TweetFollow Us on Twitter

Nov 99 Viewpoint

Volume Number: 15 (1999)
Issue Number: 11
Column Tag: Viewpoint

Viewpoint

by Chris Espinosa, Manager, Components & Scripting, Apple Computer, Inc.

15 years in the computer business is a long time. According to Moore's Law, in 15 years, chip densities double 10 times, giving us a thousandfold increase in computing power. When this magazine was first published in 1984, 10 megabytes was a good size hard disk; the leading software applications were Lotus 1-2-3, WordStar, and dBase III; an ANSI standards committee had just been formed to standardize the C programming language; and Microsoft's total yearly revenue was under $100 million dollars, and its stock wasn't publicly traded.

Nowadays 10 Megabytes is a decent application memory partition; the leading software applications are Microsoft Word, Microsoft Excel, and Microsoft Internet Explorer; the programming community has had a brief flirtation with Objective-C, a fling with visual Rapid Application Development environments, then settled down with C and C++, with a little Java and Perl to make things interesting. And Microsoft is bigger than AT&T, GM, and U. S. Steel combined - but, then again, Yahoo! is bigger than GM and U. S. Steel.

One thing I like in all this change, though, is the way that MacTech continues to open new topics to the Macintosh programming community. Keeping up with any changing technology is hard, and there are several that I've just given up trying to follow. I could once wire up digital logic circuits, but that was when there were four NAND gates on one chip. A machine-language I/O loop for the Apple II was simple, but an interrupt-time handler for FireWire or USB is a lot harder. But I can look at recent issues of MacTech and learn something I didn't know how to do before, about 3D graphics or WebObjects or PDF plug-ins. This is basic knowledge that I might not normally go and seek out, but once I know about it I may be able to apply it in something I'm doing down the road.

The Getting Started section of MacTech has always impressed me. Anybody coming into the Mac programming world has to go through a trial by fire: just knowing how to write in C is just enough to get you into deep trouble. Without understanding how the Mac launches processes and allocates memory, without basic MacsBug skills, and without the little details (like what those Finder flag bits actually do) that we all take for granted, a new programmer could get incredibly frustrated. It's great that MacTech brings this knowledge out and keeps it fresh to help bring new people into the Macintosh programming community.

And more than most other magazines, MacTech has been about community. The MacTech sponsored Developer Central sections at MacWorld Expo are social events. It's great to see my favorite hundred people from the Mac development world year after year, with great new demos and products to make the developer's life easier. These people wear two hats. Like most developers, they live and die by the quality of development tools on the Mac. But they're the ones who create the tools, so there's an interdependence that transcends the normal commercial competition among vendors. MacTech, through its technical content and ads, Developer Central, the MacDev-1 mailing list, and the large MacTech web site, gives this community a place to meet, exchange ideas, and reach developers.

With the explosion of the Internet in the past five years MacTech has broadened its coverage from just the Mac world to topics like CGIs, server-side includes, and XML. It's also ventured out into many possible "next big things" like Palm OS programming, and the BeOS. I think this is one of the reasons that MacTech is still around after 15 years. Not to imply that Mac might go away (though eventually everything does, and we were far too close for comfort just 3 years ago), but an organization that weds itself to one platform lives and dies by that platform. MacTech readers found themselves in this pickle several times, but MacTech drove on. Without jumping on every new bandwagon to come around, MacTech has delivered to us a good survey of interesting things that might be big and have some relevance to the Mac programmer. That some of these crashed and burned is just part of life's rich pageant. But, for each demised language or operating system, there's another that we should have paid attention to. Who could have told us in 1991 that we had better pay attention to Mach and NeXTStep because in five years it would be the future of the Macintosh?

As to what future that is, it's hard for me to say. First, I don't know, and second, if I did know and told you, they'd fire me. But I can point out some reasonable conclusions. Steve Jobs is in firm control of Apple and has turned it from a billion-dollar-hemorrhage to a hot products company that's quintupled its stock price. This has been done mostly on the hardware side, with solid progress on Mac OS 8, 8.5, 8.6, and now 9. But don't expect Steve to rest. The same passion for elegant design and powerful simplicity that has gone into the iMac and iBook is now being applied to the Mac OS. This isn't easy - software doesn't tend to get 2x faster and smaller every generation like hardware does - and there will be some favorite technologies left behind, like SCSI, ADB, and LocalTalk. But the result should be a modern (finally!), competitive operating system that brings forward years of Macintosh experience but leaves behind years of accumulated workarounds.

