Archive for June, 2006

Xcode; the app we love to hate

June 26th, 2006

Let’s first get this out of the way; I find using Xcode to be a generally pleasant experience overall. Furthermore, having free dev tools is amazing and makes the barrier to enter the Mac programming market basically nothing. The amount of good shareware increases every day and that’s in large part to Cocoa and Xcode. Apple should be commended for allowing this to happen.

That said, everything is not roses in Xcode land. When I was only doing shareware development part-time for the software you find on this site, I had no complaints with Xcode. In fact, I thought it was good…not as good as Project Builder mind you, but good enough. When Wade would complain about Xcode from time-to-time I would almost always respond with, “I don’t see that problem.” Cut to 9 months ago when I was hired on by Panic full-time. I found myself quickly seeing Xcode in a different light. 🙂 For the last week, I scratched down a note whenever I ran into a problem or ‘unexpected behavior’ in Xcode. Without further ado I will present to you, my humble reader, this list in no particular order.

Setup: Xcode in All-in-One layout, dual 2 Ghz G5, 1 GB RAM.

– Splits are not always remembered when clicking the warning/error button in the status bar.
– Hangs when opening a framework project if another project is open (have to force quit Xcode 4-5 times a day when working on this framework – new in Xcode 2.3).
– Loading large projects is very slow (new in Xcode 2.3).
– Very slow loading the application into the debugger.
– Doesn’t always stop hitting breakpoints when they are removed in the debugger.
– Xcode doesn’t visually show hit breakpoints in the UI if they are too early in the code execution (read: GDB is stopped on the breakpoint, but the UI doesn’t show it so you can’t debug in the UI).
– SCM support ends renaming every half second or so when creating a new group in the project file (read: type one character, it ends editing, type another, end, type, end…).
– Fix and Continue doesn’t work with a mysterious dylib linked into the project. Xcode simply says “dylib not found.” We link against several, which I can assure Xcode, exist.
– In some version Xcode it stopped allowing you to include Applescript files in the resources folder.
– The text editor randomly stops showing edits. Type, nothing happens in the UI but the file is changed. Have to restart Xcode.
– Counterpart button doesn’t always enable when it should. Doesn’t work with linked in framework headers (I think it should be smart enough to figure out where the counterpart is in the framework).
– After Fixing and Continue the next breakpoint stoppage sometimes will cause the app to crash.
– Doesn’t remember turned on columns in SCM Results list.
– Sometimes resets column size in the Detail list to ‘very small.’

These issues alone may not seem that big or annoying. However, when you compound them by 8 hours a day, 5 days a week, they become salt in the wound called Xcode. This wound is not life threatening, but it sure is chronic with no healing in sight. I long for the day that I can sit here for a full day without hearing the words, “Why does Xcode suck so bad?”.

cheers, will


# posted at 6:38 pm by Will

MacBook is back; but still not right

June 24th, 2006

I finally received the o’l MacBook in the mail after two full weeks of being in the shop (after they told me turnaround time would be 3-4 days). The good news is, all is working again. The bad news, when they reassembled the computer it appears they screwed up something because now the fan sounds like it’s rubbing when it turns on and is very loud. Good times had by all. Normally I’d take apart the machine myself and see if I could fix the problem, but since it’s brand new and under warranty it appears it’s going to have to go back in. I hope they can just fix it here at the local Apple store and don’t have to send it away again. Ugh. The question is, when am I really going to start regretting getting Rev. A hardware. 🙂

To continue my “I’m not happy with Apple” series, my next post will be about Xcode and the day-to-day problems I run into using it as a professional development environment.

cheers, will

# posted at 8:10 pm by Will

MacMini equal MacMedia?

June 14th, 2006

Just posting a quick note here to point people to my personal blog over at .Mac. I have posted part 1 of my MacMedia series where I explain what hardware I used to transform my MacMini into a full blown MacMedia center. Features I wanted were: PVR, TV watching, music playing and movie/video viewing. The second part of the series, due out in the not too distant future will detail what software solutions I’m using and what software I wrote to complete the Mac as media center experience.

music : Thom Yorke – The Eraser

# posted at 6:04 pm by Will

Live and Die by Rev. A Hardware

June 4th, 2006

Well, exactly 1 week and 3 days after I received by MacBook it decided it’s had enough of the cool weather here in Portland and went South for the summer. On Thursday night it started randomly turning off after 1 second to 10 minutes of use. After a hopeless tech support call this morning to Apple the dude helping me, surprising, could not come up with any reason why this would be happening other than hardware failure. I say ‘surprising’ because I had tried everything that would possibly cause such erratic behavior (which, is not much, btw 🙂 and just needed conformation my machine was ill.

So while rev. A hardware is always cutting edge, cool, fast, etc it almost always has its drawbacks. So let that be a lesson to you kids. If you’re not patient enough to wait for rev. B hardware you’ll have to be patient while your rev. A hardware is in the shop.

cheers, will

# posted at 2:37 am by Will