TweetFollow Us on Twitter

Oct 96 Viewpoint
Volume Number:12
Issue Number:10
Column Tag:Viewpoint

Viewpoint

By Will Iverson

A Note about Java

This is Java month at MacTech Magazine. With a few notable exceptions, we’ve gone hog wild in this issue and put together some solid Java coverage. For those who prefer “serious code,” never fear. Next month, we’ll tackle the Internet from a C/C++ perspective.

Full Disclosure

This month’s issue features a Java IDE comparative review. Given my background, I chose to write the review myself. In my review, I strove to remain as impartial as possible when evaluating these environments, and I stand by the data. In the interests of full disclosure, my former employer was Symantec; my job was Macintosh Development Tools Evangelist, and I wrote Symantec’s Cafe Studio. Dave Mark, one of our regular columnists, is the Metrowerks Discover Java product manager. All of the companies have attempted to bribe me with countless T-shirts and other random tchatchkis (of which, the Natural Intelligence “Magic Boomerang” was probably, well, the most random).

All of these vaguely incestuous relationships aside, what is the final summation? Java development is still a nascent technology, but it has tremendous potential. Java can and will be ubiquitous - it has the proper combination of marketing, technology and spunk which will carry it through this teething period.

To be completely honest, I’m vaguely annoyed by the current Java situation. The potential of Java is so much more than the implementations currently available it’s depressing. You may note that I only briefly mention the performance of the various Java runtime implementations. Apple has announced that they will build Java directly into the operating system. Once this occurs, for all intents and purposes all of the custom implementations will disappear (with one possible exception - Metrowerks has announced that they will be including Microsoft’s ActiveX technology into their runtime. As it appears unlikely that Apple will include ActiveX in their implementation, those who are interested in this technology will have to license the Metrowerks runtime. As of this writing, Metrowerks was unable to give any details of their licensing and distribution plans for their Java runtime).

What Is Macintosh?

Why do we buy and use Macintosh computers? What is the differentiating factor between the PC and the Macintosh? What is at the soul of the Macintosh?

At MacHack and in the circles of friends and coders that I deal with, there has been quite a bit of concern over these issues. Not expressed as such, but as concerns over OpenDoc and Mac OS 8. “OpenDoc is neat,” they whisper, “but if I drag a dozen parts into a document and one part crashes, I lose the whole document.” “Mac OS 8 is interesting,” nervous voices say, “but the Blue Box still leaves most users with the same unstable shell and vulnerable data.” “The lack of finely grain preemptive threads leaves the Mac in the cold for robust Java implementations.” “Serious development on the Macintosh is impossible without protected memory.”

Where Are We Going?

People buy Macintoshes because they are the world’s easiest to use computer. PC people laugh at Macs because they are for “wimps.” In the past I would laugh and respond that “I just needed to get my work done.”

Let me illustrate my point in another way. My grandmother, a retired English teacher, doesn’t care about file allocation block size issues, asynchronous I/O, multi-homing, a decent virtual memory scheme, or any of the rest of that nonsense. Her PowerBook 520c was her first computer. She knew she wanted a Mac (I told her I wouldn’t help her at all if she bought a PC) and she wanted a laptop, so it was an easy choice.

She uses SeniorNet on AOL and is quite active both on- and off-line. She’s even met people and gone on trips with people she met on-line. I’ve basically never needed to help her. She’s asked a few questions, mostly recommendations for software and hardware, but I’ve virtually never needed to do major surgery on the machine. For me, and for millions of Macintosh users, this is why people buy Macs.

For the last couple of years, she’s been dutifully installing updates and patches she’s been downloading from AOL and other sources. She keeps up to date with the latest revs to the AOL software and to the Mac OS. The results? Her PowerBook has crashed quite a bit more often than it should. She doesn’t install as much new software as she used to, mostly because she’s “afraid it’ll make her machine not work right.”

What Happened?

Apple Computer is organized by technology group. You have an Open Transport group, a QuickDraw 3D group, a GX group, and so on. Basic political science tells us that scarce resources breed conflict, and this is telling with the paths Apple has taken. Whatever happened to the PowerBook with handwriting recognition? Killed due to competition with Newton. This scarce resource problem extends to competition for engineering resources. How many applications support the full AppleEvent suite? How many OpenDoc parts do we have for these data types? Most of these technologies support Drag and Drop (it makes a great demo), but few support the underlying infrastructure which makes this technology really work.

