FreewayTalk

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Vito

14 Mar 2019, 6:06 am

[Pro] Feature Inquiry re. Freeway 8

Does anyone know whether the ability to import code is one of the features planned for Freeway 8 Pro? If not, that’s not a dealbreaker for me; I’m just curious. The ability to import code would be awesome, but I understand how that could be a very messy thing to integrate.

On the upside, I do know that multiple Undo levels is one of the planned features. That’s a huge plus; I had to stop using Freeway because the single level of Undo was unworkable for me.

Anyhow, I appreciate Jeremy’s approximate timeline, which (hopefully) anticipates the possible release of a beta version before Apple unleashes their next point version of macOS later this year. One is never sure any more just how violenty Cupertino will yank the rug out from under what little stability is left in the Mac development path.

Mac Pro 6.1 (Late 2013), 3.5 GHz 6-Core, 64GB RAM

macOS 10.12.6

waltd

14 Mar 2019, 1:13 pm

Freeway has always been, at its heart, a desktop publishing application that happens to “print” in HTML and CSS. Its internal layout language is not HTML, and a change of direction that large would probably up-end Jeremy’s plans for making the deadline. This is all supposition on my part, but if I were the Magic 8-Ball, I would say “probably not”.

Freeway since I forget which version (3, 5?) has had a sort of limited feature allowing import from HTML, but it has rarely been anything but a curiosity, at least to me. It can’t even “round-trip” from its own generated code (which is always written in a very predictable and valid format) so it doesn’t stand a chance with the wild west of code flavors extant on the Web. I find it so varied in its translation that I will go to any lengths, including re-typing, to avoid using it.

There is a whole current crop of WYSIWYG HTML editors these days, Pinegrow comes to mind as one, that use the WebKit layout engine as their internal design tool, and thus use HTML as both their output and their internal design language. Any of these would be better suited (at the moment) for working with existing HTML code as the source.

Any such application suffers the same problems that Freeway neatly avoids — since they are trying to both interpret and re-write HTML/CSS as they go, there is a strong incentive to re-use portions of the layout code that would be better re-written. When you stir the pot like this, you get mush. Freeway avoids this whole mess,, since it keeps the layout in its own design “world”, and only exports HTML/CSS. I’m not sure if that stance could be maintained and also sustain a strong import system, but then Jeremy is a lot smarter than I am, so who knows.

Walter

On Mar 14, 2019, at 2:05 AM, Vito via freewaytalk <[email protected]> wrote:

Does anyone know whether the ability to import code is one of the features planned for Freeway 8 Pro? If not, that’s not a dealbreaker for me; I’m just curious. The ability to import code would be awesome, but I understand how that could be a very messy thing to integrate.

On the upside, I do know that multiple Undo levels is one of the planned features. That’s a huge plus; I had to stop using Freeway because the single level of Undo was unworkable for me.

Anyhow, I appreciate Jeremy’s approximate timeline, which (hopefully) anticipates the possible release of a beta version before Apple unleashes their next point version of macOS later this year. One is never sure any more just how violenty Cupertino will yank the rug out from under what little stability is left in the Mac development path.

Freeway user since 1997

http://www.walterdavisstudio.com

Vito

14 Mar 2019, 6:35 pm

Walter: Thanks for your reply. Thanks too for your suggestion about Pinegrow, although I suspect it suffers from the same affliction shared by most WYSIWYG website creation tools—namely, they do not generate W3C compliant code that passes validation for Markup and CSS.

I couldn’t find anything about W3C compliance in Pinegrow’s documentation, so I sent a message to their support address asking about it. However, I’m not optimistic. I ran their home page through the W3C Markup validator and it came up with 49 errors and 6 warnings. I would expect a much better showing if Pinegrow actually cared about standards compliance.

