Friday, June 24, 2005

Preview: SQLGrinder 2 - The New SQL Editor

SQLGrinder 2This is the third in a series of previews of SQLGrinder 2. This time, we're previewing the new SQL editor. The new SQL editor looks at first to be little changed from the original, but closer inspection reveals many new features. In addition to much faster SQL syntax coloring, using a new syntax coloring engine, the editor will also color the table and column names in your schema. Support for more commenting styles has also been added, for both coloring and database statements. These are just a few of the many changes made for version 2. What follows is a more in-depth description of some of new features.

The Basic Editor and Multiple Result Sets - The image on the left just shows a basic picture of the new SQL editor, with new icons, and some of the new features visible. The image on the right shows the new result set drawer. How does this work? Well when you execute a SQL statement that returns a result set, the results are added to a history list, and stored on disk to save memory. You can then browse this history list, so you aren't required to repeatedly issue the same statements over and over when trying out new SQL statements in a single buffer. The number of result sets stored in the history can be set in Preferences.

Basic SQL editorMultiple Result Sets

Multiple Edit Buffers and Result Set Searching - The new editor now features multiple edit buffers, so your one editor can offer more than one editing space. In keeping with the one-window-per-connection model of SQLGrinder, buffers allow you to set up separate, distinct editing spaces, each with their own result set history lists. This essentially can make your one editor window into many editors in a single compact space. Buffers can be switched either by choosing the name from the buffer menu, shown below, or by using the command and arrow keys to move left and right between them. The buffers can also be renamed.

You can also now search your result sets using the editor search field. The search field allows you to search on any column in the current result set. For instance, in the example below, the first_name column is being searched for the string "Melissa."

Multiple Edit BuffersSearching a Result Set

Viewing BLOBs and CLOBs - Also added to the new SQL editor is the ability to view BLOBs and CLOBs in your database. This allows you to view images and text stored there. The image on the left shows image binary data displayed, the one on the left, a large block of text.

Viewing Image BLOBViewing CLOB

Code Completion and Table Sorting - Code completion has been added to the editor. While typing, you can hit the escape key and up will pop the current set of matching keywords, table and column names in your database. Additionally, you can filter the completion results by type by pressing the command, control or shift keys while the code completion view is visible.

Finally, you can sort the current editor result set by clicking on the table column header. Table columns are also optionally sized to their contents automatically, making viewing result sets a little cleaner. You can also now export rows from the result table by dragging the rows to the desktop or another application.

Code CompletionSorting Table

So there you have it, a sneak preview of another one of the features redesigned for SQLGrinder 2, the new SQL editor. This wraps up the preview series. SQLGrinder 2 has entered limited alpha testing, while it moves to being feature complete. After that there will be a series of public betas and hopefully a 2.0 release in a couple of months.

Friday, June 17, 2005

MacGourmet 1.1.3 update released

MacGourmetMacGourmet 1.1.3 is now available: "Today Advenio updated MacGourmet, its recipe, wine and cooking note organizer, to version 1.1.3. This free update includes Spotlight support for MacGourmet recipe and note files, as well as many fixes and enhancements. MacGourmet is priced at US$24.95."

You can find a full list of the changes here.

This free update is available from the MacGourmet download site.

Thursday, June 16, 2005

The "Osborne Effect": Myth or Reality?

According to Cringely, it's a myth:
...sales dropped, from about 10,000 a month for the original model, to essentially zero for the new model.

The reason for the drop was that the Osborne Executive was not competitive with the Kaypro, a slapped-together rival priced at a couple hundred less ($1,795 instead of $1,995 for the Osborne 1), but it had a much larger screen -- 12 inches compared to O1's five inches.

The Executive came out, much better built, more manufacturable, but with a mere 7-inch screen. There was deep disappointment among Osborne fans. Worse, it was priced at $2,195 -- a two hundred dollar increase in a very price-sensitive end of the market! Four hundred dollars more than Kaypro for a brand name but a smaller screen? No thank you!"

According to Cringely's source, Mike McCarthy, who worked at Osborne at the time, it wasn't the pre-annoucement that killed Osborne at all, but a subpar product for more money. Based on that, fears of Apple pre-announcing Intel-based Macs to the detriment of current sales is probably largely overblown. Oh, I'm sure there will be some people who won't buy what they think is a current but "obsolete" Mac, but hey if you need a new Mac you need one...

Read more: The Osborne Effect Sometimes - What Everyone Remembers Is Wrong

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Worth the Read: Text of Commencement address by Steve Jobs

Words of inspiration from the man himself:

Your time is limited, so don't waste it living someone else's life. Don't be trapped by dogma - which is living with the results of other people's thinking. Don't let the noise of other's opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.
Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.

Read the full text here.

Monday, June 06, 2005

Macs moving to Intel... It's a done deal

MactelUnbelievably Apple announced that it is indeed moving Macs to Intel CPUs. So separating the emotion from the facts, what does this mean?

Well we fully remain committed to the Mac platform regardless of the CPU being used. As far as we're concerned, it's the OS that matters. For most people, the fact that a Mac has a CPU made from Motorola, IBM or Intel, is irrelevant so long as the user experience is the same.

