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

Remotix 3.1.4 - Access all your computer...
Remotix is a fast and powerful application to easily access multiple Macs (and PCs) from your own Mac. Features Complete Apple Screen Sharing support - including Mac OS X login, clipboard... Read more
DesktopLyrics 2.6.6 - Displays current i...
DesktopLyrics is an application that displays the lyrics of the song currently playing in "iTunes" right on your desktop. The lyrics for the song have to be set in iTunes; DesktopLyrics does nothing... Read more
VOX 2.5.1 - Music player that supports m...
VOX is a beautiful music player that supports many filetypes. The beauty is in its simplicity, yet behind the minimal exterior lies a powerful music player with a ton of features and support for all... Read more
NetNewsWire 4.0.0 - RSS and Atom news re...
NetNewsWire is the best way to keep up with the sites and authors you read most regularly. Let NetNewsWire pull down the latest articles, and read them in a distraction-free and Mac-like way. Native... Read more
MacUpdate Desktop 6.0.6 - Search and ins...
MacUpdate Desktop 6 brings seamless 1-click installs and version updates to your Mac. With a free MacUpdate account and MacUpdate Desktop 6, Mac users can now install almost any Mac app on macupdate.... Read more
ForkLift 2.6.5 - Powerful file manager:...
ForkLift is a powerful file manager and ferociously fast FTP client clothed in a clean and versatile UI that offers the combination of absolute simplicity and raw power expected from a well-executed... Read more
Drive Genius 4.1.0 - Powerful system uti...
Drive Genius 4 gives you faster performance from your Mac while also protecting it. The award-winning and improved DrivePulse feature alerts you to hard drive issues before they become major problems... Read more
OnyX 2.9.7 - Maintenance and optimizatio...
OnyX is a multifunctional utility for OS X. It allows you to verify the startup disk and the structure of its System files, to run miscellaneous tasks of system maintenance, to configure the hidden... Read more
DEVONthink Pro 2.8.5 - Knowledge base, i...
DEVONthink Pro is your essential assistant for today's world, where almost everything is digital. From shopping receipts to important research papers, your life often fills your hard drive in the... Read more
Backblaze 4.0.1.878 - Online backup serv...
Backblaze is an online backup service designed from the ground-up for the Mac.With unlimited storage available for $5 per month, as well as a free 15-day trial, peace of mind is within reach with... Read more

Auroch Digital is Bringing Back Games Wo...
| Read more »
Carbo - Handwriting in the Digital Age...
Carbo - Handwriting in the Digital Age 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Productivity Price: $3.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: | Read more »
The Apple Watch isn't Great as a Fi...
| Read more »
Show the World What You See With Stre.am...
Live broadcasting is getting popular on mobile devices, which is why you can now get Stre.am, by Infinite Takes. [Read more] | Read more »
PhotoTime's 2.1 Update Adds Apple W...
The latest PhotoTime update is adding even more functionality to the handy photo organizing app. Yep, including Apple Watch support. [Read more] | Read more »
Oh My Glob! Adventure Time Puzzle Quest...
Finn and Jake are taking over D3 Go!'s popular puzzle game series in the upcoming Adventure Time Puzzle Quest. [Read more] | Read more »
Earthcore: Shattered Elements - Tips, Tr...
At first glance, Earthcore: Shattered Elements seems like a rather simple card-battling game. Once you’re introduced to skills that will change quite a bit. Even more so once you start to acquire hero cards. But it’s not so complicated that we... | Read more »
Dungeon999F (Games)
Dungeon999F 1.33 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $.99, Version: 1.33 (iTunes) Description: "The game you must play at least once in your life!" "The game with potential of million downloads globally!" ...is what the... | Read more »
Mixels Rush - Use Mixes, Maxes and Murps...
Mixels Rush - Use Mixes, Maxes and Murps to Outrun the Nixels 1.0.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $2.99, Version: 1.0.0 (iTunes) Description: Use awesome new Mixels and make crazy combinations to beat the annoying... | Read more »
Battles of the Ancient World II (Games)
Battles of the Ancient World II 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $2.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: | Read more »

Price Scanner via MacPrices.net

OtterBox Maximizes Portability, Productivity...
From the kitchen recipe book to the boarsroom presentation, the OtterBox Agility Tablet System turns tablets into one of the most versatile pieces of handheld technology available. Available now, the... Read more
Launch of New Car App Gallery and Open Develo...
Automatic, a company on a mission to bring the power of the Internet into every car, has announced the launch of the Automatic App Gallery, an app store for nearly every car or truck on the road... Read more
Memorial Day Weekend Sale: 13-inch 1.6GHz Mac...
Best Buy has the new 13″ 1.6GHz/128GB MacBook Air on sale for $849 on their online store this weekend. Choose free shipping or free local store pickup (if available). Sale price for online orders... Read more
Memorial Day Weekend Sale: 27-inch 3.5GHz 5K...
Best Buy has the 27″ 3.5GHz 5K iMac on sale for $2099.99 this weekend. Choose free shipping or free local store pickup (if available). Sale price for online orders only, in-store prices may vary.... Read more
Sale! 16GB iPad mini 3 for $349, save $50
B&H Photo has the 16GB iPad mini 3 WiFi on sale for $349 including free shipping plus NY sales tax only. Their price is $50 off MSRP, and it’s the lowest price available for this model. Read more
Price drop on 2014 15-inch Retina MacBook Pro...
B&H Photo has dropped prices on 2014 15″ Retina MacBook Pros by $200. Shipping is free, and B&H charges NY sales tax only: - 15″ 2.2GHz Retina MacBook Pro: $1799.99 save $200 - 15″ 2.5GHz... Read more
With a Mission to Make Mobile Free, Scratch W...
Scratch Wireless, claiming to be the world’s first truly free mobile service, has announced the availability of a new Scratch-enabled Android smartphone, the Coolpad Arise. The smartphone is equipped... Read more
First-Ever Titanium Alloy Curved iPhone 6 Scr...
One of the most common problems with mobile phones is damage to the screens. The slightest drop can cause a dreaded spider web of gashes and cracks in the glass panel surface that can cost $hundreds... Read more
Preorder new 12-inch MacBook, $10 off, save o...
Adorama has new 12″ Retina MacBooks available for preorder for $10 off MSRP including free shipping plus NY & NJ sales tax only. For a limited time, Adorama will include a free Apple USB-C to USB... Read more
Will iOS 9 Finally Bring Productivity Friendl...
Ah, the irony. From its original announcement in 2010, Apple has doggedly insisted that the iPad remain “simple,” thus arbitrarily limiting its considerable potential as a content creation and... Read more

Jobs Board

Project Manager / Business Analyst, WW *Appl...
…a senior project manager / business analyst to work within our Worldwide Apple Fulfillment Operations and the Business Process Re-engineering team. This role will work Read more
Visual Merchandise Manager %u2013 Accessories...
…to be part of an incredible team. Imagine what you could do here. At Apple , great ideas have a way of becoming reality very quickly. Our Accessories assortment makes 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** The ASC is an Apple employee who serves as the Apple business manager and influencer in a hyper-business critical Reseller's store which delivers Read more
Technical Project Manager - *Apple* Pay - A...
**Job Summary** Apple Pay is seeking an experienced technical PM…manage the rollout of features to merchants for the Apple Pay platform in the US Within this role Read more
All contents are Copyright 1984-2011 by Xplain Corporation. All rights reserved. Theme designed by Icreon.