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September 92 - President's Letter - Is MacApp 3.0 Dead?

President's Letter - Is MacApp 3.0 Dead?

Eric Berdahl

Friends,

There is an ancient curse that reads "may you live in interesting times." I believe we have all somehow fallen into just those times that the ancients had in mind. There is no shortage of hard choices to make and unanswered questions to confuse us. However, we are all in the same boat, and I hope that we can help each other make those choices and answer those questions.

By now, we've all heard that Symantec is developing a class library called Bedrock. We also know that Apple has committed resources to Bedrock's development, resources that were previously committed to MacApp development. Thus the apparently logical conclusion is to raise the battle cry; "MacApp is dead! Long live MacApp!" Unfortunately, this perception strikes fear into the hearts of developers for the wrong reasons. Fortunately, we, as an association of professionals, are uniquely positioned to help ourselves and others make the best of the situation.

Is MacApp dead? Stagnant perhaps, but not dead. I don't think anyone expects to see great architectural leaps forward in MacApp anymore. Clearly Apple places more value in Bedrock development than in MacApp development, but that judgment should not affect the decisions we need to make when developing our products. The question we have basically comes down to "How should I develop my product today?" The analysis of this problem is almost orthogonal to the question of where Apple's developmental dollars are being spent. Today we have a number of solutions for delivering product to market; MacApp 2.x and 3.x, Think Class Library, and Macintosh Common Lisp (MCL) are just a few. And even if Apple were still developing MacApp into version 3.1 or 4.x, the problem today would be the same.

But even if the question "What do I do today?" is unaffected, the more ominous question "What do I do tomorrow?" looms before us. As a community, we are still waiting for features that are not in MacApp's current architecture. Object Model and AppleScript support are not there. Quickdraw GX is not there. OCE is not there. And none of them are likely to be there, ever. Further, we all seem to be watching Bedrock closely, but that isn't likely to be a viable alternative for developers until next year. Even when Bedrock does ship, there will be a bazillion questions and problems we'll inevitably have, and I believe we're all intelligent enough to realize that we'll need more than just Symantec and Apple to help us.

These are the issues that actually make me very excited to have MADA around today. MADA formed when a group of developers wanted a forum to talk about development. Over the years, we have progressed to an international conclave of developers discussing the cutting edge of software development, a sort of "Better Living through Objects" self-help group, and it is this same cohesive interest that drives MADA forward today.

MADA today is the single best source of information for developers interested in object technology. We continue to provide developers with a forum for discussion of MacApp, MCL and other Object Oriented Dynamic Languages (OODLs), and other areas of interest relating to object technology. We are tracking the development of Bedrock, working to ensure that the concerns of MADA members are addressed and that MADA can assist developers using Bedrock in the same way that MADA has helped establish the great MacApp community that exists today. In that same way, MADA aspires to grow with that community as we study object technologies in all forms. You are in the unique position of being able to both watch that change from close range and guide its formation.

In February, we will hold our fourth annual conference, where you will see presentations of some of the most interesting and exciting object technologies available today. There you will see that MacApp, Bedrock, MCL, or any other emergent technology considered, MADA is here to help pull the community together, representing the community, and helping its members through the interesting times before us.

I look forward to traveling those roads with you.

Highest stirring regards,
Eric Berdahl

 
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