XAML as Candidate for Generic XML Format

I need a format for the documents stored by AppMakerX that allows for storing abstracted interface documents. The format needs to store a sufficiently flexible UI description to allow for mutating objects and people sketching vague interfaces where they know something might be in a given place but aren’t sure what type of control they want. The question is whether XAML is sufficiently flexible to fill this role because having a tool-chain that works with XAML is attractive from a marketing position. Continue reading

REAL World 2008 Day 1

The day started with a very nice breakfast and some weary arrivals who had been delayed yesterday by the lousy weather. Nice collection of goodies in the bag including a 1GB USB Key with all the presentations loaded (but not the keynotes).


Geoff came on and presented some interesting stats, last year being their best ever and including a major shift to Windows and Linux. The Linux version is their fastest growing by far.

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REAL World 2008 Day 0

I got into Austin Monday night after a very tiring few days in Columbia (Missouri) and Lake Dallas, including my first driving experience in the USA. Interestingly, driving was vastly easier than I had expected – I worked out it was probably aided by riding a motorcycle at home. My position on a freeway on the bike is about where a left-sitting driver sits in a car on a US road. 

 Hotel Impressions

Very impressive lobby, room smells a bit musty but a day of my laundry drying in the bathroom leaves me no excuse to blame the incoming smell, wifi works reasonably well but very slow on uploads, like the room coffee, average health club and cool pool (drastically bad weather means I’ll possibly not be swimming on the rooftop). 

 Quick Trip to the Apple Store

The Apple Store in Austin is out at the Barton Creek shopping mall but it is a very easy ride from town. Catch the Number 30 bus from 11th St in front of the Capitol building, same side as the Capitol and $1 gets you a pass good 24 hours to ride about 35 mins out to the mall. It’s a typical big suburban mall with the added attraction of watching the security guards zoom around on Segways (OK, well it’s still new enough to me to be interesting).

Time Machine Ironies

I am in general impressed with Time Machine and happy with its unobtrusive nature and the quality of the backups. I’ve even been (eventually) impressed with how the UI works with Mail, although vast quantities of patience were required for the retrieval.

The irony of your Backup System Causing Your File System to Freeze!

I have experienced a lot of scary hangs over the last few weeks and it seemed that Time Machine being in a preparing backup mode was a likely trigger. This morning, downloading a VMWare Update, I stumbled across the VMWare 1.1.1 notes identifying the likely cause as a workaround for Apple bug 5679432 (Mac OS X hang under heavy disk load when unbuffered I/O is in use). So, not only is the original bug a deep OSX bug, it’s triggered by my regularly scheduled backup via Time Machine!

REALbasic as Template Language and More Musings on ‘flippin modes

I’ve been debating for a while the Ruby vs Python choice for writing a code generation template. With a (self-imposed) deadline to get something working at least roughly to show off at REALWorld and the research into Python template engines being more distracting than I’d considered, I am now rethinking.Specifically, I’m thinking about hard-core REALbasic users wanting a wholly-RB product and how they might feel about being asked to customise templates written in another language. As I think more about the patterns for how templates are written, I think I can not only quickly throw together some pure-RB templates but also that the exercise will teach me more than trying to decipher other people’s template logic. Continue reading

How Personal it feels when Something Stops Working

I know this sounds a bit of a silly title because feelings are about things being personal but that was the phrase that came to mind. (Followed about 30 seconds later by blast, I’m writing in Safari again). I live in Safari and the need to fire up FireFox just to edit a post with a few paragraphs is driving me crazy. (Yes, I know about MarsEdit and other blog products but I’m trying to immerse myself in a certain consumer experience, even if it has lumpy bits.)

Anyway, this started out being about the REALbasic bug that just bit me and a particularly irritating one it is too – something broken when I open an old project. In a sense, it’s about the arrogance and greater responsibility of binary formats and owning the user’s entire life. Continue reading