Among the exhibitors, big names in Mac software and hardware at the London Expo 2002 there were also very serious Mac developers and, surprise of the surprises, even a surname that seemed familiar to us. Riccardo Ettore exhibited in the small stand 850 the latest version for Mac OS X of TypeIt4Me, an application born in 1989 and which arrives at the latest version of Apple's operating system.The highly appreciated application (among the enthusiastic users the great names of world Mac journalism and even famous actors!) capable of make you save time in typing any text through the use of a glossary from which you can automatically redraw parts of text, signatures, addresses, phrases, html tags, words you often misspelled, with the insertion of an abbreviation or abbreviation created by you .
The software, 25 Euro shareware, is downloadable starting from this page: http://www.typeit4me.com and requires in the case of Mac OS X, Jaguar 10.2 or higher but it is obviously available for Mac OS older than X.
We interviewed him about his developer activity, the characteristics of his application and the perspectives of programming on Mac OS X in general.
Riccardo lives and works in London as a software developer at an international organization. Its shareware business dates back to 1985 and takes place over time.
Riccardo, how did the idea of Typeit4Me come about?A friend asked me if I could write software to allow disabled people to type texts by pressing the mouse on letters in a "virtual" keyboard on the screen.
That project did not come true, but later turned into TypeIt4Me and I realized that it could be useful not only for the disabled, but also for the general public, given that each of us prefers to beat as little as possible and with the minimum of mistakes.
TypeIt4Me based on Input Method Component, can you explain to our readers what it is?Apple introduced this concept years ago, already in the 7.1 system to allow writing in languages such as Chinese and Japanese, where it is necessary to type more than one key to get a single ideogram. Here is an article – from March 1997 – which explains the technical aspects.
When I asked Apple for help last year to bring TypeIt4Me to the X system (which no longer recognizes the old control panels), they advised me to follow this path and I must say that it works quite well!
Programming on Mac OS X, what are the difficulties for those who come from an experience on previous Mac OS?For me, the biggest difficulty was due to the fact that the X system no longer supports trap patching, which was the modus operandi of TypeIt4Me under systems 6 to 9. Once directed by Apple on the Input Method route, I was able to bring a good part of the TypeIt4Me code using the Carbon development environment, with the excellent Project Builder that Apple provides on CD to every OS X user. Clearly, I had to learn the use of many new APIs, to give TypeIt4Me X the aqua appearance and to take advantage of the new Carbon event management system.
What tools would you recommend to a programmer who wants to start from scratch on Mac OS X?Without hesitation, I recommend installing the developer tools provided by Apple, that is, Project Builder and Interface Builder. It is therefore no longer necessary to spend a small fortune to buy third-party tools.
The other essential tool, is an internet access to be able to take advantage of the comments and experiences of other developers.Google is always a precious source! And of course, take a look at the increasingly numerous books that start programming under OS X. Although I haven't done so personally, I would recommend taking Cocoa seriously, which allows you to develop applications with aqua interface very quickly.
What are the advantages and disadvantages of Mac OS X for a developer?A huge advantage, which of course is not limited only to developers, but also to users, is the fact that under OS X, a program that crashes no longer brings the whole system down with it. so wait minutes for the inevitable reboots so frequent under OS 9 and earlier.
Disadvantages do not occur to me right now.
Shareware: is there really an economic return on your business?The short answer is: yes. However, it must be pointed out that despite the success of my SoundMover, SndControl, Sounds4Fun and TypeIt4Me shareware, the economic return is far from allowing me to quit my main job (the "day job", as the Americans say). more than 5% estimated, users who pay for the software they use … 😉
The greatest satisfaction for a software developer who does your business?I would say immediately: direct contact with users. Unlike software published through an editor, shareware creates a direct developer-user bond which is a source of great satisfaction.
MacExpo 2002 how did you like it? What are your impressions also in comparison with past editions?I find that for a "small" show – compared to the "big" MacWorldExpo in New York and San Francisco and AppleExpo in Paris – it is doing quite well! The organizers speak of more than 22,000 visitors this year and I must say that I didn't have a minute of "peace" on my stand, given a continuous flow of people interested in seeing the TypeIt4Me demo.
From my point of view, it was certainly a success and I will probably go back next year. If I ask myself the question after January 10, 2003, I can compare you with MacworldExpo San Francisco, where my wife and I will have for the first time a stand (even smaller than that of MacExpo, if you think possible! :-).
What should Apple do to promote software development on Mac OS X?Improve documentation. And that's that! 😉