We seem to have a few potentially interested parties already. Very cool!
Carbon - As I said, my carbon programming knowledge is 'near zero' but I do know how to traverse the code and can muddle my way into understanding things (all be it with the help of google and company).
Cocoa - Well I'm far from an expert in that but I can 'make my way' with quite a few simple things and more important can find ways to get the answers I need to most of the things I need.
MAME code - cpu emulation, drivers, etc... Not even close! In short, totally over this man's head and I'm pretty sure I'm not ready to even dive into those waters even if I wanted too!
MacMAME dissecting - Due to lack of carbonized skill - It took me a while to figure out where the windows were coming from (mame.rsrc) and such but little by little I think I'm starting to understand things - the frontend code looks to be fairly well insulated from the rest (Brad either kept things that way or has been migrating his code to the current state)
Much of what is 'macfrontend.c' seems to be very UI related and then it just "calls out" to other code for the things that it needs. For example - code in that gets the 'list of roms' that you see is NOT in macfrontend.c but located in - maclists.c (I think). Same goes for the rest of the stuff.
While macfrontend.c does the job of showing you the screenshot graphic , where macfrontend.c gets the filename for that graphic is from code located outside macfrontend.c.
I hope that make 'some' sense....
I've also read that carbon applications can (now?) contain cocoa code files (for things just like what we want to do - user interface stuff) - Not that I've gone this far yet but it seems like it is 'doable'...
Note: Doing so may prevent MacMAME from running on systems running 10.2 and maybe even 10.3 (not sure yet) but since this is more of an 'exercise' then a 'released product' I'm thinking it'll be okay...
After all you've gotta break some eggs when you bake that cake!
I'll report back when I have new information to share... and don't any of you stop anything you might be doing and by all means share any useful things you might find back here in this thread.