NOBLE APE MAILOUT - DECEMBER 2004

ANOTHER YEAR OF NOBLE APE
CARBON EVENTS
ALTIVEC
NOBLE WARFARE
DOCUMENTATION
NEXT YEAR

ANOTHER YEAR OF NOBLE APE

The end of the year is a time of reflection. The past year has featured a number of highlights that may be missed in the monthly mailouts. These include;

  • finalising the development name-change,

  • the IEEE article on the Noble Ape development,

  • the source code and documentation release of Noble Warfare, and,

  • the Noble Ape Simulation source code and documentation included with every new Mac sold (via the CHUD toolkit).

    In terms of releases of the Simulation, this has been a slow year. But that, in part, is reflected in the Noble Warfare development. The active updates of the Noble Ape website have also been reduced in favour of a Q&A forum.

    Looking at the searches that get folks to the Noble Ape website, only about twenty percent are actively looking for information that can be found on the website. Yet an additional five percent of the searchers spend more than ten minutes looking through the site. An interesting statistic.

    CARBON EVENTS

    I have been writing about the introduction of Carbon Events with my development online for a couple of years now. In the past month I have begun working through a Carbon Event version of Noble Warfare. Noble Warfare has the benefit of a simple Generic Platform Interface (GPI) and less through-control relating to mouse clicks and key-presses. Those that use the Noble Ape Simulation for the Mac, in contrast, will note the interactive cursor and a number of additional interface features that make the Carbon Event implementation 'less trivial'.

    The going on the Carbon Event implementation has been slow at best. It is an ongoing project. Carbon Event handling in the GPI will allow a mirroring of the event threading seen 'for free' in the Windows GPI implementation.

    ALTIVEC

    As mentioned, Apple now includes the Noble Ape Simulation source code and documentation on their installation discs with every new Mac sold. This was never formally confirmed to me. I discovered it myself recently. The version of the Simulation that comes with the installer is circa May 2003 and comes from Apple's own development of the Noble Ape Simulation source code at the time.

    I have since integrated most of the Apple threading development to the point where the Simulation now actively supports multi-processor Macs. The only remaining section is the Altivec or Velocity Engine support. This requires about 100 lines of the Apple specific code to be integrated with the current Simulation source code. The code specifically relates to the cognitive Simulation.

    I hope to have this finished within the next month or so. Once the Altivec code is included, I will contact my friends at Apple and hopefully the current version of the Simulation with the new Altivec code will be distributed. Thus making the Apple released code identical to the normal Simulation released code.

    NOBLE WARFARE

    Through the integration of Carbon Events, the Noble Warfare code has been dusted off. Integrating more of Noble Warfare with the Simulation would be mutually advantageous over the next year.

    For example, at the time of writing it occurred to me that the file handling code could also be combined with the drawing code as the file handling of numbers and text and the drawing of numbers and text shared a lot of the same coding concepts and some duplicate code. This kind of integration improves both the Simulation and Noble Warfare as both applications could use the same improved code.

    I also would like to have a proper release of the Noble Warfare as a downloadable executable within the next year. The development needs some solid real-world use and feedback to motivate the next direction of the development.

    DOCUMENTATION

    The end of the year also brings about the review of documentation. I have been reviewing documents written in the past twelve months - the new version of Introduction to Programming the Noble Ape Simulation, the Noble Warfare manual section on file editing and the essay I wrote in February on Educating with Open Source.

    Many people find the Noble Ape website through the documentation on the sites. The diversity of topics gets them to the site, the currency of the information keeps them on the site.

    NEXT YEAR

    2005 is going to be an interesting year for the development. There are a number of things that promise to change the direction of Noble Ape. I look forward to your feedback and continued interest in the Noble Ape development in the new year.

    Hope all is well with you all,

    Tom Barbalet, 28 December 2004.


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