NTLK [OT] First 4 days as a Newbie Newton Developer

From: Ching Yi Tsai (tsai@mac.com)
Date: Thu Jun 01 2000 - 06:41:37 CDT

Hi everyone,

I like to share my impression on developing for my beloved Newton
started 4 days ago.

Firstly, I should state my background first. I just finished my MSc in
Computer Science. So I am pretty used to programming in various
programming languages. I also owned many books/documentation on
Programming on Newton, thanks to someone who sold it cheaply to me a
while back. I believe that many of these documentation are online too.

I just like to say to those who are thinking of learning how to do
programming for your Newton, my opinion is that as long as you have some
sort of basic programming experiences, you will be fine! There are many
ways you can program on Newton. You can check them out in the FAQ. But I
like to concentrate on my impression with NewtonScript.

I like to suggest to start a mini-project immediately, even before you
start learning NewtonScript. You can design the GUI (graphical user
interface), the structure of the program etc. For example my first
mini-project is to create a program to help me remember the new Hebrew
words that I learned recently.

The next stage is to get familiar with NTK. Play with the "layout" to
see how your GUI will look like in Newton. You don't even need to write
a single line of NewtonScript to achieve this! It is certainly rewarding
to see your own mock-program running on your Newton the first time!

Now, you will have to fill in the missing bits, the code. NewtonScript
is not that much different from other programming languages, apart from
the way its inheritance is implemented. My opinion is that if you can
program in BASIC, or Pascal, you can understand the basic syntax of
NewtonScript. Obviously, it will be great if you have access to the many
Newton documentations like the "Newton Programmer's Guide", "Newton
Toolkit User's Guide" etc.

Just like me, you will have many problems/error messages with your
program very quickly. Or you don't know how to implement something. You
can either find help on NLTK, or comp.sys.newton.programmer, especially
comp.sys.newton.programmer, because nowadays it is rather quiet over
there. Personally I have received help and advice from many of the
prominant people on both NTLK and comp.sys.newton.programmer in just the
last few days. We need more Newbie developers to ask questions :) Many
Newton developer are still active in both NLTK and
comp.sys.newton.programmer, so don't hesitate to ask questions! I
believe they are more than happy to see more developers join in the

Lastly, if you are those that likes to follow examples in the textbook
to learn. I like to recommend the book "Programming for the Newton" by
Julie McKeehan and Neil Rhodes. The book goes through one big example
"WaiterHelper" that covers many areas of Newton Developement. When you
are through with the book, you will have a real-world application on
your hand. It should be noted that I am not referring to their later
book "Programming for the Newton Using Macintosh", 2nd edition, which
the example "WaiterHelper" is removed.

Anyway, I am having such a great time so far developing for my Newton.
Hope some of you can join me and many of the other Newton developers in
the quest to provide more functionality or applications to our beloved
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