Each group builds a great demo running on a base 7.5 machine. Do we have real integration? Does each group do everything it can to minimize the impact of their technology on a user’s machine for support? No. This is why my System Folder is littered with a hundred and thirty-eight Extensions and Shared Libraries. “The quality assurance cycle for integration is too long.”

True Direction

From a marketing perspective, the Macintosh’s key differentiator is ease of use. With that in mind, from an engineering perspective, let’s think about what we need to do to regain the undisputed world title for the Macintosh as the world’s easiest to use computer. If all I was interested in was protected memory and preemptive multitasking, I’d buy Windows NT, but user interface and ease of use are more important to me.

I support the move announced at Macworld of moving away from the monolithic releases - I couldn’t justify the previous Mac OS 8 strategy to my grandmother. Now that a bad strategy has been jettisoned, a new one needs to fill the vacuum. Hopefully, by the time Thanksgiving rolls around and we are all sitting around the table, my grandmother can ask me what is going to happen and I’ll be able to give her a response that makes sense - to her, and to me. In the meantime, you can help decide the direction - send us your thoughts at letters@mactech.com

 
AAPL
$112.65
Apple Inc.
+3.24
MSFT
$47.52
Microsoft Corpora
+1.78
GOOG
$511.10
Google Inc.
+6.21

MacTech Search:
Community Search:

Software Updates via MacUpdate

BBEdit 11.0.2 - 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
ExpanDrive 4.2.1 - 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
Adobe After Effects CC 2014 13.2 - Creat...
After Effects CC 2014 is available as part of Adobe Creative Cloud for as little as $19.99/month (or $9.99/month if you're a previous After Effects customer). After Effects CS6 is still available... Read more
Command-C 1.1.7 - Clipboard sharing tool...
Command-C is a revolutionary app which makes easy to share your clipboard between iOS and OS X using your local WiFi network, even if the app is not currently opened. Copy anything (text, pictures,... Read more
Tidy Up 4.0.2 - Find duplicate files and...
Tidy Up is a complete duplicate finder and disk-tidiness utility. With Tidy Up you can search for duplicate files and packages by the owner application, content, type, creator, extension, time... Read more
Typinator 6.3 - 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
GraphicConverter 9.5 - Graphics editor w...
GraphicConverter is an all-purpose image-editing program that can import 200 different graphic-based formats, edit the image, and export it to any of 80 available file formats. The high-end editing... Read more
Toast Titanium 12.0.1 - The ultimate med...
Toast Titanium goes way beyond the very basic burning in the Mac OS and iLife software, and sets the standard for burning CDs, DVDs, and now Blu-ray discs on the Mac. Create superior sounding audio... Read more
QuickBooks 2015 16.0.2.1422 R3 - Financi...
Save 20% on QuickBooks Pro for Mac today through this special discount link QuickBooks Pro 2013 helps you manage your business easily and efficiently. Organize your finances all in one place, track... Read more
Remotix 3.0.6 - Access all your computer...
Remotix is a fast and powerful application to easily access multiple Macs (and PCs) from your own Mac. Features: Complete Apple Screen Sharing support - including Mac OS X login, clipboard... Read more

