TweetFollow Us on Twitter

Jul 96 Crabbs Apple
Volume Number:12
Issue Number:7
Column Tag:Crabb’s Apple

Too Many Cups of Java

By Don Crabb

In less than a year, Sun Microsystems’ Java WWW programming language has gone from “What’s that?” to “It will change your life.” Companies have been falling all over each other trying to figure out what Java is, how to use it, how to exploit it, how to build products with it. The action’s been hot in both the Windows world and in Mac OS land. My question is this: where does the hype end and the reality begin?

For Mac language vendors, the answer is obvious: the reality is that they must have their own version of Java to feed the Mac development community and keep those developers in line with their mainstream C/C++ environments. Besides the problematic SunSoft Java WorkShop 1.0 (problematic for Mac developers, that is, because it runs only on Solaris 2.4 [or later], Microsoft Windows95, and Windows NT 3.51 [or later]), this has already given rise to Natural Intelligence’s Roaster, Symantec’s Café, and Metrowerks’ CodeWarrior Java (thank you, Metrowerks, for not choosing a cutesy name!), and others that will certainly make their presence felt in 1996 - including, maybe, an Apple Java as part of a forthcoming ETO release.

And, as popular as Java-for-the-Mac releases have become, books that purport to teach you Java or some aspect of Java programming have proliferated at an astounding rate. You can walk into any decent bookstore these days and find a Java Programming section all to itself. (By the way, if you are looking for top-quality Java books, consider those published by O’Reilly Books; they’re the top titles.)

I don’t have a quarrel with the book publishers or tool vendors; it is their job, after all, to provide us with the means to an end. It’s the end that I’m not all that clear on.

What, really, is Java going to do for the moribund Macintosh market? Will it give us the means to create insanely great applications that we couldn’t create without it? Will it create new markets for our products that did not exist before? Will it convince customers to buy Macs instead of Wintel? Or will it do none of these things?

Creating Java Applets

The creation of Java applets has consumed much of the WWW content work for many professional Web publishers for the last six months. And with the availability of Netscape Navigator 2.X for the Mac, Mac folk have a browser that can actually use these applets as they were meant. But has that capability really helped the Mac?

I don’t think so. The reason is simple: given the very shaky state of Apple these days, anything that does not contribute to the corporate bottom line (and thus, indirectly, to our individual bottom lines) is a waste of time and money. So far, the general availability of Java on the Mac has not contributed a dime in direct Mac sales. It’s made money for tool vendors and book publishers, but it’s not made a dent in Apple’s financial woes. And it’s not likely to make much of a dent, either, unless Apple can figure a way to stake out some aspect of Java that is uniquely Mac (even if it takes marketing conceits to do it).

So far, that has not happened, and Apple has no announced plans to remedy it. Java has not yet been componentized by Apple to fit its OpenDoc SOM architecture. It has not yet been incorporated into any scheme with Cyberdog. Apple hasn’t even mentioned it in the same breath as Copland. Given the latter’s continued story of delay, you might think that, if Apple figured Java would be a big part of their Internet strategy, they would announce that Java support would be built into Copland. Even lip service on this issue would be welcomed.

So far, Apple’s only told us that it will incorporate Java into the Mac OS, Newton and other technologies. Chief Scientist Larry Tesler said at the recent Internet World conference that the company would make Java “widely available in its products”, such as: the Mac OS; Cyberdog, the company’s suite of Internet OpenDoc parts; its Internet servers; the Newton OS; and Apple’s “media-authoring technologies”. But exactly what that means (will it be the full componentization that’s needed?) is quite unclear, as are its Mac OS plans.

Creating New Markets

I have no doubts that Java will somehow create new markets, just as the Internet and WWW are doing in a more global sense. What I have great doubts about, however, is how any of these emerging markets will help out Apple, the Mac OS, and Macintosh. Given that the current number-one Web browser (Netscape) has become an afterthought on the Mac, and that other WWW publishing, management, and content-creation tools are never going to see Mac versions, the prognosis for Java on the Mac is not swimmingly positive - especially at doing anything to help create new markets for Mac.

This could change given the right moves by Apple, by an Apple-Sun-Netscape merger or technology agreement, or because of increased pressure by Microsoft forcing their foes together to rally around Java as an anti-Microsoft WWW discriminator.

In their order above, I’d rate those possibilties as moderately likely, moderately unlikely, and nearly impossible.

Slipping Customers the Convincer

Well, this category is pretty much a no-brainer. Java already runs in many forms on Windows platforms (remember, even the SunSoft Java WorkShop 1.0 runs on Windows95 and NT, but not the MacOS). In fact, it’s led the way over Mac implementations of the language and over Java-enabled applications on the Mac. So as a Mac vs. Wintel differentiater, Java ain’t it.