And, MacTech will be there to cover it. (After all, they've covered A/UX, NeXTStep, Pink/Taligent/CommonPoint, AIX, Copland and the BeOS...) I look forward to Getting Started stories that cover the basics of Mac OS X software, interesting in-depth articles on topics like the Quartz graphics system, hints and tips on how to live with gdb, and a lot of interesting synergies between Mac OS X's Mach-based roots and the UNIX-based world of the Web.

Congratulations MacTech, on 15 years of reading pleasure, and here's to many, many more.

 

Community Search:
MacTech Search:

Software Updates via MacUpdate

Suitcase Fusion 7 18.2.4 - Font manageme...
Suitcase Fusion 7 is the creative professional's font manager. Every professional font manager should deliver the basics: spectacular previews, powerful search tools, and efficient font organization... Read more
SoftRAID 5.6.1 - High-quality RAID manag...
SoftRAID allows you to create and manage disk arrays to increase performance and reliability. SoftRAID allows the user to create and manage RAID 4 and 5 volumes, RAID 1+0, and RAID 1 (Mirror) and... Read more
BetterTouchTool 2.25 - Customize Multi-T...
BetterTouchTool adds many new, fully customizable gestures to the Magic Mouse, Multi-Touch MacBook trackpad, and Magic Trackpad. These gestures are customizable: Magic Mouse: Pinch in / out (zoom... Read more
Google Chrome 59.0.3071.115 - Modern and...
Google Chrome is a Web browser by Google, created to be a modern platform for Web pages and applications. It utilizes very fast loading of Web pages and has a V8 engine, which is a custom built... Read more
Google Chrome 59.0.3071.115 - Modern and...
Google Chrome is a Web browser by Google, created to be a modern platform for Web pages and applications. It utilizes very fast loading of Web pages and has a V8 engine, which is a custom built... Read more
SoftRAID 5.6.1 - High-quality RAID manag...
SoftRAID allows you to create and manage disk arrays to increase performance and reliability. SoftRAID allows the user to create and manage RAID 4 and 5 volumes, RAID 1+0, and RAID 1 (Mirror) and... Read more
Suitcase Fusion 7 18.2.4 - Font manageme...
Suitcase Fusion 7 is the creative professional's font manager. Every professional font manager should deliver the basics: spectacular previews, powerful search tools, and efficient font organization... Read more
BetterTouchTool 2.25 - Customize Multi-T...
BetterTouchTool adds many new, fully customizable gestures to the Magic Mouse, Multi-Touch MacBook trackpad, and Magic Trackpad. These gestures are customizable: Magic Mouse: Pinch in / out (zoom... Read more
WhiteCap 6.7.1 - Visual plug-in for iTun...
WhiteCap is a sleek and sophisticated music visualizer and screensaver that features futuristic, wireframe mesh visuals with dynamic backgrounds and colors. WhiteCap contains thousands of visual... Read more
DiskMaker X 6.0 rc5 - Make a bootable OS...
DiskMaker X (was Lion DiskMaker) helps you to build a bootable drive from the official OS X installer app (the one you download from the Mac App Store). It detects the OS X Install program with... Read more

Latest Forum Discussions

See All

This War of Mine gets a new ending and m...
This War of Mine just got a big new update, featuring free DLC that adds a new ending to the game, among other exciting changes. The update is celebrating the game's two-year release anniversary. Apart from the new ending, which will be quite... | Read more »
Summon eight new heroes in Fire Emblem H...
Nintendo keeps coming at us with Fire Emblem Heroes updates, and it doesn't look like that trend is stopping anytime soon. The folks behind the game have just announced the new War of the Clerics Voting Gauntlet, expected to start next Tuesday. [... | Read more »
The best deals on the App Store this wee...
iOS publishers are pulling out all the stops this week -- there's a huge number of seriously great games at discounted prices this week. Let's not waste any time and get right down to business. [Read more] | Read more »
The House of da Vinci (Games)
The House of da Vinci 1.0.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $4.99, Version: 1.0.0 (iTunes) Description: Enter The House of Da Vinci, a new must-try 3D puzzle adventure game. Solve mechanical puzzles, discover hidden... | Read more »
Solve the disappearance of history’s gre...
Blue Brain Games invites you to indulge in an immersive hands-on 3D puzzle adventure in similar vein to The Room series, with its debut release The House of Da Vinci. Set during the historic period of the Italian Renaissance (when Leonardo himself... | Read more »
Age of Rivals (Games)
Age of Rivals 3.3 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $.99, Version: 3.3 (iTunes) Description: Deep civilization-building strategy in a fast-paced card game! | Read more »
Panthera Frontier (Games)
Panthera Frontier 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $4.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: | Read more »
Angry Birds Evolution beginner's gu...
Angry Birds changes things up a fair bit in its latest iteration, Angry Birds Evolution. The familiar sling-shot physics mechanics are still there, but the game now features team-based gameplay, RPG elements, and a new top-down view. With all of... | Read more »
Sega Forever is for the retro game fans
Sega is launching a new retro games service titled Sega Forever, in a move that's sure to delight games enthusiasts with a bit of nostalgia. Sega's releasing five classic games for free. The titles include Sonic the Hedgehog, Phantasy Star II,... | Read more »
The Little Acre (Games)
The Little Acre 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $2.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: | Read more »