Latest Forum Discussions

See All

Mahjong Journey Review
Mahjong Journey Review By Jennifer Allen on December 18th, 2014 Our Rating: :: STEADY MATCHINGiPad Only App - Designed for the iPad Aimed at the more laid back gamer, Mahjong Journey isn’t for everyone, but those looking for some... | Read more »
Emoji Type - custom keyboard with predic...
Emoji Type - custom keyboard with predictive emojis 0.4.0 Device: iOS iPhone Category: Utilities Price: $.99, Version: 0.4.0 (iTunes) Description: Emoji Type is custom keyboard for iOS 8 that auto suggests emojis as you type. ABOUT... | Read more »
Game of the Year 2014 – 148Apps Staff Pi...
The end of 2014 is almost here, which can only mean one thing. Okay it can mean a lot of things, but in this specific context it means Game of the Year lists! Which is why the 148Apps staff have all picked their favorites from the past year. And why... | Read more »
UponPixels Review
UponPixels Review By Jennifer Allen on December 18th, 2014 Our Rating: :: CREATIVE TYPOGRAPHYUniversal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad Add cool typography and objects to your photos with the easy to use UponPixels.   | Read more »
The Vikings are Coming! CastleStorm’s Ne...
The Vikings are Coming! CastleStorm’s New Update Adds a Survival Mode Posted by Jessica Fisher on December 18th, 2014 [ permalink ] | Read more »
Duet Display (Productivity)
Duet Display 0.3.3 Device: iOS Universal Category: Productivity Price: $9.99, Version: 0.3.3 (iTunes) Description: Duet Display allows you to use your iPad or iPhone as an extra display. Developed by a team of ex-Apple engineers,... | Read more »
Dragon Quest III Review
Dragon Quest III Review By Jennifer Allen on December 18th, 2014 Our Rating: :: DATED BUT NOT WITHOUT MERITUniversal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad A walk down memory lane isn’t foolproof for Dragon Quest III, but it has its... | Read more »
8 KEMCO JRPGs Are Just $0.99 in Celebrat...
8 KEMCO JRPGs Are Just $0.99 in Celebration of the Holidays Posted by Jessica Fisher on December 18th, 2014 [ permalink ] KEMCO has announc | Read more »
Brothers in Arms 3: Sons of War Review
Brothers in Arms 3: Sons of War Review By Jennifer Allen on December 18th, 2014 Our Rating: :: FUN BUT PUSHYUniversal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad Brothers in Arms 3: Sons of War could be great fun, but its plethora of... | Read more »
The Snow is Falling on the French Countr...
The Snow is Falling on the French Countryside of Carcassonne’s Newest Update Posted by Jessica Fisher on December 18th, 2014 [ permalink ] < | Read more »

Price Scanner via MacPrices.net

Save up to $400 on MacBooks with Apple Certif...
The Apple Store has Apple Certified Refurbished 2014 MacBook Pros and MacBook Airs available for up to $400 off the cost of new models. An Apple one-year warranty is included with each model, and... Read more
Save up to $300 on Macs, $30 on iPads with Ap...
Purchase a new Mac or iPad at The Apple Store for Education and take up to $300 off MSRP. All teachers, students, and staff of any educational institution qualify for the discount. Shipping is free,... Read more
iOS and Android OS Targeted by Man-in-the-Mid...
Cloud services security provider Akamai Technologies, Inc. has released, through the company’s Prolexic Security Engineering & Research Team (PLXsert), a new cybersecurity threat advisory. The... Read more
KMI MIDI K-Board Great Gift for Amateur &...
The K-Board is a MIDI Nano keyboard for music creation for iPad, Android, And computers; the easiest way to make music with iPads & Android tablets, and Mac, Windows, or Linux computers. Ultra-... Read more
Amazon offers 15-inch 2.2GHz Retina MacBook P...
 Amazon.com has the 15″ 2.2GHz Retina MacBook Pro on sale for $1699 including free shipping. Their price is $300 off MSRP. Stock is limited, so act now if you’re interested. Read more
Holiday sales continue: MacBook Pros for up t...
 B&H Photo has new MacBook Pros on sale for up to $300 off MSRP as part of their Holiday pricing. Shipping is free, and B&H charges NY sales tax only: - 15″ 2.2GHz Retina MacBook Pro: $1699... Read more
Holiday sale: Mac minis available for up to $...
 B&H Photo has new 2014 Mac minis on sale for up to $80 off MSRP. Shipping is free, and B&H charges NY sales tax only: - 1.4GHz Mac mini: $459 $40 off MSRP - 2.6GHz Mac mini: $629 $70 off... Read more
Google Search App For iOS Gets A Major Makeov...
Google has given iOS users an early Christmas present with a substantial update of it’s not-very-often-upgraded Google Search app. Google Search has been my go-to tool for Web searches since it was... Read more
ShopKeep Apple Pay And Chip Card Reader Avail...
ShopKeep, a cloud-based technology provider to more than 10,000 small business owners to manage retail shops and restaurants with iPads, has released its new Apple Pay and chip card reader. This... Read more
Holiday sale! 27-inch 5K iMac for $2299, save...
 B&H Photo has the 27″ 3.5GHz 5K iMac in stock today and on sale for $2299 including free shipping plus NY sales tax only. Their price is $200 off MSRP, and it’s the lowest price available for... 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* 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...
Job Description: Sales Specialist - Retail Customer Service and Sales Transform Apple Store visitors into loyal Apple customers. When customers enter the store, 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
Project Manager / Business Analyst, WW *Appl...
…a senior project manager / business analyst to work within our Worldwide Apple Fulfillment Operations and the Business Process Re-engineering team. This role will work Read more
All contents are Copyright 1984-2011 by Xplain Corporation. All rights reserved. Theme designed by Icreon.