[CoMoDev] A new onboard Palm resource editor

  • From: David Beers <david@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: <comodev@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Wed, 29 Dec 2004 09:25:09 -0700

Back when I used to commute on public transportation I fell in love with 
OnBoardC, a tiny Palm OS IDE that runs right on your Palm handheld.  Call me 
crazy, but it was a lot of fun to work on Palm development projects on my 
Handspring Visor while riding the bus or munching my Big Mac on a lunch break.  
Eventually, I was able to get the source code from its generous original 
developer and put the project out on SourceForge where it has developed nicely 
for the last couple of years.  These days I am in front of my "big" computer 
just about all the time so I don't do much programming on my PDA.  But like a 
lot of other Palm developers I know I still have used one part of the OnBoard 
Suite regularly: RsrcEdit.  

RsrcEdit is a wonderful tool that enables you to browse and edit all the 
resources in a Palm application or database.  It was designed to be an onboard 
GUI builder for Palm OS applications, but that's just one of a million uses.  I 
have often used it to diagnose problems in the way a conduit is writing out 
records to a database. It's also great if you are in an early stage of 
development and need to manually create a database for testing.  I often use it 
for quickly beaming databases from one device to another when testing on 
different devices, something you can't do with the regular Palm launcher.  And 
it's great in idle moments to open up the PRC for your favorite applications 
and make small tweaks of the user interface to suit you: rearrange forms to 
your liking, create nicer icons with the bitmap editor, etc.  If you're good 
with 68k assembly you can hack the code using RsrcEdit as well.

The problem is that RsrcEdit went to a commercial developer before the OnBoardC 
community was able to get its hands on it and open the source, and that 
developer has just sat on it for 3 years.  That's an eternity in PDA time, so 
RsrcEdit has really been showing its age.  No support for all the new resource 
types since OS 3.5, no hires graphic support, and also some bugs (mostly small 
memory leaks) that have never been fixed.  The good news is that Philippe 
Guillot has finally written a new version of RsrcEdit from the ground up and 
offered it as open source freeware.  He calls it Bird and from what I have seen 
it's got everything that RsrcEdit had and much more.  If you do much C API Palm 
development, you owe it to yourself to download it and give it a try:  

If you know Philippe, you won't be surprised to find out that he wrote Bird 
completely on his Palm handheld in Pascal.  All the files in the zip archive 
besides Bird.prc (which is the app) are source code in Palm doc format.  Of 
course, you can get the free onboard standard Pascal compiler that he developed 
on his web site, too: http://ppcompiler.free.fr/index.php?lng=en.  Not only can 
you compile native 68k apps for Palm OS with this, you can actually generate 
native ARM code (PACE Native Objects).  Amazing!  But not for the faint of 

David Beers
Pikesoft Mobile Computing

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