Ever thought music software would inspire developer tools? Only Apple would try something like this: they’ve copied the interface of their own GarageBand software, almost button for button, in the new Xray developer tool in Xcode 3.0 (part of Mac OS X 10.5). The developer’s work process will be much like someone mixing music in GarageBand.

Xray is designed for visualizing performance and debugging code, which is a linear, time-based process. That means that some kind of timeline interface makes perfect sense. Apple didn’t just stop there, though: the track view, transport controls (including record button), volume, channel controls, ruler, and loop display elements are all there. It’s so close that you wind up with sentences like this:

Add different instruments so you can instantly see the results of code analyzers.

Instruments turn out to be exactly the same word in development; see comments for more details of what this means for real programmers as opposed to weekend coders like me. 🙂

I’m just waiting for Apple to add an Apple Loop Browser so you can lay down a groovin’ trance or house beat while you figure out why your application is sucking so many CPU cycles.

Mac OS X Leopard Sneak Peak: Xcode 3.0 [Apple.com]

And in a non sequitur at the end, Apple reverts to their usual marketing hyperbole: “Xray. Because it’s 2006.” So we should have a developer tool with the interface from Sonic Foundry’s ACID in 1998? Hey, if it saves developers time and makes the dev tools more intuitive, I’m for it! Developers who want to chime in on this and let us know what you think, please do.