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

Affinity Designer 1.5.5 - Vector graphic...
Affinity Designer is an incredibly accurate vector illustrator that feels fast and at home in the hands of creative professionals. It intuitively combines rock solid and crisp vector art with... Read more
djay Pro 1.4.3 - Transform your Mac into...
djay Pro provides a complete toolkit for performing DJs. Its unique modern interface is built around a sophisticated integration with iTunes and Spotify, giving you instant access to millions of... Read more
Jamf Pro 9.98 - Powerful sysadmin/enterp...
Jamf Pro (formerly Casper Suite) is the EMM tool that delights IT pros and the users they support by delivering on the promise of unified endpoint management for Apple devices. At Jamf, connecting... Read more
Airmail 3.2.4 - Powerful, minimal email...
Airmail is an mail client with fast performance and intuitive interaction. Support for iCloud, MS Exchange, Gmail, Google Apps, IMAP, POP3, Yahoo!, AOL, Outlook.com, Live.com. Airmail was designed... Read more
RapidWeaver 7.3.1 - Create template-base...
RapidWeaver is a next-generation Web design application to help you easily create professional-looking Web sites in minutes. No knowledge of complex code is required, RapidWeaver will take care of... Read more
PopChar 7.7 - $16.99 (51% off)
PopChar helps you get the most out of your font collection. With its crystal-clear interface, PopChar provides a frustration-free way to access any font's special characters. Features Expanded... Read more
Apple iTunes 12.6 - Play Apple Music and...
Apple iTunes lets you organize and stream Apple Music, download and watch video and listen to Podcasts. It can automatically download new music, app, and book purchases across all your devices and... Read more
MacPilot 9.0.6 - Enable over 1,200 hidde...
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
Sparkle Pro 2.1.4 - $79.99
Sparkle Pro will change your mind if you thought building websites wasn't for you. Sparkle is the intuitive site builder that lets you create sites for your online portfolio, team or band pages, or... Read more
TextSoap 8.3.3 - Automate tedious text d...
TextSoap can automatically remove unwanted characters, fix up messed up carriage returns, and do pretty much anything else that we can think of to text. Save time and effort. Be more productive. Stop... Read more

Death Road to Canada (Games)
Death Road to Canada 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $7.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: Get it now at the low launch price! Price will go up a dollar every major update. Update news at the bottom of this... | Read more »
Bean's Quest Beginner's Guide:...
Bean's Quest is a new take on both the classic platformer and the endless runner, and it's free on the App Store for the time being. Instead of running constantly, you can't stop jumping. That adds a surprising new level of challenge to the game... | Read more »
How to rake in the cash in Bit City
Our last Bit City guide covered the basics. Now it's time to get into some of the more advanced techniques. In the later cities, cash flow becomes much more difficult, so you'll want to develop some strategies if you want to complete each level.... | Read more »
PixelTerra (Games)
PixelTerra 1.1.1 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $.99, Version: 1.1.1 (iTunes) Description: The world of PixelTerra is quite dangerous so you need to build a shelter, find some food supply and get ready to protect... | Read more »
Tokaido™ (Games)
Tokaido™ 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $6.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: Discover the digital adaptation of Tokaido, the boardgame phenomenon that has already sold more than 250,000 copies worldwide, and... | Read more »
Card Thief (Games)
Card Thief 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $1.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: Card Thief is a solitaire style stealth game played with a deck of cards. In Card Thief you move through a deck of cards as a... | Read more »
Smilegate’s crafting battler Super Tank...
Super Tank Rumbleputs you in the seat of your very own, handcrafted tank. You can choose from over 100 different parts to create your Super Tank before taking it out to wreak havoc on your opponents in glorious PVP combat. Now, Smilegate is upping... | Read more »
The best games to play while you wait fo...
Mass Effect: Andromeda arrives this coming Tuesday and people are getting understandably antsy. There's a whole weekend standing between us and a brand new Bioware adventure. What's a geek to do? Well, you could certainly give these fine mobile... | Read more »
Here are the best indie games that debut...
The App Store has been running a pretty spectacular promotion of indie games over the past few days, featuring a selection of indie games quite prominently on the storefront while releasing a brand new indie game each day. The promotion is running... | Read more »
Pavilion: Touch Edition (Games)
Pavilion: Touch Edition 1.0 Device: iOS iPhone Category: Games Price: $3.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: Pavilion requires at least an iPhone 5 or iPod touch 6. Pavilion, the multiple award winning & IMGA nominated game... | Read more »

