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Springy Dock Tricks

If you drag a file and hover over Dock icons, various useful things happen which are similar to Finder springing. If it's a window, the window un-minimizes from the Dock. If it's a stack, the corresponding folder in the Finder opens. If it's the Finder, it brings the Finder to the foreground and opens a window if one doesn't exist already. But the coolest (and most hidden) springing trick is if you hover over an application and press the Space bar, the application comes to the foreground. This is great for things like grabbing a file from somewhere to drop into a Mail composition window that's otherwise hidden. Grab the file you want, hover over the Mail icon, press the Space bar, and Mail comes to the front for you to drop the file into the compose window. Be sure that Spring-Loaded Folders and Windows is enabled in the Finder Preferences window.

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Prograph Spelled Backwards Is Marten

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Prograph is back! Perhaps you have to be some kind of weird programming nerd to think this is intriguing news, but personally I think anyone interested in programming, from a beginning learner to an old hand, should care. Prograph is a wonderful visual, dynamic, object-oriented programming language; instead of writing lines of textual code, you draw a diagram of how you want the data to flow. Not long after I reviewed it in 1996 ("Get Your Hands on Prograph" in TidBITS-312), Prograph started to wither on the vine, and by the time Mac OS X came in, I had abandoned all hope of ever using it again.

<http://db.tidbits.com/article/01160>
<http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prograph>

It turns out, however, that what was withering was Pictorius's product, Prograph CPX. The Prograph language itself is an idea, and ideas are free. Unbeknownst to me, some nutty developers had reverse-engineered the Prograph language and the Prograph CPX environment, with a view to making Prograph available on BeOS. When BeOS died, the effort was ported to Mac OS X and is now available commercially under the name Marten.

<http://andescotia.com/products/marten/>

I haven't tried Marten, and I have no idea to what extent or how easily it can be used to generate a native-looking application on Mac OS X, but I am told that the Marten editor is itself written in Marten, which is certainly something. And even if it can't be used to write the next killer app, it's so enjoyable and educational to express a task in the Prograph language and environment that those who, like me, have been pining for it will probably be more than happy to pay their $65 and give it a shot.

 

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