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Kevin Walzer, software developer.



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Sat, 21 Mar 2015

Marc Culler and Tk-Cocoa

I've just committed another big batch of patches to Tk-Cocoa, submitted by Marc Culler, that address some significant lingering issues with memory management, zombie windows not being removed, and event loop integration between Tk and Cocoa. Not only have Marc's patches made Tk run smoother and faster, they have also simplified the code in many places by removing outdated API calls and improving the comments on what the code does.

Marc submitted these updates after many hours of work in the interest of getting the visualization application he co-develops, SnapPy, running better with Tk-Cocoa: it's a large, complex application that really pushes Tk hard, and showed a lot of the bugs that persisted in Tk-Cocoa even after the recent updates. After these were done, he reported that SnapPy runs beautifully. My own testing shows that Tk is running better than ever, and some of the old reports that illustrated showstopper bugs simply don't display issues anymore, at all.

I wanted to highlight Marc's contributions because they go beyond fixing a specific bug or implementing a specific feature, as valuable as such contributions are; he has helped to substantially re-design Tk-Cocoa's implementation and documentation to be simpler, faster, and easier to work with. He has essentially served as co-author of this version of Tk-Cocoa, and I am enormously grateful that he has invested the time and patience to learn the relevant API's and propose changes that don't just fix specific issues, but substantially improve the whole. In gratitude for his contributions, I've credited him as one of the main authors of Tk on the Mac, along with Daniel Steffen, Jim Ingham, and Ian Reid, whose work has made Tk possible on Mac OS X.

Now that SnapPy is ready for a new release soon, I don't expect Marc to remain as busy with submitting patches: he can get back to his day job as a mathematics professor at the University of Illinois-Chicago. Now I truly believe, in no small part because of his work, that Tk-Cocoa is now the stable, fast, simple toolkit that all of its users need it to be on the Mac--and I encourage anyone who is still hesitant about moving to Tk-Cocoa to take the plunge.

Thanks, Marc!

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