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.

 

Community Search:
MacTech Search:

Software Updates via MacUpdate

BBEdit 11.0.3 - Powerful text and HTML e...
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
Microsoft Office Preview 15.8 - Popular...
Welcome to the new and modern Microsoft Office for Mac. You will receive regular updates automatically until the official release in the second half of 2015. With the redesigned Ribbon and your... Read more
Yosemite Cache Cleaner 9.0.5 - Clear cac...
Yosemite Cache Cleaner is an award-winning general purpose tool for OS X. YCC makes system maintenance simple with an easy point-and-click interface to many OS X functions. Novice and expert users... Read more
ExpanDrive 4.3.2 - Access cloud storage...
ExpanDrive builds cloud storage in every application, acts just like a USB drive plugged into your Mac. With ExpanDrive, you can securely access any remote file server directly from the Finder or... Read more
RapidWeaver 6.0.8 - Create template-base...
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
Artlantis Studio 5.1.2.7 - 3D rendering...
Artlantis Studio is a unique and ideal tool for performing very high resolution rendering easily and in real time. The new FastRadiosity engine now lets you compute images in radiosity-even in... Read more
MacUpdate Desktop 6.0.5 - 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
BitTorrent Sync 2.0.82 - Sync files secu...
BitTorrent Sync allows you to sync unlimited files between your own devices, or share a folder with friends and family to automatically sync anything. File transfers are encrypted. Your information... Read more
Google Drive 1.20 - File backup and shar...
Google Drive is a place where you can create, share, collaborate, and keep all of your stuff. Whether you're working with a friend on a joint research project, planning a wedding with your fiancé, or... Read more
Simon 4.0.3 - Monitor changes and crashe...
Simon monitors websites and alerts you of crashes and changes. Select pages to monitor, choose your alert options, and customize your settings. Simon does the rest. Keep a watchful eye on your... Read more

New Publisher Allstar Games Heads West w...
Allstar Games has announced its first mobile title designed for western audiences, Allstar Heroes. The game will be a massive online battle arena (MOBA) that offers dozens of heroes for you to collect and pit against your opponents. As each hero has... | Read more »
RAD Boarding Review
RAD Boarding Review By Jennifer Allen on March 5th, 2015 Our Rating: :: NEARLY RADUniversal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad RAD Boarding isn’t quite one of the greats, but it has potential.   | Read more »
Presenting the International Mobile Gami...
11th Annual International Mobile Gaming Awards ceremony, hosted by actress Allison Haislip, gathered mobile game developers and publishers from around the world. They chose 13 winners out of the 93 nominations. British studio USTWO won the the Grand... | Read more »
AG Drive Review
AG Drive Review By Tre Lawrence on March 5th, 2015 Our Rating: :: FUTURISTIC STREET RACING.Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad Futuristic racing… interstellar style.   | Read more »
GDC 2015 – Nightmare Guardians is an Int...
GDC 2015 – Nightmare Guardians is an Interesting Hybrid of MOBA and Lane Defense Posted by Rob Rich on March 5th, 2015 [ permalink ] I have to say that lane defense (i.e. | Read more »
Overkill 3 Review
Overkill 3 Review By Tre Lawrence on March 5th, 2015 Our Rating: :: WHO'S NEXT?Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad Cover system gameplay in the third-person.   Developer: Craneballs Price: Free Version Reviewed: 1.1.6... | Read more »
Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment A...
Warner Bros. has some exciting games coming down the pipe! | Read more »
GDC 2015 – Star Trek Timelines will Prob...
GDC 2015 – Star Trek Timelines will Probably Make Your Inner Trekkie Squeal With Glee Posted by Rob Rich on March 4th, 2015 [ permalink ] Any popular fictional universe has its fair share of fan fiction – where belo | Read more »
Protect Yourself from an Onslaught of Ca...
Surprise Attack Games has announced a Cat-astrophic new physics puzzler called Fort Meow! In the game, a young girl named Nia finds her grandfather’s journal which triggers an all mighty feline attack! Why do the cats want the journal? Who knows,... | Read more »
GDC 2015 – Jelly Reef will be Game Oven’...
GDC 2015 – Jelly Reef will be Game Oven’s Last Hurrah, and it Seems like a Good Note to Go Out on Posted by Rob Rich on March 4th, 2015 [ permalink ] It’s sad knowing that Game Oven ( | Read more »

Price Scanner via MacPrices.net

Roundup of MacBook Air sale prices, models up...
B&H Photo has MacBook Airs on sale for up to $100 off MSRP. Shipping is free, and B&H charges NY sales tax only: - 11″ 128GB MacBook Air: $799 100 off MSRP - 11″ 256GB MacBook Air: $999 $100... Read more
New Firstrade Mobile App Enables On-The-Go Tr...
Firstrade Securities Inc. has announced its new mobile app, which gives investors immediate access to the company’s trading platform on all mobile devices. The app was developed in-house and was... Read more
Sonnet Introduces USB 3.0 + eSATA Thunderbolt...
Sonnet has announced the launch of its new USB 3.0 + eSATA Thunderbolt Adapter for easy connectivity to USB 3.0 devices and eSATA storage, and USB 3.0 + Gigabit Ethernet Thunderbolt Adapter for easy... Read more
Apple restocks refurbished 27-inch 5K iMacs f...
The Apple Store has restocked Apple Certified Refurbished 27″ 3.5GHz 5K iMacs for $2119 including free shipping. Their price is $380 off the cost of new models, and it’s the lowest price available... Read more
Free Clean Reader Mobile App Hides Swear Word...
The new Clean Reader app, now available in the Apple App Store and Google Play, delivers the opportunity of reading any book without being exposed to profanity. By selecting how clean they want their... Read more
Kinsa Launches “Groups” App to Monitor Illnes...
Kinsa, makers of the first FDA approved app-enabled smartphone thermometer thst won the 2013 Cleveland Clinic Medical Innovation Grand Prize and recently appeared in Apple’s “Parenthood” TV... Read more
iPad: A More Positive Outlook – The ‘Book Mys...
It’s good to hear someone saying positive things about the iPad. I’ve been trying to bend my mind around how Apple’s tablet could have gone from zero to bestselling personal computing device on the... Read more
Mac Pros on sale for up to $279 off MSRP
Amazon has Mac Pros in stock and on sale for up to $279 off MSRP. Shipping is free: - 4-Core Mac Pro: $2725.87, $273 off MSRP (9%) - 6-Core Mac Pro: $3719.99, $279 off MSRP (7%) Read more
Sale! 13-inch Retina MacBook Pros for up to $...
B&H Photo has 13″ Retina MacBook Pros on sale for up to $205 off MSRP. Shipping is free, and B&H charges NY sales tax only: - 13″ 2.6GHz/128GB Retina MacBook Pro: $1219.99 save $80 - 13″ 2.... Read more
Another Tranche Of IBM MobileFirst For iOS Ap...
IBM has announced the next expansion phase for  its IBM MobileFirst for iOS portfolio, with a troika of new apps to address key priorities for the Banking and Financial Services, Airline and Retail... 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
*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
Position Opening at *Apple* - Apple (United...
…Summary** As a Specialist, you help create the energy and excitement around Apple products, providing the right solutions and getting products into customers' hands. You Read more
Position Opening at *Apple* - Apple (United...
**Job Summary** The Apple Store is a retail environment like no other - uniquely focused on delivering amazing customer experiences. As an Expert, you introduce people 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.