Issue: 3.2 (November/December 2004)
Author: Greg Fiumara
Article Description: No description available.
Article Length (in bytes): 4,046
Starting Page Number: 8
Article Number: 3203
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Many third party software developers depend on free code snippets. Developers add various features to their applications thanks to these open source resources. In many cases, these features make or break a product or help sway the potential customer into buying a product. One popular source of free code for REALbasic is Freak Software by Seth Willits. Recently, Freak Software posted a number of new code examples to their web site.
Once navigating to the Freak Software development web site, one discovers a vast amount of code at their disposal. There are a few gems in the rough, however. One great open source project Freak Software produces is FSThumbnailView. This set of classes contains an example of how to create a column-array of picture thumbnails in a canvas with pure REALbasic code. This result is an interface very similar to that of Apple's iPhoto software. It does not just stop at displaying the thumbnails. FSThumbnailView also includes code to automatically adjust the number of columns it displays thumbnails in while the window resizes, mimicking iPhoto. In addition, FSThumbnailView also draws a highlight for the selected thumbnail, which can be of a picture, movie frame, or of an icon indicating sound. Freak Software even coded support to see if a user has doubled-clicked or moved the mouse over a specific thumbnail so that the developer can handle that situation in their project. Although I had many thoughts of FSThumbnailView, the first thing I said when I ran the project was "wow!" Freak Software has provided at no cost the foundation of what could be a remarkable multimedia library program.
Even though FSThumbnailView provides a great deal of service, there are some downfalls. One difficulty beginners may find is that Freak Software did not comment their code very well. For instance, in the code for adding a thumbnail to the column-array, the only comment is "add thumbnail image." It is understandable for the developer to not include comments and support for this class, as it is free. There is another pitfall. The code making thumbnail images is set to create a square thumbnail even if the original image is not a square, rather than scaling down the image. The beginning programmer may have some difficulty rewriting this thumbnail code, especially without comments. However, these drawbacks are hardly enough to keep one from using FSThumbnailView. In reality, the fact that FSThumbnailView is open source, third parties may have fixed these "problems" by the time you read this.
In a world where cash is king, open source initiatives are slowly emerging. Freak Software continues to produce free quality code samples, aiding in the development of projects and the education of beginning programmers all over the world. A multimedia application using FSThumbnailView definitely has the potential to join the ranks of other great open source programs such as Mozilla.
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