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Frontier 4.1b8 Change Notes


1. Documentation

Brent Simmons has created a wonderful new MacBird website.
If you're interested in designing GUI interfaces for your scripts, check out this site. It includes many screen shots, a tutorial, a guide to the editor application, a nascent FAQ, and an archive of demo cards.

2. Embedded Tables

Empty card tables are now just that -- empty. No more "paths" and "files" items.
If the startcard script generates an error, a dialog is not posted unless you're trying to run the card. This avoids an unbreakable cycle of error dialogs that would make it impossible to fix the script.
Card tables are now stored in, not, so they're never saved to disk and cannot accumulate.

3. Out-and-out bugs

Fixed memory trasher when an object's value is shorter than its name, and its name is used in another object's recalculation script.
Fixed new object naming bug that would add nonsensically-high numbers to "item", like "item30266". It could lead to a "duplidate item name" debugger crash.
When "Show Grid" is enabled, the grid is drawn whether or not "Snap to Grid" is turned on.
Cut & Paste works in modeless cards. However, modal cards still have problems with the clipboard.
Recalculation updates active edit text items properly.
Typing no longer triggers a recalc of the item you're typing into.
Cursor arrow keys work in numeric-only text fields.
Changing the text of a button, static or edittext item marks the card file as changed, enabling the Save command.
Fixed bug where the error "Couldn't complete the message to..." would come up if a card's startup script tried to set a card attribute.
Fixed bug where you couldn't run a card, or edit a card's table, if Frontier was launched after MacBird
Added missing 'WIND' resource to Frontier for windoid cards. This fixes the "missing dialog resource" debugger trap.

4. Misc tweaks

The File/Open dialog recognizes cards with any creator (in particular card files created by Frontier).
Icon items can map to 'cicn' resources as well as icon suites. This allows standard system icons to be used, in particular IDs 0, 1 and 2 for the standard Alert icons.
Escape and cmd-period map to a card's Cancel button, if there is one, executing any script attached to it.
Option-Return when editing a text field types a return into the text rather than pressing the default card button.
The Clean Up command will always set Chicago-12 buttons to 20 pixels high, regardless of the grid setting. This is the standard height for dialog buttons.


1. A bundle of new features from "Preston"

Preston is the point man on the HTML suite for version 4.1.
Click here for documentation and updates.

2. Directives

Template directives can now be wptext objects within the website table.
ftpSite directives can now be tables contained within the website table.
Directives can now be put in templates.

3. Preferences

The following preferences have been added, if they are not defined previous defaults are used:
The following preferences can be set by directives, allowing them to be set on a page by page basis, the directive should be the same name as the preference:

  1. autoParagraphs
  2. dropNonAlphas
  3. expandGlossaryItems
  4. fileExtension
  5. lowerCaseFileNames
  6. maxFileNameLength
  7. processMacros
  8. 4. Sub directories

    Creation of sub directories for sub tables now supported for FTP based sites.

    5. When generating links by refering to an object in the same table as the object being rendered:

    Now relative links are generated.
    Can refer to the object's name non-normalized.

    6. Miscellaneous Improvements

    macros in a website "#tools" table can now be refered to by name instead of full path, and have rank over other macro locations.
    fileSpec types in websites are now supported. The contents of text files are rendered as if they were WP text objects.
    The directory name in a ftpSite table can once again optionally include a trailing colon.
    A change in logic and nomenclature: website based glossary and tools tables should now be labeled with a #. However the previous naming scheme will continue to be supported.


    1. Table menu, New Card command

    Closes the loop for managing cards withing Frontier. Creates an empty card object for editing.

    2. UserLand menu, New Script... command

    Consolidates a confusing area for new users. Replaces the New Desktop Script... command.
    Click here for documenation.

    3. UserLand menu, Export... command

    Open-architecture, offers a number of new capabilities. Replaces the entire Export submenu.
    Click here for documenation.


    1. Jump To Cell... command

    system.misc.jumpTo replaces system.extensions.jump.dialog, using a MacBird card in
    With the exception of system.misc.jumpAddress, the data for the dialog is now stored in user.jump. (May move to user.preferences.jump in the next release.)

    2. User Is... command

    This is also the personalization dialog that comes up when Frontier is run for the first time.

    3. dialog.ask, dialog.twoway, dialog.threeway, dialog.alert

    All of these verbs are now implemented with cards, not dialogs -- as they were in 4.1b7 as well.
    In 4.1b8, the verb scripts now use local variables instead of, and the card layouts more exactly match the old dialogs.

    4. dialog.fileInfo

    dialog.fileInfo's card implementation has an all-new layout, and inludes a "More..." button to bring up a nested card with additional file information.
    Caveat: although the More Info card will accept user input, it will not modify the file. This will likely be supported in the future.

    5. Table menu Get Info... command

    This card may go modeless in the future. For now, it looks just like the dialog did.

    6. FinderMenu Set File Type & Creator... and Batch File Type... command

    Once again, no new functionality here, but now with the added flexibility that cards bring.


    1. Dave Winer's Mail Agent Protocol proposal.

    This release includes an implementation of the Mail Agent Protocol in suites.mail.
    Information and documentation can be found at


    1. for x in y statements

    Fixed memory management bug in for ... in statements, when an error occurs in the loop body.

    2. dialog.ask

    dialog.ask returns false if you press cmd-. This is actually a more MacBird fix, detailed above.

    3. Edit With Application command

    cmd-E will not prompt the user to select a "Card Editor" if MacBird can be located on a mounted disk.
    Similarly, cmd-E on a text object will automatically locate BBEdit if present.
    cmd-E on a card object will just select the linked MacBird window if the card has already been opened.
    cmd-E on a card object will open the card in a MacBird window sized to fit, instead of the default window size

    4. op.setRefCon verb

    op.setRefCon marks the outline as having changed. If the outline was opened with target.set, clearing the target will not lose changes.


    1. Scheduler Suite

    The data for suites.scheduler is now stored in user.scheduler. scheduler.tasks has moved to user.scheduler.tasks, and scheduler.log to user.scheduler.log. I think I caught all the dependencies, please let me know if I didn't.
    Scheduling hourly and overnight tasks is easier using the New Script dialog. Any script in user.scheduler.hourly runs once per hour on the hour. Any script in user.scheduler.overnight runs every night at 2AM.
    The Scheduler Suite page provides background on the Scheduler suite, of course.

    2. Eudora glue table

    This latest table was put together by "Preston". For more info, click here.
    Adds support for Eudora 3 elements: windows, filters, and nicknames.
    Includes new documentation for Scripting Eudora and the shared menu. Includes a new table of example scripts.
    The new table fixes other bugs in previous Eudora tables, and is completely backwards compatable with them.

    3. Finder Flags UCMD

    This extension adds three new verbs: finderFlags.get, finderFlags.set, and finderFlags.clear. They access bits in a file's "Finder Flags" field, which indicate whether a file is stationary, is an alias, has a custom icon, etc.
    The new dialog.fileInfo "More Info" card uses these verbs to set the checkboxes that aren't directly supported by file verbs.

    4. Recalcuating Menus

    Along with '(' to disable menu items, the '!' character at the beginning of a menubar headline adds a check mark to that item. These are both useful only with formula items, since they usually must change with context.

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