[NTLK] Very bare-bones note package to play with

Warren Ockrassa wockrassa at gmail.com
Tue Dec 6 18:14:31 EST 2011

That repeated thudding you hear is my forehead leaving dents in the desk.

I mean really. There are something like 2K pages of Apple-published
documentation on the Newton. And it's all infuriating. The
programmer's guide constantly refers you to the programmer's
reference, which refers you to the programmer's guide, and their
out-references are in the main unnecessary. (Guide: "For a definition
of recursion, see the programmer's reference, page 8-34" Reference:
"To see an example of recursion, consult the programmer's guide, page

The script reference is a laundry list of script calls with
essentially no working examples of actually using the script calls.
System calls are not documented in the script reference, and to the
extent that system calls are documented in the programmer guide and
programmer reference, they're not shown being used with a lot of
scripting. System level constants and functions are sporadically
covered, if at all, and not in anything like an organized fashion, as
far as I can determine.

The Apple-released example files I was able to find at UNNA's mirror
of download.planetnewton.com are either overbuilt to the point that
it's nearly impossible to trace what calls are being made where; or so
minimal as to provide no window into useful functionality. (There's a
scroller example, for instance, that includes the comment that adding
scrolling to editable views becomes much more complicated because of
variable view sizes, and leaves it at that, while going on to
exemplify overbuilt scrollers that use the floating up/down scrollers,
not the system arrows.)

(And the person who invented the statement, "Good code is its own
documentation" should be boiled in oil like a Thanksgiving turducken
covered in melted deep-fried Mars bars.)

There's no useful description of order of execution - there MUST be
one script that executes before all others, but good luck finding out
what it is - so initializing runtime parameters isn't well-documented,
which leaves me wondering why I keep getting 'undefined variable'
errors, particularly since the dadblang Newton doesn't actually tell
me what variable is undefined. Naturally, there's no trace to use, no
way to step through executing code, no way to watch it run in situ,
since the NTK was released, of course, without a desktop Newton
emulator or - as near as I can tell - a useful debugger. You just have
to sort of install and pray, I guess.

Partway through the day it occurred to me that I could probably pull
this off by extending the functionality of the notepad program. Think
there's a chapter in the docs to be found on extending functionality?
It's there. It discusses stationery.

It's like they were in some kind of conspiracy to make their platform
as incomprehensible as they could, while at the same time making it
look like they were documenting it. 2000 pages of text, and every
chapter comes off like a gloss of available functions, without
actually going into them.


Anyone know of some useful resources that describe basic functions,
such as saving things, loading things, making things show up on the
screen, and making things respond to system controls? It ain't enough
to have a scrollable text input area...

-- Warren Ockrassa | nightwares.com

More information about the NewtonTalk mailing list