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

djay Pro 1.2 - Transform your Mac into a...
djay Pro provides a complete toolkit for performing DJs. Its unique modern interface is built around a sophisticated integration with iTunes and Spotify, giving you instant access to millions of... Read more
Stacks 2.7.2 - New way to create pages i...
Stacks is a new way to create pages in RapidWeaver. It's a plugin designed to combine drag-and-drop simplicity with the power of fluid layout. Features Fluid Layout: Stacks lets you build pages... Read more
Vitamin-R 2.30 - Personal productivity t...
Vitamin-R creates the optimal conditions for your brain to work at its best by structuring your work into short bursts of distraction-free, highly focused activity alternating with opportunities for... Read more
HoudahSpot 4.0.10 - Advanced file-search...
HoudahSpot is a powerful yet accessible desktop search software. Use HoudahSpot to locate hard-to-find files and keep frequently used files within reach. HoudahSpot builds upon Spotlight, which comes... Read more
Mac DVDRipper Pro 5.0.6 - Copy, backup,...
Mac DVDRipper Pro is the DVD backup solution that lets you protect your DVDs from scratches, save your batteries by reading your movies from your hard disk, manage your collection with just a few... Read more
Logic Pro X 10.2 - Music creation and au...
Logic Pro X is the most advanced version of Logic ever. Sophisticated new tools for professional songwriting, editing, and mixing are built around a modern interface that's designed to get creative... Read more
VMware Fusion 8.0.0 - Run Windows apps a...
VMware Fusion 8 and Fusion 8 Pro--the latest versions of its virtualization software for running Windows on a Mac without rebooting--include full support for Windows 10, OS X El Capitan, and the... Read more
MYStuff Pro 2.0.21 - Create inventories...
MYStuff Pro is the most flexible way to create detail-rich inventories for your home or small business. Add items to MYStuff by dragging and dropping existing information, uploading new images, or... Read more
VueScan 9.5.23 - Scanner software with a...
VueScan is a scanning program that works with most high-quality flatbed and film scanners to produce scans that have excellent color fidelity and color balance. VueScan is easy to use, and has... Read more
Skype 7.11.653 - Voice-over-internet pho...
Skype allows you to talk to friends, family and co-workers across the Internet without the inconvenience of long distance telephone charges. Using peer-to-peer data transmission technology, Skype... Read more

Emo Chorus (Music)
Emo Chorus 1.0.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Music Price: $1.99, Version: 1.0.0 (iTunes) Description: Realistic Choir simulator ranging from simple Chorus emulation to full ensemble Choir with 128 members. ### introductory offer... | Read more »
Forest Spirit (Games)
Forest Spirit 1.0.5 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $2.99, Version: 1.0.5 (iTunes) Description: | Read more »
Ski Safari 2 (Games)
Ski Safari 2 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $1.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: The world's most fantastical, fun, family-friendly skiing game is back and better than ever! Play as Sven's sister Evana, share... | Read more »
Lara Croft GO (Games)
Lara Croft GO 1.0.47768 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $4.99, Version: 1.0.47768 (iTunes) Description: Lara Croft GO is a turn based puzzle-adventure set in a long-forgotten world. Explore the ruins of an ancient... | Read more »
Whispering Willows (Games)
Whispering Willows 1.23 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $4.99, Version: 1.23 (iTunes) Description: **LAUNCH SALE 50% OFF** - Whispering Willows is on sale for 50% off ($4.99) until September 9th. | Read more »
Calvino Noir (Games)
Calvino Noir 1.1 Device: iOS iPhone Category: Games Price: $3.99, Version: 1.1 (iTunes) Description: The film noir stealth game. Calvino Noir is the exploratory, sneaking adventure through the 1930s European criminal underworld.... | Read more »
Angel Sword (Games)
Angel Sword 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $6.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: Prepare to adventure in the most epic full scale multiplayer 3D RPG for mobile! Experience amazing detailed graphics in full HD.... | Read more »
infltr - Infinite Filters (Photography)
infltr - Infinite Filters 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Photography Price: $1.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: Say goodbye to the same old boring filters and filter life as you live it - in the moment. With infltr, you... | Read more »
You'll be Able to Make Your Own BAD...
Have you been playing BADLAND so much that you've run out content? Well that won't be a problem for much longer because Frogmind is giving us a level editor in an upcoming (and free) update. [Read more] | Read more »
Magic: The Gathering - Puzzle Quest is a...
It looks like we can add Magic: The Gatehring to the list of "stuff that has a Puzzle Quest spin-off." D3 Go! and Wizards of the Coast have officially announced that the popular collectible card game will be getting it's own match-3 puzzler later... | Read more »

