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What is Frontier?
News & Updates

Web Tutorial
Scripting Tutorial
BBEdit Scripting

Mailing Lists
Sample Scripts
Verb Set
Frontier Site Outline


User's Guide
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Apple File Edit
Main Open Suites
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Menubar Outline
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New Features in Frontier 4.1

A brief list of the new features in Frontier 4.1 with pointers to other pages.

This page highlights the major new features in 4.1, by category.

Ease of Learning and Use

The main priority of Frontier 4.1 was to re-design the user interface to incorporate what we've learned about Frontier over the last four years.

  1. Frontier's menus have been reorganized to be easier for the first-time user, and more complete for experienced users. Frontier's menu bar is highly customizable. Full documentation is provided for all the menus, see Chapter 7 of the User's Guide. They are also listed separately on the Frontier's Menus page.

  2. Navigators make finding your way around the object database much easier, and supply vital information for the beginning script writer. See The Importance of Navigators.

  3. The User's Guide has been completely updated and made current with the feature set of Frontier 4.1. Start reading the new manual with Chapter 1.

  4. Where do I put my script? A script's location is central to its interpretation by the system. This can be confusing. The New Script command in The Main Menu guides you thru the process of creating a new script in the correct location. New places include the Workspace table, which is the best place to store personal scripts; the Overnight and Hourly scripts tables store scripts that run every night at 2AM and every hour on the hour; the webServerScripts table stores CGI scripts that run behind WebStar and compatible servers.

  5. Internet scripting features have been extended and documented. See Website Building with Frontier and CGI Scripting in Frontier.

  6. Streamlined for AppleScript. Frontier has been able to run AppleScripts since version 3.0, shipped in late 1993. In this release, the features have been streamlined to make the Frontier environment more accessible to AppleScript developers. See Working with AppleScript.

New Technology

It's possible to build friendlier and more powerful applications with Frontier 4.1, thanks to several new technologies incorporated for the first time in this release.

  1. MacBird is an authoring tool, look in the UserLand Utilities folder; and a runtime which is baked into the Frontier application. See MacBird Tips for our insights into using MacBird and a pointer to the definitive MacBird website, hosted by our friends at Worldwide Power and Light. Many of the new ease-of-use features in 4.1 are implemented as MacBird cards.

  2. Thread control. The new thread verbs allow script writers to build more powerful multi-threaded server applications with Frontier. They also complete the verb set needed to run Java code in the Frontier environment.

  3. Object database access from scripts. The new db verbs allow script writers to build systems that store information in multiple root files. This brings the scripting interface into parity with the API supported by our ODB Engine project.

  4. Network OS features. Frontier 4.1 is a more complete network operating system with the inclusion of the new version of the NetFrontier suite.

  5. External editors. In cooperative development with other developers, external applications including BBEdit and Script Debugger can be used to edit text and scripts in Frontier's object database. MacBird supports a similar protocol, allowing the MacBird editor application to edit cards stored in the object database.

  6. Page rendering features. The templates, glossary, macro, and hierarchic website features that were introduced in Frontier 4.0 were refined in 4.1.

New standards

More and more, Frontier is playing the role of the central database and scripting engine on the Macintosh platform.

We're leading in the design and support of new standards to connect Macintosh applications, especially as they relate to working across the Internet.

  1. Mail agents. In Frontier 4.1, we support the proposed "Mail Agent Protocol", documented on our MIDAS website. This protocol allows electronic mail to flow into databases and search engines; and allows specialized filtering to be implemented by webmasters and system managers.

  2. Menu sharing got an overhaul in 4.1. A new toolkit is available.

  3. Support for other protocols will be released in the form of add-ons to Frontier 4.1. Watch the News & Updates page for new releases.

More info

See the Release Notes for Frontier 4.1 page for a full list of changes and fixes in Frontier 4.1.

© Copyright 1996-97 UserLand Software. This page was last built on 5/7/97; 1:24:15 PM. It was originally posted on 10/14/96; 9:22:44 AM. Internet service provided by Conxion.