4.0153 C for the Mac; Micro-OCP/WordCruncher (2/98)

Elaine Brennan & Allen Renear (EDITORS@BROWNVM.BITNET)
Thu, 31 May 90 17:29:38 EDT

Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 4, No. 0153. Thursday, 31 May 1990.

(1) Date: Thu, 31 May 90 10:08 GMT (60 lines)
From: PETERR@vax.oxford.ac.uk
Subject: RE: 4.0147 Q: Mac C

(2) Date: 30 May 1990 17:48:52 CDT (38 lines)
From: "M. R. Sperberg-McQueen " <U15440@UICVM>
Subject: Micro-OCP

(1) --------------------------------------------------------------------
Date: Thu, 31 May 90 10:08 GMT
From: PETERR@vax.oxford.ac.uk
Subject: RE: 4.0147 Q: Mac C; Rs: HUM; Social effects of BBS; Mail

I can *strongly* recommend Think C for C programming on the Mac. This
used to be Lightspeed C, is now published by Symantec (they advertise
everywhere) and has advanced to version 4.0. I have been using it for
nine months now, writing ever-more complex collation programs and - it
works. Very reliably too: I have not found a single bug in the
program. I have thought at times I have got one, but every time I have
(eventually) traced it to my own folly or (occasionally) to something
Apple haven't quite finished in the Toolbox, and that is another story.

Very fast too: on a IICX 30,000 lines of program in twenty five files
compiles and links in about ninety seconds. You can get in, edit a
single file, recompile and relink, run it over again, within seconds.

Advanced debugging? I can't imagine a neater, smoother, easier to use
implementation than the debugger included in the ThinkC package. You
can set a conditional breakpoint, then just click your way merrily
through handles, pointers, structures, arrays, arrays of handles to
structures, etc etc.

Hardware needs? It runs very well - debugger and all - on a bog
standard SE, with 2M of memory. A hard disc is essential, or minimum
two floppies: it will run on a basic Plus, but you will get die of
MacElbow from disc swopping before anything useful is done.

At around #130 academic price here, including full ANSI libraries,
various specimen apps, etc, this is cheap. Incidentally, there is a
neat "console" library included: with this you can make your Mac emulate
a TTY terminal or (gasp) an IBM, and run vanilla C programs. There are
also various "class" libraries thrown in, and much talk in the manual
about Objects - according to a Byte review a few months ago these are
well done. I haven't tried any of these, so can't comment. And, of
course, you can get at all 900 plus Mac toolbox functions, use resource
files, write INITs, CDEVs, anything you like.

Here follows LARGE WORD OF WARNING. C programming affords plentiful
opportunity for self-immolation at the best of times. The legend that
the Mac is hard to program is no legend. Put the two together and it is
like walking barefoot in a snakepit. If you want to use the tool-box,
with multiple resizable scrollable windows, cut and paste, nice icons,
multifinder compatibility etc etc, allow SIX MONTHS FULLTIME to write
your first simplest application. And that is for something you could do
in a few days on a PC. Of course the PC app wouldn't be a patch on the
Mac one for elegance etc but good looks don't come cheap. As for
"dressing up" a PC program for the Mac, forget it. It's better to start
all over, and be prepared for some very nasty shocks while you learn the
amazing things the Mac can do with memory while you aren't looking
(surely I put that variable down just there a minute ago .. what's the
operating system doing there .. bomb).

The good side of it is that when you finally get on top of the toolbox
and C, the machine will sing for you (I write this out of hope -
sometimes it does, for me). Now why has the screen gone all funny on me

Peter Robinson, Computers and Manuscripts Project, Oxford
University Computing Service.
(2) --------------------------------------------------------------52----
Date: 30 May 1990 17:48:52 CDT
From: "M. R. Sperberg-McQueen " <U15440@UICVM>
Subject: Micro-OCP

I'm sure to be far less familiar with Micro-Ocp and Word Cruncher than
other Humanists, but I can say at least say a little in response to
Halporn's inquiry. The main difference between the two is that Word
Cruncher is interactive while Micro-Ocp is not: you tell Micro-OCP what
you want it to look for and, depending on how complicated the search is,
you get a cup of coffee, and you come back to a file containing your

For some of my work I've preferred using Micro-OCP because it is easy to
print the results of searches generated by it--the version of W-Cruncher
I have (things may have changed) was so much oriented toward being
interactive, that it was very difficult to get a printed, permanent
record of what one had found. --What I was asking it to do was
relatively simple: I had it generate frequency lists for German texts
that I was going to present to students: I was interested in finding
out what words came up often enough to merit being put into a separate
glossary, and which came up infrequently and could be glossed on an ad
hoc basis. That's a very simple sort of thing to do in Micro-OCP--it
can do things that are vastly more complicated. I should also mention
that it can deal with all the usual languages, including transliterated
Greek and Russian.

I was favorably impressed with the OCP manual and with the command
language. I'm not one of those people who have a whole lot of of
patience with computer manuals, and my computing skills are quite basic.
I found the Micro-OCP manual easy to get along with, i.e., I was able to
find out how to do what I wanted fairly quickly. The commands make
sense and are fairly easy to learn. The only caveat, as I'm sure many
of us on this side of the Atlantic are aware, is that Micro-OCP insists
one use British spelling.

--Marian Sperberg-McQueen
Univ. of Illinois at Chicago