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.

 
AAPL
$95.64
Apple Inc.
+0.92
MSFT
$45.30
Microsoft Corpora
+0.47
GOOG
$593.40
Google Inc.
-1.35

MacTech Search:
Community Search:

Software Updates via MacUpdate

Together 3.2 - Store and organize all of...
Together helps you organize your Mac, giving you the ability to store, edit and preview your files in a single clean, uncluttered interface. Smart storage. With simple drag-and-drop functionality,... Read more
Cyberduck 4.5 - FTP and SFTP browser. (F...
Cyberduck is a robust FTP/FTP-TLS/SFTP browser for the Mac whose lack of visual clutter and cleverly intuitive features make it easy to use. Support for external editors and system technologies such... Read more
Airmail 1.4 - Powerful, minimal email cl...
Airmail is a powerful, minimal mail client.It was designed to retain the same experience with a single or multiple accounts and provide a quick, modern and easy-to-use user experience. Airmail... Read more
Macs Fan Control 1.1.12 - Monitor and co...
Macs Fan Control allows you to monitor and control almost any aspect of your computer's fans, with support for controlling fan speed, temperature sensors pane, menu-bar icon, and autostart with... Read more
A Better Finder Rename 9.37 - 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
MacBook Air EFI Firmware Update 2.9 - Fo...
MacBook Air EFI Firmware Update is recommended for MacBook Air (Mid 2011) models. This update addresses an issue where systems may take longer to wake from sleep than expected and fixes a rare issue... Read more
FileZilla 3.9.0.1 - Fast and reliable FT...
FileZilla (ported from Windows) is a fast and reliable FTP client and server with lots of useful features and an intuitive interface.Version 3.9.0.1: MSW: Fix installation issue with locked DLLs... Read more
OS X Yosemite 10.10 DP4 - Developer Prev...
Note: This is a Developer Preview. You must be a registered Apple Mac Developer to download this update. OS X Yosemite is Apple's newest operating system for Mac. An elegant design that feels... Read more
FinderPop 2.5.6 - Classic Mac utility, n...
FinderPop is a Universal preference pane that extends OS X's contextual menus using a FinderPop Items folder much as the Apple Menu Items folder used to do for the Apple menu. It has other features... Read more
SpiderOak 5.1.7 - Secure cloud backup, s...
SpiderOak is a multi-platform secure online backup, storage, access, and sharing solution engineered for the consumer and small businesses. You must first sign up to use SpiderOak. Running natively... Read more

Latest Forum Discussions

See All

Secret Files Tunguska Review
Secret Files Tunguska Review By Jennifer Allen on July 23rd, 2014 Our Rating: :: CONSPIRACY-LITTERED ADVENTURINGUniversal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad Offering traditional adventuring with no fear of in-app purchases, Secret... | Read more »
Celebrate Summer With a Cat in the Hat L...
Celebrate Summer With a Cat in the Hat Learning Library Sale Posted by Ellis Spice on July 22nd, 2014 [ permalink ] Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad | Read more »
Dragon Raiders Review
Dragon Raiders Review By Nadia Oxford on July 22nd, 2014 Our Rating: :: RUN, DRAGON, RUNUniversal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad Dragon Raiders is rough and scaly in some parts, but overall it’s an enjoyable level-based running... | Read more »
MyTaskList Review
MyTaskList Review By Jennifer Allen on July 22nd, 2014 Our Rating: :: EFFECTIVE IF PLAINUniversal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad It’s not the most stylish of task management apps, but MyTaskList has all the features you could... | Read more »
FlyCraft Herbie: Crazy Machines Review
FlyCraft Herbie: Crazy Machines Review By Jennifer Allen on July 22nd, 2014 Our Rating: :: TRICKY FLYINGUniversal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad A tough game of careful thrusting and navigation, FlyCraft Herbie: Crazy Machines... | Read more »
MTN Review
MTN Review By Jessica Fisher on July 22nd, 2014 Our Rating: :: ADORABLE, SERENE, AND AMUSINGUniversal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad MTN is an adorable, talking pet mountain that is less game and more zen garden.   | Read more »
Fly High with Ninja UP! Now Available o...
Fly High with Ninja UP! Now Available on the App Store Posted by Jessica Fisher on July 22nd, 2014 [ permalink ] Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad | Read more »
Bio Inc. Review
Bio Inc. Review By Nadia Oxford on July 22nd, 2014 Our Rating: :: SICKENING - IN A COMPELLING WAYUniversal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad Bio Inc is about orchestrating the medical destruction of a single person. If that doesn’... | Read more »
HELMUT Review
HELMUT Review By Andrew Fisher on July 21st, 2014 Our Rating: :: TRUNDLE SIMULATOR 2014Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad HELMUT is a fun, fleeting time-sink that offers a momentary distraction and nothing else.   | Read more »
Walkr Review
Walkr Review By Jennifer Allen on July 21st, 2014 Our Rating: :: ORIGINAL WALKINGiPhone App - Designed for the iPhone, compatible with the iPad Walking is a bit more exciting thanks to this planet building/discovering sim reliant... | Read more »

