Cross-Platform Development in C++ Building Mac OS X, Linux, and Windows Applications

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  • Edition: 1st
  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2007-11-27
  • Publisher: Addison-Wesley Professional
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Cross-Platform Development in C++is the definitive guide to developing portable C/C++ application code that will run natively on Windows, Macintosh, and Linux/Unix platforms without compromising functionality, usability, or quality. Long-time Mozilla and Netscape developer Syd Logan systematically addresses all the technical and management challenges associated with software portability from planning and design through coding, testing, and deployment. Drawing on his extensive experience with cross-platform development, Logan thoroughly covers issues ranging from the use of native APIs to the latest strategies for portable GUI development. Along the way, he demonstrates how to achieve feature parity while avoiding the problems inherent to traditional cross-platform development approaches. This book will be an indispensable resource for every software professional and technical manager who is building new cross-platform software, porting existing C/C++ software, or planning software that may someday require cross-platform support. Build Cross-Platform Applications without Compromise Throughout the book, Logan illuminates his techniques with realistic scenarios and extensive, downloadable code examples, including a complete cross-platform GUI toolkit based on Mozillars"s XUL that you can download, modify, and learn from. Coverage includes Policies and procedures used by Netscape, enabling them to ship Web browsers to millions of users on Windows, Mac OS, and Linux Delivering functionality and interfaces that are consistent on all platforms Understanding key similarities and differences among leading platform-specific GUI APIs, including Win32/.NET, Cocoa, and Gtk+ Determining when and when not to use native IDEs and how to limit their impact on portability Leveraging standards-based APIs, including POSIX and STL Avoiding hidden portability pitfalls associated with floating point, char types, data serialization, and types in C++ Utilizing platform abstraction libraries such as the Netscape Portable Runtime (NSPR) Establishing an effective cross-platform bug reporting and tracking system Creating builds for multiple platforms and detecting build failures across platforms when they occur Understanding the native runtime environment and its impact on installation Utilizing wxWidgets to create multi-platform GUI applications from a single code base Thoroughly testing application portability Understanding cross-platform GUI toolkit design with Trixul

Author Biography

Syd Logan is a software developer living and working in Southern California. A graduate of San Diego State University with B.S. and M.S. degrees in computer science, Syd was a member of the Netscape Client Product Development (CPD) team, where he held both engineering and management positions during the development of Netscape 6 and 7. After Netscape, Syd remained at AOL where he implemented VoIP and peer-to-peer video features as a member of the AOL Instant Messenger team. Syd’s previous publications include Developing Imaging Applications with XIELib and Gtk+ Programming in C (Prentice Hall, 1997 and 2001). His technical interests include machine learning, operating systems design, algorithms, and just about anything that has to do with C, C++, and Unix.

Table of Contents

Policy and Managementp. 17
Build System/Toolchainp. 65
Software Configuration Managementp. 131
Installation and Deploymentp. 165
Operating System Interfaces and Librariesp. 221
Miscellaneous Portability Topicsp. 273
User Interfacesp. 303
wxWidgetsp. 329
Developing a Cross-Platform GUI Toolkit in C++p. 427
Table of Contents provided by Blackwell. All Rights Reserved.


Preface Cross-Platform Development in C++ Building Mac OS X, Linux, and Windows Applications Syd Logan Addison-Wesley Preface During the ten or so years of my career prior to joining Netscape in 1998, I had the good fortune to work on a wide variety of projects, on an equally diverse set of platforms. I worked on an embedded kernel of my own design for a somewhat obscure CPU (the TMS34020). I obtained experience in Windows kernel development, writing file systems drivers for the Windows NT and Windows 98 kernels, to support the development of a Network File System (NFS) client. In user space, I mostly specialized in user interface development, initially developing Motif (Z-Mail) and OpenWindows applications for UNIX, eventually getting exposure to Win32 and the Microsoft Foundation Classes (MFC) toolkit on the Windows platform. I even had the chance to write code for the Classic Mac OS to support a project that would be shipped by Apple, using the Mac Toolbox application programming interface (API). All of this code was written in the C language, and all of it was highly nonportable, written only with a concern for the job, and platform, at hand. But then I joined Netscape, as a UNIX expert of sorts. Initially, I was assigned the task of working on bugs in the 4.x Netscape browser, specifically handling defects filed against a port of the browser to IBM's Advanced Interactive eXecutive (AIX) platform. Netscape had a contract with IBM to ensure that bugs filed against the AIX version of the Netscape browser, or bugs that IBM considered important, were fixed in a timely fashion, and this contract funded my hiring. Similar deals were cut with SGI, Hewlett-Packard, and Sun, and perhaps others, and these deals funded additional Netscape staff. Two or three of us were assigned to deal with AIX, specifically. During this time, portability had not yet been perfected at Netscape. Although much of the codebase of Netscape was portable, the project did not have a unified build system, and the user interface code was completely platform specific. Many bugs had a decidedly platform-specific nature to them (hence the need to have separate teams to support individual platforms). Code that worked flawlessly on the Windows version of Netscape ran horribly on less well-supported platforms. Not all platforms had the same set of features, and features varied from platform to platform. Within a year of joining Netscape and fixing AIX bugs, I somehow earned my way onto the Netscape Instant Messenger team, and work on the new codebase based on the open source Mozilla platform. This team, which consisted of three engineers, was tasked with porting the AOL Instant Messenger client to the Netscape browser. The Netscape IM team was hastily formed right after AOL acquired Netscape, to try to bring AOL-based functionality into the application. (The other major AOL property integrated into Netscape was support for AOL Mail). The new Netscape client, in development at that time, was, as mentioned previously, based on the open source codebase named Mozilla. This codebase, at the time, was largely the product of Netscape engineers located in offices located in San Diego, and Mountain View, but contributions from the open source community were on the rise. (I refer to the project as Netscape/Mozilla in the remainder of this Preface). Netscape was in fierce competition with Microsoft for the browser market at this time, which meant the browser of course had to work well, and ship on time on the Windows platform. Netscape also generated significant advertising revenue through the Netscape portal, and clicks there were highest when a new version of the browser was released, and tens of millions of users visited the portal to download a fresh copy of Netscape. Supporting Netscape not only on Windows but also on Mac OS and Linux helped keep the numbe

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