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BryMD's picture
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Joined: 2018 Jul 2
Coding software for Mac OS 9 in 2018

Hey guys!

Been having some spare time the past couple of months during my paternity leave, and what better way to spend it than to make some new software for Mac OS 9? Tongue

At the current moment I'm working on two utilities for Mac OS 9 written in AppleScript:

1. Functional Keys for adding sound, depth, resolution, and iTunes controls to the F-keys (just uploaded here: http://macintoshgarden.org/apps/functional-keys/ ).

2. Seagull AutoPlay for adding screen saver-mode to Seagull Video Player 2.0 (not yet uploaded).

Both are coming along nicely, but I've run into a couple of deal-breaking snags when it comes to Functional Keys:

1. The AppleScript applets insist on bringing Finder to the foreground whenever activated (even with 'only in background' enabled), reducing their practicality dramatically.

2. Furthermore, the applets refuse to run whenever an application is running full screen, making them close to useless.

Apple's own Eject Extras (though not AppleScript applets) do not carry any of these limitations, so it should be quite possible to crush these bugs.

Is there anyone here at Macintosh Garden with either mad AppleScript-skills, mad resource fork-skills, or mad programming-skills (depending on where these snags reside) who's interested in making a brand new dent in the Mac OS 9 universe in 2018? Smile

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cbone's picture
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Joined: 2011 Sep 17

Well Bry, first off, welcome to the garden..both your projects sound amazingly cool!

In a world of old Mac software, projects like these can breathe new life to a very long-standing platform. Most of us here are long-time ( and not-so-long-time ) Mac users who look to preserve the history of Mac software and the hardware it served. This doesn't mean we would ever shun anyone developing new projects..most of us just don't know diddly about the innards of Mac programming. Still, we all will gladly encourage your efforts.

Still, possibly a very few of those more adept at classic Mac app voodoo may pitch in, either privately or here in the forums, maybe with some words of wisdom, tips or they may encourage you, maybe by pointing you to additional resources and/or other forums online. I personally don't know where all the old-time Mac app wizards may have gone all these years, but you may yet be surprised at who or what you may yet find out there..or possibly even here.

I've learned that a little patience and goodwill often get a reward!

You know, your functional keys sound like Chrome OS's action keys at the top of their Chromebook keyboards, very nice concept indeed!

BryMD's picture
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Joined: 2018 Jul 2

Hey cbone! Truly appreciate the kind welcome Smile

As a MacAdvocate from the good ol' days, I get the chills from all the work that has gone down in preserving classic Macintosh history the way I like to remember it. Respect!

I'll do my part as soon as I find the time, as I'm sitting on a crap-ton of old Mac-software either still not on the site or newer versions of software already present with working serial numbers. I'll post a list of what I have up for grabs as soon as time permits Wink

However, at the current moment I'm totally consumed with getting my collection of vintage Macs up running for ACTUAL daily use, and the software I'm currently working on are the last 2 missing puzzle pieces before going live Smile

Crossing my fingers for one of my fellow Mac-heads here at the Garden with the knowledge and competency that I'm currently missing, as I'm seriously out of ideas on how to crush these bugs.

davisdelo's picture
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Joined: 2016 Oct 31

You may find what you're looking for on the macos9lives.com forums. They're doing all sorts of things there, working on a 9.3 update and adding hardware support to later G4 machines.

BryMD's picture
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Joined: 2018 Jul 2

Hi davisdelo.

Dude! Seriously good pointer! Will check it out immediately!!

However, if someone here at the Garden has some insight on how to solve this puzzle in the meantime, I'm all ears Smile

cbone's picture
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Joined: 2011 Sep 17

'ACTUAL daily use...', that's awesome Bry!

I did read that part before, that's why I came back to it today. I see all of this like taking those classic cars of old and putting them back together and showing them off to the world, just because we can, and that spirit is awesome.

Plus why should our world's landfills be filled with amazing tech that was once trendsetting? The coolness of taking back a piece of the past and making it relevant is the heart and pulse of life. It's why we look back at history and make it relevant to our today. Stand proud, retro Mac-ers, 'cause you're all awesome, and then some! Laughing out loud

BryMD's picture
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Hehe Laughing out loud Yeah, setting up my iMac G4 as a full-blown system complete with all the creative applications I used back in the day (both to be able to open old creations, as well as creating new ones with familiar software), as well as a complete media center with mini-VGA to SCART connecting it to my fathers old Bang Olufsen MX4000 TV (as he's never been able to get rid of that beast once he learned it's a permanent part of New York's Museum of Modern Art Tongue )

Speaking of Media Center: Is it commonly known here at the Garden that DivX AVIs can be played on the fly on Mac OS 9 without first converting the sound track (that really was a thing, remember?) by playing them on BTV Pro 5.4? If not, there should almost be created a separate thread for this here at the Garden. I stumbled upon this by chance, and it totally blew my mind! Tongue

cbone's picture
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Joined: 2011 Sep 17

I definitely like that idea!

I've been toying with 68k video, but have fallen short of encoding anything that plays back well, but on OS9, there's a lot of potential for creating a video jukebox of sorts.

There's a Plex client I unearthed for PPC Macs, I'm not sure if their web client works on older PPC browsers though. Man, wouldn't it be so sweet if OS9 could handle Plex? Even if all the files were encoded as OS9-ready video files, that would be perfect! Laughing out loud

adespoton's picture
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I bought BTV Pro back in the day; it was the one product that could let me make DivX from my Sony DigiCam AND pull in video from my HiFi VHS and tuner for live streaming Smile

So I'm not sure if it's commonly known, but it was worth the $$ to me back then Smile

cbone's picture
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Joined: 2011 Sep 17

Oh really? Very nice, Ade!