Price Scanner via MacPrices.net

Apple 27″ Thunderbolt Display (refurbished) a...
The Apple Store has Apple Certified Refurbished 27″ Thunderbolt Displays available for $799 including free shipping. That’s $200 off the cost of new models. Read more
WaterField Designs Unveils Cycling Ride Pouch...
High end computer case and bag maker WaterField Designs of San Francisco now enters the cycling market with the introduction of the Cycling Ride Pouch – an upscale toolkit with a scratch-free iPhone... Read more
Kingston Digital Ships Large Capacity Near 1T...
Kingston Digital, Inc., the Flash memory affiliate of Kingston Technology Company, Inc.,has announced its latest addition to the SSDNow V300 series, the V310. The Kingston SSDNow V310 solid-state... Read more
Apple’s Fiscal Third Quarter Results; Record...
Apple has announced financial results for its fiscal 2014 third quarter ended June 28, 2014, racking up quarterly revenue of $37.4 billion and quarterly net profit of $7.7 billion, or $1.28 per... Read more
15-inch 2.0GHz MacBook Pro Retina on sale for...
B&H Photo has the 15″ 2.0GHz Retina MacBook Pro on sale for $1829 including free shipping plus NY sales tax only. Their price is $170 off MSRP. B&H will also include free copies of Parallels... Read more
Apple restocks refurbished Mac minis for up t...
The Apple Store has restocked Apple Certified Refurbished Mac minis for up to $150 off the cost of new models. Apple’s one-year warranty is included with each mini, and shipping is free: - 2.5GHz Mac... Read more
Twelve South HiRise For MacBook – Height-Adju...
If you use your MacBook as a workhorse desktop substitute, as many of us do, a laptop stand combined with an external keyboard and pointing device are pretty much obligatory if you want to avoid... Read more
Why The Mac Was Not Included In The Apple/IBM...
TUAW’s Yoni Heisler cites Fredrick Paul of Network World whoi blogged last week that the Mac’s conspicuous absence from Apple and IBM’s landmark partnership agreement represents a huge squandered... Read more
Save $100 on 13-inch Retina MacBook Pros, plu...
Adorama has 13″ Retina MacBook Pros on sale for $100 off MSRP. Shipping is free, and Adorama charges sales tax in NY & NJ only: - 13″ 2.4GHz/128GB MacBook Pro with Retina Display: $1199 - 13″ 2.... Read more
Blurr it 2.3 for iOS – Quickly Blurs Selected...
Hyderabad, India based TouchLabs has announced a new update of Blurr it 2.3, their photography app for iOS users. Blurr it allows you to blur part of the image to hide potentially sensitive or... Read more

Jobs Board

Sr Software Lead Engineer, *Apple* Online S...
Sr Software Lead Engineer, Apple Online Store Publishing Systems Keywords: Company: Apple Job Code: E3PCAK8MgYYkw Location (City or ZIP): Santa Clara Status: Full Read more
*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* 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
Sr *Apple* Engineer - IT - Requisition #: -...
For more information about TIAA-CREF, visit our website . The Apple Engineer will provide engineering and third-level incident support for 300- 500 MacOS desktop/laptop Read more
*Apple* Systems Administrator - DISH (United...
…satellite service provider, and Dish is currently looking for an experienced Apple /Mac Systems Administrator. Apple systems administrator will be responsible for Read more
All contents are Copyright 1984-2011 by Xplain Corporation. All rights reserved. Theme designed by Icreon.