The fact that Freeway generates pages that validate is one of the principal reasons that I was initially attracted to it. I thought, “At last! Someone who actually gets it!” But Freeway is an exception. The failure of other WYSIWYG tools to generate code that validates is an epidemic that I have never been able to understand. As Stephen St. Croix once observed,”I do not know why that blindness exists, but I have been forced to recognize that it does.“

I’ve been using an HTML editor called SEEdit Pro to clean up my (non-Freeway) pages (using the Tidy plugin) so they validate. Alas, SEEdit Pro is no longer being developed. It still runs in macOS Sierra, but sooner or later I’ll have to find another tool. Hopefully by then Freeway 8 will be available, and I’ll once again be able to do WYSIWYG design of pages that validate…this time with multiple Undo levels.

Mac Pro 6.1 (Late 2013), 3.5 GHz 6-Core, 64GB RAM

macOS 10.12.6

waltd

16 Mar 2019, 1:06 am

It seems to be highly dependent on which template you start from. I used the Album example, and that had only a couple handfuls of errors, easily corrected in the app. The images (which came from a Bootstrap example document) didn’t have their alt attributes set, and the

tag had a redundant aria role on it, which I had to really dig to find and remove. I don’t know how it would work with a truly blank page as a starting point.

To be fair, I don’t use Pinegrow all that much, I bought it because I had a bunch of Bootstrap work coming up, and I didn’t want to have to work so hard to get design concepts together, but that job didn’t pan out, and I was so put off by the Windows-meets-Electron interface that I didn’t do very much with it. Dragging it out to try and see how the validation worked is the first time I have laid eyes on it in many months.

Walter

On Mar 14, 2019, at 2:34 PM, Vito via freewaytalk <[email protected]> wrote:

I couldn’t find anything about W3C compliance in Pinegrow’s documentation, so I sent a message to their support address asking about it. However, I’m not optimistic. I ran their home page through the W3C Markup validator and it came up with 49 errors and 6 warnings. I would expect a much better showing if Pinegrow actually cared about standards compliance.

Freeway user since 1997

http://www.walterdavisstudio.com

grantsymon

16 Mar 2019, 11:15 am

On 14 Mar 2019, 6:06 am, Vito wrote:

On the upside, I do know that multiple Undo levels is one of the planned features. That’s a huge plus; I had to stop using Freeway because the single level of Undo was unworkable for me.

Multiple undos will indeed be a very welcome change. I would expect it will have versioning too, which I think comes ‘free’ for Mac apps. You can see what versioning looks like in iWork or TextEdit etc. It’s very similar to Time Machine.

Actually … if you work on a Macbook, you may not be aware, but Time Machine is always running in the background and even without a backup drive available, it is creating backup versions. I actually use this with Freeway. Generally the versions are at hourly intervals or so. Another option that I use on an old Mac running very old software, is to have Chronosync running constantly in the background (you wouldn’t know it’s running). It makes a back up of my work file every 5 minutes, to a maximum of 20 copies. So it bumps the oldest each time. You could happily run it every minute without noticing. It’s not as easy as multiple undos, but it is the next best thing.

Grant

Vito

16 Mar 2019, 4:24 pm

Grant: Thanks for the tip about Chronosync. I’ve been using Synchronize! Pro X for bootable backups, but it doesn’t work for that purpose starting with High Sierra, and the developer is not interested in rewriting the app to accommodate Apple’s having moved the furniture, system-wise. Chronosync (with ChronoAgent) looks like it might provide the features I need for bootable backups. And if it can do versioning (up to 20 copies) for automatic backups of single files, then yeah…it sounds like a decent workaround.

Truth be told, I’m not a huge fan of Time Machine because of the way it uses and manages disk space, so I keep it turned off in System Prefs. I’m not sure about your assertion that “it’s always running in the background”. It doesn’t appear to be doing that in Sierra; it doesn’t show up as a running process in Activity Monitor. Maybe it’s different in later versions of macOS…but I hope not.

As it turns out, I’m stuck at Sierra because of a firmware problem entailed by the hardware architecture of the current Mac Pro (6.1…the Black Trashcan; it’s too long to explain here). In any case, if High Sierra or later forces Time Machine to run in the background whether the user wants it or not, that’s just a waste of CPU resources. So it’s just as well that I can’t “upgrade” past Sierra.

Actually, saving multiple versions isn’t a problem for me because I’m running Surround SCM, and I typically check in my work to mark my incremental progress. But it’s still a nuisance to stop and check in the Freeway file when I’m in the middle of working. Hence, multiple Undo is a necessity.

