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

Garmin Express 4.0.18.0 - Manage your Ga...
Garmin Express is your essential tool for managing your Garmin devices. Update maps, golf courses and device software. You can even register your device. Update maps Update software Register your... Read more
jAlbum Pro 12.6.4 - Organize your digita...
jAlbum Pro has all the features you love in jAlbum, but comes with a commercial license. With jAlbum, you can create gorgeous custom photo galleries for the Web without writing a line of code!... Read more
jAlbum 12.6.4 - Create custom photo gall...
With jAlbum, you can create gorgeous custom photo galleries for the Web without writing a line of code! Beginner-friendly, with pro results Simply drag and drop photos into groups, choose a design... Read more
Microsoft Remote Desktop 8.0.16 - Connec...
With Microsoft Remote Desktop, you can connect to a remote PC and your work resources from almost anywhere. Experience the power of Windows with RemoteFX in a Remote Desktop client designed to help... Read more
Spotify 1.0.4.90. - Stream music, create...
Spotify is a streaming music service that gives you on-demand access to millions of songs. Whether you like driving rock, silky R&B, or grandiose classical music, Spotify's massive catalogue puts... Read more
djay Pro 1.1 - Transform your Mac into a...
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
Vivaldi 1.0.118.19 - Lightweight browser...
Vivaldi browser. In 1994, two programmers started working on a web browser. Our idea was to make a really fast browser, capable of running on limited hardware, keeping in mind that users are... Read more
Stacks 2.6.11 - New way to create pages...
Stacks is a new way to create pages in RapidWeaver. It's a plugin designed to combine drag-and-drop simplicity with the power of fluid layout. Features: Fluid Layout: Stacks lets you build pages... Read more
xScope 4.1.3 - Onscreen graphic measurem...
xScope is powerful set of tools that are ideal for measuring, inspecting, and testing on-screen graphics and layouts. Its tools float above your desktop windows and can be accessed via a toolbar,... Read more
Cyberduck 4.7 - 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

This Week at 148Apps: April 20-24, 2015
The Apps of April How do you know what apps are worth your time and money? Just look to the review team at 148Apps. We sort through the chaos and find the apps you're looking for. The ones we love become Editor’s Choice, standing out above the many... | Read more »
Discover Your Reflexes With Minimalist G...
Discover O, BYOF Studios, may look simple at first with its' color matching premise and swipe controls, but as you speed up the task becomes more daunting. [Read more] | Read more »
Here's Another Roundup of Notable A...
Now that the Apple Watch is publically available (kind of), even more apps and games have been popping up for it. Some of them are updates to existing software, others are brand new. The main thing is that they're all for the Apple Watch, and if you... | Read more »
Use Batting Average and the Apple Watch...
Batting Average, by Pixolini, is designed to help you manage your statistics. Every time you go to bat, you can use your Apple Watch to track  your swings, strikes, and hits. [Read more] | Read more »
Celebrate Studio Pango's 3rd Annive...
It is time to party, Pangoland pals! Studio Pango is celebrating their 3rd birthday and their gift to you is a new update to Pangoland. [Read more] | Read more »
Become the World's Most Important D...
Must Deliver, by cherrypick games, is a top-down endless-runner witha healthy dose of the living dead. [Read more] | Read more »
SoundHound + LiveLyrics is Making its De...
SoundHound Inc. has announced that SoundHound + LiveLyrics, will be one of the first third-party apps to hit the Apple Watch. With  SoundHound you'll be able to tap on your watch and have the app recognize the music you are listening to, then have... | Read more »
Adobe Joins the Apple Watch Lineup With...
A whole tidal wave of apps are headed for the Apple Watch, and Adobe has joined in with 3 new ways to enhance your creativity and collaborate with others. The watch apps pair with iPad/iPhone apps to give you total control over your Adobe projects... | Read more »
Z Steel Soldiers, Sequel to Kavcom'...
Kavcom has released Z Steel Soldiers, which continues the story of the comedic RTS originally created by the Bitmap Brothers. [Read more] | Read more »
Seene Lets You Create 3D Images With You...
Seene, by Obvious Engineering, is a 3D capture app that's meant to allow you to create visually stunning 3D images with a tap of your finger, and then share them as a 3D photo, video or gif. [Read more] | Read more »

Price Scanner via MacPrices.net

Final day for Best Buy’s 4 Day Sale: Up to $3...
Best Buy has the new 2015 13″ 1.6GHz/128GB MacBook Air on sale for $799.99 through April 27th. That’s $200 off MSRP, and it’s the lowest price available for this new model from any reseller. Choose... Read more
College Student Deals: Additional $50 off Mac...
Take an additional $50 off all MacBooks and iMacs at Best Buy Online with their College Students Deals Savings, valid through May 9, 2015. Anyone with a valid .EDU email address can take advantage of... Read more
Save up to $300 on a new Mac, $30 on an iPad,...
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
Zoho Business Apps for Apple Watch Put Select...
Pleasanton, California based Zoho has launched Zoho Business Apps for Apple Watch, a line of apps that extends Zoho business applications to let users perform select functions from an Apple Watch.... Read more
Universal Stylus Initiative Launched to Creat...
OEMs, stylus and touch controller manufacturers have announced the launch of Universal Stylus Initiative (USI), a new organization formed to develop and promote an industry specification for an... Read more
Amazon Shopping App for Apple Watch
With the new Amazon shopping app for Apple Watch, Amazon customers with one of the wearable devices can simply tap the app on the watch to purchase items in seconds, or save an idea for later. The... Read more
Mac Pros on sale for up to $260 off MSRP
B&H Photo has Mac Pros on sale for up to $260 off MSRP. Shipping is free, and B&H charges sales tax in NY only: - 3.7GHz 4-core Mac Pro: $2799, $200 off MSRP - 3.5GHz 6-core Mac Pro: $3719.99... Read more
Apple refurbished Time Capsules available for...
The Apple Store has certified refurbished Time Capsules available for $100 off MSRP. Apple’s one-year warranty is included with each Time Capsule, and shipping is free: - 2TB Time Capsule: $199, $100... Read more
Intel Compute Stick: A New Mini-Computing For...
The Intel Compute Stick, a new pocket-sized computer based on a quad-core Intel Atom processor running Windows 8.1 with Bing, is available now through Intel Authorized Dealers across much of the... Read more
Heal to Launch First One-Touch House Call Doc...
Santa Monica, California based Heal, a pioneer in on-demand personal health care services — will offer the first one-touch, on-demand house call doctor app for the Apple Watch. Heal’s Watch app,... Read more

Jobs Board

*Apple* iOS Specialist - TCML (United States...
AppleiOS Specialist Senior Apple /iOS Administrator/Engineer responsible for configuration and distribution of desktop, laptop and mobile devices to State Employees Read more
*Apple* Client Systems Solution Specialist -...
…drive revenue and profit in assigned sales segment and/or region specific to the Apple brand and product sets. This person will work directly with CDW Account Managers 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* Support Technician IV - Jack Henry a...
Job Description Jack Henry & Associates is seeking an Apple Support Technician. This position while acting independently, ensures the proper day-to-day control of Read more
*Apple* Client Systems Solution Specialist -...
…drive revenue and profit in assigned sales segment and/or region specific to the Apple brand and product sets. This person will work directly with CDW Account Managers Read more
All contents are Copyright 1984-2011 by Xplain Corporation. All rights reserved. Theme designed by Icreon.