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

iExplorer 4.1.9 - View and transfer file...
iExplorer is an iPhone browser for Mac lets you view the files on your iOS device. By using a drag and drop interface, you can quickly copy files and folders between your Mac and your iPhone or... Read more
PCalc 4.5.3 - Full-featured scientific c...
PCalc is a full-featured, scriptable scientific calculator with support for hexadecimal, octal, and binary calculations, as well as an RPN mode, programmable functions, and an extensive set of unit... Read more
Slack 2.9.0 - Collaborative communicatio...
Slack is a collaborative communication app that simplifies real-time messaging, archiving, and search for modern working teams. Version 2.9.0: Slack now officially, and fully, supports Japanese.... Read more
Microsoft Office 2016 15.40 - Popular pr...
Microsoft Office 2016 - Unmistakably Office, designed for Mac. The new versions of Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook and OneNote provide the best of both worlds for Mac users - the familiar Office... Read more
Apple iOS 11.1.2 - The latest version of...
iOS 11 sets a new standard for what is already the world’s most advanced mobile operating system. It makes iPhone better than before. It makes iPad more capable than ever. And now it opens up both to... Read more
Adobe InCopy CC 2018 13.0.1.207 - Create...
InCopy CC 2018 is available as part of Adobe Creative Cloud for as little as $19.99/month (or $9.99/month if you're a previous InCopy customer). Adobe InCopy CC 2018, ideal for large team projects... Read more
Adobe InDesign CC 2018 13.0.1.207 - Prof...
InDesign CC 2018 is available as part of Adobe Creative Cloud for as little as $19.99/month (or $9.99/month if you're a previous InDesign customer). Adobe InDesign CC 2018 is part of Creative Cloud.... Read more
Tor Browser Bundle 7.0.10 - Anonymize We...
The Tor Browser Bundle is an easy-to-use portable package of Tor, Vidalia, Torbutton, and a Firefox fork preconfigured to work together out of the box. It contains a modified copy of Firefox that... Read more
OmniOutliner Pro 5.2 - Pro version of th...
OmniOutliner Pro 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
iShowU Instant 1.2.3 - Full-featured scr...
iShowU Instant gives you real-time screen recording like you've never seen before! It is the fastest, most feature-filled real-time screen capture tool from shinywhitebox yet. All of the features you... Read more

Latest Forum Discussions

See All

A Boy and His Blob (Games)
A Boy and His Blob 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $4.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: | Read more »
Fight terrible monsters and collect epic...
Released on Western markets early last month, Dragon Project, created by Japanese developer COLOPL, brings epic monster hunting action to mobile for the very first time. Collect a huge array of weapons and armor, and join up with friends to fight... | Read more »
I Am The Hero (Games)
I Am The Hero 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $1.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: I Am The Hero is a pixel art, beat 'em up, fighting game that tells the story of a "Hero" with a glorious but mysterious past.... | Read more »
Kauldron (Music)
Kauldron 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Music Price: $3.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: Kauldron is our warmest sounding, punchiest synth yet! A completely new modeling technology, combined with carefully designed... | Read more »
Lineage II: Revolution is mobile’s bigge...
NCSoft’s hit fantasy MMORPG series has just made the leap to mobile with the help of Netmarble in Lineage II: Revolution. With over 1.5 million players having already pre-registered ahead of the game’s launch, Revolution hit the app stores... | Read more »
Swing skilfully in new physics-based pla...
Sometimes it’s the most difficult of obstacles that can be the most rewarding. One game hoping to prove this is OCMO, the new tough but fair platformer from developers Team Ocmo. Primed to set every speedrunner’s pulse racing, as an otherworldly... | Read more »
RPGolf (Games)
RPGolf 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $2.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: Once upon a time, the kingdom was a land of peace, harmony, and an all-consuming passion for the greatest sport - GOLF. Everyone in the... | Read more »
Everything you need to know about Fire E...
Fire Emblem Heroes is getting its biggest update yet as Nintendo unveiled Book II last night, featuring a whole new set of story missions and yes, collectible heroes. The update's not out just yet, but here's what you can expect when the new... | Read more »
The biggest updates out this week - Nove...
A big game update is always a treat. Multiply that by four and you're having a really good week. Those weeks don't come around very often, but you're in luck. This chilly mid-November is chock full updates for some of your favorite titles, and they... | Read more »
Ocmo (Games)
Ocmo 1.0.13 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $4.99, Version: 1.0.13 (iTunes) Description: Ocmo is an award winning ninja rope platformer that challenges even hardcore gamers. Fluid movement, physics based gameplay and... | Read more »

