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Issue 1.3

REVIEW

vCard Reader

Issue: 1.3 (December/January 2002)
Author: Greg Fiumara
Article Description: No description available.
Article Length (in bytes): 3,982
Starting Page Number: 8
Article Number: 1303
Related Link(s): None

Excerpt of article text...

Ever since Apple started shipping Mac OS X, it has added more and more new technologies with each update. Some of these include Inkwell, Rendezvous, and Sherlock 3 in the highly anticipated "Jaguar" version of OS X. However, there were some smaller technologies added that were not greatly publicized, such as vCard support in the bundled Address Book application. vCard is a Personal Data Interchange (PDI) technology, developed by Versit and currently maintained by the Internet Mail Consortium (IMC), used on most computers, cell phones, and PDAs. Recently, a code example called "vCard Reader" was released and demonstrated how to read the vCard format using REALbasic.

vCard Reader is distributed in an easy to use form. You download the sample project and import the small sized class into your project. With a few lines of code calling the vCard Reader, you're ready to start using it. The vCard format is a fairly easy format to work with. However, reading the format requires many different REALbasic language elements be used. For the experienced REALbasic user, this code example will seem like any other simple weekend project. However, for the REALbasic novice, this snippet could be a great introduction to many aspects of REALbasic that they may not have encountered yet. vCard is written using a syntax similar to HTML, yet less advanced. vCard Reader parses the file in this format and displays its contents in a neater form.

If you were creating a personalized address book application, this code example could save you much time and effort; however, there is a downside. This example only supports vCard versions 2.1 and 3.0. These formats are the most popular, so this limitation should not pose too much of a problem. In fact, unless your users are still using PDAs from 1995, you most likely will not have to deal with vCard version 1.0. The other downside of this code example is that there is no documentation whatsoever included. Not a text file, not a REALbasic 4.5 "note," not even a single code comment. vCard Reader makes use of many syntax elements that can be useful to beginners, but since this project is not commented or even described, novices can find themselves trapped in a world of unknown code that makes them easily give up on their project. Also, the author has created the project in a somewhat unstructured manner, using odd techniques and property ID's to read the vCard information. For an RB rookie, learning these practices could plague their ability to code in a more professional manner later. However, these limitations have little to do with the intermediate developer's ability to work with the example, and if you are looking for an easy way to read the vCard format, vCard Reader would probably be your best choice.

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