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Mac Software for Programmers

Composed by: Reimers
On: 2021-09-15 06:55:06
Updated by: Reimers
On: 2021-09-15 07:10:04

I'm a long time Mac user from Germany, mostly interested in programming. My favorite language is C.

I want to draw your attention to a fine programming environment from Apple itself. It is called "Programmers Workshop" or short: MPW.

This is a complete programming and command shell (a bit like a C-shell) with two permanent windows, one is the source code editor, the other is the command window for input and ouput.

I've been using MPW for many years, but only lately learned from a book from Daniel K. Allen (a former Apple programmer) that it is also possible, to do graphics in conjunction with the MPW specific programs, called tools.

It didn't take long and I managed to produce programs with full screen graphic output in MPW. This is only the start of a rather long journey, which I will only put in headlines here:

1. MPW can produce text and graphic programs.

2. MPW already incorporates several proramming languages (ASM, C, OBERON, PASCAL), all are compiled environments inside MPW.

3. There was the wonderful free C-Interpreter "EiC" from Ed Breen, which was sadly only working on Unix-like machines, because it was based on Posix.

4. There exists a very good C-like interpreter "Lua" from Brazil.

5. There were (mostly unnotified) already TeX-systems for MPW (including PDF-TeX).

6. There exists a long time project "Lout" from Jeffrey H. Kingston in Australia, which is like TeX an interpreter for pretty printed documents with PostScript-Output (or PDF).

7. There exists GhostScript interpreters to show PostScript and PDF documents for use in MPW.

There is even more to learn about the possibilities of the MPW environment, but let me stop here. As you may have noticed, I'm very interested in all kinds of interpreters, thereby not diminishing the importance of compilers but many things must be interpreted to function - like shell command languages or game script languages (one of LUA's main fields).

After a long time of work I managed to integrate the following interpreters into the MPW programming shell: EiC, LUA, LOUT, TeX, GhostScript.

Now you can interprete or compile C programs with MPW. The EiC programs include a large part of the QuickDraw toolbox, but many more graphic commands (AAl, Bezier curves...).

Now you can write wonderfully formatted documents, using TeX with the MPW shell. The same can be done with LOUT. Both handle text, formulas and graphic. For TeX, I developped a picture style which lets you produce high quality PostScript (later even PDF) graphics inside the TeX documents(LaPs & LaPdf, avaliable on every Tex server). I also developped a function plotting part as addition to Lout's internal capabilities. All these documents an be produced in MPW's editor and converted to PostScript or PDF to be then viewed in GhostScript (or printed). MPW with all these programs works seamingless and fast on Basilisk or Sheepshaver emulators on Mac, PC and Unix machines.

About EiC!

Ed Breen did a masterful job. After a rather long time of struggling with his original posix orientated code with a very complicated and elaborate compiling procedure, I managed to change it into a complete and easy to use ANSI-C interpreter, which easily adopted to any ANSI-C compiler system on any system (it was compiled with Apples MPW C-compiler). Over the years I produced EiC versions for the folloing systems (complete, always with working graphic capabilities):

Mac-68k, Mac-PPC-OSX, Mac-OSX-Intel, Atari-68k, Dos, Windows, Linux.

They also work on all the known Atari, Mac, Dos, Windows emulators. Both OSX versions use "AquaTerm" for graphic output(AquaTerm is used for GnuPlot on OSX-Mac). I greatly enlarged the graphic capabilities of AquaTerm. Eic gives you the possibility to establish your own internal new commands in the interpreter. It now also handles complex numbers and functions. Bezier curves (quadratic, cubic, n-degree) and rational Bezier curves (the foundation of B-Spline curves and especially NURBS) can be used easily in full antialiasing (Nelson's antialiasing). Antialiasing also works on 68k color Macs and PPC Macs.

I had a good friend over there at Stanford University (Math, Physic & Computer Science, as I). He send me two versions (68k and PPC) of the Stanford C-Interpreter "Thetis". Prof. Eric S.Roberts was engaged in this (see his book: "The Art and Science of C"). Thetis works like Think-C or Think-Pacal, but it is an ANSI-C interpreter. It also has graphic capabilities and you can add your own libraries (and headers) to expand it. It has been forgotten now, but it is the only C-Interpreter made for the Macintosh.

THere is even more I could add to this list, but I wil lstop for now. I write this, because I want to know if someone is interested in any of these programs. I couldn't find another way to come in contact (no admin-email to send a letter to), so I simply write this down for the interested Mac user.


I hope I have hightened your appetite


Detlef Reimers,,


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