TweetFollow Us on Twitter

Software Reuse
Volume Number:9
Issue Number:12
Column Tag:Inside Information

The “Re” Decade

Out with the old, in with the new

By Chris Espinosa, Apple Computer, Inc., MacTech Magazine Regular Contributing Author

In 1982 I was working in the Macintosh group at Apple, managing the team that was preparing the original technical and user documentation for the intro in 1984. I spent a lot of time with Creative Services (for those who don’t speak Applese, that’s the art department). At that point in history Apple’s graphic design was on the cutting edge in the design community, at the point in American history where New Wave Graphics were sliding slowly into the Yuppie era. The Macintosh design team was acutely aware of this, and pushed the design ethic of Macintosh into the public consciousness, with lots of white space, the characteristic Garamond typeface, and Windham Hill music. When you opened the box, you could almost smell the sushi.

I realized that there was something very important about being in synch with a social trend. The Macintosh became one of the key symbols of mid-Eighties Yuppiedom, and doubtless a lot of its popularity came from the fact that it embodied the spiritual values of the times-it was high tech but soft tech; it was more expensive than alternatives; and it was from a small upstart company challenging the establishment on its own turf. The reverberations of those values have carried the Macintosh ethos nearly ten years, into a different era.

And it’s clearly a different era in the Nineties. Price doesn’t impute value like it did ten years ago. More of the general public are computer literate; more of the computer literate are computer experts, and make more sophisticated buying decisions. Most importantly, the continuing recession, environmental awareness, and a bad hangover from the eighties excesses has brought in a new ethic, based on frugality, common sense, and the making of hard choices now for benefits far in the future.

You can see this ethic in the Nineties mantra of “reduce, reuse, recycle.” Make do with less. Don’t throw it away; be clever about adapting things to new uses. And when you can, remanufacture old products into new ones. In public life, we talk about reengineering corporations, reinventing government, and repaying the defecit. It’s as if the “me decade” has turned into the “re decade.”

I’m convinced that the re-ethic that’s cresting over society will affect software design, and that the people who surf the reengineering-and-reuse wave will travel the farthest. When you look at the technologies of object-oriented programming, visual applications design, and cross-platform development, they’re all directed at something broader than using technology to make development faster or whizzier. They’re fundamentally changing the ethos of programming from conspicuous code consumption to frugal, common-sense use of resources over and over.

To software designers, this new ethos gives some guidance to what customers will want to purchase in the coming years, and how they’ll purchase it. To tools designers, it gives inspiration to new categories of architectures and tools that software designers can use to reinvent the process of developing products.

Start with the basics: reducing waste. Up to a couple of years ago, the value of starting from scratch - for example, to jump from DOS to Mac or Windows - was greater than the value of retaining your investment in old code. But as programs get larger and more expensive to maintain, it’s increasingly important to be able to take advantage of new hardware or OS features with no changes. Apple’s transition to the PowerPC is a huge shift, the kind that previously would have forced tens of millions of dollars worth of rework just to run on the new machine. But with the bug-for-bug compatable emulation built into the upcoming PowerPC models, and the C environments from Apple, Symantec, and others, we’re trying to deliver basic benefits with no work, and great benefits with a straightforward port.

Next, reuse: being able to write code once and use it again and again. Frameworks like MacApp and Bedrock foster reuse in two ways: they let many developers reuse code provided in the framework, and they let you write class libraries that you can bind into several applications. Good developers encapsulate the worth of their company into a few solid class libraries, with clean and abstract interfaces and killer implementations, and base a family of products on the same core technology.

Finally, recycling and reengineering. The people who will succeed in the Re Decade will be the ones who will take their products the closest to the customer as possible, so that users can dynamically change the solutions to their problems as conditions change. Unlike the Eighties when a “killer app” was mass-produced and upgraded every year or so, the killer apps of the Nineties will be unique to the situation and reengineered constantly. The most valuable products will be flexible, reusable parts and efficient, clear tools to combine them. The OpenDoc architecture being assembled by Apple, Novell, IBM, Word Perfect, Lotus, Taligent, and others should provide you a unique opportunity to create the parts and tools that customers will use to constantly reengineer their solutions.