I understand that it has been essentially impossible to implement multiple Undo in Freeway’s current application architecture, which is why it hasn’t been included up to and including Freeway 7. I’m delighted that Softpress has listened to users and is incorporating it into Freeway 8 as they rebuild the app from the ground up.

Mac Pro 6.1 (Late 2013), 3.5 GHz 6-Core, 64GB RAM

macOS 10.12.6

waltd

16 Mar 2019, 5:24 pm

If you can get into at least High Sierra, with the new APFS, you get all sorts of backup goodies (really) for free, because of the way that APFS manages the filesystem. There’s nothing running, because the filesystem itself is taking care of these details in the background. Instead of writing everything to the disk all the time, all changes are “journaled”, and undoing is just a matter of working the journal backwards. It costs nothing.

Walter

On Mar 16, 2019, at 12:24 PM, Vito via freewaytalk <[email protected]> wrote:

As it turns out, I’m stuck at Sierra because of a firmware problem entailed by the hardware architecture of the current Mac Pro (6.1…the Black Trashcan; it’s too long to explain here). In any case, if High Sierra or later forces Time Machine to run in the background whether the user wants it or not, that’s just a waste of CPU resources. So it’s just as well that I can’t “upgrade” past Sierra.

Freeway user since 1997

http://www.walterdavisstudio.com

Vito

16 Mar 2019, 10:21 pm

Walter: Nope…I hit a brick wall when I tried to install High Sierra—a consequence of the fact that the Mac Pro 6.1 only has one internal drive, and all other connected drives (T’bolt or USB) are considered “external” drives, and the High Sierra installer won’t install the system on an external drive. It’s actually way more complicated than that, but that’s the short version. (Google “missing firmware partition” if you want a hint of the full nightmare.)

The bottom line is that the Mac Pro 6.1 is a triumph of form over function that even Apple admits is a dead-end in hardware architecture. I’m already planning to freeze the Mac Pro 6.1 at Sierra as an isolated workstation-only system after Apple drops support for Sierra, which presumably will be this coming November, at which time I hope to have a new and very different Mac Pro.

Of course, that’s assuming that Apple’s ephemeral promise of a new “modular” Mac Pro to be released later this year actually pans out. (Cynics are undoubtedly rolling on the floor at this point.)

Even so, Sierra works great on the Mac Pro 6.1. I’m not inclined to jump through a lot of hoops to move past Sierra, which is what it would take to get to High Sierra and beyond.

Anyhow, thanks for that information. Fortunately, my need to use Freeway isn’t urgent. If it were, I probably would follow your advice as an eminently reasonable workaround.

Mac Pro 6.1 (Late 2013), 3.5 GHz 6-Core, 64GB RAM

macOS 10.12.6

grantsymon

17 Mar 2019, 10:58 am

Vito, the fix for your problem is a pain, but it’s not difficult, just time consuming. That said, you don’t need to be sitting in front of your Mac while it’s going on. If it were me, I would definitely move to Mojave. It’s a big step forward from Sierra, for the system (the under-the-hood stuff) and as Walter points out, you move to APFS, which is a vastly more efficient and safer format. (There is a weirdness if you work with networked Macs which are too old to be upgraded, because they can’t see the APFS files, but there are workarounds). Unlike so many system ‘upgrades’ of the past, you won’t find your Mac getting slower and may in fact find it’s a bit faster. I always recommend to people to use Time Machine, but it may not be good for everything … Personally, I’ve been working with ~100 megapixel image files since around 2007, so I have some experience of TM’s unsuitability for large files. :) So, I exclude ALL my work files, which are all in there own top-level folder which I simply call, ‘work_inProgress’. TM does everything else and most importantly, the Mac system itself. I use Chronosync for these work files and it does a great job. If you want to use a networked backup system (which I do) it’s the only game in town really, because of the way ChronoAgent works. Your backups are also automatically verified because they’re across ethernet. So it’s more reliable than copying from one disk to another. (TM is also thoroughly verified). I’ve used Chronosync for many years and wouldn’t hesitate to recommend it. I used CCC prior to that and it was also very good, but when I moved to networked backup, I had to switch. Of the two and apart from the network thing, I suppose I actually prefer Chronosync.