But that does not mean that Apple could not (with a hell of a lot of development and marketing work, and maybe a partnership or two) produce a compelling Java-on-the-Mac strategy that would be an inducement to go Mac - especially if that strategy revolved around Apple as the vendor of choice for the intranet. Given the Mac OS-based client/server products that already play nice on the Web (good stuff like 4th Dimension, Tango/Butler, and others), Apple could make a Java-based intranet strategy fly. But it would mean serious support for existing tools vendors and a serious commitment to developing real Java-based intranet solutions for MacOS customers.

Crabb’s Bottom Line

The question I asked at the top of this column, “What, really, is Java going to do for the moribund Macintosh market?”, still remains unanswered. And after slicing and dicing that question into its components, I find the answer just as elusive.

The reason is because the one unknown in all of this is also the most important player - Apple. As I am writing this, Apple still has yet to articulate an Internet strategy. Supposedly CEO Gil Amelio will have told us what that is at WWDC ’96 in May. But unless that strategy is a pretty darn bold one that includes some serious commitments (that means people, time, and real money) towards redefining Java as an Apple-centric technology driving Apple-branded solutions, I don’t think Java’s going to mean all that much to Mac developers.

I fervently hope I am wrong, however, and that Apple does try to gain control of the Java bandwagon to meet its and its developers’ needs. To date, however, that effort has been pathetic, in the extreme.


Community Search:
MacTech Search:

Software Updates via MacUpdate

Suitcase Fusion 6 17.3.0 - Font manageme...
Suitcase Fusion 6 is the creative professional's font manager. Every professional font manager should deliver the basics: spectacular previews, powerful search tools, and efficient font organization... Read more
Nisus Writer Pro 2.1.2 - Multilingual wo...
Nisus Writer Pro is a powerful multilingual word processor, similar to its entry level products, but brings new features such as table of contents, indexing, bookmarks, widow and orphan control,... Read more
calibre 2.40.0 - Complete e-book library...
Calibre is a complete e-book library manager. Organize your collection, convert your books to multiple formats, and sync with all of your devices. Let Calibre be your multi-tasking digital librarian... Read more
Vivaldi - An advanced browser...
Vivaldi is a browser for our friends. In 1994, two programmers started working on a web browser. Our idea was to make a really fast browser, capable of running on limited hardware, keeping in mind... Read more
OmniPlan 3.0 - Robust project management...
With OmniPlan, you can create logical, manageable project plans with Gantt charts, schedules, summaries, milestones, and critical paths. Break down the tasks needed to make your project a success,... Read more
Yummy FTP 1.11 - FTP/SFTP/FTPS client fo...
Yummy FTP is an FTP + SFTP + FTPS file transfer client which focuses on speed, reliability and productivity. Whether you need to transfer a few files or a few thousand, schedule automatic backups, or... Read more
Tweetbot 2.1 - Popular Twitter client. (...
Tweetbot is a full-featured OS X Twitter client with a lot of personality. Whether it's the meticulously-crafted interface, sounds and animation, or features like multiple timelines and column views... Read more
MacPilot 8.0 - Enable over 1,200 hidden...
MacPilot gives you the power of UNIX and the simplicity of Macintosh, which means a phenomenal amount of untapped power in your hands! Use MacPilot to unlock over 1,200 features, and access them all... Read more
Typinator 6.7 - Speedy and reliable text...
Typinator turbo-charges your typing productivity. Type a little. Typinator does the rest. We've all faced projects that require repetitive typing tasks. With Typinator, you can store commonly used... Read more
Adobe Lightroom 6.2 - Import, develop, a...
Adobe Lightroom is available as part of Adobe Creative Cloud for as little as $9.99/month bundled with Photoshop CC as part of the photography package. Lightroom 6 is also available for purchase as a... Read more

Balloony Land offers a fresh twist on th...
Balloony Land by Palringo offers a fresh twist on the match three genre and is out now on iOS and Android. First-off, you'll be popping balloons instead of crushing candy and the balloons will float up and fill the empty spaces instead of dropping... | Read more »
Sago Mini Babies (Education)
Sago Mini Babies 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Education Price: $2.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: Introducing the Sago Mini babies. Boys and girls love caring for these adorable characters. Feed Robin her favorite mush... | Read more »
PAUSE - Relaxation at your fingertip (H...
PAUSE - Relaxation at your fingertip 1.1 Device: iOS iPhone Category: Healthcare & Fitness Price: $1.99, Version: 1.1 (iTunes) Description: | Read more »
Super Sharp (Games)
Super Sharp 1.1 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $1.99, Version: 1.1 (iTunes) Description: Your finger has never been so sharp! Cut with skill to complete the 120 ingenious physics levels of Super Sharp and become a cut... | Read more »
Assembly - Graphic design for everyone...
Assembly - Graphic design for everyone 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Photography Price: $2.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: Assembly is the easiest most powerful design tool on the App Store. Create anything you can... | Read more »
Dub Dash (Games)
Dub Dash 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $1.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: ARE YOU READY FOR THE ULTIMATE CHALLENGE? UNIQUE SYMBIOSIS OF MUSIC AND GRAPHICS | Read more »
Leave Me Alone (Games)
Leave Me Alone 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $1.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: 33% off launch sale!!! Somewhere between the 1980s and 1990s there exists a world that never was. A world of skatepunks,... | Read more »
YAMGUN (Games)
YAMGUN 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $2.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: The invasion has begun! Protect the walls of the citadel against waves of enemies! But watch out, you will soon run out of ammo...... | Read more »
Chesh (Games)
Chesh 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $2.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: It’s like chess, only not at all. ***40% off for a limited time to celebrate our launch!*** Chesh is a game of skill, strategy, luck,... | Read more »
Dust: An Elysian Tail (Games)
Dust: An Elysian Tail 1.051 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $5.99, Version: 1.051 (iTunes) Description: *Dust: An Elysian Tail is a visually rich experience and thus requires devices with 1GB RAM**Please note that... | Read more »

