The ResourceFork – A file of files.

The ResourceFork. A relic from a bygone age of the Mac. It was an elegant solution to the problem of software resources. All of the assets and resources for a file or program would be contained within the ResourceFork. To the user this would then appear as a single file on the file system.

However it had issues. If you tried to move a file that had a resource fork to a machine that used a different file system, or just plain didn’t understand them then you would run into trouble. The ResourceFork of the file would be truncated and you were left with an empty file. Oops. This was particularly common when sending files over the internet or transferring them on USB Thumb Drives to a Windows machine.

Apple has since supplanted the ResourceFork with the concept of the “Bundle”, a folder that can appear to the user as a single file. Mac OS X Applications are bundles, and contain a number of files inside related to the Application.

In fact, Apple supplanted the ResourceFork so long ago, that it has never been a first class citizen on Mac OS X. That’s nearly 17 years since it was effectively “deprecated”. Given that it was a predominantly a feature from the classic era of Mac OS, the API’s have lived on in the Carbon framework (which is on the way out currently). The actual functionality of the ResourceFork is now just a consequence of HFS+, which is itself being replaced by the newer file system, AFS.

Luckily EV Nova’s resource forks were flattened into data forks and live on as ndat files or rez files. However huge scores of plugins out there are probably still original ResourceForks.

But the ResourceFork situation is the case with everything in EV Nova. The ResourceFork’s house a number of formats which are all also deprecated and becoming relics of a bygone era. Functionality is fast disappearing. At some point of Apple will release the ultimate death blow to EV Nova, and old classic era software. They will remove Carbon and HIToolbox from the system. When that day arrives EV Nova will lose the ability to read anything from its data files.

That makes this project more than just a quest to recreate the engine for modern machines. It makes it an endeavour to preserve these old formats from being lost to the sands of time.

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