TweetFollow Us on Twitter

Dec 90 Letters
Volume Number:6
Issue Number:12
Column Tag:Letters

The Sordid Truth

By Kirk Chase, Editor, MacTutor

The Sordid Truth About Apple Why Don’t Those Idiots Ever Do Anything Right?

Dave Wilson

Personal Concepts

Palo Alto, CA 94306

MacTutor has been running a lot of articles about programming with objects lately, covering everything from MacApp. the THINK Class Library, and other goodies. This coverage is great, since it reflects the rapidly growing interest in object programming on the Mac, and on any other platform that requires us to support a graphical user interface.

I found the two-part series entitled “MacOops!” by Dr. Christian Stratowa in August and Sept ’90 to be particularly interesting. The good doctor has done a really nice piece of work in developing a small applications framework in THINK Pascal. He also added some spice to the article with some personal comments about Apple Computer in general and MacApp specifically. I think a response to some of those comments is in order.

We are all entitled to our opinions, so what follows are mine, based on my experiences teaching Mac programming since 1984. During that time, I have written Mac applications using only the Toolbox, and also using MacApp. I have taught hundreds of developers to use THINK C, THINK Pascal, MPW Object Pascal, and MPW C++. I also have taught Smalltalk-80 for ParcPlace Systems, and have written small programs on the NeXT computer using NextStep and it’s Interface Builder.

The following paragraphs start with quotes from Dr. Stratowa’s September article in italics, followed by my comments in a plain style.

“Apple is giving notice to Macintosh developers that OOP will become the only way to write Mac software. I really hope this statement does not mean that in the future Apple will force programmers to use MacApp. Although I don’t have MacApp yet, from what I have seen in the different article published in MacTutor, I have the feeling that I won’t like it.”

“Freedom to the programmers to adopt their own programming style and to use the language of their choice.”

“It seems clear to me that object-oriented programming will be the software approach of the future.”

“The way of the future seems to lie more GAOOP - graphic assisted object-oriented programming, a way outlined in Steve Job’s NextStep ”

Comment: Apple has not threatened to force you to use MacApp, but they have indicated that there will be a time when you will have to use OOP. That is because of exactly what the Dr. stated in his third comment above. What is odd is the Dr’s feeling that Apple is jamming something down his throat, while at the same time speaking fondly of NextStep on the NeXT computer. Perhaps he does not realize that to write GUI applications for the NeXT machine, you are required to use NextStep with Objective-C. In other words, while Apple currently allow you choices, Next does not. How can you compliment Next for already doing what Apple has said they will do in the future.

Since the Dr. likes NextStep, but does not like MacApp, perhaps a comparison is in order. A good object-oriented development system consists of the following parts:

After writing programs using both MacApp and NextStep, they appear to me to be very similar in concept and intent. I think that NextStep’s system looks nicer and is more integrated, while MacApp is richer and more well-developed, with a much wider range of programming tools. And MacApp allows you to work in either C or Pascal, while NextStep has no place for Pascal programmers to hide.

“Maybe Smalltalk will finally get the attention it deserves, although for some strange reason Apple has never promoted it officially. Using Smalltalk, scientists at Canon’s European research center have recently developed a visual programming language, called VPL, which enables nonspecialists to manipulate images on a computer screen. I have the feeling that Apple is losing more and more ground.”

Comments: Apple also developed a visual programming language using Smalltalk. It is called Fabrik, and was shown at the 1988 OOPSLA conference in San Diego. I suspect that it may never be released as a product because Smalltalk is difficult to use to develop small, stand-alone applications. What Apple has done is bring Smalltalk programming tools like the code browsers and object inspectors to MacApp, so they are at least learning from the ideas in the great Smalltalk programming environment.

As far as supporting (unsophisticated) end-user programming, Apple’s HyperCard has been the most significant product in this area on any platform. Third-party Mac products like Prototyper, AppMaker, LabView, Extend, and even ProGraph also provide great support for various kinds of visual programming.

“How can a company ... still design its hardware without at least one graphics processor?”

Comment: Apple does provide a graphics card with a hardware accelerator. I suspect it is optional because normal Mac color graphics performance is pretty good without it. I notices that MPW scrolls so fast on a Mac IIci that I often scroll past the line I want to look at.

“Forget the Mac, join the NeXT!”

Comment: The NeXT computer is very nicely designed, and is fun to use. However its poor performance and lack of software has severely limited its market. The trade magazines estimate that only 8,500 machines have been sold, compared to the Mac’s few million installed base. New NeXT models were introduced in Mid-September that are more appealing, but I would not bet the whole ranch on NeXT’s uphill battle against Apple on the low end, and Sun on the high end.

“However, MacApp... is limited to the Mac only.”

