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
$100.40
Apple Inc.
-0.13
MSFT
$45.10
Microsoft Corpora
-0.23
GOOG
$583.91
Google Inc.
-2.95

MacTech Search:
Community Search:

Software Updates via MacUpdate

Chromium 36.0.1985.143 - Fast and stable...
Chromium is an open-source browser project that aims to build a safer, faster, and more stable way for all Internet users to experience the web. FreeSMUG-Free OpenSource Mac User Group build is... Read more
Macgo Blu-ray Player 2.10.6.1691 - 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 Motion 5.1.2 - Create and customiz...
Apple Motion is designed for video editors, Motion 5 lets you customize Final Cut Pro titles, transitions, and effects. Or create your own dazzling animations in 2D or 3D space, with real-time... Read more
A Better Finder Rename 9.39 - File, phot...
A Better Finder Rename is the most complete renaming solution available on the market today. That's why, since 1996, tens of thousands of hobbyists, professionals and businesses depend on A Better... Read more
PopChar X 6.6 - Floating window shows av...
PopChar X helps you get the most out of your font collection. With its crystal-clear interface, PopChar X provides a frustration-free way to access any font's special characters. Expanded... Read more
MacUpdate Desktop 6.0.2 - Install Mac ap...
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
PDFpenPro 6.3.2 - Advanced PDF toolkit f...
PDFpenPro allows users to edit PDF's easily. Add text, images and signatures. Fill out PDF forms. Merge or split PDF documents. Reorder and delete pages. Even correct text and edit graphics! Create... Read more
PDFpen 6.3.2 - Edit and annotate PDFs wi...
PDFpen allows users to easily edit PDF's. Add text, images and signatures. Fill out PDF forms. Merge or split PDF documents. Reorder and delete pages. Even correct text and edit graphics! Features... Read more
OS X Yosemite 10.10 DP6 - Developer Prev...
Note: This is a Developer Preview. You must be a registered Apple Mac Developer to download this update. You can also sign up for the free OS X Beta Program to download and preview public beta... Read more
Flavours 1.1.15 - Create and apply theme...
Flavours is a Mac application that allow users to create, apply and share beautifully designed themes. Classy Give your Mac a gorgeous new look by applying delicious themes! Easy Unleash your... Read more

Latest Forum Discussions

See All

One Tap RPG Review
One Tap RPG Review By Campbell Bird on August 20th, 2014 Our Rating: :: DUNGEON SLIDERUniversal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad This casual arcade game introduces some very light rpg elements into its fantasy-themed pachinko... | Read more »
Goodbye Paywall – Table Tennis Touch Eli...
Goodbye Paywall – Table Tennis Touch Eliminates In-App Purchases Posted by Jessica Fisher on August 20th, 2014 [ permalink ] | Read more »
Go to Bed – An Interview With Touchfight...
Touchfight Games is an exciting new indie studio that was co-formed between game journalist and author Nathan Meunier, artist Leonard Kenyon, and programmer Jon Kenyon. Their debut game Go To Bed will be released this fall, and with all the... | Read more »
Assault Vector Review
Assault Vector Review By Rob Thomas on August 19th, 2014 Our Rating: :: SIMPLE STRATEGYUniversal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad While this hex-based warp ride is fine in theory, Assault Vector is a bit too simple to be... | Read more »
Tom Hanks’ Hanx Writer has Taken the App...
Tom Hanks’ Hanx Writer has Taken the App Store by Storm Posted by Jessica Fisher on August 19th, 2014 [ permalink ] iPad Only App - Designed for the iPad | Read more »
It Came from Canada: Galaxy Dash
With its use of well-established tropes like endless flying and sci-fi space shooting, the upcoming Galaxy Dash: Race to the Outer Run most likely won’t confound expectations. However, with its robust amount of opportunities for fun player... | Read more »
PromptSmart Review
PromptSmart Review By Jennifer Allen on August 19th, 2014 Our Rating: :: SNAPPY SPEECHGIVINGUniversal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad Offering you a teleprompter in your pocket, PromptSmart is immensely helpful for those who do... | Read more »
The Firm (Games)
The Firm 1 Device: iOS iPhone Category: Games Price: $.99, Version: 1 (iTunes) Description: *** LIMITED TIME LAUNCH OFFER -50% ! *** "The Firm is one of those games that looks so easy on the surface, but it's actually like a cerebral... | Read more »
They Need To Be Fed 3 (Games)
They Need To Be Fed 3 1.0.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $1.99, Version: 1.0.0 (iTunes) Description: 360 degree gravity platforming is back! Run, jump, collect, avoid enemies and feed yourself to the monster at the... | Read more »
Who Wore it Best? Phantom Flower vs. And...
Who Wore it Best? takes a break from all the bloodshed to check out two decidedly tranquil and nature-loving puzzles games: Phantom Flower and And Then it Rained. [ Who Wore it Best? Phantom Flower vs. And Then it Rained is a post from... | Read more »