Price Scanner via MacPrices.net

13-inch 1.8GHz/256GB MacBook Air on sale for...
B&H Photo has the updated 2017 13″ 1.8GHz/256GB MacBook Air (MQD42LL/A) in stock and on sale for $1129 including free shipping plus NY & NJ tax only. Their price is $70 off MSRP. Read more
27-inch 3.4GHz iMac on sale for $1699, save $...
B&H Photo has the new 2017 27″ 3.4GHz iMac (MNE92LL/A) in stock and on sale for $1699 including free shipping plus NY & NJ sales tax only. Their price is $100 off MSRP. Read more
21-inch 2.3GHz iMac on sale for $1049, save $...
B&H Photo has the new 2017 21″ 2.3GHz iMac (MMQA2LL/A) in stock and on sale for $1049 including free shipping plus NY & NJ tax only. Their price is $50 off MSRP. Read more
ABBYY TextGrabber 6 for iOS Implements Instan...
ABBYY has announced the release of TextGrabber 6.0.0, an important feature update to the company’s productivity app developed for iOS and Android devices. TextGrabber 6.0 now offers Real-Time... Read more
vPhone, First Smartphone That Can’t Be Lost,...
Austin, Texas based Hypori has introduced the vPhone, a virtual smartphone that affords every business user the benefits of separate work and personal phones, conveniently delivered on a single... Read more
Save this weekend with 2016 refurbished MacBo...
Apple has dropped prices on Certified Refurbished 2016 15″ and 13″ MacBook Pros by as much as $590 off original MSRP. An Apple one-year warranty is included with each model, and shipping is free: -... Read more
New 27-inch 3.4GHz iMac on sale for $1699, sa...
MacMall has the new 2017 27″ 3.4GHz iMac (MNE92LL/A) in stock and on sale for $1699 including free shipping. Their price is $100 off MSRP. Read more
Clearance 2016 MacBook Pros available for up...
B&H Photo has clearance 2016 13″ and 15″ MacBook Pros in stock today and on sale for up to $400 off original MSRP. Shipping is free, and B&H charges NY & NJ sales tax only: - 15″ 2.7GHz... Read more
Apple Ranks 9th In comScore Top 50 U.S. Digit...
comScore, Inc. has released its monthly ranking of U.S. online activity at the top digital media properties for May 2017 based on data from comScore Media Metrix Multi-Platform. * Entity has... Read more
10.5-inch iPad Pros available for up to $20 o...
B&H Photo has the new 2017 10.5″ iPad Pros available for up to $20 off MSRP including free shipping plus NY & NJ sales tax only: - 64GB iPad Pro WiFi: $649 - 256GB iPad Pro WiFi: $749 - 512GB... Read more

Jobs Board

*Apple* News Product Marketing Mgr., Publish...
…organizational consensus on strategy and vision for publisher tools, authoring, and Apple News Format.Carries this strategy and vision across the organization to 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
Security Data Analyst - *Apple* Information...
…data sources need to be collected to allow Information Security to better protect Apple employees and customers from a wide range of threats.Act as the subject matter Read more
Lead *Apple* Solutions Consultant - Apple I...
…integrity, and trust.Success Metrics/Key Performance Indicators:Quantitative* Year over Year growth in Apple Product and Beyond the Box sales in the assigned Point of Read more
*Apple* Solutions Consultant till v%u00E5r...
…ethics, integrity, and trust.Success Metrics/Key Performance Indicators:QuantitativeYear over Year growth in Apple Product and Beyond the Box sales in the assigned Point Read more
All contents are Copyright 1984-2011 by Xplain Corporation. All rights reserved. Theme designed by Icreon.