MacResearch: Leopard Has Lots of Developer Goodies

Most of the focus on Mac OS X Leopard has been on cool user level improvements. However, by using the command line, itis possible to discover several important new under-the-hood features included in Leopard for developers and researchers, such as Dtrace, OpenMPI, and Swig for script bridging, according to Drew McCormack at MacResearch on Monday. In fact, Leopard may be more focused on developers than end users.

First, there is the Dtrace profiling software found in /usr/bin. Dtrace allows developers to profile the performance of their code in detail. Dtrace allows the developer to do that wihout having to compile in special flags to their code.

Next, Apple has paid attention to the increasing demand for parallelism and has OpenMPI built in. MPI is a protocol that allows multiple nodes in a cluster to pass instructions and data in a compute cluster. "OpenMPI is an implementation of the Message-Passing Interface (MPI), which allows for SPMD parallel applications to be written for shared- and distributed-memory systems," Dr. McCormack noted.

Finally, Apple has included the swig tool that allows developers and users to easily create a bridge between scripting languages to native code. "Leopard includes a number of other scripting-related commands, such as rails, for Ruby on Rails; gem, for Ruby package management; easy_install, for Python package installation; and config_data, for configuring Perl modules," Dr. McCormack noted. "Speaking of Perl, there is now support for building GUI apps with wxWidgets...."

In addition, developers can now digitally sign their code with the codesign command. Also, the sandbox-exec command can be used to run an application in a restricted sandbox.

The contributor noted that some have characterized Leopard as more of a developeris release than an end useris release. "Itis hard to deny," he wrote. "From Xcode to Interface Builder and Instruments, developing software on Leopard is a whole lot more attractive than it was on Tiger, and there are just as many improvements under the cover."