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Issue 3.2


Macintosh Explorer

Issue: 3.2 (November/December 2004)
Author: Greg Fiumara
Article Description: No description available.
Article Length (in bytes): 3,915
Starting Page Number: 9
Article Number: 3205
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Full text of article...

Developers have created hundreds upon thousands of applications in REALbasic. These applications range from small to large, freeware to commercial, and simple to complex. There are many notable applications made with REALbasic, one of which is Macintosh Explorer by Rage Software. Macintosh Explorer is a file browser and file management tool.

After four major version revisions, Macintosh Explorer is unquestionably a powerhouse of an application that greatly shows off REALbasic's prowess. One of the most notable features in the newest version of Macintosh Explorer is tabbed browsing. Similar to the web browser phenomenon seen in Safari and Firefox, tabbed browsing in Macintosh Explorer is the ability to create new contents of a window without opening another window or losing the information on the current screen. Rage Software seems to have implemented their tabbed browsing mechanism through a subclassed canvas, a common technique among developers to create controls that REALbasic does not natively support. This technique works remarkably.

Another noticeable feature of Macintosh Explorer is the navigation. The interface is comparable to Apple's iTunes and iPhoto. One hierarchically navigates directories on the left side of the main window and the content appears on the right. Users can view the content of the directories in many different ways, including a detailed list and icons. The directory list is a subclass of a listbox. Rage Software's execution features an eject button for removable media like in Mac OS X 10.3's Finder and custom disclosure triangles. The content of the folders seen on the right makes use of toolbox calls, grabbing file icons in their original and selected views. REALbasic makes it easy to communicate with the underlying Mac OS (and Windows).

At first glance, it appears that Rage Software programmed Macintosh Explorer in Cocoa. Part of this is because of the use of the Cocoa style toolbar. Hierarchical navigation as well as common file tasks such as deleting and copying is available from the toolbar at the click of the mouse. This technology is built-in to REALbasic and is added with a drag-and-drop motion.

One of the most powerful features of Macintosh Explorer is file filtering. This feature is similar to the Spotlight technology in the upcoming Mac OS X 10.4. One enters information about a type of file they are looking for, such as the file must be a graphic. Next, they type in some of the possible name of the file into the Cocoa-like search field. Macintosh Explorer quickly finds matches and displays them in a drawer window. REALbasic provides the speed for these searches.

One final note about how REALbasic makes it easy for developers like Rage Software is that it supports multiple targets. From the same code base, Rage Software produces a version of Macintosh Explorer for OS 9 and OS X. This factor increases revenue and saves time.

All of the interface elements used in Macintosh Explorer combine for the ultimate user experience, none of which would be possible for Rage Software without the use of REALbasic.

End of article.