Price Scanner via MacPrices.net

Best Buy’s College Student Deals: $100 off Ma...
Take an additional $100 off all MacBooks and iMacs, $50 off iPad Airs and iPad minis, at Best Buy Online with their College Students Deals Savings, valid through September 6th. Anyone with a valid .... Read more
MacBook Airs on sale for $100 off MSRP, free...
B&H Photo has three 2014 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 Laptops... Read more
Razer Taipan Mouse For Gamers And Non-Gamers...
If you’re a serious gamer on either Mac or Windows PCs, a serious gaming mouse is a necessity for first-tier performance. However, even if like me you’re not much of a gamer, there’s still a strong... Read more
15-inch 2.2GHz MacBook Pro on sale for $1899,...
Adorama has the new 15″ 2.2GHz Retina MacBook Pro on sale for $1899 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
Mid-Size Tablet Shootout Posted: iPad mini wi...
I ‘m curious about how many iPads Apple is actually selling these days. It’s been widely rumored and anticipated that new models with A8 SoCs, 2 GB of RAM, 8 megapixel cameras, and fingerprint... Read more
The 15 Biggest iPad Air Problems And How To A...
What’s this? Fifteen “biggest” problems with the iPad Air? Does that mean there are a lot of smaller problems as well? Say it isn’t so! My old iPad 2 has manifested no hardware problems in three... Read more
TYLT Syncable-Duo, 2-in-1 USB Cable With Appl...
TYLT has introduced the Syncable-Duo, a universal cable solution for charging and syncing data to smartphones and tablets. The Syncable-Duo eliminates the need for multiple cables by incorporating... Read more
Save up to $140 off MSRP with Apple refurbish...
Apple is offering Certified Refurbished iPad Airs for up to $140 off MSRP. Apple’s one-year warranty is included with each model, and shipping is free. Stock tends to come and go with some of these... Read more
2.5GHz Mac mini on sale for $549, save $50
B&H Photo has the 2.5GHz Mac mini on sale for $549.99 including free shipping. That’s $50 off MSRP, and B&H will also include a free copy of Parallels Desktop software. NY sales tax only. Read more
Chromebooks Are Actually Sometimes A Better C...
Mac360′s Kate MacKenzie notes that when Steve Jobs announced the post-PC era, he was assuming that the dominant post-PC device would be the iPad he was unveiling, or another Apple product like the... Read more

Jobs Board

Position Opening at *Apple* - Apple (United...
**Job Summary** Being a Business Manager at an Apple Store means you're the catalyst for businesses to discover and leverage the power, ease, and flexibility of Apple Read more
Position Opening at *Apple* - Apple (United...
**Job Summary** At the Apple Store, you connect business professionals and entrepreneurs with the tools they need in order to put Apple solutions to work in their 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
Position Opening at *Apple* - Apple (United...
**Job Summary** As businesses discover the power of Apple computers and mobile devices, it's your job - as a Solutions Engineer - to show them how to introduce these Read more
Position Opening at *Apple* - Apple (United...
**Job Summary** As more and more people discover Apple , they visit our stores seeking ways to incorporate our products into their lives. It's your job, as a Store Read more
All contents are Copyright 1984-2011 by Xplain Corporation. All rights reserved. Theme designed by Icreon.