A lost post from Kane’ohe

[Editor’s note: Ryan Suenaga submitted this post, titled “Apple IIGS development is alive, well, and living in Kane’ohe” to the Juiced.GS blog on April 20, 2010. As it had no apparent connection to the publication, I suggested he instead publish it on his Apple II software site, where it seemed more relevant. In his usual, obstinate fashion, Ryan rejected that idea without explanation, leaving the post unpublished. The post proved to be a teaser for his Apple IIGS send-only email NDA, codenamed Melissa and officially named Emily II, which was demoed at KansasFest 2010 but never released. I now publish this post so that we might have a bit more of Ryan to remember. –Ken Gagne]

Apple IIGS development is still alive and well if moving slower than it did some years ago. Fortunately, in contrast to the decreasing amount of time many coders have to spend on code, the speed at which technology advances is escalating, and despite the fact that the projects they work on are for a computer frozen in time at 1, 2.8, or 4 MHz, the Apple II series continues to benefit from technological advances.

One of the advances that make Apple II development faster is the increasing speed of computer processors. I can’t speak for my fellow programmers, but I continue to write code for the Apple II on an Apple II, except it’s an emulated Apple II, also known as Sweet16 on my MacBook. Fortunately, the big benefit here is that emulation makes for faster coding because, as always, the newer a computer is, the faster the emulated Apple II is — and computers are faster than ever before. Testing a program, making a change in a single line of code, compiling, retesting, rewriting, recompiling, retesting — a cycle that would take hours in the past — now have compiling times that are reduced to minutes, sometimes seconds.

Another way the Apple II has benefited from advances in technology include the continued maturation of the Internet and the explosion of mobile devices — meaning mobile phones with Internet access. Web-based application programmer interfaces (outlining ways to work with Web sites), combined with the Marinetti TCP/IP stack, helps those of us interested in keeping the Apple IIGS as current as possible to develop new applications. Demand for access on mobile devices helps to keep the use of screen real estate down and the amount of data transferred back and forth to a minimum — both helpful when working with a computer as technologically limited as the Apple IIGS.

All of these things are what lets someone like me work for a couple of weekends on a crazy New Desk Accessory like Fish:

Fish NDA for the Apple IIGS

Yes, all Fish does is let the user check on whether or not Abe Vigoda — “Fish” from Barney Miller — is still alive.

This might be silly (well, no “might” about it), but it helps me test code and concepts for further projects.

So indulge me in this little program. It might be useful to absolutely no one, but the bits of code that it helps me perfect will be part of a future program that might be a little more useful.

And what might that be?

Maybe we’ll find out in July.

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