As for the firmware problem. If I had this problem, I would … 1/ make a TM backup. Run it a few times to ensure it has everything. 2/ you have a choice of ways to proceed, which you’d have to choose from. E.G, you could live dangerously and trust your TM backup to be ok, so simply reformat your HD by starting up from Restore Disk (boot holding down CMD-R or other (https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT204904)) then once complete, Restore your User from TM. Alternatively and much less stressful, use a 2nd HD to install Mojave onto, either internally or externally if you have a drive bay or sata cable, then Restore your User from TM onto it. Once finished, you’d then swap out the internal drive for this new one. There’s a few options to achieve the same, but personally, when this stuff happens, I like to have that extra-double-safety-net and would definitely just leave the existing HD alone, until everything was fine with a second one. Either way, TM is your friend here and makes the process much more simple. In the end though, the only way forward will be to either re-format or replace the internal drive and restoring the User from TM is the safest/simplest way to complete the process.

Caveat: I’m not responsible for ensuing catastrophes! :)

Grant

Vito

17 Mar 2019, 4:41 pm

Grant: Thanks for your reply.

On 17 Mar 2019, 10:58 am, grantsymon wrote:

…Personally, I’ve been working with ~100 megapixel image files since around 2007, so I have some experience of TM’s unsuitability for large files.

Right. I do pro audio/video/graphics work. I have hundreds of audio files that average ~900 MB, and video file sizes of ~25 GB. They’re all on external data-only HDDs (T’bolt connection). I back up those with Sync!ProX. Time Machine is not the right tool for that job.

I had problems with Time Machine backing up and reliably restoring my system (boot) volume, which is where all my apps and plugins reside. I have AppleCare, but even with escalating my case, Apple wasn’t able to get it to work. I ended up solving it with Sync!ProX or Super Duper (can’t remember which), but that episode convinced me that Time Machine was not the right backup app for me.

…you could live dangerously and trust your TM backup to be ok, so simply reformat your HD by starting up from Restore Disk (boot holding down CMD-R or other (https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT204904)) then once complete, Restore your User from TM… …Once finished, you’d then swap out the internal drive for this new one. There’s a few options to achieve the same, but personally, when this stuff happens, I like to have that extra-double-safety-net and would definitely just leave the existing HD alone, until everything was fine with a second one…

Yep. I actually had as many as three external cloned backups of my internal drive — one on an SSD, and the other two on brand new HDDs. At that point, I had never used Time Machine before, so I wasn’t willing to put all my eggs in that basket. Good thing, too; restoring from Time Machine left many things broken. So the “safety net” approach is an absolute requirement for me. I’m not inclined toward the “living dangerously” approach.

The problem with the Mac Pro 6.1 is that “swapping out the internal drive” is simply not an option, as it is on the Mac Pro 5.1 “Cheese Grater” tower, where there are 4 internal drive bays (more, if you replace the optical drives). With the MP 6.1, there are no drive bays. The internal drive is an SSD on a circuit board that can’t be “swapped out” with anything except another SSD on a circuit board…and once that SSD is outside the Mac, it won’t run anywhere else.

That’s what I mean about dead-end hardware architecture. You get one internal drive, on a circuit board, plugged into a socket on the motherboard, and hard-wired to the power supply with screw terminals, and that’s it. Everything else is “external”, and not interchangeable between external and internal. It’s just stupid functional design…but hey — it sure looks great!

Anyhow, after thinking it through, I’m probably going to have to do the firmware update and upgrade this internal SSD to at least High Sierra anyway, in which case I might as well just go to Mojave. The reason I say that is my suspicion that the new Mac Pro (late 2019…if it actually appears) will most likely come with macOS 10.15, and there’s no telling what will be the minimum system requirement. Only Apple knows..but they have a tendency to limit the lower end OS requirement to the version that’s current at the time the Mac is released.

In that case, I would most likely have to upgrade my Mac Pro 6.1 internal drive to macOS 10.15 before cloning it over to the new Mac Pro.

