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Aug 94 Editor's Page
Volume Number:10
Issue Number:8
Column Tag:The Editor’s Page

Bits and Pieces vs. Monoliths

By Scott T Boyd, Editor

Bits and Pieces vs. Monoliths

As if our lives as developers weren’t already challenging enough, two competing technologies and their supporters are now clamoring for our attention. Both claim that they’ll make our lives simpler, yet both come with reams of documentation and new business models. Both have the support of their respective industry giants, bringing with them all the noise of elephants waging battle in the jungle.

Since we find ourselves in the midst of the war these leviathans created, we find ourselves asking a number of questions. Is it really an either/or OLEvs. OpenDoc decision? Do you even care? Is it something you want to do on the established platforms, or would you rather wait and try it on some new platform, with component software designed in from the ground up? How are these companies going to make money with this radically-changed business model? Are their approaches on the business side similar or dissimilar? How are we going to make money writing components?

The evidence strongly suggests that many Mac programmers don’t plan on doing anything with OLE. Is that because they don’t like the PC and its technology, or is it that perhaps they’re Mac bigots and have no interest in going cross-platform? On the other hand, Windows programmers seem quite interested in OLE, especially since it offers to help them broaden their markets by adding in the Macintosh’ 15% market share to their potential audience.

Once you’ve had a look at the issues, we’d like to hear your take on all of this. How do you plan to respond? Send your comments to editorial@xplain.com.

In this issue, we bring you an assortment of articles to help you get through the trampling herd of elephants without getting squashed underfoot or lost in the jungle.

As you’ve no doubt already seen, this issue contains an OLE 2.0 CD-ROM. Microsoft was eager to have you decide for yourself by trying it out on your own machine. If there isn’t a CD in your copy of the magazine, maybe a friend took it; maybe it’s time to get your own subscription :-) We don’t have an OpenDoc CD, but you may want to ftp to cil.org (Component Integration Labs) and see what’s new in /pub, or send e-mail to info@cil.org and they’ll regale you with info.

Our other coverage includes a piece from Kurt Piersol, Apple’s OpenDoc architect, discussing how they designed OpenDoc so you can extend it.

Microsoft brings us an example OLE application. You may find it more pleasant than dissecting a frog, and at least as instructional.

Finally, we have a comparison between the two technologies brought to us by Jeff Alger. As a long-time object-oriented Mac afficionado, he brings us a somewhat skeptical look at the claims made by both sides.

PowerMac - Running Out Of Gas?

PowerMac in the marketplace doesn’t seem to be catching on the way that many of us would think. Do you ever get frustrated with the way Apple is selling the machines that we have based our businesses on? Why aren’t they selling in droves? The PowerMac has good enough performance for now running emulated, the price is right, and it’s one of the first machines Apple has ever sold that can get better and faster with software from third parties (you, our readers). People buy things because they believe that they’re going to feel good because they did. Here’s a case where you don’t even have to fool anyone - buy new software and you get a faster computer. Whaddya say Apple? Isn’t it time to get on the stick and start marketing it as a machine with potential? With apologies to Dow Chemical, how about, “Better performance for better computing through native software.”

Just in case Apple doesn’t figure out how to market the machine as is, we want to help you get more native products out there. If they find it that hard to figure out how to sell PowerMacs without native software, let’s make it simple for them. In that vein, we continue our coverage of the PowerPC Macintosh. Powering Up delves into some debugging issues, and Bill Karsh brings us the first in a series on learning the 601 architecture so you can learn to read PowerPC assembly code, and understand about writing optimal code.

Andy Hertzfeld At MacHack

We’re at the ninth-annual MacHack this week. Andy Hertzfeld opened the conference at midnight by treating us to an incredible four-hour journey through his career, beginning with the day he first saw an Apple ][ in 1977. He swears it was surrounded by a halo. As his tale unfolded, he told of saving for months and spending his entire net worth to buy his first machine. He told of the tremendous admiration he developed for Steve Wozniak, the crazed genius whose artistic drive crafted the masterpiece Apple ][ that Andy studied until he knew not only every nook and cranny, but the mind of the designer as well. We’ve seen some great keynotes. This one was something special, perhaps the best ever.

Food For Thought

A current intel® ad says, with regard to Pentium™, “Imagine what it will do for your software.” Sure wouldn’t do much for mine And we thought only Apple was egocentric enough to say something like this, “All the leading manufacturers have introduced designs based on the Pentium processor ”

 
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