Price Scanner via MacPrices.net

13-inch Touch Bar MacBook Pros on sale for up...
B&H Photo has the Apple 13″ Touch Bar MacBook Pros in stock today and on sale for up to $150 off MSRP. Shipping is free, and B&H charges NY sales tax only: - 13″ 2.9GHz/512GB Touch Bar... Read more
Today only! 15-inch 2.7GHz Space Gray Touch B...
B&H Photo has the new 2016 15″ 2.7GHz Space Gray Apple Touch Bar MacBook Pro in stock today and on sale for $300 off MSRP for today only. Shipping is free, and B&H charges NY sales tax only... Read more
New $329 iPad A Fabulous Value; 10.5-Inch iPa...
Part of the iPad upgrade/new model puzzle is now in place. Yesterday, as KGI Securities financial services group analyst Ming-Chi Kuo last summer predicted they would, Apple released a new low-cost 9... Read more
New 9.7-Inch iPad Features All Of The Fun...
Apple today updated its most popular-sized iPad, featuring a brighter 9.7-inch Retina display and best-in-class performance at its most affordable price ever, starting at $329 (US) with 32GB of... Read more
Apple Introduces iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus (...
Apple today announced iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus (PRODUCT)RED Special Edition in a vibrant red matte aluminum finish, in recognition of more than 10 years of partnership between Apple and (RED). This... Read more
Apple now offering Certified Refurbished 15-i...
Apple is now offering Certified Refurbished 2016 15″ Touch Bar MacBook Pros for $360-$420 off original MSRP. An Apple one-year warranty is included with each model, and shipping is free: - 15″ 2.6GHz... Read more
Apple Introduces Clips: A Free Innovative Way...
Apple today introduced Clips, a new app that makes it quick and fun for anyone to create expressive videos on iPhone and iPad. The app features a unique design for combining video clips, photos and... Read more
Urban Armor Gear Unveils Case For 4th Generat...
Orange County, California based Urban Armor Gear (UAG), designers of rugged, lightweight protective cases for phones, tablets and laptops, has released its latest drop-tested cases for Apple’s 4th... Read more
Most Users Continue To Prefer 5.0 to 5.3 Inch...
In the first half of 2016, US and UK smartphone users were most likely to be interested in purchasing a device with a 5.3″ or 5.0″ display. Findings in a new report from the User Experience... Read more
12-inch 1.2GHz Retina MacBooks on sale for up...
B&H has 12″ 1.2GHz Retina MacBooks on sale for up to $200 off MSRP. Shipping is free, and B&H charges NY sales tax only: - 12″ 1.2GHz Space Gray Retina MacBook: $1439.99 $160 off MSRP - 12″ 1... Read more

Jobs Board

*Apple* Retail - Multiple Positions - Apple,...
Job Description: Sales Specialist - Retail Customer Service and Sales Transform Apple Store visitors into loyal Apple customers. When customers enter the store, Read more
Fulltime aan de slag als shopmanager in een h...
Ben jij helemaal gek van Apple -producten en vind je het helemaal super om fulltime shopmanager te zijn in een jonge en hippe elektronicazaak? Wil jij werken in Read more
Starte Dein Karriere-Abenteuer in den Hauptst...
…mehrsprachigen Teams betreust Du Kunden von bekannten globale Marken wie Apple , Mercedes, Facebook, Expedia, und vielen anderen! Funktion Du wolltest schon Read more
Starte Dein Karriere-Abenteuer in den Hauptst...
…mehrsprachigen Teams betreust Du Kunden von bekannten globale Marken wie Apple , Mercedes, Facebook, Expedia, und vielen anderen! Funktion Du wolltest schon Read more
*Apple* Retail - Multiple Positions - Apple,...
Job Description: Sales Specialist - Retail Customer Service and Sales Transform Apple Store visitors into loyal Apple customers. When customers enter the store, Read more
All contents are Copyright 1984-2011 by Xplain Corporation. All rights reserved. Theme designed by Icreon.