As it turns out, I still have two fully functional Mac Pro 5.1 machines, both of which will run Mojave…and both of which have internal drive bays. I might end up using one of them to install Mojave on an external HDD clone of my Mac Pro 6.1’s internal system drive, then move that Mojave drive back over to an external T’bolt drive bay on the 6.1, and then see what happens when I boot from that. If everything works, I’ll swap the internal OWC SSD with the OEM SSD, and upgrade that to High Sierra to get the firmware update. Then I’m probably good to run the Mojave installer on the internal SSD, but I won’t risk that without at least two bootable backups of the internal SSD — one on external SSD and another on external HDD.

Feh. I’ve been a Mac user since 1986. It didn’t used to be this complicated.

Thanks again for your reply, amigo.

Mac Pro 6.1 (Late 2013), 3.5 GHz 6-Core, 64GB RAM

macOS 10.12.6

grantsymon

18 Mar 2019, 10:18 am

I see we’re of about the same vintage. I bought my first Mac in ‘89. :)

I didn’t know that the Mac Pro 6,1 was an SSD card. Silly really but if it’s like the MacBook Pros with the same, they can be switched out, but it’s not a simple operation. You can also buy empty drive boxes to put the old one in, or just use a SATA cable and a rubber band.

If you decide to bite the bullet on the drive, I’d re-format and install a clean Mojave, then use Migration Assistant to move your User Account across from a TM backup. I would guess that the problem you had in the past was that newer versions of the OS puts things in different places to the original installs, so moving stuff across doesn’t always work. So I’d prefer in this situation, to not move applications and instead, to re-install them with the latest available installers. The danger is that some apps, that have survived OS transitions, may not have updated installers to handle the process correctly on recent OS’s. I actually use 3 generations of Macs, which cater to current, plus 2 generations of depleted software, which I still use. One for a 90’s imaging app, which runs like lightning on a G5Quad running 10.6 for Classic (MacOS 9) and another with 10.6 for a high-end digital back, which is still producing the goods 12 years on. So, similar to the discussion about FW8 and it’s compatibility for FW7 files … I see no great urgency. If it can do it down the road, it’ll be great, but I’d personally rather that precious resources be spent on features, stability and bug removal. However, I appreciate that people working in video, sound and imaging, tend to have a lot more computers hanging around, than the average pro user. :)

Grant

Simon Manning

18 Mar 2019, 11:20 am

The problem with the Mac Pro 6.1 is that “swapping out the internal drive” is simply not an option, as it is on the Mac Pro 5.1 “Cheese Grater” tower, where there are 4 internal drive bays (more, if you replace the optical drives). With the MP 6.1, there are no drive bays. The internal drive is an SSD on a circuit board that can’t be “swapped out” with anything except another SSD on a circuit board…and once that SSD is outside the Mac, it won’t run anywhere else.

That’s what I mean about dead-end hardware architecture. You get one internal drive, on a circuit board, plugged into a socket on the motherboard, and hard-wired to the power supply with screw terminals, and that’s it. Everything else is “external”, and not interchangeable between external and internal. It’s just stupid functional design…but hey — it sure looks great!

I wouldn’t like to say it definitely is since I’ve not looked very closely but I’m fairly confident that’s an M2 connector. It’s not very common but not very uncommon either, certainly consumer level but you tend to see it more on small form factor motherboards that people might use for things like media centre PCs.

Assuming it is, I would be very surprised if you can’t pick up a USB3 M2 enclosure relatively cheaply to do any shenanigans that you might want to with both drives available to the system at the same time.

Simon

Vito

18 Mar 2019, 3:34 pm

On 18 Mar 2019, 11:20 am, Simon Manning wrote:

I wouldn’t like to say it definitely is since I’ve not looked very closely but I’m fairly confident that’s an M2 connector. It’s not very common but not very uncommon either, certainly consumer level but you tend to see it more on small form factor motherboards that people might use for things like media centre PCs.

Assuming it is, I would be very surprised if you can’t pick up a USB3 M2 enclosure relatively cheaply to do any shenanigans that you might want to with both drives available to the system at the same time.

