pro 6 for MacOS & Windows (Academic) £85.00, Maker Metrowerks Needs Hosted on Mac OS 8.6 or 9.x: CarbonLib 1.0.4, PowerPC, 64 MB RAM, 150 MB disk space, CD-ROM drive for installation; Hosted on Mac OS X: G3+ CPU, 128 MB RAM, 150 MB disk space CD-ROM drive for installation Contact http://ww.metrowerks.com