TweetFollow Us on Twitter

Oct 99 Viewpoint

Volume Number: 15 (1999)
Issue Number: 10
Column Tag: Viewpoint

Viewpoint

by Bill von Hagen

For Cross-Platform Standards, the Mac is as Standard as Anybody

This issue's viewpoint is what some might consider heresy - discussing the importance of seeing the Mac an equal partner in "standards". I don't mean this just in terms of this week's hot buzzphrase ("Open Source", anyone?), but rather in terms of time- tested buzzwords such as XML, Java, EDI, and eBusiness.

At first glance, it's odd to see a Macintosh piece whose focus is interoperability and platform-independence. The reason that this is odd is that, as Mac lovers, we're often used to thinking of ourselves as the voice crying out in the wilderness, some sort of hi-tech Mr. Smith in "Mr Smith Goes To Washington." We do this to ourselves by our endless (and justified! - oops) trumpeting of the Mac as the one true platform, but let's face it - that attitude just doesn't cut it in the business world today. To me, the Mac still has clear advantages for most graphics and artistic work, but (to paraphrase) 'the business of America today is eBusiness.' We can design all the web sites, graphics, and other media we want using Macs, but if we want to make the Mac into more than just a niche player, we've got to use it for business and business development - not just for software development to feed the needs of a few million Mac-loving intimates and the occasional convert or new initiates.

The good news is that you can already do this. The tools are already here. You can start now. Today's web environment and the cross-platform thinking it fosters already makes the Mac a viable player. We just have to respin our story a little bit.

To recap the world of eBusiness today in a paragraph or two, Java is a object-oriented language that is compiled so that it can run on any platform with a Java virtual machine. Virtual machines are freely available for almost all hardware platforms, from mainframes (IBM VM), to workstations (almost all flavors of UNIX), to personal computers (Macs, Windows 95, 98, and NT), and even hand-helds (Psion organizers). All of these can run the same platform-independent Java applications, even using a GUI thanks to portable Java GUI libraries such as Swing.

Just as Java is a platform-independent independent way or writing applications, XML is a software-independent way of exchanging data. XML is a markup language that lets you define structured ways of organizing data. The most common use of XML is in defining different types of structured documents and creating documents that conform to them. Businesses have many different types of data that must conform to a specific structure: spreadsheets, databases, and even general-purpose corporate information such as that exchanged via EDI (Electronic Data Interchange) formats. All of these have their own rules for identifying the meaning of different portions of the data that they contain. XML provides a unified structure for expressing all of them.

Together, Java and XML provide a platform-independent, software-independent vision for the future of computing. Anyone can play as long as they can follow the standard rules. Macs have specific advantages in specific fields, but darn it, we can also be as standard as anybody.

Regardless of your age, mind set, and favorite tools, the Mac already has everything you need for XML and Java development. Integrated Development Environments (IDEs) for developing Java applications on the Mac are readily available from vendors such as Metrowerks, Symantec, Smith Resources, and many others. There's a fair amount of Mac XML development software already out there for the Mac, including the HexMac Publishing Tools, the Emile extensible markup editor, Xpublish, bbedit, and many more.

There are also plenty of tools for people like me. Call me a Luddite if you will, but since the early eighties, I've written docs and code in the same tool - a text editor. I love markup languages such as XML because I can still use my favorite editor and produce perfectly formed documents. I can write code in another window at the same time. But enough about me - the point is that the tools are out there, regardless of what you like to use. The skills are out there - a million Mac applications show that we have them. The opportunity is out there.

This isn't suggesting that we stop developing Mac-specific applications. To quote Vladamir Nabakov's Lolita, "Please, don't stop!" The Mac GUI is a wonder of beauty and usability. (Though I will never be able to explain or defend the QuickTime 4 GUI!) There will always be a place for Mac-only applications that take advantage of the Mac OS. I'd frankly expect more of these sorts of applications once Mac OS X is available.

We're not "dumbing down" the Mac, we're wising up ourselves and the business community by nothing more than putting a slightly better spin on the kinds of development you can already do on the Mac. Which is platform-specific things, and standard things. And we can play in the platform-independent, software-independent sandbox as well as anybody.

eBusiness, XML, and Java could be the best things that ever happened to the Mac since PageMaker at the dawn of time. ( which was April, 1984) Some might say that those aren't Macintosh applications or environments per se, but the smart ones among us will be quick to yell "And that's the whole point!" - they're as much Mac applications and environment as they are Windows or UNIX ones. (Spin, spin.) Let's get eBusy.