It sounds like a very versatile tool to use on video manipulation projects, thanks so much for sharing about it! Smile

adespoton's picture
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Before it was BTV Pro, it was called BTV (the viewer) and BTV Edit (which could edit the video and output it to various formats). Back in 2000, it was one of the most important digital video programs I had, other than Fabrice Bellard's useful little tool that let me back up my 13GB HD to 13GB Digital8 tapes (with error correction). Poor man's tape backup... it worked really well!

BryMD's picture
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Joined: 2018 Jul 2

Have been talking to the guys over at Mac OS 9 Lives the past couple of days, and we believe we have identified the culprit being how the 'Jon's Commands' AppleScript Addition interacts with Finder. Does anyone here at the Garden know of an alternative to Jon's that manipulate the sound and screen parameters of Mac OS?

BryMD's picture
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UPDATE: We might have found a proper way to annihilate bug #1 of Functional Keys (Finder activation) over at Mac OS 9 Lives.

However, I only have access to SheepShaver on Mac OS 9.0 in the overseeable future, so won't be able to test the result myself. I'll try to do a blind recode during the weekend, but is there anyone here at the Garden who could do a fellow Mac-addict a favor and beta it quickly on a Mac OS 9.2 machine when that time comes?

24bit's picture
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As for booting 9.2.2, you may know that Qemu does just that quite nice.
Its rather straight forward to be set up too, either o a Windows host or with macOS.
https://www.emaculation.com/forum/viewforum.php?f=34
Of course there will be reasons to try on a real Mac.

BryMD's picture
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Joined: 2018 Jul 2

Nice heads up, 24bit! Will Qemu be able to hook the F-keys to the emulation layer? SheepShaver is quite wonky when it comes to that :/

nil0bject's picture
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Joined: 2012 Nov 14

@BryMD have you used OSA menu before? It should help with the application switching. A lite version was included on the mac os 9 install cd, and I just uploaded the only version i could find(1.01)
http://macintoshgarden.org/apps/osa-menu

Read the readme. It tells you how to make keyboard shortcuts.

BryMD's picture
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Joined: 2018 Jul 2

Hi nilObject Smile

Dude! You must be a psychic or something! Was just playing around with OtherMenu and found it not invoking Finder, so have already added Exposé-ish commands to Functional Keys on resulting the high Smile

But keyboard shortcuts is KING, so will get OSA-Menu up running this evening. Thanks, man!

On a separate note: Without using OSA-menu/OtherMenu, I've managed to get the applets to identify active applications and bring them back to the foreground after Finder has been activated. However, Classic Mac OS doesn't sort active applications according to last active, but rather first opened. So another dead end...

Hate having to rely on dependencies, but what can a man do when the bag of pixie dust has run dry Tongue

nil0bject's picture
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You are very welcome. I appreciate you developing for classic, so I'm happy to help.

Once you have everything working as you intended, we can look into (trying to)removing the dependencies. Could even contact the authors of OSA Menu and OtherMenu, to get their insight and expertise.

Also(not sure if this is OS X only):
https://macscripter.net/viewtopic.php?id=33720
https://www.macscripter.net/viewtopic.php?pid=25133#p25133

BryMD's picture
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Joined: 2018 Jul 2

Sweet! That would be awesome Laughing out loud But if OSA does the trick, I think it's a decent enough tradeoff as to not rock the boat any further Wink

As for the links, they are OS X only as they are invoking System Events. Classic Mac OS has the same ability to identify the frontmost application as well as ignoring itself (as a running applet will register as the frontmost app). But due to the lack of preemptive multitasking and the fact that the scripts activate Finder, Finder will be defined at the frontmost app even when the applets are ignoring themselves... so yet another dead end there Sad

BryMD's picture
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Just a quick progress update on Functional Keys here. Been playing around with OtherMenu and OSA Menu, and both of them have pros and cons:

1. OtherMenu is highly customizable with full icon and divider support, and I've basically been able to recreate Ambrosia's ColorSwitch Pro with support for later revisions of Mac OS through Functional Keys. But OtherMenu does not support key assignment, thus defeating the main purpose of Functional Keys.

2. OSA menu is erratic as sin, so no soup for you... err... I mean... no ColorSwitch-esque menu there Tongue However, it does support key assignment, though only with modifier keys pressed. Haven't been able to catch function keys thus far, but still hopeful. Will do some new trials next week, and hopefully emerge victorious.

3. If neither of these pan out, it seems I have to swallow my pride and consider QuicKeys dependencies.

I'll keep you guys posted next week Smile

cbone's picture
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Joined: 2011 Sep 17

good work my friend, we're all rooting for you Smile

( or maybe we should all be rooting our Macs Tongue )

adespoton's picture
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Joined: 2015 Feb 15

Another alternative for you is just to write some FKeys directly; stick them in font suitcases and you can dynamically load/unload by sticking them into the Fonts folder and pulling them out.

It means you need to use the FKey framework and write in C in MPW or CW, but you get direct access to the hardware so don't need to do all the troubleshooting you're currently fighting with.

cbone's picture
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Joined: 2011 Sep 17

That might work out for Bry's headaches.. great suggestion my friend!

adespoton's picture
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[weird double post; deleteme]