Comments: I too wish that implementations of MacApp existed in the DOS and UNIX worlds. As it is, you could not have a MacApp running for Windows 3.0 development, since Microsoft does not provide C++ for Windows developers, and Borland’s Turbo C++ cannot make Windows applications. I suspect that both Microsoft and Borland will provide applications frameworks somewhat like MacApp within the next year or so. As usual, the DOS world is playing catch up with the Macintosh world. The CommonView system is probably the closest thing to MacApp in the DOS world, but it is not nearly as sophisticated.

What many developers would like is one all-purpose development system that has compile-time options to generate code for Mac, Windows, and UNIX. There are systems like that. One is called XVT, but by trying to be everything to everybody, it does not provide the best possible support for anyone. It is not nearly as well-suited as MacApp for created serious Mac applications. Another very portable system is Smalltalk-80 (now known as Objectworks for Smalltalk-80). A Smalltalk-80 program is portable across most popular platforms, but uses a generic (non-Macintosh) user interface to achieve that portability. Smalltalk-V has an (almost) correct Mac user interface, but requires changes as you move from Mac to DOS, and like most Smalltalks, it usually cannot provide small, fast applications.

All in all, Dr. Stratowa seems to approve of object programming, but feels that Apple is doing a poor job of providing hardware and development systems. I think he is right in that they could do much better, but he is wrong in feeling that the world has left them behind. Apple still provides a better personal computing experience for end-users that the competition. Furthermore, MacApp using either THINK Pascal or MPW provides a richer, more productive software development environment than you will find on competing computers. As products like Aldus’ PhotoShop, Softview’s FormsView, and Farallon’s MediaTracks have shown, if you want to write great Macintosh software, you can use MacApp to do it.

The above is, of course, only one more opinion. I assume MacTutor will receive more heated opinions on a regular basis. I do hope you base your opinions on your own personal experiences with these products, however - don’t just believe what other people (including me) tell you.

Language Systems FORTRAN Validated by U.S.

Language Systems Corp.

Herndon, VA

Herndon, VA--October 4, 1990--Language Systems Corp. announced today that the company’s FORTRAN compiler has been formally validated by an agency of the U.S. Government, providing users assurance that the compiler gives accurate results. FORTRAN is the programming language used most frequently by scientists and engineers.

Language Systems FORTRAN version 2.1 was issued a Certificate of Validation by the National Computer Systems Laboratory, National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). NIST, formerly known as the National Bureau of Standards, is the U.S. Government agency in charge of testing products for compliance with established standards.

“Language Systems has always believed that the most important criterion for evaluating a FORTRAN compiler should be correctness of answers,” explained Rich Norling, chairman of Language Systems. “Getting correct answers from a particular FORTRAN program depends on three basic steps: (1) choosing an appropriate algorithm, (2) expressing the algorithm correctly in FORTRAN, and (3) having a compiler convert the FORTRAN into machine instructions without mistakes. The formal validation confirms that Language Systems FORTRAN version 2.1 produces programs that correctly implement the FORTRAN 77 programming language.”

The lengthy validation process consisted of 3588 tests and took approximately 8 hours to complete on a Macintosh IIfx. The FORTRAN Compiler Validation System was used to certify that Language Systems FORTRAN version 2.1 conforms to the ANSI FORTRAN 77 Standard. A copy of the Validation Summary Report is available from Language Systems or NIST.

The Language Systems compiler is the leading FORTRAN compiler on the Macintosh, and runs in versions 2.0.2 and later of the Macintosh Programmer’s Workshop (MPW) Development Environment. The compiler also contains many enhancements, which were fully tested by Language Systems’ own suite of over 4,000 tests. A variety of supporting products are available from third parties, including well-known math libraries from IMSL and NAG.

Language Systems FORTRAN version 2.1 bundled with MPW 3.1 retails for $495; the company has sent upgrades free of charge to registered owners of FORTRAN version 2.0.

Rich Norling

Language Systems Corp.

441 Carlisle Dr.

Herndon, VA 22070

Telephone: 703-478-0181

Fax: 703-689-9593

AppleLink: D0354

Symantec Upgrade For TML Users

Kirk Chase

MacTutor

A press release just crossed my desk, and I thought I would make mention of it. Symantec, in conjunction with TML Systems, is offering an upgrade for TML customers to THINK Pascal 3.0 for $99. Symantec is also offering Just Enough Pascal for $45 to TML customers. This offer came on the heals of TML’s announcement of their discontinuation of their TML Pascal product line. The offer is good until the end of 1990; so if you’re interested, you better take advantage of it quickly. Contact Terri Sammonds at (408) 725-2752 or Deanne Berry at (408) 725-2759.