URLs

Java IDEs: XML Development:
 

Community Search:
MacTech Search:

Software Updates via MacUpdate

Tips and tricks to get a higher score in...
Tank.iois - you guessed it! - another multiplayer arena battler likeAgar.io and Slither.io. It does differentiate itself by putting you in a tiny tank though, so it's not exactly the same. To help you get that all-important high score, we've got a... | Read more »
How to unlock characters in One Tap Tenn...
As the title suggests, One Tap Tennis requires only a single tap to play its particular brand of tennis, and rewards you with a ton of unlockable characters if you perform well. Fortunately for you, we at 148Apps have got a few tips and tricks to... | Read more »
Grab it now: Game Craft’s Legend of War...
The real time strategy game is now available for you to sink your teeth into, through the App Store and Google Play. Combining elements of skill, strategy and empire building, Legend of War is a real gamers’ game. [Read more] | Read more »
Skateboard Party 3 ft. Greg Lutzka (Gam...
Skateboard Party 3 ft. Greg Lutzka 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $1.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: Skateboard Party is back! This third edition of the popular sports franchise features professional skater... | Read more »
Cubious (Games)
Cubious 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: Cubious – How smart are you? How high is your IQube? Solve the impossible puzzles to find out, and help a lost little cube find his... | Read more »
Goat Simulator Waste of Space (Games)
Goat Simulator Waste of Space 1.1 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $4.99, Version: 1.1 (iTunes) Description: ** IMPORTANT - SUPPORTED DEVICESiPhone 4S, iPad 2, iPod Touch 5 or better.** | Read more »
Wildfulness - Unwind in nature and calm...
Wildfulness - Unwind in nature and calm your mind with nature sounds and illustrations 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Healthcare & Fitness Price: $1.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: Spending time in nature helps you to... | Read more »
Dr. Panda Racers (Education)
Dr. Panda Racers 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Education Price: $2.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: STEP ON THE GAS, RACE AND WIN!Fasten your seat belts and get ready to race! Speed your way to the finish line while doing... | Read more »
ROMANCING SAGA 2 (Games)
ROMANCING SAGA 2 1.0.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $17.99, Version: 1.0.0 (iTunes) Description: Romancing SaGa 2, originally released only in Japan in 1993, has been completely remastered and now receives its first... | Read more »
WRIO Keyboard (Utilities)
WRIO Keyboard 1.0 Device: iOS iPhone Category: Utilities Price: $2.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: 40% OFF DURING LIMITED INTRODUCTORY OFFER | Read more »

Price Scanner via MacPrices.net

Enterprise Workers Pick Technology Over Perks...
New Adobe study shows surprising attitudes about office jobs and where the future of work is heading. Adobe has released survey findings revealing that a surprising 70 percent of U.S. office workers... Read more
Goal Zero and OtterBox Partner to Expand iPh...
Goal Zero, specialists in portable power, have announced a partnership with OtterBox, brand smartphone case protection, to offer the Slide and Slide Plus Batteries as modules compatible with the new... Read more
15-inch Retina MacBook Pros on sale for up to...
B&H Photo has 15″ Retina MacBook Pros on sale for up to $210 off MSRP. Shipping is free, and B&H charges NY tax only: - 15″ 2.2GHz Retina MacBook Pro: $1799 $200 off MSRP - 15″ 2.5GHz Retina... Read more
Clearance 2015 13-inch MacBook Airs available...
B&H Photo has clearance 2015 13″ MacBook Airs available for $250 off original MSRP. Shipping is free, and B&H charges NY sales tax only: - 13″ 1.6GHz/4GB/128GB MacBook Air (MJVE2LL/A): $799... Read more
Apple refurbished Apple TVs available for up...
Apple has Certified Refurbished 32GB and 64GB Apple TVs available for up to $30 off the cost of new models. Apple’s standard one-year warranty is included with each model, and shipping is free: -... Read more
21-inch iMacs on sale for up to $120 off MSRP
B&H Photo has 21″ iMacs on sale for up to $120 off MSRP including free shipping plus NY sales tax only: - 21″ 3.1GHz iMac 4K: $1379.99 $120 off MSRP - 21″ 2.8GHz iMac: $1189 $110 off MSRP - 21″ 1... Read more
Kanex Introduces GoPower USB-C Rechargeable B...
Kanex has announced its GoPower USB-C portable battery for the USB-C MacBook, featuring the new industry standard connector and cable used for connectivity and power. Providing users with a new... Read more
Convertible and Detachable Devices Winning Ov...
According to the latest figures published by International Data Corporation (IDC), Western European shipments of ultraslim convertibles and detachables posted positive growth (44.7%) to account for... Read more
New MacBook Pros And Will MacBook Air Be Upgr...
With my mid-2013 13-inch MacBook Air closing on its third anniversary come November, I’m in system upgrade mode. Actually the Haswell CPU equipped Air is still doing a fine job, but my good wife is... Read more
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

Jobs Board

Automotive Sales Consultant - Apple Ford Linc...
…you. The best candidates are smart, technologically savvy and are customer focused. Apple Ford Lincoln Apple Valley is different, because: $30,000 annual salary Read more
Service Assistant - *Apple* Chevrolet *App...
Apple Automotive is one of the fastest growing dealer...and it shows. Consider making the switch to the Apple Automotive Group today! At Apple Automotive, we Read more
Editor, *Apple* News - APPLE (United States...
Job Summary The Apple News team is looking for a passionate and knowledgeable editor with experience covering entertainment/pop culture and experience running social Read more
*Apple* Nissan Service Technicians - Apple A...
Apple Automotive is one of the fastest growing dealer...and it shows. Consider making the switch to the Apple Automotive Group today! At Apple Automotive , Read more
ISCS *Apple* ID Site Support Engineer - APP...
…position, we are looking for an individual who has experience supporting customers with Apple ID issues and enjoys this area of support. This person should be Read more
All contents are Copyright 1984-2011 by Xplain Corporation. All rights reserved. Theme designed by Icreon.