[CoMoDev] Re: A new onboard Palm resource editor

  • From: "Rick Sands" <Rick@xxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: <comodev@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Wed, 29 Dec 2004 13:37:02 -0700

Thanks for the tip... It's a good first go and deserves to be watched.  Your
comments about RsrcEdit (currently "maintained" by Quartus.net), are right
on the mark.  However, BIRD has it's own problems, too.  For example, it
calls traps not available on some a basic OS 4.x emulator when trying to
open a bitmap.  Another is that is "assumes" the same menu as the
application it may have opened (e.g. Open AddressBook and the BIRD screen
showing the resources has gets it's menu from the AddressBook itself).

My guess is that BIRD will evolve faster than RsrcEdit, so again, this is an
app to watch.


-----Original Message-----
From: comodev-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx [mailto:comodev-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx] On
Behalf Of David Beers
Sent: Wednesday, December 29, 2004 9:25 AM
To: comodev@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
Subject: [CoMoDev] A new onboard Palm resource editor

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:  http://ppcompiler.free.fr/file/bird.zip

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 heart!

David Beers
Pikesoft Mobile Computing

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