Anyone who has programmed on the Mac has used Inside Mac (OK, maybe a few bright people can just guess at the specifics, but everyone else looks it up). Inside Mac is pretty clumsy these days, with six volumes and an index that’s required to figure out where the information lives, often in several books. Apple has finally announced that it is cleaning up and rewriting Inside Mac. I’m sure it will end up on paper, most things still do, unfortunately, but Apple will also make it available on CD-ROM. If you’re interested in giving feedback, Apple is taking comments, suggestions, and errata from the current Inside Macintosh (as well as survey responses from a survey I didn’t want to reprint in its entirety) at [email protected]. Apple welcomes comments on the electronic versions, the book version, and any other related topics.
I recently heard some nastiness from inside Apple/Claris. HyperCard was transferred to Claris for marketing because Apple felt it wasn’t part of the system software. Claris claimed at the Developer’s Conference that Apple and Claris co-developed and co-tested HyperCard 2.1, but the truth of the matter is that Claris only helped out with the testing. HyperCard 2.1 was engineered entirely by some of the people who worked on HyperCard 2.0, none of whom were, are, or will be at Claris. To me that means that we’re going to wait a long time to see another upgrade of HyperCard if only because the new HyperCard team at Claris will have to come up to speed on the program. This is the sort of problem that crops up with reorganizing all the time. I’ve also heard that an extra feature in the Report dialogs was supposed to be "removed" because Claris didn’t have time to include it in the manual. Since there weren’t any programmers working on 2.1, no one noticed the extra feature, but if you’ve got 2.1, check around in the report printing stuff for an undocumented feature.
Finally, Bill Leue wondered if there was any way to use System 7 file sharing protocols over a standard modem. The closest way to accomplish this is Shiva’s NetModem, which allows a standard modem to dial into a LocalTalk network. A real solution would be similar to SLIP (Serial Line Internet Protocol) but would use AppleTalk protocols rather than TCP/IP, thus bringing up SLAP (Serial Line AppleTalk Protocols) as the acronym. I’ve heard that this is very possible, though a decent speed over standard modems may take some doing. Apparently, Apple even plans to add this capability directly into a later release of System 7. It should join features like the new printing architecture and the AppleScript language in 7.x, where x is greater than one. x equals one is probably reserved for the bugs that are slowly cropping up, although most of them have been cosmetic so far (like the floppy icon not disappearing quickly when thrown in the trash).