We are also committed to free Intel-compatible upgrades of all our products. Buy our products now, and they will run natively when there are Intel Macs available, and you won't pay extra for just that feature. We're also committed to making PowerPC native versions available for as long as feasible as well. We love the our PowerPC Macs, and plan to support them long after Apple does.

Emotionally, from a "geek" point of view, I'm a bit saddened to see this happen. One thing that has to be remembered, however is that Intel is not the only thing that makes a PC a PC. What we think of (and often look down upon) as a PC is a combination of Intel, Windows, and the industrial design of companies like Dell, Gateway, etc. Having an Intel CPU itself is not necessarily a bad thing, considering the rest of what makes a Mac a Mac should remain the same.

So, we now move into a Brave New World. There will be a lot of discussion, lots of questions and hopefully lots of answers in the near future. In the past, Mac users have been asked to let go of their 68000 series CPUs, and then their Mac OS 9. Now Apple is asking us to abandon our beloved PowerPCs. We'll find out in the next year or two whether or not this was too much to ask.

Sunday, June 05, 2005

Macs moving to Intel? Why that's a BAD idea

MactelAfter a very quiet start, rumors are now flying preceding this year's WWDC. Apple will be moving Macs to Intel both CNet and The Wall Street Journal claim. Does this make any sense?

From a small developer perspective, and really, a LOT the best Mac software comes from the ranks of small developers, this is a potential nightmare. What does this mean to us? First, instead of having to build and test on one line of CPUs, and one line of Macs, we'll now be forced to test on two. This doubles the amount of hardware required and could double the time as well. And don't give me that "All you have to do is just recompile" crap, because any software engineer worth their salt will tell you it just ain't that simple. This could double our costs, and might even make the old "why develop for the Mac over Wintel?" question center stage again. And what about emulation of older software? You mean to tell me that somehow they are going to emulate a G4 or G5 at acceptable speeds on a CPU that has been proven to not be THAT much faster (if any faster) then the CPU it's supposed to emulate? If you believe that, I've got some copies of CherryOS I'll sell you.

Two, why would Apple make this kind of switch, when they have JUST finally started building momentum? I just don't see the value-add, unless the cost savings is HUGE (unlikely). It's not like Intel is increasing clock speeds by leaps and bounds, hardly. While the G5 may be "stuck" in the upper 2's for speed, the latest Intel CPUs haven't made much progress either, and of course there is the age old RISC vs. CISC argument. How does this make sense? Intel has been downplaying the GHz thing lately, moving to dual cores, just like IBM with the G5. Do they even have their 64 bit CPUs ready? I don't think so. I just don't see the big advantage.

Personally, the thought of my Mac being powered by an Intel CPU makes my skin crawl. The "Mactel" platform has absolutely no appeal to me. Maybe I'll get over it. Maybe the CPU in the box, as long as the box is the same, and maybe cheaper, shouldn't matter. But to me, it's almost like (and I think I've seen a similar analogy elsewhere) buying a Ferrari, ripping out the engine, and putting in a Dodge Hemi. Again, I just don't see the value-add there. Maybe I'm just overreacting to mostly groundless rumors that will be proven wrong tomorrow.

But what if they rumors are right? What kind of reaction can Jobs expect from the audience of some of their most loyal developers and supporters (unfortunately we can't be there this year)? Applause? Cheers? More like the sound of crickets and maybe a dry cough from the back of the room. I just don't see how even the great Steve Jobs (and I love the guy) can spin this in a way that makes people stand up and cheer, at least initially, before there's been time to digest the news.

One way or another, all will be revealed tomorrow, whether we like it or not. Stay tuned...

Thursday, June 02, 2005

Preview: SQLGrinder 2 - The New Schema Browser

SQLGrinder 2This is the second in a series of previews of SQLGrinder 2. This time, we're previewing the new schema browser. The two biggest changes from the first version of SQLGrinder are 1) the method of browsing, and 2) the addition of many new tools for manipulating your schemas.

Browsing - The new schema browser will use a combination of an outline view hierarchy on the left and a table of elements on the right, rather than the old browser widget from the previous version. This speeds browsing, and allows you to focus on what's important, the main schema elements, like tables, procedures, etc.


Additionally, the schema browser also will feature a search field in the toolbar for searching elements, allowing you to quickly find elements from a large list, the same way you can in many other Mac applications.

Searching elements

Other Toolbar Tools - The new schema browser will have new tools that allow you to build, drop, truncate and alter tables easily. Want to drop a table? Select the table and just press the "Drop Table" tool. Pretty easy. There will also be new tools for importing and exporting table data as well.
Toolbar tools

The "New Table" tool will bring up a table builder that will help create new tables and views, letting you easily define the columns and indexes.

Toolbar tools

The Data Table - The old data table has also been redone. It will no longer load when you switch tabs, but will load and refresh on demand instead. It will also use real SQL to edit and delete rows of tables with primary keys, rather than going through JDBC, which will make things much faster and more compatible.
Toolbar tools

Like the elements of the table, you will also be able to search the data in the table, using the data table search field.
Toolbar tools

So there you have it, a sneak preview of another one of the features redesigned for SQLGrinder 2, the new schema browser. Stay tuned, hopefully next week I'll be able to post a sneak preview of the new SQL editor.