Simon: Yep…such an enclosure would be a handy tool if it were available. Alas, from all the information I’ve been able to find, the internal SSD on the late-2013 Mac Pro is a custom PCIe drive made for Apple by Samsung. Apparently the connector is proprietary. Devices with a standard M.2 connector won’t work.

Then too, there’s the issue of the the form factor. The OWC 1TB Aura SSD is much wider than the little OEM SSD, and it’s equipped with a hefty heat sink assembly. All of the external enclosures I’ve seen for M.2 cards are too narrow and too thin to accommodate the OWC Aura card, and in any case they would require a special adapter that converts the Apple connector to standard M.2…plus, the user reviews of the available adapters aren’t encouraging. I’d end up with the card hanging out in space, and with little certainty that it’s going to work reliably.

I appreciate your suggestion, but I suspect that the least time-consuming and most reliable path forward is to run the High Sierra installer on the old OEM drive to upgrade the firmware…er, after first checking with OWC to make sure the firmware upgrade won’t render the Aura SSD kaput.

Thanks again!

Mac Pro 6.1 (Late 2013), 3.5 GHz 6-Core, 64GB RAM

macOS 10.12.6

Vito

18 Mar 2019, 4:11 pm

On 18 Mar 2019, 10:18 am, grantsymon wrote:

I see we’re of about the same vintage. I bought my first Mac in ‘89. :)

I didn’t know that the Mac Pro 6,1 was an SSD card. Silly really but if it’s like the MacBook Pros with the same, they can be switched out, but it’s not a simple operation. You can also buy empty drive boxes to put the old one in, or just use a SATA cable and a rubber band.

…I’d prefer in this situation, to not move applications and instead, to re-install them with the latest available installers. The danger is that some apps, that have survived OS transitions, may not have updated installers to handle the process correctly on recent OS’s. I actually use 3 generations of Macs, which cater to current, plus 2 generations of depleted software, which I still use…

Hi Grant: As I mentioned in my previous reply to Simon, the SSD is PCIe, not SATA, and it’s a proprietary job that Samsung makes for Apple. It’s probably possible to get it to work externally, but so far I haven’t found anyone who has done it reliably. I don’t want to mess around with figuring out the pin-outs on the card traces, which is what I’d have to do to ensure that whatever I cobble together is going to work. That kind of task doesn’t exceed my skills, but it vastly exceeds the time I’m willing to spend.

That also applies to rebuilding my apps and plugins from the ground up. By rough count, I have something like 450 apps, and over 200 plugins, not to mention all the custom preferences I’ve set for many of them. Starting from scratch is more work than I want to contemplate.

Of course, what you say is undoubtedly true; I already know for a fact that moving past Sierra is going to break a lot of apps. There are things I use daily or might need to use in the future to update work I’ve done in the past that require me to have access to the app+plugin+system configuration I used to create them. Like you, I have a G5 running 10.6, and I have a Mac Pro 5,1 running 10.8.5, which I use regularly for certain projects. (Actually, I also have a MacBook Pro that has 10.4, 10, 9, and 10.12 partitions, plus a G4 Lombard with System 9.) But yeah…you nailed it; pro music/audio/video geeks do tend to preserve legacy systems “just in case”. Definitely not your average user.

Mac Pro 6.1 (Late 2013), 3.5 GHz 6-Core, 64GB RAM

macOS 10.12.6

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Thomas Kimmich

19 Mar 2019, 11:18 pm

On 14 Mar 2019, 6:35 pm, Vito wrote:

Walter: Thanks for your reply. Thanks too for your suggestion about Pinegrow, although I suspect it suffers from the same affliction shared by most WYSIWYG website creation tools—namely, they do not generate W3C compliant code that passes validation for Markup and CSS.

Pinegrow is - just for your interest - not a WYSIWYG tool, and never was and never will be. It’s an authoring tool which requires knowledge. Once you have it - it will generate whatever you like!!!!

Thomas Kimmich

Kimmich DigitalMedia

http://www.kimmich-digitalmedia.com

T.+49(0)7404-914 384

Somewhere in the South of Germany