Price Scanner via MacPrices.net

Worldwide Tablet Shipments Expected to Declin...
Does Apple badly need a touchscreen convertible/hybrid laptop MacBook? Yes, judging from a new market forecast from the International Data Corporation (IDC) Worldwide Quarterly Tablet Tracker, which... Read more
Continued PC Shipment Shrinkage Expected Thro...
Worldwide PC shipments are expected to fall by -8.7 percent in 2015 and not stabilize until 2017, according to the latest International Data Corporation (IDC) Worldwide Quarterly PC Tracker data. The... Read more
Imminent iPhone 6s Announcement Leads To 103%...
NextWorth Solutions, with its online and in-store electronics trade-in programs including http://NextWorth.com, reports that it has experienced a 103 percent surge in quoted trade-in values over the... Read more
Weekend Deal: 13-inch Retina MacBook Pros for...
Save up to $100 on the purchase of a new 2015 13″ Retina MacBook Pro at the following resellers this weekend. Shipping is free with each model: 2.7GHz/128GB MSRP $1299 2.7GHz/... Read more
The ‘Book Mystique Still Magic After All Thes...
This column has been called The ‘Book Mystique for what has been a 15 year run so far, and I have no interest in changing the name. The reference is to what I’ve observed is a the near magical... Read more
15-inch Retina MacBook Pros on sale for up to...
B&H Photo has 2015 15″ Retina MacBook Pros on sale for up to $184 off MSRP including free shipping plus NY sales tax only: - 15″ 2.2GHz Retina MacBook Pro: $1815 $184 off - 15″ 2.5GHz Retina... Read more
11-inch 128GB MacBook Air on sale for $799, s...
Adorama has the 11″ 1.6GHz/128GB MacBook Air on sale for $799.99 including free shipping plus NY & NJ sales tax only. Their price is $100 off MSRP, and it’s the lowest price available for this... Read more
Apple Unlikely To Gain Market Share From Andr...
According to a new mobile phone forecast from the International Data Corporation (IDC) Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker, smartphone shipments are expected to grow 10.4% in 2015 to 1.44... Read more
Save up to $600 with Apple refurbished Mac Pr...
The Apple Store has Apple Certified Refurbished Mac Pros available for up to $600 off the cost of new models. An Apple one-year warranty is included with each Mac Pro, and shipping is free. The... Read more
Kainos Platform Helps Healthcare Organization...
UK-based provider of IT services Kainos Group plc (Kainos) has announced the launch of its Kainos Evolve Mobile-Enabled Healthcare platform, which is designed to give healthcare providers and... Read more

Jobs Board

*Apple* Retail - Multiple Positions (US) - A...
Sales Specialist - Retail Customer Service and Sales Transform Apple Store visitors into loyal Apple customers. When customers enter the store, you're also the Read more
Software QA Engineer, *Apple* Pay Security...
Changing the world is all in a day039s work at Apple . If you love innovation, here039s your chance to make a career of it. You039ll work hard. But the job comes with Read more
*Apple* Retail - Multiple Positions (US) - A...
Sales Specialist - Retail Customer Service and Sales Transform Apple Store visitors into loyal Apple customers. When customers enter the store, you're also the Read more
*Apple* Solutions Consultant - Retail Sales...
**Job Summary** As an Apple Solutions Consultant (ASC) you are the link between our customers and our products. Your role is to drive the Apple business in a retail Read more
*Apple* Solutions Consultant - Retail Sales...
**Job Summary** As an Apple Solutions Consultant (ASC) you are the link between our customers and our products. Your role is to drive the Apple business in a retail Read more
All contents are Copyright 1984-2011 by Xplain Corporation. All rights reserved. Theme designed by Icreon.