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Window switching can randomly change IBOL programs

 
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Bytecodes
IBOLHead


Joined: 06 Dec 2007
Posts: 79

PostPosted: Mon Dec 10, 2007 10:27 am    Post subject: Window switching can randomly change IBOL programs Reply with quote

Build .986
Mac OS X 10.5.1 (Leopard)

As neat as CW was back on the original Mac it's bugs were so frustrating (like the ZAP bug I just documented) that I nearly gave up on it at times. One problem was that ChipWits would randomly change my arrows. This happened all the time. I'd rerun a program that was just working minutes earlier and it would hit an infinite loop or start acting crazy. Stepping through the code showed that an arrow had been mysteriously changed. Now, years later using ChipWIts II, the problem is still there but I finally realize what is going on.

On Mac OS 9 you make a standard application window front-most by clicking anywhere inside it. But, ChipWits treats this click in a Windows manner by also causing user interaction with the window's contents. No wonder ChipWits acted so buggy - when I was selecting its window I could be randomly changing one of my arrows.

Mac OS X guidelines permits applications to use the window click-through paradigm but only for window components that cause obvious context changes, such as buttons and tabs. Clicking inside a text document, for example in TextEdit, does not change the insertion point but only brings the window to the front. (This paradigm tends to avoid the mysterious behavior sometimes seen with Windows programs such as the quirky arrow changes I experienced.)

Now that I know what is going on, that CW is acting like a Windows program, I can try to remember not to cause these tiny arrow changes to happen. But two problems remain. For Mac users this behavior is unexpected and can make it appear ChipWits is buggy. And the arrows are so small, especially in the shrunken panel display, that it is not obvious they are being changed.
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dougsharp
Site Admin


Joined: 16 Feb 2007
Posts: 193

PostPosted: Tue Dec 11, 2007 3:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

A very subtle bug. I am making a note of it. Adobe AIR implements the way programs act as native windows but there may be some switches I can throw to disable this inadvertant editing.

I have no idea what was going on in the original ChipWits. We got so few bug reports from players back then and didn't have nearly enough time to do thorough playtesting or bugtesting.
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Bytecodes
IBOLHead


Joined: 06 Dec 2007
Posts: 79

PostPosted: Tue Dec 11, 2007 6:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

If you have no way of knowing whether your play window is the frontmost window then I don't see how you can do anything about this.
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Bytecodes
IBOLHead


Joined: 06 Dec 2007
Posts: 79

PostPosted: Wed Dec 12, 2007 4:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I just had an idea. By simply adding a novel sound when the user clicks on an arrow this might be enough to alert the user that something fishy is going on when they think they are just bringing the ChipWits window to the front window. It shouldn't take long for users to connect that sound with arrow clicking, and that might be enough to raise suspicions if they hear it at 'wrong' times.

Another defensive suggestion I have is to not permit panels to be edited while they are being displayed in their tiny miniature size when the window is in the non-coding display modes.

Sorry to harp so much on this topic, but these mysterious arrow changes have literally cost me hours of time while IBOL programming.
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dougsharp
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Joined: 16 Feb 2007
Posts: 193

PostPosted: Sun Jan 27, 2008 12:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I like the added sound idea. Will implement it.
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