It’s hard to tell how long an ethos will last. It’s possible that in a couple of years, an economic recovery and some unforseen technical innovation will take us back to the wild days when code was write-once and disposable, and customers would happily pay for painful upgrades just to have the latest version. But somehow I don’t think so. There’s a series of ads (for a whiskey, I think) where each shows a fashion item in a cycle of styles from the 50s through the 90s, with the modern style somehow wierdly the same as the 50s one. The tagline is “You always return to the basics.” I think the ideas of reducing waste, reusing good work, and recycling valuable tools close to the customer are the kinds of ideas that endure.

 
AAPL
$102.99
Apple Inc.
+0.52
MSFT
$44.38
Microsoft Corpora
-0.50
GOOG
$532.71
Google Inc.
+6.17

MacTech Search:
Community Search:

Software Updates via MacUpdate

OmniOutliner 4.1.3 - Organize your ideas...
OmniOutliner is a flexible program for creating, collecting, and organizing information. Give your creativity a kick start by using an application that's actually designed to help you think. It's... Read more
BBEdit 11.0 - Powerful text and HTML edi...
BBEdit is the leading professional HTML and text editor for the Mac. Specifically crafted in response to the needs of Web authors and software developers, this award-winning product provides a... Read more
Apple Security Update 2014-005 - For OS...
Apple Security Update is recommended for all users and improves the security of Mac OS X. For information on the security content of this update, please visit this website: http://support.apple.com/... Read more
EyeTV 3.6.6 - Watch and record TV on you...
EyeTV brings a rich TV experience to your Mac. Watch live TV on your Mac. Pause, rewind, and record whenever you want. EyeTV gives you powerful control over what you watch and how you watch it. Put... Read more
RapidWeaver 6.0 - Create template-based...
RapidWeaver is a next-generation Web design application to help you easily create professional-looking Web sites in minutes. No knowledge of complex code is required, RapidWeaver will take care of... Read more
NTFS 12.0.39 - Provides full read and wr...
Paragon NTFS breaks down the barriers between Windows and OS X. Paragon NTFS effectively solves the communication problems between the Mac system and NTFS, providing full read and write access to... Read more
RestoreMeNot 2.0.3 - Disable window rest...
RestoreMeNot provides a simple way to disable the window restoration for individual applications so that you can fine-tune this behavior to suit your needs. Please note that RestoreMeNot is designed... Read more
Command-C 1.1.5 - Clipboard sharing tool...
Command-C is a revolutionary app which makes easy to share your clipboard between iOS and OS X using your local WiFi network, even if the app is not currently opened. Copy anything (text, pictures,... Read more
Macgo Blu-ray Player 2.10.9.1750 - Blu-r...
Macgo Mac Blu-ray Player can bring you the most unforgettable Blu-ray experience on your Mac. Overview Macgo Mac Blu-ray Player can satisfy just about every need you could possibly have in a Blu-ray... Read more
Apple iOS 8.1 - The latest version of Ap...
The latest version of iOS can be downloaded through iTunes. Apple iOS 8 comes with big updates to apps you use every day, like Messages and Photos. A whole new way to share content with your family.... Read more

Latest Forum Discussions

See All

Fighting Fantasy: Caverns of the Snow Wi...
Fighting Fantasy: Caverns of the Snow Witch 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $5.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: Travel to Northern Allansia’s perilous Icefinger Mountains to defeat the wicked Snow Witch in this... | Read more »
TinType by Hipstamatic (Photography)
TinType by Hipstamatic 1.0 Device: iOS iPhone Category: Photography Price: $.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: Create hauntingly beautiful, soul capturing portraits with TinType by Hipstamatic. Inspired by daguerreotypes,... | Read more »
The Latest Update for Heroes of Dragon A...
The Latest Update for Heroes of Dragon Age Introduces Daily PvE Challenges Posted by Ellis Spice on October 22nd, 2014 [ permalink ] | Read more »
A New Trailer has Been Revealed for Epic...
A New Trailer has Been Revealed for Epic of Kings Posted by Jessica Fisher on October 22nd, 2014 [ permalink ] Dead Mage Inc. has released a new, action-packed trailer for the upcoming Epic of Kings. | Read more »
Find the Line Review
Find the Line Review By Campbell Bird on October 22nd, 2014 Our Rating: :: INSLIDE THE LINESUniversal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad Tease out beautiful line drawings in this unique, free-to-play puzzle game.   | Read more »
The Silent Age Episode 2 Review
The Silent Age Episode 2 Review By Jennifer Allen on October 22nd, 2014 Our Rating: :: ROUNDING THINGS OFF NICELYUniversal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad Rounding off a great point and click adventure comes The Silent Age... | Read more »
Craft Your Own Mini-Games with Papercade
Craft Your Own Mini-Games with Papercade Posted by Jessica Fisher on October 22nd, 2014 [ permalink ] iPad Only App - Designed for the iPad Scrapbookers move over, Scrapgaming is the new thing. | Read more »
Reshape Review
Reshape Review By Jennifer Allen on October 22nd, 2014 Our Rating: :: SIMPLE SHAPESUniversal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad Match triangles together to form cubes in this fast-paced and twitchy game.   | Read more »
Miika (Games)
Miika 1.0.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $1.99, Version: 1.0.0 (iTunes) Description: Miika is a beautiful 3D puzzle game based on camera perspectives combined with the use of optical illusions. Miika challenges... | Read more »
Infuse Pro (Photography)
Infuse Pro 3.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Photography Price: $9.99, Version: 3.0 (iTunes) Description: ** All-new version 3 includes fully licensed and certified DTS® and DTS-HD® audio! ** | Read more »