Price Scanner via

Apple’s Education discount saves up to $300 o...
Purchase a new Mac or iPad using Apple’s Education Store and take up to $300 off MSRP. All teachers, students, and staff of any educational institution qualify for the discount. Shipping is free, and... Read more
Save up to $350 with Apple refurbished iMacs
Apple has Certified Refurbished iMacs available for up to $350 off the cost of new models. Apple’s one-year warranty is standard, and shipping is free: - 27″ 3.5GHz 5K iMac – $1949 $350 off MSRP - 27... Read more
Mac Pros on sale for up to $300 off MSRP
B&H Photo has Mac Pros on sale for up to $300 off MSRP. Shipping is free, and B&H charges sales tax in NY only: - 3.7GHz 4-core Mac Pro: $2818.99, $181 off MSRP - 3.5GHz 6-core Mac Pro: $3699... Read more
5K iMacs on sale for up to $150 off MSRP, fre...
B&H Photo has the 27″ 3.3GHz 5K iMac on sale for $1899.99 including free shipping plus NY tax only. Their price is $100 off MSRP. They have the 27″ 3.5GHz 5K iMac on sale for $2149, $150 off MSRP... Read more
Twelve South Redesigns BookArc For Today’s Sm...
Twelve South has announced a redesigned version of their very first product, BookArc for MacBook. Tailored specifically for the newest generation of MacBooks, BookArc holds the new, smaller Apple... Read more
Phone 6s Tips & Tricks – Tips Book For iP...
Poole, United Kingdom based Tap Guides Ltd. has announced the release and immediate availability of iPhone 6s Tips & Tricks, an in-depth eBook available in the iBookstore that’s priced just $2.99... Read more
Apple refurbished 2014 13-inch Retina MacBook...
Apple has Certified Refurbished 2014 13″ Retina MacBook Pros available for up to $400 off original MSRP, starting at $979. An Apple one-year warranty is included with each model, and shipping is free... Read more
13-inch 2.5GHz MacBook Pro on sale for $994,...
Best Buy has the 13″ 2.5GHz MacBook Pro available for $994.99 on their online store. Choose free shipping or free instant local store pickup (if available). Their price is $105 off MSRP. Price valid... Read more
Is The iPad Pro Really A Serious Laptop Repla...
Probably not, at least for productive professionals and other power users. Steve Jobs declared that we’d entered the “post-PC Era” with the advent of the original iPad in 2010, a phrase we don’t hear... Read more
Wednesday Deal: 13-inch Retina MacBook Pros f...
Adorama has 13″ Retina MacBook Pros on sale for up to $130 off MSRP. Shipping is free, and Adorama charges sales tax for NY & NJ residents only: - 13″ 2.7GHz/128GB Retina MacBook Pro: $1199.99 $... Read more

Jobs Board

*Apple* Retail Online, Customer Experience R...
**Job Summary** Apple Retail's Online Store sells Apple products to customers around the world. In addition to selling Apple products with unique services such Read more
Frameworks Engineer, *Apple* Watch - Apple...
**Job Summary** Join the team that is shaping the future of software development for Apple Watch! As a software engineer on the Apple Watch Frameworks team you will Read more
Senior Manager, Global Direct Marketing *App...
**Job Summary** Apple Retail is looking for an experienced Direct Marketing Leader to join its Marketing team. This position will take a leadership role in creating Read more
*Apple* Online Store Expansion - Apple (Unit...
**Job Summary** The Online Apple Store is seeking a person to lead its expansion into new countries. Based in Cupertino, CA, this person will develop and maintain an Read more
*Apple* Retail - Multiple Customer Support P...
Job Description:Customer SupportSpecialist - Retail Customer Service and SalesTransform Apple Store visitors into loyal Apple customers. When customers enter the Read more
All contents are Copyright 1984-2011 by Xplain Corporation. All rights reserved. Theme designed by Icreon.