On a personal note, I am sorry to see TML discontinue their Pascal line. I suppose that TML could not put the resources into their Pascal to the degree that Symantec or Apple could and were therefore forced to follow more profitable avenues. It is sad to see another development tool disappear. I feel that there are already too few tools for Mac developers to see another depart.

Still, I feel that we are in a Golden Age of Software Development. Although there are few tools now, there are increasingly more and more tools for the developer. Products like MacApp, AppMaker, Prototyper, Serius, FaceIt, Invention Software’s extenders, and so much more are taking off. And there is a real need out there.

Development work is only going to become more and more difficult with the ever increasing flood of hardware and software out there. This is taken exponentially when cross-development becomes more and more a necessity. And now even a “small” tool developer can make coding enjoyable. Take PopUpFuncs by SciComp Software, that utility and others like it can make coding more enjoyable. Bulletin boards are getting more and more snippets of code. There is rarely a need to work with stone knives and bear skins to bring something to market. It makes me feel better that, in software development, we have gone from the Stone Age to the Golden Age. Now if someone would come up with a way to keep your breakpoints and variables displayed between debugging sessions in THINK C, the THINK C debugger might not be so infuriating to use.

 

Community Search:
MacTech Search:

Software Updates via MacUpdate

Google Earth 7.1.8.3036 - View and contr...
Google Earth gives you a wealth of imagery and geographic information. Explore destinations like Maui and Paris, or browse content from Wikipedia, National Geographic, and more. Google Earth combines... Read more
QuickBooks 16.1.11.1556 R12 - Financial...
QuickBooks helps you manage your business easily and efficiently. Organize your finances all in one place, track money going in and out of your business, and spot areas where you can save. Built for... Read more
FileZilla 3.24.0 - Fast and reliable FTP...
FileZilla (ported from Windows) is a fast and reliable FTP client and server with lots of useful features and an intuitive interface. Version 3.24.0: New The context menu for remote file search... Read more
Bookends 12.7.8 - Reference management a...
Bookends is a full-featured bibliography/reference and information-management system for students and professionals. Bookends uses the cloud to sync reference libraries on all the Macs you use.... Read more
Duplicate Annihilator 5.8.3 - Find and d...
Duplicate Annihilator takes on the time-consuming task of comparing the images in your iPhoto library using effective algorithms to make sure that no duplicate escapes. Duplicate Annihilator detects... Read more
BusyContacts 1.1.6 - Fast, efficient con...
BusyContacts is a contact manager for OS X that makes creating, finding, and managing contacts faster and more efficient. It brings to contact management the same power, flexibility, and sharing... Read more
MarsEdit 3.7.10 - Quick and convenient b...
MarsEdit is a blog editor for OS X that makes editing your blog like writing email, with spell-checking, drafts, multiple windows, and even AppleScript support. It works with with most blog services... Read more
BusyCal 3.1.4 - Powerful calendar app wi...
BusyCal is an award-winning desktop calendar that combines personal productivity features for individuals with powerful calendar sharing capabilities for families and workgroups. Its unique features... Read more
VirtualBox 5.1.14 - x86 virtualization s...
VirtualBox is a family of powerful x86 virtualization products for enterprise as well as home use. Not only is VirtualBox an extremely feature rich, high performance product for enterprise customers... Read more
Bookends 12.7.8 - Reference management a...
Bookends is a full-featured bibliography/reference and information-management system for students and professionals. Bookends uses the cloud to sync reference libraries on all the Macs you use.... Read more

Super Mario Run dashes onto Android in M...
Super Mario Run was one of the biggest mobile launches in 2016 before it was met with a lukewarm response by many. While the game itself plays a treat, it's pretty hard to swallow the steep price for the full game. With that said, Android users... | Read more »
WarFriends Beginner's Guide: How to...
Chillingo's new game, WarFriends, is finally available world wide, and so far it's a refreshing change from common mobile game trends. The game's a mix of tower defense, third person shooter, and collectible card game. There's a lot to unpack here... | Read more »
Super Gridland (Entertainment)
Super Gridland 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Entertainment Price: $1.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: Match. Build. Survive. "exquisitely tuned" - Rock Paper Shotgun No in-app purches, and no ads! | Read more »
Red's Kingdom (Games)
Red's Kingdom 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $4.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: Mad King Mac has kidnapped your father and stolen your golden nut! Solve puzzles and battle goons as you explore and battle your... | Read more »
Turbo League Guide: How to tame the cont...
| Read more »
Fire Emblem: Heroes coming to Google Pla...
Nintendo gave us our first look at Fire Emblem: Heroes, the upcoming mobile Fire Emblem game the company hinted at last year. Revealed at the Fire Emblem Direct event held today, the game will condense the series' tactical RPG combat into bite-... | Read more »
ReSlice (Music)
ReSlice 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Music Price: $9.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: Audio Slice Machine Slice your audio samples with ReSlice and create flexible musical atoms which can be triggered by MIDI notes or... | Read more »
Stickman Surfer rides in with the tide t...
Stickson is back and this time he's taken up yet another extreme sport - surfing. Stickman Surfer is out this Thursday on both iOS and Android, so if you've been following the other Stickman adventures, you might be interested in picking this one... | Read more »
Z-Exemplar (Games)
Z-Exemplar 1.4 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $3.99, Version: 1.4 (iTunes) Description: | Read more »
5 dastardly difficult roguelikes like th...
Edmund McMillen's popular roguelike creation The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth has finally crawled onto mobile devices. It's a grotesque dual-stick shooter that tosses you into an endless, procedurally generated basement as you, the pitiable Isaac,... | Read more »