Price Scanner via MacPrices.net

Save with Best Buy’s College Student Deals
Take an additional $50 off all MacBooks and iMacs at Best Buy Online with their College Students Deals Savings, valid through November 1st. Anyone with a valid .EDU email address can take advantage... Read more
iPad Air 2 & iPad mini 3 Best Tablets Yet...
The new iPads turned out to be pretty much everything I’d been hoping for and more than I’d expected.”More” particularly in terms of a drinking-from-a-firehose choice of models and configurations,... Read more
Drafts 4 Reinvents iOS Productivity App
N Richland Hills, Texas based Agile Tortoise has announced the release of Drafts 4 for iPhone and iPad. Drafts is a quick capture note taking app with flexible output actions. Drafts 4 scales from... Read more
AT&T accepting preorders for new iPads fo...
AT&T Wireless is accepting preorders for the new iPad Air 2 and iPad mini 3, cellular models, for $100 off MSRP with a 2-year service agreement: - 16GB iPad Air 2 WiFi + Cellular: $529.99 - 64GB... Read more
Apple offering refurbished Mac Pros for up to...
The Apple Store is offering Apple Certified Refurbished 2013 Mac Pros 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
Select MacBook Airs $100 off MSRP, free shipp...
B&H Photo has 2014 a couple of MacBook Airs on sale for $100 off MSRP. Shipping is free, and B&H charges NY sales tax only. They also include free copies of Parallels Desktop and LoJack for... Read more
13-inch 2.5GHz MacBook Pro on sale for $100 o...
B&H Photo has the 13″ 2.5GHz MacBook Pro on sale for $999.99 including free shipping plus NY sales tax only. Their price is $100 off MSRP. Read more
Strong iPhone, Mac And App Store Sales Drive...
Apple on Monday announced financial results for its fiscal 2014 fourth quarter ended September 27, 2014. The Company posted quarterly revenue of $42.1 billion and quarterly net profit of $8.5 billion... Read more
Apple Posts How-To For OS X Recovery
OS X 10.7 Lion and later include OS X Recovery. This feature includes all of the tools you need to reinstall OS X, repair your disk, and even restore from a Time Machine backup. OS X Recovery... Read more
Mac OS X Versions (Builds) Supported By Vario...
Apple Support has posted a handy resource explaining which Mac OS X versions (builds) originally shipped with or are available for your computer via retail discs, downloads, or Software Update. Apple... Read more

Jobs Board

Senior Event Manager, *Apple* Retail Market...
…This senior level position is responsible for leading and imagining the Apple Retail Team's global event strategy. Delivering an overarching brand story; in-store, Read more
*Apple* Solutions Consultant (ASC) - Apple (...
**Job Summary** The ASC is an Apple employee who serves as an Apple brand ambassador and influencer in a Reseller's store. The ASC's role is to grow Apple Read more
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
*Apple* Retail - Multiple Positions (US) - A...
Job Description: Sales Specialist - Retail Customer Service and Sales Transform Apple Store visitors into loyal Apple customers. When customers enter the store, Read more
Position Opening at *Apple* - Apple (United...
…customers purchase our products, you're the one who helps them get more out of their new Apple technology. Your day in the Apple Store is filled with a range of Read more
All contents are Copyright 1984-2011 by Xplain Corporation. All rights reserved. Theme designed by Icreon.