Apple's Xcode 3 Gives Application Life to 64-Bit 'Leopard'

By Daniel Drew Turner  |  Posted 2006-08-08 Print this article Print

The company unveils the new version of its graphical IDE for creating Mac applications at its Worldwide Developers Conference.

SAN FRANCISCO—In addition to unveiling new hardware and previewing the new "Leopard" version of OS X, Apple Computer CEO Steve Jobs used his keynote Aug. 7 at the Worldwide Developers Conference here to announce Xcode 3, a new version of Apple's graphical integrated development environment for creating Mac apps.

Xcode 3.0 uses Objective-C 2.0, a revised version of the object-oriented programming language that formed the basis for Xcode, Mac OS X and its predecessor, the NextStep operating system. According to Apple, Objective-C 2.0 will add "modern garbage collection, syntax enhancements, runtime performance improvements and 64-bit support." Apple also said that Xcode 3.0 and Objective-C 2.0 will be backward-compatible with existing Objective-C code.

Version 3.0 will require Leopard, a preview version of which was just released to developers. Apple has released some information about upcoming features, though there are likely other facets that remain hidden.

Garbage collection, a method of automatic memory management, was long a requested feature in Xcode. Previous Xcode versions required programmers to keep track of memory requested by their application and manually release the memory when no longer needed. Any missteps in this process could result in the application exhibiting memory leaks, which consumed system memory and imperiled the stability of the application.

The 64-bit support in Xcode 3 will enable developers to create applications for the 64-bit versions of Leopard. Apple CEO Steve Jobs also announced in his keynote that Leopard will support 64-bit applications, and that the new Mac Pro workstations will feature 64-bit-capable Intel Xeon processors.

64-bit support, which can enable larger chunks of data to be processed, has become an increasingly important feature for not only those who work with large-scale graphics images, but also database programmers and the scientific community.

Xcode 3.0 will also include a new program called Xray. This, according to Apple, will help developers graphically track the performance of elements of their application. Visually, Apple said, Xray will resemble timeline-based editors such as Apple's iMovie and GarageBand, allowing programmers to track their applications' actions against CPU load to see how one affects the other.

In addition, Xcode 3.0 will incorporate DTrace, a dynamic tracing framework that was originally part of OpenSolaris. Released as open source, DTrace helps developers debug and tune the performance of their applications.

Read the full story on eWEEK.com: Apple's Xcode 3 Gives Application Life to 64-Bit 'Leopard'


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