Price Scanner via MacPrices.net

Twelve South Releases RelaxedLeather Cases fo...
Inspired by the laid-back luxury of burnished leather boots and crafted in rich tones of taupe, herb and marsala, RelaxedLeather cases deliver smart, easy protection for the iPhone 7. Each genuine... Read more
Week’s Best Deal: New 2016 13-inch 2.0GHz Mac...
Amazon has the new 2016 13″ 2.0GHz non-Touch Bar MacBook Pros on sale for a limited time for $225 off MSRP including free shipping: - 13″ 2.0GHz MacBook Pro, Space Gray (MLL42LL/A): $1274.99 $225 off... Read more
Back in stock: Apple refurbished Mac minis fr...
Apple has Certified Refurbished Mac minis available starting at $419. Apple’s one-year warranty is included with each mini, and shipping is free: - 1.4GHz Mac mini: $419 $80 off MSRP - 2.6GHz Mac... Read more
Apple Ranked ‘Most Intimate Brand’
The top ranked ‘”intimate” brands continued to outperform the S&P and Fortune 500 indices in revenue and profit over the past 10 years, according to MBLM’s Brand Intimacy 2017 Report, the largest... Read more
B-Eng introduces SSD Health Check for Mac OS
Fehraltorf, Switzerland based independant Swiss company- B-Eng has announced the release and immediate availability of SSD Health Check 1.0, the company’s new hard drive utility for Mac OS X. As the... Read more
Apple’s Education discount saves up to $300 o...
Purchase a new Mac or iPad using Apple’s Education Store and take up to $300 off MSRP. All teachers, students, and staff of any educational institution qualify for the discount. Shipping is free: -... Read more
4-core 3.7GHz Mac Pro on sale for $2290, save...
Guitar Center has the 3.7GHz 4-core Mac Pro (MD253LL/A) on sale for $2289.97 including free shipping or free local store pickup (if available). Their price is a $710 savings over standard MSRP for... Read more
128GB Apple iPad Air 2, refurbished, availabl...
Apple has Certified Refurbished 128GB iPad Air 2s WiFis available for $419 including free shipping. That’s an $80 savings over standard MSRP for this model. A standard Apple one-year warranty is... Read more
13-inch 2.7GHz Retina MacBook Pro on sale for...
B&H Photo has the 2015 13″ 2.7GHz/128GB Retina Apple MacBook Pro on sale for $100 off MSRP. Shipping is free, and B&H charges NY tax only: - 13″ 2.7GHz/128GB Retina MacBook Pro (MF839LL/A): $... Read more
Laptop Market – Flight To Quality? – The ‘Boo...
Preliminary quarterly PC shipments data released by Gartner Inc. last week reveal an interesting disparity between sales performance of major name PC vendors as opposed to that of less well-known... Read more

Jobs Board

*Apple* Retail - Multiple Positions- Deer Pa...
Job Description: Sales Specialist - Retail Customer Service and Sales Transform Apple Store visitors into loyal Apple customers. When customers enter the store, Read more
*Apple* Retail - Multiple Positions - Apple,...
Job Description: Sales Specialist - Retail Customer Service and Sales Transform Apple Store visitors into loyal Apple customers. When customers enter the store, Read more
*Apple* Technician - nfrastructure (United S...
Let’s Work Together Apple Technician This position is based in Portland, ME Life at nfrastructure At nfrastructure, we understand that our success results from our Read more
*Apple* Mobile Master - Best Buy (United Sta...
**467692BR** **Job Title:** Apple Mobile Master **Location Number:** 000602-Columbia MO-Store **Job Description:** **What does a Best Buy Apple Mobile Master Read more
*Apple* MAC Infrastructure Engineer - InnoCo...
Summary: Responsible for all aspects of Apple Desktop hardware. This includes research, design, test, and deploy technologies being researched by the desktop Read more
All contents are Copyright 1984-2011 by Xplain Corporation. All rights reserved. Theme designed by Icreon.