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The Interview - Page 2

AFR: Anthony Frausto-Robledo, Founder & Editor, Architosh

SF: Sean Flaherty, CTO, Nemetschek, North America

SF: Sure. On the Mac VectorWorks 9 will support things like Navigation Services and will be Appearance Manager savvy. For Windows we will have things like dockable palettes.

AFR: By the way, will the next release be floating-point based?

SF: Yes, this next release will have double floating point precision. We used to have long integer precision (32-bit integer).

AFR: Now you guys have been working with your code base to support dual platform development for quite awhile now. When you first started with a Windows version of MiniCAD did you port the Mac code base to Windows?

SF: Yes. We have been licensing an emulator from Altura which makes a library called Mac2Win. Claris used it to convert some of their Mac apps to Windows...Macromedia uses it. It has been a silent partner in a lot of applications. Altura was a good three quarter solution for us. It worked well for awhile, but there were problems.

SF: Now we have a new CAD Core and an Interface Shell (the CAD Core is common to both platforms). On the Mac the shell is done in PowerPlant and on Windows it is done in MFC (Microsoft Foundation Classes). The Interface Shell is a complete PowerPlant application which controls the CAD Core. This shift was made to prepare ourselves for changes similar to OS X. At the time, the decision was made to simplify our support for multiple platforms, not to prepare for any particular one. It makes development to a different platform easier. In the future if Linux or BeOS become popular we can produce a version for that OS probably within a year. The other advantage to this new code model is that there is no common OS service code so you can more easily take advantage of each OS.

AFR: In speaking about tailoring the VectorWorks code to each respective OS, can you tell me more about AppleScript; specifically, will VectorWorks have more AppleScript support, given that Apple has fully made AppleScript a key component of Mac OS X?

SF: VectorWorks already supports basic AppleScript. You can use AppleScript to issue VectorScript commands from outside the application. VectorScript has big advantages for us in that whatever you do in VectorScript you can use cross-platform in Windows [VectorWorks on Windows]. We look at AppleScript as application stitching, getting applications to work with each other. It's currently possible. We can have AppleScript invoke VectorScript commands but we can't go the other way well yet. That's an area we need to work on.

SF: Apple at one time seemed to be backing away from AppleScript when they announced that it would receive maintenance changes only in Copland/OS X. We stopped adding AppleScript functionality then to concentrate on VectorScript and haven't restarted that project yet.

AFR: Mac OS X supports plug-ins with a new, generalized, system architecture. Will VectorWorks support this?

SF: We use PowerPC code fragments to do our plugins. The porting process to Mac OS X has been long enough that we haven't gotten that far. We studied the Adobe model very carefully [Adobe's applications like Illustrator, Photoshop and InDesign support plugins from third party developers] and we think we have that with VectorScript plugins. We actually have trained architects writing plugins in VectorScript. Something like one quarter of our customers program in VectorScript to help automate their work.

AFR: Has VectorWorks been tuned for AltiVec?







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