Price Scanner via MacPrices.net

Early Black Friday sale: Apple iMacs for up t...
B&H Photo has 27-inch iMacs in stock and on sale for up $130-$150 off MSRP including free shipping. B&H charges sales tax in NY & NJ only: – 27″ 3.8GHz iMac (MNED2LL/A): $2149 $150 off... Read more
Apple restocks refurbished Mac minis starting...
Apple has restocked Certified Refurbished Mac minis starting at $419. Apple’s one-year warranty is included with each mini, and shipping is free: – 1.4GHz Mac mini: $419 $80 off MSRP – 2.6GHz Mac... Read more
Save on 12″ MacBooks, Apple refurbished model...
Apple has Certified Refurbished 2017 12″ Retina MacBooks available for $200-$240 off the cost of new models. Apple will include a standard one-year warranty with each MacBook, and shipping is free.... Read more
Early Holiday sale: 12″ iPad Pros for up to $...
B&H Photo has 12″ iPad Pros on sale today for up to $130 off MSRP. Shipping is free, and B&H collects no sales tax outside NY & NJ: – 12″ 64GB WiFi iPad Pro: $749, save $50 – 12″ 256GB... Read more
Holiday sale prices on Apple 13″ MacBook Pros...
B&H Photo has 2017 13″ MacBook Pros in stock today and on sale for $100-$150 off MSRP, each including free shipping plus NY & NJ sales tax only: – 13-inch 2.3GHz/128GB Space Gray MacBook Pro... Read more
Sale: 13″ MacBook Airs starting at $899, $100...
B&H Photo has 2017 13″ MacBook Airs on sale today for $100 off MSRP including free shipping. B&H charges NY & NJ sales tax only: – 13″ 1.8GHz/128GB MacBook Air (MQD32LL/A): $899, $100 off... Read more
Week’s Best Deal on 13″ MacBook Pros: Apple r...
Apple has a full line of Apple Certified Refurbished 2017 13″ MacBook Pros available for $200-$300 off MSRP. A standard Apple one-year warranty is included with each MacBook, and shipping is free.... Read more
Deal: 15″ 2.6GHz MacBook Pro for $1799 w/free...
B&H Photo has clearance 2016 15″ 2.6GHz Touch Bar MacBook Pros in stock today and available for $600 off original MSRP. Shipping is free, and B&H charges NY & NJ sales tax only: – 15″ 2.... Read more
Black Friday pricing on the 1.4GHz Mac mini....
MacMall has the 1.4GHz Mac mini on sale for $399 including free shipping. Their price is $100 off MSRP (20% off), and it’s the lowest price for available for this model from any reseller. MacMall’s... Read more
Early Black Friday deal: 15″ Apple MacBook Pr...
B&H Photo has 15″ MacBook Pros on sale for up to $200 off MSRP. Shipping is free, and B&H charges sales tax in NY & NJ only: – 15″ 2.8GHz MacBook Pro Space Gray (MPTR2LL/A): $2199, $200... Read more

Jobs Board

AppleCare Support Engineer for *Apple* Medi...
…Summary AppleCare Engineering, Software & Services, is a group that works to represent Apple 's World Wide contact centers and Apple 's customers to groups within Read more
Site Reliability Engineer, *Apple* Pay - Ap...
Job Summary The Apple Pay Site Reliability Engineering Team is hiring for multiple roles focused on the front line customer experience and the back end integration Read more
*Apple* Solutions Consultant - Apple (United...
# Apple Solutions Consultant Job Number: 86078534 Fairless Hills, Pennsylvania, United States Posted: 07-Jul-2017 Weekly Hours: 40.00 **Job Summary** As an Apple Read more
Digital Marketing Media Planner, *Apple* Se...
Job Summary Apple is looking to add a hyper-organized, strategic, and fast-learning member to its Digital Marketing team to help support Apple Services ( Apple Read more
*Apple* Retail - Multiple Positions - Apple...
SalesSpecialist - Retail Customer Service and SalesTransform Apple Store visitors into loyal Apple customers. When customers enter the store, you're also the Read more
All contents are Copyright 1984-2011 by Xplain Corporation. All rights reserved. Theme designed by Icreon.