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November 91 - Opinion - Apologia Windowia

Opinion - Apologia Windowia

James Plamondon

Recently, I resigned from the MacApp 3 beta program, and canceled my subscription to MacApp.Tech$. I had begun working on a project using Microsoft Windows, and with all I needed to learn on that platform, I simply didn't have the bandwidth to keep up with MacApp as well.

Since then, there's been a surprisingly large amount of interest in what led me to "abandon MacApp to do Windows programming." I'd like to present my case before I get cornered by some torch-lit mob with scythes and pitchforks.

First, let me set the record straight: I haven't abandoned the Mac; it's still my platform of choice. I will be returning to it within a year or two.

But I can see the writing on the wall, and it says that-like it or not-Microsoft Windows is here to stay. I am working with Windows now because it will put me in a good position to address issues related to multi-platform, single-source software development, which is a passion of mine. Besides, have you seen what experienced Windows programmers are making these days? (I've heard that Donald Trump is taking up Windows programming to make ends meet.)

Second-and let me be clear on this-Windows sucks. I mean it's really, really bad. However, it's getting better so fast, it's frightening. Windows 3.0 was vastly better than Windows 2.x; Windows 3.1 should really be called Windows 4.0, it's so much better; Win32 and Microsoft's New Technology (NT) operating system are slated for release sometime next year. Microsoft isn't exactly famous for its vision or its craftsmanship, but it could sell ice cubes to Eskimos. And it has a heck of a lot of money to pour into making Windows a commercial success. Windows, despite its obvious flaws, is going to be around for a long time.

When the Mac was first introduced, it was dismissed as a toy-and those who said so were right! With its low-capacity floppies and cramped RAM, it wasn't suitable for serious computing. Despite its flaws, it succeeded, because it gave its users something better than anything they had used before. Windows is just like that-if you stipulate that "what its users had used before" was DOS. That's Windows' greatest feature: that it's better than DOS.

Damning with faint praise, perhaps; but good enough to sell over five million copies so far. Have you sold five million copies of anything lately?

Last, there's always the possibility-slim though it might be-that I might learn something useful from Windows. (No-really!) I learned a bit of Latin in high school, and though I no longer go around conjugating verbs in public, learning some Latin certainly improved my English. Similarly, learning Windows may very well improve my general programming abilities. If nothing else, it'll make me appreciate the Mac that much more.

So, I haven't emigrated to WindowsLand; I'm just a tourist. But I'd be happy to send back the occasional postcard, sharing my experiences there-a sort of "Mac programmer's journey into Windows land" travelogue. Let me know if you're interested.

 
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